Member Rara Avis
Why can't you compare the two, Mike? I would definitely agree there's a difference between the immediate severity of the two and most assuredly agree that a child can be exposed to religion earlier than pornography (or the Facts of Life)... does that mean they should?
And I can guess that your upbringing and own religion might play a part in you not understanding how I can liken the two.
Religion can be a very pervasive, destructive force. I suppose that if one believes in God, they would disagree with this - 'there's nothing wrong with teaching a child religion because it's really the will of God.' It's an understandable view, but one that precludes the beliefs of those opposite. I'm one of those that believes allowing a young child, in their most formative and gullible years, to go to church and be saturated by "praise the Lord or burn in Hell" rhetoric is tantamount to brainwashing. That child has developed no substantial means of rational objectiveness to that religion and therefore cannot realistically be expected to avoid being forced into acceptance.
That's a travesty, in my opinion.
Let's say I took my son, at a young age and taught him that people with dark skin color are actually inferior to us, should be avoided where possible and ignored when you can't get away from them. I would push this in his face every week, telling him that even though Billy might be a nice boy, he really isn't worthy of my son's friendship. Say I continued that for several of his formative years, what do you think he'd believe as he grew older?
I know this has spun off a little from just dropping off some toys, but I'm really pointing at the larger position of introducing religion to young children (in schools, church, charities, etc... strange how it's always touted as "just in this small, tiny area are we having some influence," while there are so many arenas where religion pokes its pointy head up and says, "me, me, me! you MUST see me, MUST BELIEVE me!")
Freedom of religion, to me, is also the freedom to have no religion.
Now, I suppose I could just tell my son, after receiving a Jesus doll and asking about it that it’s something he’s not old enough to understand (I would never tell my child that, by the way). I could also try to explain it to him, maybe read him some literature, inflame his curiosity. Dunno. Probably everything would be fine.
I’d just as soon wait though.