The Engage Family Blog

Official Blog of The Family Policy Council of West Virginia

UK: british Committee Investigates a Five Year Old?

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Kids end up making other kids cry. This is just a reality of life. They hit other kids. They tease and poke fun at other kids. They even push other kids down on the playground. It all seems to be part of growing up and being a kid.

And generally these incidents are handled at the school, or perhaps with a quick parent teacher conference, to ensure that such incidents don’t happen again. And that’s as far as the matter goes.


Not this time.


Jasmine McCain, a five year old at a British school said something that made her classmate cry. As a result a special committee was formed to investigate the matter; all while her mother, Jennie, a part-time receptionist at the school has been asked not to come to work until after the investigation is over.


And what could a five year old have possibly said that resulted in such actions? As reported in the religionclause and churchtimes websites, little Jasmine told her friend she would go to hell without believing in God.


Granted, the prospect of going to hell is terrifying, and would cause anyone to cry in fear of the possibility. But is a governor’s committee investigation of the “incident” really necessary? Are those who speak out regarding their religious beliefs really in the same category as a suspected terrorist or pedophile?


It is as this point that freedom of religion and free speech meet head on in a collision of irreconcilable values. For, if a person is a true follower of any particular faith, especially one that believes in a literal heaven and literal hell, the only option is to share that faith with friends and loved ones in an effort to secure their eternal future. To do anything less is to passively deny the very faith one claims to adhere to.


In this collision of religion and free speech must exist a measure of tolerance. I, for example, don’t agree with the doctrine of the Jehovah’s witnesses. But I believe they should be allowed to share their faith with others. I don’t agree with Hindu’s, Muslims, or Buddhists, but they too should be protected and allowed to share peaceably with others.


And quite honestly it isn’t that difficult a case to figure out. I don’t even need a committee or investigation to conclude the matter. People should be allowed to share their faith, values, beliefs, or anything else they choose with another person. That other person then has the freedom to agree, disagree, or simply ignore what was just said. It’s kind of like having an open, honest conversation in which the free exchange of ideas is accomplished.


What does it say about us as people when we are investigating five-year old Christians for sharing their beliefs but we allow Muslims to openly practice their faith without a word? What kind of message are we sending? Are we only going to protect some religious beliefs while persecuting others?


If religious freedom is going to be granted for some, then it must be granted for all. And if we are going to ask people to be tolerant of some religious beliefs then we must be tolerant of all beliefs.


Further Food for Thought:

Professor Censors, Insults Student During Speech

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Written by Nathan Cherry

February 25, 2009 at 9:02 pm

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