A few years ago one of my daughter’s mates asked if she would accompany her to a ‘Holiday Camp’ over an extended weekend.
This ‘Holiday Camp’ was run by a local church and there would be a modicum of indoctrination occurring in between the outdoor activities.
This was spelt-out on the info sheet my wife and I were handed, along with a form to sign.
The prothletesing we are talking about here was along the lines of happy-clappy dancing and singing praises to a god of which my daughter was totally unfamiliar. Colouring-in pictures of Jesus and listening to Bible stories etc. Strange as it may sound, these are not the sort of everyday activities that go-on in our household.
In short - I had no problem with her attending this Camp and filled-in the section on the parental permission form under ‘religious affiliation’ with ‘not applicable’ and off she went.
As far as I’m aware she enjoyed the experience.
There was certainly no discernable change in her personality on her return, nor did I question her as to the goings-on other than a cursory open-ended “How did it go?”
Now picture this same scenario in a different light.
1.)The parents of a Muslim child are given the same invite
2.)The parents of Christian child are asked to attend an openly atheist camp
What do you think the chances are of their child attending would be?
How do they explain to a twelve year-old the reasons they can’t go is “these are not people we want you to mix with.” and “we are X and they are Y”?
Why didn’t I feel threatened and yet a Muslim and Christian given the same circumstances would?