Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Welcome to the Cult...

I was raised Independent Baptist.  Independent Baptists are a special breed of Baptists.  As a matter of fact, they KNOW they are a special breed of Baptists.  They refer to themselves as Fundamentals.  As a matter of fact, one of the favorite books you will find they uphold is a little red book called trail of blood.  In this book they actually trace their lineage back to John, the Original Baptist.  I was raised with the understanding that while other sects. cults and religions may have representatives in Heaven, they will be there but saved with fear "pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh."  In other words, they barely got there.

I was raised in this holier than though system.  A system that is built around rules, control and fear.  A system that forces you into a mold, forces you into a mindset that you must accept without question, by faith.  Now by no means do I put all Christians in the same boat.  I understand that not all religions are the same.  If this doesn't apply to you then don't take offense.  If it does...then if the shoe fits...wear it.

What brings all this up you might ask?  Well my oldest two children live with my ex.  When she and I separated she moved back to Michigan where her family is from and there she filed for divorce and pretty much won everything she wanted as far as child custody and child support.  As a result I get my children about two and half months every year.  The influence I have on my kids, unfortunately, is limited, so I try to make the most of what limited time I have.

My ex is still in church.  Suffice it to say that the church has provided a guise of respectability and an unfortunate umbrella of anonymity and a silent and indifferent approval to her past and present indiscretions.  In short she talks the talk and plays the game properly and she does as she will and usually does not get caught.  When she does get caught she moves someplace else to a new cover.  It has worked for her unfortunately.

The church she is in is extreme right.  They were so right wing that when they wanted to form a Tea Party chapter in their church and the Tea Party people said they did not want to be affiliated with a specific church, the church formed their own, right of the Tea Party, group.  At least that is the story I have been told.  In this church they have a Christian School, something that is very big among radicals.  They have either Christian Schools or do home schooling.  The purpose is obvious: No outside influences.  They call it "raising a child in the way he should go" but ultimately it is exactly what it sounds like...brainwashing.  I know.  I was raised in a home school environment.   Heck, Christian schools were too liberal for my parents.

So the point of all this is that my children went out with their aunt who in her good will and doting way took the kids to watch a few movies.  Now these movies were all PG or less...to be specific..Gnomeo and Juliet, Rango and Hop.  ALl clean and goo fun.   However, the school found out and gave both of them ten demerits  (basically negative points).  My son already had five points (that he deserved) for not doing his homework and lying about it.  The five points with the additional ten for going to the movies resulted in fifteen points and an automatic suspension for him.  I have several problems with this:

1) How does a couple of children going to a movie affect the school and the education of said children. In short...not at all.  This is about control.  Pure and simple.  This is part of what I hate about church and about about religion in general; the incessant need to control every aspect of a persons life, even in areas they have no place.  As a matter of fact, it ill affects their education since my son is missing a day for watching a movie with an animated bunny in it!  Really????  How does that help him?

2) The standard is hypocritical.  Simply put if they had watched these same movies in the living room of their home it would have been ok.  But since they went to a movie theater it was evil and worthy of disciplinary action.  Really???  How hypocritical is that?  How totally and completely illogical is that?

3) The children (particularly my son) felt relieved because they recieved "grace" in the disciplinary action.  Apparently the "crime" called for ten points PER movie...in other words 30 points and that would have resulted in be expelled....can you imagine?  Expelled from school for going to a movie theater?  But the fact that such control has been placed on the thought process of my son that he feels relieved he only got ten points and a one day suspension instead of getting expelled concerns me.  He should be outraged that such control is being assumed by people that have no right to.

4) The first thing my son said to me is that he had signed an agreement to the guidelines and therefore had to follow them.  Simply put...that is bullshit.  My son is twelve years old.  He does not have any choice in the matter.  You either sign it or you don't go to school.  You either sign it or you are considered a rebel in need of pastoral counseling, or worse, need to be put in a "boy's home" (basically a brainwashing boot camp for rebels).  You sign it or become a disappointment to your parents, your pastor and your peers.  That is not a commitment, that is not a vow, that is not a word of honor...that is coercion and mental and emotional blackmail.

5) I spoke to their aunt and you know what?  The kid's mom (my ex) gave her approval and permission.  But the kids are the ones to get punished?  Really?  Where are the adults in this scenario?  How do you coerce a vow out of children, minors, and then punish them when the adults that in charge give their permission and approval?  What kind of message does that send?  That not even your parents have more control over you then they do, then their religious cult and facist regime.  The message is clear, your parents only have as much control over you as they allow and when there is a conflict it is their authority that rules supreme.

I will tell you how this ends, for I have lived this story before in my own life.  My daughter is already challenging them.  This is something that comes up in her report card every quarter.  She challenges, she questions...and they call it an attitude problem.  She is not completely unaffected by this episode, she is just not affected as they want her to be.  Simply put, she doesn't care, she thinks it is ridiculous and she has no qualms in repeating the "offense".  They are, in effect, pushing her away, which is, of course, just fine by me.  I only hope my son reaches his teenage years and follows his sister's example and begins questioning and challenging.  With any luck my children will begin a  journey of questioning of their own.  And ironically, considering how my ex and her cult have done their best to limit my influence on the children, it will be the church itself that pushes them away and starts them on their journey of inquisitive minds.


Holly said...

Yeah. Most "Christian" sects like that seem geared to keep their children as far away from the rest of humanity as possible. Anything modern or fun can be deemed "evil". Even good clean fun. The reason for this, I believe, is because they know that when their children discover the rest of the world, they will enjoy all the small joys that they were never allowed to have. They will discover that "evil" is fun.

Iris Silk said...

Check out last Sunday's 20/20. They did a piece on the Fundamental Baptists. They are a very scary bunch! I wouldn't want them within 50 feet of my children.

Mandy said...

I agree with mom. Very scary. It's a shame this isn't seen as a form of child abuse and ground for a custody change. I am so aggravated about this. They deserve better than this!

Anonymous said...

I agree with most of this. (I am the anonymous aunt) I just wanted to add that when his son asked me to take him to Hop, he pointed out the theater is better than the local movie rental place. "When going to the theater, if anybody sees you coming out, they know it wasn't an X rated movie you watched, but if you were coming out of the video store, they might wonder what you are watching. There is a room in there with X rated movies you can rent!"
Yes, it was shocking that he knew about the little back room, because he has been raised so sheltered, but his statement made so much sense! Then, he went on to tell me that he wanted to watch this movie, because one of his schoolmates had already seen it, and it was funny.
So what are they teaching the kids? Why is it okay for some of the students to go to the movies (and come to class wearing 3 D glasses to prove it) brag about not getting caught, and that they get to go at least once a week, but when "my" kids go, they get in trouble for it? These kids worked hard for the trip to the movies. I do not believe in giving them everything they want all the time (even if their mother thinks so)
I say if they earn the money, they should be able to spend it however they choose. Think about... They could be spending it on much worse things than a movie! I too am frustrated at them. They are attempting to talk the kids into staying up here with their mom, but at the same time making them want to live with their dad, who has fewer rules. You place too many rules on a child, and they will stop even attempting to follow them.


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