ongoing struggle - advice welcome!

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Zylah
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ongoing struggle - advice welcome!

Postby Zylah » 10 Aug 2010, 18:48

Many of you have read my early posts, and know that I am a single mom of 3 children. I left my increasingly abusive ex-husband (their father), whose fundamentalist Christianity was irreconcilable with my come-out as a pagan. He remarried less than a month after our divorce was final last year. The problem I have now lies with my children.

The custody agreement stipulates that he has them every weekend for church, and one evening a week. I have no problem with the children seeing their father; I think it's important for many reasons, some of which I have shared in other posts.

My problem is in their continuing indoctrination. My daughter and I had a huge argument because she went to Christian youth camp and apparently agonized in prayer for my damned lost soul, as she does on a fairly regular basis. She told me this with many tears.

I seriously object to this on many levels; not least of which is that I do not want my daughter needlessly torturing herself on a mental, emotional, and spiritual rack, because her father's religion teaches them to be afraid of this omnipotent, omniscient, all-loving god who will send me to an eternal hell for failing to believe in his self-contradictory book. I can't express how much I hate to see my children going through all this because they love me and don't want me to be sent to hell forever.

There are people in their lives, pastors and their wives, who I consider dangerous. Their best friends are these people's children, and I refuse to get in the way of their friendships. What is left? I have to deal with this woman usurping my position in my daughter's life because they believe (and have taught my children to believe) that I as an unbeliever am inadequate on a spiritual level to mother her. This woman comments on my daughter's FB page, has corrected her about her choice in music publicly, and when disagreements with me are public, she writes loving public messages to my daughter about how she's praying for her, and she's just got to give it to God and blahblahblah. I really hate this woman, and I don't like to be hateful.

I have tried a new approach today: I told my daughter that I think part of the problem on my side is that I think of her faith as the one I used to hold; so I make assumptions about large areas of belief without actually discussing it with her. This leads to argument and her protesting that I understand *NOTHING*. Therefore, I told her I will assume I know nothing from now on about what she believes, and I will ask her questions rather than making assumptions on anything. We were then able to have a calmer discussion about points of doctrine, and I'm hoping it can continue in that vein.

Nonetheless, the whole issue makes me sick inside; that takes away my objectivity, which is vastly compromised anyway as soon as an issue involves my children. So I am hoping some of you might have some insights or advice in dealing with argument, the kinds of things that arise and have to be dealt with. I know some of this is normal adolescent spasms; but some of it is certainly psychosocially unhealthy and unnecessary.
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Re: ongoing struggle - advice welcome!

Postby celticmodes » 10 Aug 2010, 20:06

Wow. Coming through that cult, I understand what they are you are going through and it's not easy for anyone. To tell you the truth, when things like this happen to me where humans hold a fabrication and try to force the world to fit it, I find they can't be reasoned with. Doctrinal discussions don't get very far. They have all the answers, just ask them. The nice thing is that the human mind is no where near as smart as it thinks it is and can be easily bypassed.

If it were me, I'd start with me. I would clear out any resistances and negative associations with the events. I would work on this for a while until I felt free from it. After that, I would go on the other levels and begin working on the others. For me personally, once someone has declared themselves an enemy or told me I'm going to hell, I assume they want to dance so I have no moral qualms with taking them to the other levels and giving them some quality time at the spa.

What I mean is I very gently love them and scrub them down and get the oogies out of them if they are willing to let it go. I was taught in a different tradition so I'm not sure what an OBODian would do. To me, fundamentalism is a form of mental imbalance that causes extreme emotional instability. I would just doctor my loved one and give them the extra energy and love they need to fix themselves and decide on their own what's best for them.

Again, that's what I would do.

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Re: ongoing struggle - advice welcome!

Postby Nightfalls » 11 Aug 2010, 04:29

Have you tried discussing the basics of druidry to her? Most commonly the basis of most peoples ignorance and "holier then thou" attitude comes from a lack of understanding the other side. Steadfast Christians close their hearts and minds to any other teachings, and in doing so shut out any understanding and tolerance for others religions. Most of the time it is not their fault. The dogmatic do and do not that comes with (Insert Religion), along with coaching from like-minded individuals (such as this woman) can cause them to become ignorant and intolerant of others.
To me, fundamentalism is a form of mental imbalance that causes extreme emotional instability.
I could not agree more. If it was me, this woman would not be instructing my children or commenting on their FB. I would sit her down and we would sift through all the crap they feed her, and give her the basics of druidry. Then we would discuss tolerance and what happens when people do not have tolerance for others. The problem I have is not in her religion, for she should be able to practice any way she pleases, it is in the fact she is causing you, and herself, undue stress and tension in your relationship with her lack of religious tolerance. If you can instill a little of that virtue, it can bring you closer as a mother and daughter, and end these quarrels.

Man i am feeling very deep tonight lol :thinking:

Good luck on your endeavor, have you since moved on after your divorce? I myself am divorced and have yet to find the right one for me. I am about to say F-it and give up, save money and buy a sailboat, and sail the Caribbean on weekends :cloud9:
:grin:
Out of the night that covers me, Black as the pit from pole to pole
I thank whatever gods may be For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance, I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears, Looms but the Horror of the shade
And yet the menace of the years Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate, How charged with punishments the scroll
I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.

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Re: ongoing struggle - advice welcome!

Postby Astrid » 11 Aug 2010, 08:54

Good luck on your endeavor, have you since moved on after your divorce? I myself am divorced and have yet to find the right one for me. I am about to say F-it and give up, save money and buy a sailboat, and sail the Caribbean on weekends :cloud9:
:grin:
I would buy the saiboat and cruise the caribbean who knows maybe you'll meet a nice olympic sailsport athlet og millionaire down there - or maybe jus meet a nice carribean guy which i personally can reccomend :D

I afraid i don't have much advice to offer seeing as i don't have any experience like that but I do have a lot of hugs for you Zylah :hug:
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Re: ongoing struggle - advice welcome!

Postby merryb » 11 Aug 2010, 18:33

Dear zylah,

I really feel for you and your daughter - I watched some very thoughtful videos on you tube yesterday by the OBOD one called The Seven Gifts of Druidry, I found the link in a thread in discussing Druidry(I think - it was from Damn the Bard?) Maybe suggesting she looks at these to understand your views as they will not hold the emotional content that your daughter is feeling so threatened by. There is also several others that could be used.

Don't worry about this woman commenting on facebook - I am sure that your daughter is aware of the contradictions in what she sayes and does. Your daughter is caught in an intense drama which is outside your control.

Celticmodes suggestion of sending out blessing and peace to them would be a way forward - not to change them only they can do -to "clear out the negativity and resistance" they have engendered in you - it is hard but it will strengthen you and enable you to deal calmly and rationally with your daughter.

Your example of how you live your life ,your caring, you work ethic, your love of people and nature is the best way to be for her.

I am sending you Reiki energy for the highest good to aid your wisdom in this situation.
The light meditation would be my starting point to remain calm in such a storm of emotion and bad feelings projected out by this group.

Hope this helps -words are sometimes inadequate - so here is a hug through the ether....

With blessing and may there by peace for your daughter and for the world.

Merryb

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Re: ongoing struggle - advice welcome!

Postby Nightfalls » 12 Aug 2010, 03:36

I would buy the saiboat and cruise the caribbean who knows maybe you'll meet a nice olympic sailsport athlet og millionaire down there - or maybe jus meet a nice carribean guy which i personally can reccomend :D
Well if i swung that way, i would certainly find me a spicy Caribbean man! But i am more into the opposite sex. I have already met a nice girl in Barbados, so i am going to sit back and see where it goes. Whether it works out or not, that sailboat will be mine :grin:
Out of the night that covers me, Black as the pit from pole to pole
I thank whatever gods may be For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance, I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears, Looms but the Horror of the shade
And yet the menace of the years Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate, How charged with punishments the scroll
I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.

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Re: ongoing struggle - advice welcome!

Postby Astrid » 12 Aug 2010, 06:56

I would buy the saiboat and cruise the caribbean who knows maybe you'll meet a nice olympic sailsport athlet og millionaire down there - or maybe jus meet a nice carribean guy which i personally can reccomend :D
Well if i swung that way, i would certainly find me a spicy Caribbean man! But i am more into the opposite sex. I have already met a nice girl in Barbados, so i am going to sit back and see where it goes. Whether it works out or not, that sailboat will be mine :grin:
HAHA well i didnt pay much attention there did I :-) But even carribean ladies are vey lovly - to look at at least :o
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Re: ongoing struggle - advice welcome!

Postby Ghostrider » 14 Aug 2010, 00:27

Ever tried giving the 'opposition' a taste of their own medicine?

Try and explain to your daughter where you're coming from is the only way to go, I guess, but..:

- Put a picture and a candle of the 'opposition' on your home-altar. If your daughter is shocked / surprised, just explain: you hope the God(esse)s bless their existance and grant them WISDOM (which they may be lacking.. I wouldn't tell her THAT :grin: )
- Start 'praying' at dinner, to Pagan Gods and Godesses of course.. and, again,... ask for blessings for those who cannot see the 'errors of their ways' .. :whistle:

I know it sounds a bit vindictive, however, if your daughter then comes out to tell you she or her 'other mom' object to that practice, it will make the following sentence a lot easier to digest for her maybe: "Do not do onto others...."

A few others you might want to shoot at her are...:

- Honor your father and your mother.

And of course the opposition can try having a go at...: You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.

That applies to your DAUGHTER as well...
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Zylah
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Re: ongoing struggle - advice welcome!

Postby Zylah » 14 Aug 2010, 02:11

Wow, thanks so much all of you! :hug: I also received private messages on this subject for which I am thankful; I so appreciate all your input. :curtsey:

CelticModes, you are very wise. Just as you suggest, I have been 'doing me' for a long time, and you're right that needs to happen if I'm to have any hope of dealing with the ongoing issues effectively. I'm not finished with me yet, but I've come a long way. :) It was a relief to read your advice, because acting on it sounds very restful and soothing; thank you, I think I'll go that way with it. I especially like your spa treatment idea :D

Nightfalls, thank you - I did have a very good discussion with her, and we did discuss tolerance, as you mentioned. She seems to understand a little better now; but I'm going to be very cautious with my enthusiasm! I've thought things were improving before, and discovered later that in fact they got worse; so I'm trying not to set myself up for further disappointment.

As for this woman's involvement, my daughter is 16; that means that if I try to force her to do anything, she will powerfully resent it and do exactly the opposite. So I do not plan to obstruct her friendships; however, I did sent a rather *pungent* message to the woman in question and informed her of a few salient points. She retreated with many threats to pray for me, and has only very slowly been insinuating herself back into my daughter's public FB page. I'm just *waiting* for her to give me a reason to speak to her about her behavior again. She doesn't enjoy it, but her religion tells her she has to endure my wrath and my persecution of the One True Faith; you really can't stop people like this. They're not rational, you have no basis for reasoning with them. :shrug:

And yes, I moved on pretty much right away - lost my mind for a while, pretty much! I've been sowing some wild oats, and am now settling down again. :innocent: That sailboat sounds great; and good luck with your Barbados romance :wink:

Astrid, LOL :-) - thanks so much; you made me laugh, and that's as important as anything else! :hug:

MerryB, your kindness and good healing energy is welcome and appreciated. Thank you for your thoughtfulness :hug:

Ghostrider, you have some really cunning reverse-psychology ideas :idea: that I reeeeeallyyyyyyyy dig. :grin: I like the way you think! I believe I shall implement what you've suggested - I am in your debt! :curtsey: Seriously, I think your ideas may have the desired effect, especially in combination with elements from the other suggestions here. Thank you!

And again, thanks to you all. My deep gratitude is yours :)
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Nightfalls
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Re: ongoing struggle - advice welcome!

Postby Nightfalls » 15 Aug 2010, 11:02

lost my mind for a while, pretty much! I've been sowing some wild oats, and am now settling down again. :innocent: That sailboat sounds great; and good luck with your Barbados romance :wink:
Bah my mind has been lost for years. Ever since i was a kid the "little voice inside that says this might not be a good idea" has been pretty quiet. So it has been one heck of an interesting life so far :grin: and who doesn't love sowing the oats :wink:
Out of the night that covers me, Black as the pit from pole to pole
I thank whatever gods may be For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance, I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears, Looms but the Horror of the shade
And yet the menace of the years Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate, How charged with punishments the scroll
I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.

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Re: ongoing struggle - advice welcome!

Postby Dendrias » 15 Aug 2010, 17:01

Advice on personal things is dangerous.
My problem is in their continuing indoctrination. My daughter and I had a huge argument because she went to Christian youth camp and apparently agonized in prayer for my damned lost soul, as she does on a fairly regular basis. She told me this with many tears. [...] I seriously object to this on many levels; not least of which is that I do not want my daughter needlessly torturing herself on a mental, emotional, and spiritual rack, because her father's religion teaches them [...] There are people in their lives, pastors and their wives, who I consider dangerous. Their best friends are these people's children, and I refuse to get in the way of their friendships. [...] I know some of this is normal adolescent spasms; but some of it is certainly psychosocially unhealthy and unnecessary.
Often, the problem in communicating is the presuppositions people have about others' thoughts. You pretend to know nothing about Your daughter's religion and, as far as I understood, had a calmer discussion. This, I think is necessary, because, in fact, sometimes you can't know what another person really believes. Does Your daughter know what You believe - not, what You hate about christianity or her friends' and relatives' faith, but what You really believe in? There are points, in which religions can come to terms with one another - and that can be part of the tolerance.

You have, Zylah, written a lot about Your (bitter, hateful) feelings against the other religion. What do You think, besides the adolescent spasms, does You daughter feel towards You?
Do You think that the actions she shows are the real truth and will remain in her feelings and thoughts forever? Sometimes, things can leave an imprint that can't be erased in adolescence, even by fundamentalists. Her actions seem to show, that she still can have contact to You, that she still talks to You, that she listens to You. If she doesn't do what You want her to do, that doesn't mean that she's not hearing You. With the age of 16, children still try to find their place in life, which means in spiritual life, as well. They search for a pov. They are influenced, of course - but, Zylah, what do You think, will be in ten years time? Your fear might see separation from Your daughter, but what do You, deep in Your heart, think will happen? Will Your daughter "find back" to her mother?
Struggles are inevitable with teenagers. Find confidence in what You as a mother have given Your daughter.

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Re: ongoing struggle - advice welcome!

Postby wolfsbane » 19 Sep 2010, 10:22

Zylah, I hope you dont mind but i shared your post with my wife who is agnostic with wiccan leanings :) she is the Step mother to my 4 daughters. She was truly gobsmacked by this. I read it twice and was really touched by your plight. Not sure what advice to give you but i will send whatever love & Healing i can to you. :candle:
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Re: ongoing struggle - advice welcome!

Postby Ghostrider » 19 Sep 2010, 11:35

I came across this picture last night..
I thought it pretty much covers the load :innocent:
(too bad the spelling isn't right... :grin: )
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Zylah
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Re: ongoing struggle - advice welcome!

Postby Zylah » 19 Sep 2010, 13:36

Dendrias - good points. Yes, I have repeatedly discussed with them what my beliefs actually are, and tried to explain it all clearly; they seem more or less ok with what I tell them until the element of terror has been injected into it. For instance, I had to undo a lot of misconceptions last Samhuinn when they brought home a pamphlet from church stating that 'Samhain' was the 'Druid god of death' whom we worship with satanic rituals, and that we (the Druids) originated 'trick-or-treating' by going around and terrorizing people with threats of demonic harassment if they didn't give over everything demanded of them. Therefore, this pamphlet condemned anyone who goes trick-or-treating for perpetuating the evil Druid tradition of terrorism.

Of course I explained to them (calmly) that 'Samhuinn' is a seasonal reference, and has nothing to do with any 'Druid god of death'; I also explained that if they referred to actual history, they would find that the 'trick-or-treating' tradition does not have nearly such a sinister origin as this pamphlet describes. I told them about what we do for Samhuinn, the honoring of the ancestors, thanksgiving for provision being made for the winter, and turning introspective for the dark half of the year, as well as the idea of the separation between realms being thinnest at that time.

Generally the effect of my explanations on them is calming. *Until* they bring it all back to their father and their church, where more lies are piled on top of the old lies, including the direct statement that I am inherently a liar by virtue of the fact that I'm a lost sinner, and can't possibly even recognize truth, never mind speak truth about any subject. In response to this, I generally point them to objective sources to confirm what I've said and discredit the slander/libel. It helps, but they're honestly confused, and I don't blame them.

So yes, I hate that religion. And I don't apologize for it. They deliberately lie and slander to create pain and separation where none needs to be. It's poisonous.

As for what I see ahead with my daughter, I am too close and involved to trust anything I think I see in that regard. My intention and hope is that she will be able to make her own decision in a rational, sane way; and if she chooses to be a Christian, that's fine with me - provided she is the good kind (and by that I mean the kind who really do love others and don't tell horrific lies to spread fear in an attempt to retain power and exclusivity), rather than following the mold being imposed on her and her brothers.

Wolfsbane, of course I don't mind you sharing my post! Thanks for your kind words. :)

And Ghostrider, I would like to print that out, enlarge it, and hang it up on the wall! (with the correct spelling, of course, LOL) Thanks for making me smile :D
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Re: ongoing struggle - advice welcome!

Postby skydove » 20 Sep 2010, 14:12

Zylah, I'm sitting here gnashing my teeth in anger, :x and me a druid too!
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Re: ongoing struggle - advice welcome!

Postby Oneonine » 20 Sep 2010, 15:25

You mention slander/libel. Incitement to religious hatred is a crime here, dunno about over the pond. The kind of thing that can lead to a reassessment of custody and visitation rights. Also. That leaflet needs to be challenged for the sake of all druids IMO. Personally, I'd get myself a human rights lawyer and find out my legal position, but I realise in America there's a bias towards christianity and that might not prove useful. Perhaps the Pagan Federation or whatever it's equivalent is over there - could be informed, and they could at least have the leaflet withdrawn and an apology issued.

Nothing like seeing your heroes having to apologise for lying to make the rest of what they say suspect... and she wouldn't have to know it was you that reported them...

I too like the psychological approach... especially as your opponants are doing that thing where they make your daughter feel like a mature member of a special club, with you outside it.. grrrrrrrrrrr

So I'd be tempted to not to argue, but to smile indulgently, as if these beliefs are the same as when she used to believe in santa or the tooth fairy, and say something like - aww, do they think you can't or won't look that up and see it's made up? Bless...... and chuck said leaflet in the trash. Say to yourself "santa, tooth fairy, smile" each time you are tempted to argue.

Or - it's okay, I remember when I was your age... it's easier to believe what we're told at that age. I'm here if you ever want to discuss anything though (making it sound like that's something a future, more mature person might want to talk about).

Or just - aww, I remember when I believed that stuff - and look nostalgic.... then smile at her like she just played third sheep from the right in the Xmas Nativity.

Or - one day you'll question things you are told for yourself, and find it worthwhile investigating the truth of things for yourself.

Or - Quote your source (as if you are interested) and then say - no not word of mouth - I meant a scholarly source - it might be interesting.... (as if you might be "saved" when the historical evidence comes in).

You can always drop the print offs of more scholarly evidence on the table behind you as if you don't expect someone like her to be interested in reading it and say "oh yes, I looked that up... and smile like she's made a gaff you don't want to point out.

It's possible that where she won't believe you, her interest might be piqued by your refusals to see such things as anything but spiritually immature. It could eventually transpire that she will believe the evidence of her own eyes when doing more scholarly investigations of her own. If she gets mad just say - of course, of course, you have to find your own way through your beliefs, I'm not interfering, just curious...

Man, I hated being "immature" at 16. So then again, she may just look things up to wipe the smirk off your face. Her reassessment of being a part of that system might come earlier in her life than it did for you - at least.

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Re: ongoing struggle - advice welcome!

Postby Jake » 20 Sep 2010, 19:40

Oneonine, legally speaking, there's an enormously greater bias towards Christianity in the UK than there is in the US (something I'd be interested in having a conversation about elsewhere if anyone else is as well). The publishers of the hateful and ignorant pamphlet aren't breaking any laws in the US because they're protected by the First Amendment to our Constitution which guarantees freedom of speech and religion. By the same token, I could publish something equally stupid about Christianity without fear of legal reprisal.

Zylah, thank you for keeping us up to date with what's going on. I tend to read more than I post, but I wanted to let you know that you and this situation you're confronting have been in my thoughts since you first wrote about it in another thread. As a child I was subjected to a great deal of religious indoctrination very similar to what your daughter is experiencing. It never stuck with me at all though, and by her age I'd already been through a Buddhist stage and a militantly atheist Marxist stage and was declaring myself a "Wiccan shaman" to anyone within earshot :oops: but still it hits close to home and I can imagine some of what you're going through. I wish you all the best.
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Re: ongoing struggle - advice welcome!

Postby DJ Droood » 20 Sep 2010, 20:26

As a child I was subjected to a great deal of religious indoctrination very similar to what your daughter is experiencing. It never stuck with me at all though...
That is interesting in and of itself...I think many of us, at least those over the age of 30 or so, were marinated in overt Christian indoctrination, and look at what happened....rising atheism/agnosticism/otherism and a steady decline in relevance and centrality of Christianity in the Western world...I guess the "good old days" of the 1950's they want us to return to weren't that effective (or welcome) in the first place.
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Re: ongoing struggle - advice welcome!

Postby Oneonine » 20 Sep 2010, 21:39

I meant emotional bias. If a judge is emotionally biased towards fundamentalist christian beliefs, he wont cite that as his reasoning, but it will affect his judgement, none the less.

When Bush came here we got a taste of American freedom of speech. No one allowed within ten blocks unless they were photographed by American security staff. The supporters were allowed into the main speech area, the protesters sent to an area 2 miles away where they were again photographed. The supporters mostly refused to go into their area, in disgust at the infringements to the freedoms of the protestors The photographers were left having to take pictures from an angle showing Bush waving as if to a huge crowd from a podium, cutting off the near empty space he was waving at. And when night fell we burned effigies of Bush and Blair and had a party. The papers reported it all, without fear they would be branded "unpatriotic" or face reprisals. The American press reports seemed strangely like a completely different parallel universe. In fact, the war as reported by America in general was so much different from how it was reported here, I had to keep checking it was, indeed, the same war.

We have the right to freedom of speech here too - but not to incite religious hatred. The right to be as bad as each other. Is that supposed to be a comfort? For those that refuse to stoop to such levels, they are left being victimised without recourse to the law, and you end up with a situation like the one under discussion. A humanitarian lawyer would be fighting to have international humanitarian laws acknowledged, at least.

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Re: ongoing struggle - advice welcome!

Postby Jake » 21 Sep 2010, 00:02

That is interesting in and of itself...I think many of us, at least those over the age of 30 or so, were marinated in overt Christian indoctrination, and look at what happened....rising atheism/agnosticism/otherism and a steady decline in relevance and centrality of Christianity in the Western world...I guess the "good old days" of the 1950's they want us to return to weren't that effective (or welcome) in the first place.
It is interesting, like the old stereotype about preachers' kids. :wink: It makes me wonder what role the simple rejection of our parents' values and beliefs plays in such a trend. My mother was raised in a thoroughly non-religious household and became a born-again. Meanwhile my father had a very strict Church of the Brethren upbringing and is an atheist (the marriage didn't last long after my mother's conversion). And his religious parents were both raised in what they called "heathen" families, never having attended church a day in their lives. Then in spite or because of my mother and stepfather's extreme religiosity, I have one stepbrother who's a Satanist, another who apparently worships money and liquor, a brother who just couldn't care less, and then there's atheist/pagan/flavor-of-the-week me.

And I can't help but see some sort of parallel on a national level in some cases. Like how so many countries with state churches also have the highest percentage of atheists while the US, which on paper is possibly the most secular non-Communist country in the world, is infested with religious loonies. What's that all about? Is making religion compulsory, and therefore more obviously bureaucratic and tedious, the best way to make sure nobody's interested in it?
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