Recently, a YouTube video (shown below) of a four-year-old singing…
“I know the Bible’s right, somebody’s wrong
I know the Bible’s right, somebody’s wrong
Ain’t no homos going to make it to heaven”
… at a service of the Apostolic Truth Tabernacle in Greensburg, Indiana, has gone viral. You would think at least the adults in the room would have been concerned and wonder where in the world the kid picked that up. Far from it. Rev. Jeff Sangl, the pastor and founder of the church, looked perfectly entertained, and the congregation cheered loudly for the boy and gave him a standing ovation.
The church describes itself on its website as “[…] the kind of church described in the Bible […]. In short, we’d like to have the kind of contagious Christianity that can influence and encourage the entire community, one life at a time.” Well, if that influence is all about indoctrinating the impressionable little minds of children into hating everyone who doesn’t fit their bigoted worldview, then they’re certainly succeeding.
This is a sad example of how large segments of our society (and many other societies all over the world) still view children as vessels to be filled with their parents’ beliefs, instead of little people who need to be given the knowledge they’ll need to form their own opinions when they grow up. These weren’t just one or two people stepping out of line, that was an entire congregation cheering about how well the child was indoctrinated into reciting hate speech, while he more than likely doesn’t even understand yet what a “homo” is.
No child is born hating people of other skin colors, genders or sexual orientations. Indoctrinating a child into doing so is child abuse. “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” … couldn’t possibly be farther from the truth. They hurt both the targeted and the offender. By teaching a child disrespect and hate for people different from him/herself, parents impair their child’s healthy emotional development and hold him/her back from developing a complete image of diversity the world offers.
Article 14 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child of the United Nations specifically talks about the right of the child to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. In February, the Supreme Court of Canada basically decided that it’s in the best interests of children to be taught about all religions, instead of being indoctrinated into only one. It endorsed a mandatory religious instruction program in Quebec that’s inclusive of all major religions, including indigenous ones, after a mother of a Grade 4 student tried to pull him from such a program by claiming “it is making him confused about the Roman Catholic belief system he is being taught” and causing “her son to question his faith at an age where he should be listening to parental instruction”. In other words, what that mother was really saying is that she wants her child to be an ideological zombie.
While reading the comments sections of many of the articles about this incident, I kept seeing comments about how it’s the parents’ right to teach their child their beliefs. Even today, citing religion allows people to get away with things they would never get away with, if instead it were, for example, a sports team; Imagine a parent saying “It’s my right to teach my child to hate homos, because I’m a Yankees-fan.” Ridiculous, isn’t it? If, however, they say “It’s my right to teach my child to hate homos, because I’m a Christian.”, well, hey, it’s their religion; we must respect it! Yeah, go on, respect parents’ right to religiously indoctrinate their children and make them hate other people. But only, if you want them to raise a Brandon McInerney 2.0.
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