Don’t label children – the billboard campaign
Richard Dawkins famously said that there are no Catholic babies, or Protestant babies, or Muslim babies, or Hindu babies â€“ they are all just babies. In the Observer in December 2001 he wrote,
Where we might have said, â€œKnowing his father, I expect young Cowdrey will take up cricket,â€ we emphatically do not say, â€œWith her devout Catholic parents, I expect young Bernadette will take up Catholicism.â€ Instead we say, without a momentâ€™s hesitation or qualm of misgiving, â€œBernadette is a Catholic.â€ We state it as a simple fact even when she is far too young to have developed a theological opinion of her own.
It never occurs to religious parents that by labelling their children with their faith, they are imposing beliefs on children who are too young to understand, but who may grow up feeling very confused about just what they ought to believe. Most religious leaders think that they have a right to do this, ignoring the rights of children. We think that children should be allowed to grow up before they’re expected to decide how they want to label themselves, if they want labels at all.
The Atheist Billboard Campaign is just one way to try to change attitudes. Please spread the word.
Read about Faith Schools, and why they’re a bad idea.