Greeting fellow earthlings! (Except you, over there in the corner, with the noodling appendage),
My name is Derek. I’ve long been a skeptic, but like some, didn’t realize there was a ‘name’ for it. A while back I discovered the PoI podcast and have been enjoying my commute a bit (or at least feel like I’m accomplishing something during the drive) catching up on all the episodes. Today, I’ve finished my second issue of Free Inquiry and was inspired to join the forums because of the review of Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement in the June/July 2009 issue. So, why did that inspire me to join?
Our family ‘homeschools’, but not for religious reasons; I’m an atheist and my wife identifies as pagan. The homeschool community is growing and surprisingly not all of it is for religious reasons. Granted there are still several families of faith who homeschool because of their beliefs. However, I’ve also encountered several people who are religious but that is not the reason they homeschool. Yes, their faith is part of their families lives, but it would be anyway even if the children went to public school. I agree with Dawkins (to a point) that indoctrinating children into religion is heinous. (Not sure I’d go quite as far and call it ‘child abuse’ though.) The children are never given the chance to decide for themselves, just told to believe mommy and daddy and the person ‘in the pulpit’. I want my children to be able to think for themselves, search for evidence, examine that evidence, and make an informed decision from there. We’re teaching them (I hope) compassion, altruism, manners, respect for others, respect of differences, enjoyment of life, respect for our home (a.k.a. the little blue dot), et al.
What I found a bit disconcerting was the implication I* took from the review. That perhaps ‘we’ (society) shouldn’t allow anyone to homeschool because of what the parents might be teaching their children. (I believe Germany outlawed homeschooling for this very reason.) My questions: (1) Where is the dividing line between parents’ rights and children’s rights? (2) When, if at any time, do the rights of society at large trump parental rights?** (3) When, if at any time, do the rights of society trump children’s rights?
Thanks for reading! Looking forward to all types of discussions on these forums.
* I could certainly be reading too much into it, since I perceive it to ‘attack’ one of my life choices. I’m also tired of the stereotype that all homeschoolers are religious zealots ‘living at the compound’. Though, of course, some are. (And I really wouldn’t mind a larger house, come to think of it… )
** Assuming lack of any kind of abuse; behaviors which are illegal; etc.