Wild, Wild West

My family is not very religious. My ex is Protestant (but basically agnostic), I am Jewish (but basically agnostic), and our son is part-Protestant, part-Jewish, basically agnostic, with a Jewish godmother and a Muslim godfather (me and my ex’s respective best friends). If you followed all of that, nicely done.

Anyway, I am generally highly intolerant of most incarnations of religion – mainly the theology and any form of proselytizing. Having been raised Jewish, I was taught to fully question all ideas put before me (even from my own religion) and always ask “why?” Above all, I was taught never to try and convince others to follow my own religious beliefs simply because *I* thought they were right. People needed to reach their own, informed decisions.

Knowing that background, you may find it interesting that my son attends daycare in a church. I thought long and hard before enrolling him, but in the end, decided that they had the best program with regard to structure, education, and nurturing environment. They have chapel twice a week, say grace before meals, and talk about Christian holidays and “god.” As he is only two, I don’t see much harm in this right now, but as he gets older, I will certainly want to be thoughtful about what religious information he is receiving and from whom.

I’ve been asked repeatedly to donate to the school, which is run by (and housed in) the church. I feel funny giving money to the school, because I know some of it is going to the church. I try to avoid this internal anxiety by purchasing toys / learning materials and donating them directly to the classrooms, so I can be assured where my money is going. Tonight, though, they are hosting a highly anticipated fundraiser – a Wild West-themed carnival – and have been recruiting volunteers all week.

I had successfully avoided the sign-up sheet (which was tactfully sent to each family with a list of which parents had / had not already volunteered, thus attempting to publicly shame us into participation) until yesterday. As I was leaving, the volunteer coordinator caught me in the hallway and inquired as to whether I had signed up yet. Feeling on the spot, I admitted no, I hadn’t and hesitantly penciled myself in to run the church carnival ring-toss booth.

So there you have it. This Jew’s Shabbat evening will be spent raising money for her local church. Wild.

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5 Replies to “Wild, Wild West”

  1. Yes, I totally understand. Not too religious myself (recovering Catholic), and the first day care I sent Max to was run by a church.

    They were very nice and sweet and I, like you, managed to avoid most overtly church-related donation schemes, and every time one of the church ladies would send me off with a “Have a Blessed Day,” I’d wonder if I did have “heathen” stamped on my forehead. Hope the ring-toss isn’t too horrendous.

  2. I feel you. When my son was going to a daycare IN SOMEONE’S HOME I was surprised when at 18 mos he started saying grace before meals.

    I didn’t mind about the grace (you could only understand “amen”) but it bothered me that someone else was teaching my son their religious philosophy.

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