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School Children Protest Against Abortion

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Look what happened in my home state today:

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Kids from a local Christian school protesting against a bill that increases rights to abortion. Kids. School children. Protesting abortion. Please tell me this is a joke.

These are primary school kids. They probably don’t even know where babies come from yet!! How on earth could they possibly understand an issue as complex and sensitive as abortion??

It seems pretty clear that these kids are being exploited by their parents and their school. If my own experience of a Christian school is anything to go by, they wouldn’t have heard the other side of the abortion argument. They won’t have had the chance to develop an informed opinion on the subject. They’re children for goodness sake!! My own experience of abortion education in a Christian school went something like this: ABORTION IS WRONG. ABORTION IS MURDER. NO OTHER VIEW IS ACCEPTABLE. It would be very difficult for a primary school child to resist the comprehensive brainwashing Christian schools put them through on this topic.This is something that makes me very sad and I hope they are able to think about this issue more critically in the future.

I’ve been told that the kids weren’t forced to participate, but honestly, what nine year old is going to stand against their teachers, school, parents and peers? What nine year old is going to disagree with them on an issue they’re so passionate about? What nine year old is going to opt to stay in class when they could be outside with their friends at Parliament House? And if a child did do this, imagine the social exclusion they would experience from then on. Children should be playing and frolicking and learning! Not participating in complex moral and political debate. Also, the fact that these kids are at a private Christian school suggests that they’ve probably had a reasonably financially secure upbringing and a mum and dad there to look after them. They would not know much at all about the plight of the pregnant, income-less, single teenage girl (for example) and yet they feel that they can tell her what to do with her own body and her own future. It’s just not right, and it’s not their fault.

However, I do recognise that children have a right to protest and participate in democracy, but surely it’s not right for them to get involved in an issue like this. At least not until they have had a well rounded sex education.

Schools are meant to be about helping kids to think critically and independently. They should be about showing them different view points and letting them evaluate them. They should not be about this. Not at all.

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About Ellen Rose

Blogger curious about how travel helps us to lead more meaningful lives.

16 responses »

  1. I wouldn’t assume they don’t know what they are talking about. I am a tss and one of my clients is 13, not Christian, in public school and the children of politically uninterested parents. She told me yesterday that she was going to give up Pepsi until abortion, except for rape and incest, was made illegal.

    I do believe though judging by the uniforms that these children are in private, catholic or christian school, so they were given a particular viewpoint. However, every school gives a viewpoint when they teach. But regardless, let’s not diminish their brilliance by telling them they are incapable of participating using their “critical and independent” thinking skills.

    Reply
    • criticofchristianity

      I wouldn’t mind so much if they were aged 13 and from a public school and politically uninterested family. They would be older than a lot of these kids and it sounds they were in a better position to make up their own mind, looking at all perspectives. I just doubt that these kids have done so.

      I’m not saying they’re incapable of critical and independent thinking skills, but from my experience of Christian kids and Christian education, I do suspect that this view on abortion is not one they have formed through using these faculties.

      Personally, I used to be quite radically pro-life, back when I was a 14 year old Christian. Looking back on that now, I think that I was not mature enough to really have an opinion on it at the time. I feel embarrassed at some of the things I said and stood up for at this time, and I wish my parents and teachers had encouraged me to think harder about it and not just accept what they teach on face value.

      I agree that every school gives a view point on what they teach, but I think this might be taking it a little too far.

      Reply
      • Me too. I actually told my parents to vote for Bush both times. Uh. Thanks Christian school, I’ll never live that down. Yes. The schools need to teach truth seeking. After all, if God is truth then by seeking truth one is seeking God.

      • criticofchristianity

        Haha really?? It’s alright, you probably don’t follow Australian politics, but our Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, is a completely sexist, homophobic, racist, conservative pig and I used to support him in my Christian days haha πŸ™‚

        I completely agree that schools should be about seeking the truth, and that is a brilliant point about God and truth.

      • What can we do but blame it on our youth. Oh well. Live and learn.

  2. Arggghh!
    I’m amazed they can even spell ‘abortion’ never mind comprehend and assess the complex issues that arise from it.
    It’s just another fine example of the wonderful indoctrination that Christians spill onto its children.

    Reply
    • criticofchristianity

      Exactly! Not only is it absolutely crazy, but it’s absolutely unfair to these poor kids!

      Reply
      • There is just as much indoctrination when high school students are given condemns by their school. I think parents have a right to teach their kids – even if they are Christians.

      • criticofchristianity

        Yeah, I agree that parents have a right to teach their kids, but I think parents need to ensure the kids understand both perspectives of an argument and are able to understand the issues surrounding the argument. I highly doubt that this is the case here.

        The condom (I am assuming you meant condoms, not condemns :P) thing is completely different. Firstly, high school kids are at an age where they can understand the issues and pros and cons of being sexually active. They can make up their own minds. By giving them condoms, we’re teaching them that they have to be responsible about it if they’re going to have sex, or else there will be consequences. We’re helping them to be safe. We aren’t blocking out any other perspectives. It’s not indoctrination.

        As for the kids in the protest, it is likely that they have been raised in Christian homes, and have only heard that abortion is wrong their whole lives. I would be surprised if any of them had even met someone who’s had an abortion. Indoctrination is when only one side of the story is presented to kids. They are robbed of the opportunity to evaluate different perspectives and make a choice accordingly. For what I know of Christian education and upbringings, I think it likely that this has happened here. Especially as I doubt kids would be able to understand the other side of the argument at that age.

  3. Aw, damn. I was going to go and get an abortion, but now, after seeing these kids protest it… They clearly know more about abortion than I do (and have obviously experienced being in the same situation I am currently in) so I am going to change my mind and hand my child over to one of them to raise. If I couldn’t do it, maybe a nine year old could!

    Is this the kind of thing they are hoping to accomplish? Do they really think that their local governement is going to be persuaded in any way by a bunch of kids that are obviously unaware of what exactly they are doing/saying? Shit, we don’t even let kids this age watch PG-13 movies because there may be a bad word or a bare butt in them but now we want their political opinions (you know, the ones you gave them…) to be considered in government? Hmm…..

    It’s amazing to me that more adults don’t look at this with disgust; whether they are Christian or not and whether they agree with the issue being argued or not. To me, it is a form of child abuse. Sure these kids probably weren’t held there at gun point and forced to participate, but you brought up some great points about how they probably basically WERE forced in another way.

    This sort of thing is what makes me despise religion. If an adult wants to be an idiot and chooses to live their life according to a fictional book, so be it. But to force an innocent child? And to guilt them and threaten suffering? To make them carry out the actions of YOUR misguided beliefs instead of encouraging critical thinking for oneself? Not OK. Ugh… this reminds me of the movie, Jesus Camp. Anyone seen it? Scariest. Movie. EVER.

    Reply
    • criticofchristianity

      Yeah, my Facebook newsfeed is FULL of people defending this protest. I don’t understand how they can’t see how completely wrong it is. Thankfully the State Premier condemned it, describing it as abhorrent. I agree that it is child abuse, the parents are simply exploiting them.

      I haven’t seen Jesus Camp, but when I was younger I went on many Christian youth holiday camps, (I even led some at one point), so I can imagine the scariness. It’s not at all nice.

      Reply
  4. Children should not attend protests. No matter how civilized a democracy is violence can and does pop up over such contentious issues. Perhaps it is a small risk but still…

    Reply
    • criticofchristianity

      I think they can protest on some issues. Last year the government was planning to close down some small town schools and the kids protested against this, and changed the government’s mind in the end, actually. But on issues like abortion, no freaking way should they be involved. The point you make about violence is all too true.

      Reply
  5. I am puzzled as to why you are so concerned about these children and their being coerced into something by people who, due to the authoritative roles they hold in these children’s lives (teachers, parents, educational institutions), should have their best interests at heart and give them the choice to make up their own minds about their stance on an incredibly controversial issue. I am puzzled because I assume from the tone of this article, that you are pro-choice. Pro-choicers propagate that women (or, mothers, otherwise known as parents) should be allowed to choose whether the life growing inside of them continues to develop or is terminated. Is this not yet another example of a powerful figure imposing their choice / beliefs / values upon a powerless individual? And, I might add, rather than just the supposed brainwashing, the consequences in the case of abortion are fatal and irreversible.

    I agree with you, that it is possible that some (but it wouldn’t be all) participated because they wanted to be with their classmates, rather than being left back at school. However I don’t agree that they shouldn’t know anything about abortion. Being in the education field, I know from the curriculum, that students are expected, in primary school, to study complex issues to do with the environment, climate change etc. – these are just as controversial and complicated as abortion, and yet no-one is questioning this being taught in schools. You might say that it is not the same thing, because abortion opens the floodgates to other things like sex, rape, etc., whereas environmental issues are much more platonic. But I would beg to differ. Kids know about sex these days very young. And sex education programs are starting in schools earlier and earlier. It’s not uncommon to hear of kids losing their virginity while still in primary school. Abortion is an issue that should be spoken about in primary schools because sadly, it is increasingly relevant to them. I would be interested to know whether you would be as upset if you heard a story about kids expressing their support of the pro-choice argument.

    I’m sad that you have obviously had such a bad experience with Christianity. I’ve only read two of your blog entries, but it is clear you have a lot of resentment and bitterness towards the church. Just remember that Jesus didn’t like a lot of the people that considered themselves religious either. Remember that He loves you a huge amount – more than you or any other life on earth could possibly love you… Even in your rebellion; He came to save those who hate Him. He gave His life in order for you to be reunited with Him in relationship and to spend eternity with Him. Don’t be scared to run towards the Light – He is waiting for you. Lots of love.

    Reply
    • criticofchristianity

      I am not pro-choice because I believe the powerful should be able to impose their choice/beliefs/values on less powerful individuals. I am pro-choice because I believe people have a right to autonomy over their own bodies. I don’t see why women should be morally obliged to allow another human to invade her body, disrupt her life and cause her great pain. It’s not about belief imposition, but rather it’s about her right to control her own body. The children protesting are not violating anyone’s rights if they are permitted to think independently. The situation is clearly not analogous to my account of why abortion is permissible.

      If I implied that kids shouldn’t know anything about abortion, I did not mean to do so. I just highly doubt that these kids do know anything about it other than the emotive, baby killing argument Christians pull. I agree that primary school kids should receive sex ed. I am certainly thankful I had it in primary school. Luckily I went to a public primary school, which was much more informative than the sex ed I had at my Christian high school. I accept that kids learn about complex environmental issues, but interestingly I never see any kids protesting against fossil fuel consumption.

      You ask whether I would be upset if I heard a story about kids expressing their support of the pro-choice argument. I think it would depend. What upsets me about this situation is that I doubt these kid have had the chance to hear all sides of the argument, evaluate them and form a rational opinion. I am assuming this is the case on the basis of my experience of a Christian upbringing and a Christian school. Perhaps I am wrong to assume this, but it does seem likely. I think kids could understand that abortion is baby killing and therefore wrong but I’m not sure they could understand concepts like personhood, right to autonomy, etc. that are pretty essential if you’re going to take the other side. If they have been given the chance to properly understand and think independently about the issue, then they can protest all they like, whatever side they may be on. I just don’t like to see them being used as political puppets by others.

      Thank you for your thoughts, and thank you for your encouraging concluding comments πŸ™‚

      Reply
  6. Just read through the blog, not the responses below. This brought back memories of my Baptist school education from K – 7th grade. While a Christian (and in those days a bit of a fundamentalist) I disagreed strongly with my teachers and had no problem letting them know it. I had a third grade teacher who was in her first year teaching and almost quit. She told me years later, every time she had a difficult student she told herself, “If I could survive BJ, I can survive anyone.” I think most of us, to some degree or another are rebels at heart and I was a hero for standing against the school system not a social outcast.
    That said, I don’t think school time is the right time to be staging pro life protests. It almost seems too Westboro-esque to be effective. They just seem to be begging for attention and controversy far more than change.
    God bless and I’m glad I’ve come across your blog.

    Reply

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