Tuesday, August 21, 2007

don't kids have the right to make up their own mind?

Recently I read Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion. One of Dawkins' biggest complaints within the book is about people who call kids "Christian children" or "muslim children," etc. He argues that kids raised to believe in something by their parents haven't yet formed their own opinion. Therefore we can't truly call them something they haven't yet chosen to call themselves. I completely agree.

Today was a rainy and cold day where we are. All day I dreamed of lying under my fuzzy blankie on my couch, drinking a cup of soy hot chocolate with mini marshmallows while munching on a selection of sour candies. Yes, I know that probably sounds completely disgusting to you with your hoity-toity taste, but comfort food is a very personal thing, n'est-ce pas?

OK, so on to the meat of the story. I took a different route home than usual (because of huge traffic problems on a highway that's in the midst of reconstruction, which the local government refuses to admit is under construction. Don't get me started. And this is not the meat of the story.). On my way home, while inside my car, dry, but still dreaming of aforementioned blankie, hot drink and snacks, I noted eight people standing by the side of the road, shivering. Each was carrying a large anti-abortion protest sign. The photo on each sign was the typical bizarre-looking close-up of a foetus at 10 weeks. My camera phone photos cannot rival those taken by SunnyShine in a recent post but I'm going to go with the "I was driving" excuse. Here is one shot anyway, to give you at least a sense of what I saw. Pretend you're doing a driveby and only have a quick second to look.
roadside abortion protestors

Now, what you can't see in this photo is that the majority of the people standing by the side of the road were children. The youngest looked about 12 years old.

Now I'm all for freedom of speech. It didn't matter to me which side of the issue these people were on--they just happened to be right-to-lifers. I would have felt the same way if they had been right-to-choosers. If you want to stand on the street corner in the cold and rain so you can hold up some crappy sign that people will probably ignore, that's your business.

But I feel like it's no longer your business if you force a child to join in that activity. I don't care if you're that kid's parent or not; to me, this borders on child abuse. Really, what does a kid of 12 really know about what he or she would do, or would want others to do, if faced with a pregnancy? And why subject him or her to conflict with others over such a heated issue, when there are so many other great things he or she could be doing? Like real, tangible volunteer work where he or she could learn what it's like to do good deeds for others.

Freedom of speech should also mean freedom of thought, especially for kids. Some of us were lucky enough to have parents who let us grow up and make our own opinions about this stuff. My heart aches for those who aren't so lucky.



SunnyShine note: Sigh. I am going to have to force myself not to go on ad nauseam about this issue. I'm sure these parents had their kids at Jesus Camp all summer and thought they needed something to do in the two weeks before school starts. Actually, come to think of it, they are probably home schooled. I hate the fact that these people scare their kids to death and make them grow up with a completely skewed view of the world. What is going to happen when they grow up and have to face the real world? Side note: I went to Catholic school (shocking, I know) and our school had the highest rate of pregnancy in the city. I know more than a few people who came from strict Catholic families and ended up having abortions. If only the nuns knew.


Teri said...

Nice Blog :)

complain away said...

It's just getting started, but thanks, Teri. I checked out your blogs and they terrify me. In a good way, of course... :)