Teaching Children Liberal Bigotry

My son is too young to comprehend the subtle and not-so-subtle differences between people. He understands that there is an inherent difference between boys and girls or little kids and adults, but his grasp on things like race, skin color, sexuality, and cultural differences is non-existent.

My nephew is a bit older than my son and remarkably in-tune with characteristic discrepancies and nuances among his peers. To be clear, he doesn’t CARE about these differences, but he certainly understands that they exist. The fact that he’s part-black and part-white may have something to do with this. His mixed heritage alone has also prompted more serious conversations regarding identity than perhaps most kids his age need to have.

In my sister’s family, they continually have an open-dialogue about differences in people and it doesn’t stop at racism. They have had to gently explain homosexuality, as my nephew’s aunts on his father’s side are lesbians. They have also had to explain autism due to a close family member having it. These are incredibly difficult discussions to understand FOR ANYONE (let alone a 4-year-old), but my sister’s family is all about honesty, open dialogue, and transparency. And because my nephew is both highly intelligent and highly sensitive, he seems to grasp this concept better than many adults I know.

Now, because of my cousin’s history, I knew there was a chance of him getting bullied.

What I WASN’T prepared for was him getting picked on for being a Christian.

Last week, I happened to be over at my sister’s place, mid-afternoon, when her son, Ky, came barging through the front door, tears streaming down his face. This kid is rarely upset, so both his mom and I abruptly took notice.

“Oh my gosh, what’s wrong, sweetie?” My sister exclaimed, scooping his visually-shaken body into a bear-hug. Through choking tears, he explained that some kids at school had made fun of him for praying.

With tears pooling in his sweet, innocent, beautiful eyes, he quietly said, “some kids at school were making fun of me because I prayed before lunch just like daddy always said I should do. Then they told me god and religion are dumb.”

Ok, no parenting book or article I have ever read has broached this particular form of bullying, which I suppose is what threw me abruptly off-guard. Kids these days are now making fun of someone for showing appreciation for their blessings and a higher power? I was aghast – not because I’m naive toward the callous and limitless ways kids can find reasons to bully one another. I’m highly aware that kids can be a-holes. (Sorry, but it’s true). But now even PRAYING is worthy of criticism? One of the most sacred and personal things we practice as human beings?

Like the superstar mom she is, my sister handled the situation with poise and grace and Ky seemed to feel significantly better after a few minutes of discussion.

To be honest, I’m not sure I would have handled it so graciously. I spent the rest of the day being pissed. I’m STILL pissed about it and that was a week ago.

Here’s the thing: these kids are way too young to come up with such abhorrent attitudes and ideologies on their own. They HAD to have learned this sort of hatred from a parent, family member, or influencer, which means SOMEONE out there is telling these impressionable minds that God is fake, religion is bad, and anyone that follows His Teachings Is an idiot. For multiple reasons, this is a very hurtful, inaccurate, bigoted,(and potentially dangerous) attitude toward those who choose to follow His Word. Of the varying problem with this attitude is the most glaring which is the fundamental hypocrisy of it all.

I realize I’m going to be incredibly stereotypical here, and for those who don’t fall into this category, I apologize in advance. However, it seems to me that the people who have a huge issue with Christianity (or any of its derivatives) are largely liberal. Apparently, it’s not “cool” to love Jesus anymore, much like it’s not cool to wear fanny packs or tattletale or be bad at sports.

Liberals scream that there needs to be acceptance in the world – that we have to embrace and respect one another for their differences. But that ideology seems to fall short when it comes to the conservative community. And it’s (whether purposely or inadvertently) creating a culture in which conservatives are afraid to voice their opinions.

Look, racism, homophobia, sexism, xenophobia and any other umbrella term that cats people as villainous are clearly not ok beliefs to instill in our children. But you know what else isn’t? Many of the misconceived beliefs liberals have about conservatives. How is it fair that acceptance can only go one way?

Just because you have a problem with abortion does NOT make you a bad person; it actually makes you a caring person. Just because you believe in the right to own firearms doesn’t make you a gun-crazy murderer – it usually means you just want the ability to protect your family. Just because you believe marriage is a sacred institution doesn’t make you irrational or out-of-touch with reality – it means you have a very healthy and strong belief in love and the family unit. And just because you pray, attend church, or practice a specific set of doctrines doesn’t make you any better or worse than anybody else in the world – unless those practices hurt other people.

My sweet, caring, smart, and compassionate 4-year-old feels good giving thanks before he eats. He finds comfort kneeling before his bed at night and asking his lord to bless everyone he loves in life. He gets excited when he gets to dress up for to church and not one of those things is worthy of being bullied over.

Acceptance simply has to go across the board in a society where there are so many personalities, cultures, belief systems, and races. Clearly, we’ll never all agree on anything, but maybe teaching our kids how to be accepting and open-minded would be a good start. Remember: kids aren’t intuitively judgmental or mean. That’s learned behavior. In trying to lead our youth to be kinder and more accepting, perhaps we as a society can learn from them and not the other way around.

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20 comments

  1. While I can agree that negative thoughts and actions against one group by another group can be overtly or inadvertently taught to the impressionable young, children can still be the most cruel humans on the planet. Its not so much that children seem to be being taught to be biased against religion, sexual preference, skin color, political belief etc., its more the fact that they aren’t being taught to be accepting of differing beliefs and habits regardless of peer group influence. Kids are left with a tablet or smart phone even more than my generation was left in front of a TV. Include your children in all aspects (age appropriate) of your life and they will learn to be like you (so be on your best behavior).

  2. Mary Kathleen Crews

    “Remember: kids aren’t intuitively judgmental or mean.”

    So your 4 yr ol nephew was harassed about praying by other 4 yr olds .. and you’re posting this to expose how liberals are biased and allegedly deliberately teaching their own children just how to embarrass and harass other, PRAYING, 4 yr olds. Am I reading this right?

    You know how/why a lot of conservatives refer to liberals as ‘snowflakes’, right? Now you know how they feel.

    Kids ARE judgemental. They hate some foods and won’t eat them just because they look icky. They squish up their faces when their auntie wants to hug them and give them a big kiss on their cheeks. They want to wear THOSE sneakers and not THOSE sneakers. Tell me who drilled THAT behaviour into their heads. No-one, right? They’re just being kids.

    So get a grip, ‘snowflake’. Now you get to teach your 4yr old nephew how to deal w/ people who don’t understand what he does, and why. GREAT training for a future teacher or preacher. This is not a huge conspiracy being propagated against your nephew: it’s a great teaching experience and a chance for your family to help this child share your beliefs and practices w/ another young person who may have never been exposed to them before.

    And .. get a grip, okay? Jeez ..

    • To Mary Kathleen Crews: I couldn’t agree more. I’m a good Catholic yet neither of my kids believe in God. (Notice I use a capital letter, unlike “lord” in the original post.) It’s not liberal hate, it’s conservative hate for not accepting life as it is. Kids get teased. It’s life. Don’t start a war over it

    • You expressed exactly what I was thinking. No 4 year old goes to school and prays without being prompted. This story was clearly made up to be divisive. Kids pick on other kids, for any reason they can possibly find. Parents don’t have to teach them that. They teach each other. You hate liberals and want to demonize them. Plain and simple.

  3. As a Christian, I believe that we all must act as Jesus would have. He knew that He would be unable to Save all He came across. He focused on those He could get thru to. We must do the same. Some will act as tho they are performing for the “cool” crowd by saying things that may condemn their souls to a place they don’t know about, yet.

  4. Sweets-it has never been ‘cool’ to be a Christian. Jesus did not promise that. In fact he promised the opposite. Your indignance does not further Jesus mission of spreading love. You best affect those who would pick and attack by responding in love-turn the other cheek, love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you-remember those instructions? The age of four seems too young to have to deal with this, but it is the perfect time to start. Respond with love-the attacker does not know what to do when faced with that. Peace and love to you.

  5. We seem to have gone over the top with concern for bulling. The person that gets bullied is at least part of the problem but no one seems to spend any time or energy looking at that. I say part and that may be 10% or 90%. If you watch a bullying situation closely enough and early enough you will find that the “target” may do several things that make he or she ( I don’t feel confident enough to be an expert on women) does. These may be becoming a welcome target by not trying to make a social connection or friend and therefore drawing sympathy, perhaps from parents or teachers. What most people see is the end result which can be a downward spiral that appears to be all the fault of the bully. Kids must learn that they need to learn social skills that make them welcome. Now I can hear some saying but what about the handicapped? They too can be part of the problem… I know this is not popular as parents are way to anxious to make sure they are not blamed so they point to the “evil bully”.

  6. I got this email in my spam and didn’t subscribe however I decided to read the article. I think it had some valid viewpoints, hate is something learned at a young age whether it is racism, homophobia or anything anti LGBTQ. Personally I’m not Christian and didn’t have a very religious upbringing but I agree that you shouldn’t make fun of someone’s ideologies if it isn’t hurting you.

  7. Gosh, did you ever consider what non-christian boys and girls go through in your ‘only my ‘Christian’ religion matters’ community? I bet you didn’t consider other peoples religions, did you?

  8. April B. B Denton

    THIS WOMEN WHO WROTE THIS ARTICLE IS ABSOLUTELY CORRECT!!!! PLUS I RECEIVED MANY SPANKINGS AS A CHILD FOR “DELIBERATELY DISOBEYING,” WHICH MY MOM MADE SURE I UNDERSTOOD BEFORE I RECEIVED MY SPANKING, AND WITH A DOUBLED RAZOR STRAP ALSO!!. JUST A FEW SLAPS, THOUGH!!!

    • Sorry, April, but I think your beatings with a “doubled razor strap” left you as an angry adult! Clearly when one has to use their cap locks to make a statement is expressing anger. “Just a few slaps…” I’m truly sorry you had to go through this. Using a doubled razor strap is absolutely NOT a spanking! Using anything but an open hand is NOT a spanking! Call it what it is: BEATING! Anyone who thinks this is OK needs help!

  9. Larry King tired this crap on Art Linkliter and Art SAID:

    Yes Larry I am a Christian and if I am Right to believe = Great If, I am Wrong = I just lead a Good Life

    On the other Hand if YOUR wrong ( It is not so good for YOU )

    I Love ART who came out of a Orphanage !

  10. I am a Christian liberal as are my 3 sisters, 2 nephews that are pastors as well as my husband of 51 years. As my departed mother would say, “Liberal once meant being willing to share with others.” I have been told to my face by ‘conservatives’ that a person cannot be a liberal and a Christian. Suffering for our faith was exampled numerous times in the Bible. Disciples were stoned to death. Teaching respect for the dignity of others is not owned by conservatives.

  11. Gae Harris obrien

    I hope you don’t mean to say that Christians are the only children who get bullied. And there are Christian liberals too I am one. Showing one example of egregious behavior is simplistic and generalizing

  12. The president is setting this tone of not being kind and not being accepting. I can only imagine what kids will be like in the future. If Mr. Trump reads this I wonder if he would learn anything different from what he is setting for the example of character and being kind or accepting?

    • Your perception that Mr. Trump started this is completely off base. It was the democrats who started this meanness by twisting the words Trump used during a campaign event. He did NOT actually say most of the things Democrats are in an upheaval over. Sure, Trump is quite blunt compared to most other politicians but NOT to the point he’s accused of. It’s sad but when the Democrats surprising lost the last presidential election with their ‘shoe-in’ candidate, they IMMEDIATELY began spewing the hate. Yes, you’ll disagree with me but try to look at it objectively and NOT politically motivated!

    • President Trump is not the only Politiion on Liberal or Conservative side to teach wrong attitudes.

  13. aren’t you simply teaching your child the very exact same thing you are complaining about? You are waving the flag of conservatism while attacking “liberals”.

    Hmmm I wonder who your son will grow up to attack or retaliate?

  14. Thomas Avery Blair

    I remember reading in my KJV Bible about “whatever you do to one of these small ones you do to me” and yes, I know I am paraphrasing here but after all, wouldn’t it be grand that every Christian remembered that at all times and in all situations. Stop and think about this for just a minute: That person that denies God and the Lord Jesus Christ today and never learns why he or she should repent of such sins might find their souls in danger of the second death. Pity them. That second death is the death of the spirit in the Lake of Fire, extinguished and forgotten forever more. Have pity on the non-Christian … treat them as you would treat The Christ Himself and your own life (and future relationship with your Creator) will indeed be improved for doing so … remember, good works cover many sins in the Book of Life.

  15. Those of you criticizing this article seem to have all missed, or ignored, the following “disclaimer” placed by the author about halfway through:

    “I realize I’m going to be incredibly stereotypical here, and for those who don’t fall into this category, I apologize in advance. However, it seems to me that the people who have a huge issue with Christianity (or any of its derivatives) are largely liberal.”

    Reading is fundamental, people.

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