I took my family to a community festival at a Baptist church because my daughter wanted to go. One of her friends at school invited her and she thought it sounded like fun — especially the part about free bag of candy that all the kids who attended were going to get.
While I have been to community events at Christian churches where there was no mention of Jesus or anything religious, my experience with Baptist churches led me to expect at least some mention of religion, if not heavy proselytizing. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find very little. It really did seem to be an event for the community. There was a Bible verse written on a craft but that was all I saw. My husband and I did get lots of invitations to attend their church from the pastor and other members of the congregation but their was no pushy proselytizing. Therefore, I wasn’t expecting what happened next.
As we were leaving, my daughter was handed the bag of candy she had been looking forward to. Hidden in the candy bag was a cartoon Chick tract and a toy million dollar bill, each with frightening messages about Hell. The tract even included a story about a good kid who died before accepting Jesus and is now spending an eternity being tormented in Hell.
Of course, it’s their event and they have the right to hand out what they want. However, I thought it was sneaky and wrong to place them in the children’s candy bags. Had they given them to the adults instead, I would not have had a problem with the religious materials being handed out. It is wrong to sneak scare tactic pamphlets into the candy bags of vulnerable children.
I am sure there are many Christians out there saying that they don’t see a problem with what was done. However, I wonder how those Christians would feel if they attended a community event and there were pamphlets hidden in candy bags for children that had stories about how how they will burn in Hell if they don’t accept Islam or with arguments debunking Christianity. I suspect they wouldn’t like it and would find the fact that the material was only given to their children problematic.
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