Why My Children Will Not Be Attending Vacation Bible School at Your Trump Supporting Church.

Why My Children Will Not Be Attending Vacation Bible School at Your Trump Supporting Church.

Dear Friend,

I know you think you’re doing the right thing. I know you’re guilt-ridden if you don’t at least try and influence my children into attending your church’s vacation bible school. You may feel like it is your responsibility to ensure their salvation. I am sorry that your religion has placed that upon your shoulders. It isn’t fair to you. However, it isn’t fair to me to disregard the ways I am raising my children.

One of the very first verses my three-year-old memorized at church was “Fear the Lord.” I shouldn’t have to explain why this is psychologically damaging to a little impressionable child, but it is. When I heard those words come from my child’s mouth, I immediately wanted to throw up, and my blood boiled. I spent the next hour deprogramming him from those words. How dare anyone, any institution instill existential fear into the psyche of my child. The same thing was done to you. The same thing was done to our ancestors, the same thing was done to me.

Before I ever even had the choice I was taught there was a loving God that I should be afraid of. I was taught this loving God would send me to hell for eternity if I wasn’t saved. I learned I was broken, headed to hell because of original sin, and I needed saving. I cannot tell you how this led to addiction and co-dependency, although I will, in a future post.
You were taught this too. So I understand your concern because you still believe in this God that would do this. So I don’t begrudge you for trying.

But understand this:

My children will not learn of such existential theological beliefs until they are old enough to critically think about such beliefs. It would break my heart if my children were infected with fear, guilt, shame, or this idea that they are broken and need fixing. It would break my heart if they learned of Hell, Satan, or the rapture. Those concepts are completely inappropriate for little children. They are scared enough of the dark and spiders.

Also, it appears that there is a disconnect of your church to humanity. It is your way or it’s the wrong way. I see absolutely no love or compassion for others that are different from you. LGBTQ, Muslims, feminists, atheists, agnostics…etc. I have heard the rhetoric, these people are your enemies.

My children will not learn this type of division or elitism.

It also concerns me that your religion is in alliance to Trump and Liberty University. My children will not grow up equating Jesus to the immorality displayed in Donald Trump and his policies. I am teaching them to love all people, to fight for the poor, to raise the oppressed, to demand justice where it isn’t found, and to protect this environment from destruction. I am raising them to approach conflict with non-violence. I am raising them to treat women equally and to build bridges, not walls. I am raising them with the ideals that we should continue to fight to ensure health care for all Americans and to live our lives working to reduce suffering for all of God’s children.

I just don’t see any of those values present in Christianity anymore. I have watched the gradual decline of this religion my entire life morph into a version of Christ much different than my inherent compassion allows me to reconcile with. Recently, this different Jesus has been rising on your scene, and I cannot allow my children to be part of it.

I will not apologize for raising my children away from this religion. They will learn about Jesus. They will learn what he stood for, with the Sermon on the Mount and Matthew 25 being our main tenet. You have nothing to worry about, friend. My children will be raised with values and roots that will someday flourish and bring forth fruit.

I do not see the fruit right now in your church. I do not see the fruit in supporting Trump, GOP policies, or praising someone like Donald Trump speaking at Liberty University about God, nonetheless. I am struggling to understand which God this is.

This isn’t my God. This isn’t my children’s God. So, thank you for the invitation, however, I respectfully but unapologetically decline.

This Post Has 13 Comments

  1. Very touching!
    We are the church. I’ve heard fear of the Lord when I grew up and now, but now that I am older I understand it a whole lot better. People don’t always explain what they are saying. I didn’t have parents who taught me the right values in life. So I didn’t have that loving parent who looked out for my best interest. I accepted everything when God doesn’t want us to accept everything. The person yes, but not what is against the bible. In the end I had the wrong fear of the Lord. For example: when I was growing up I thought I could do whatever I wanted to and get away with it. I mostly did. I had no fear in getting caught. Now, I don’t like getting into trouble. When I was coming to my senses I had the fear like I was going to be punished, I created that. Now I’ve learned that God will correct me because He loves Me. He’s my parent. I now have the right fear of the Lord!
    I respect what You are doing with your children. We also have to realize that the church isn’t always right but that there is no perfect church. The church is for the sick. We have a poor habit of going on our own understanding when God wants us to go on His. I’ve learned this the hard way and I wouldn’t want anyone to go through what I did to understand this. But sadly, as human beings we are sometimes blinded by our beliefs. We can be stubborn.

  2. I was raised in a Bapt. Church. I have not attended in quite sometime.I believe in separation of church and state. I don’t believe in all this hate. Jesus did not teach what is being preached in most of us churches now. Oh by way did my ancestry . Come from Penn. Quaker. Whom believed in separation of church and stste.

  3. I am a 66 year old woman who as a child was raised with this same “theology “. And I was so afraid! Afraid of dying and didn’t know how to celebrate living. My husband helped me rethink my childhood beliefs. Today I am able to celebrate each day and no longer fear the day I die.

  4. Wow, hearing that others feel the same way that I do. So very tired of Jesus being used for hate of people who may be or think different. God is love. For all

  5. we try to not bring our political convictions to the Church. there is no place for it. even when myself and my Pastor run, we do not discuss politics, as we have a completely different view in that regard. there may be talk among fellow Church goers but it never comes to the pulpit. if it ever did, I would have to leave the Church.

  6. Wow I battle with this quite often. I used to love church, but as I have grown older and observed. I see alot of it as a show and debate whether or not I want to fully expose my Children to it.

  7. This is a very moving post. I can really feel your pain and concern coming through. I’m glad for your children to have such an involved and protective mother. I would suggest, maybe trying an Episcopal Church if there is one in your area. The one that I attend really and truly is welcoming to all people. It’s in actions and love, not just slogans and banners. The children’s program is exceptional. It’s built on the Montessori learning model and the children love the freedom that they have to learn and learn from each other. It is not a rigid “programming” environment for them. (Normally I don’t say anything about my denominational preference, but in this case I just felt like it would be helpful. The first time I visited there was a female priest who simply radiated the love of Christ. She was a wonderful introducing to a very different way of looking at my Christian faith.) Best thoughts and prayers for you and your family.

    1. People keep recommending an Episcopal Church to me. I am in no way ready to walk through the doors of any church, but maybe someday I would try an Episcopal or United Church of Christ. I’d even go back to Catholic Mass because of my respect for Pope Francis and the recent evolution of Catholicism.
      I’m not sure. It’s definitely not the time yet. Thank you for your lengthy response. It is appreciated.

      1. The right time is a definite! Everything works out in its own time. (I sure hope I didn’t come across as “pushy.” I was really just responding to what seemed like a huge hurt.)

        1. You didn’t come across pushy. It has been a huge hurt, this election year, especially deepened it. However, healing is on the horizon.

      2. Episcopal’s Catholic Lite, albeit much more liberal. I’m sort-of Episcopal Lite. 😛

      3. I loved your article. I’ve felt much the same way, regarding the church. However, I chose the opposite path. I chose to be the standard bearer. I accepted the grief wrought in their ignorance and raised the banner of love. As much as I agree with you, the danger is lumping “all” into one category. We can grasp at the moral, high ground, but we become no better.
        Only in carrying our own cross, can we make a difference and let “Christ shine through us.” I will admit, it’s not always easy, but the rewards are “out of this world.”

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