6 Year Old Came Home With Ray Comfort Leaflet

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Discussion by: Adam Miller

My 6 year old brother just returned from a local community centre baking and crafts session with a "story" for me to read.  It is a word for word cartoon version of Ray Comforts spiel (are you a good person? Have you ever told a lie?) told in a comic strip. It includes the morally questionable convicting of the sin of thought crime and the scapegoating of sins on to an innocent, both with bible references and both with illustrations such as a boy "lusting" over a woman with his tongue out.

My 17 year old sister took him to the event and has taken him to similar things before. She has the man who runs the event on as a friend on Facebook and I'm about to message him. Im not expecting much after seeing his profile picture is an "Evolution Vs God" poster but he will know not to hand such things to my 6 year old brother again at least.

What would you do?

24 COMMENTS

  1. I remember a similar incident. I had gone swimming, and I was waiting for my mom to pick me up. I was about 8 years old. As usual, she had forgotten and I was left to wait for several hours. An elderly JW man had me cornered since I could not leave the rendezvous spot. Oddly I recall threats of hellfire, though that is not JW doctrine. He made me read little cartoon pamphlets. What I mainly remember is my Mom finally showing up and blasting the man for trying to convert me and for being a pervert (He had not touched me).

    If Christians want to be free to teach their kids nonsense, without interference from others and schools, surely they should mind their own business when it comes to other people’s kids.

    I think we will find your case involves some well meaning simpleton handing out pamphlets on her own authority.

  2. Leave the Facebook thing alone ~ what could that possibly achieve?
    Collect information, then pass on what you’ve discovered to the guardians/parents of your brother

    Things to find out:-
    Does this local community centre have a website with published guidelines?
    Who are the key people & organisations involved?
    Who finances this local community centre? [It may be funded by a church, a lottery grant, a local grant, a central government grant, local council funded by the rates et. etc. or a combination of the above]

    If this centre depends on a grant or the local council there will be strict guidelines about the sorts of activities that are permitted
    There will be protections built-in regarding anything that could be construed as discriminatory in any way

    It might be that this religious proselytizer can be shut down by contacting the responsible authorities & invoking the The Equality Act 2010 or similar. Local authorities are very careful about this stuff today & it should be easy to deal with this matter.

    Conduct any communications with the authorities by letter & insist that the proselytizer signs something IN WRITING not to continue his religious propaganda. The authorities are likely to try & brush you off with some rubbish about they’ll have a quiet chat with the guy ~ you want documentation because these people will sneak back to their old ways otherwise. It’s the nature of the beast.

    If it’s entirely church funded or privately funded ~ not so easy…

  3. Seems as though your parents or your sister are the ones with whom you need to have words. Why anyone would think a six year old could understand the implications in that is beyond me.

  4. What would you do?

    Ask your parents about it.

    Find time to spend with your brother.

    Find a partner and make your own kids.

    Compete with your own craft sessions and include pamphlets in your baking trays.

    Publish a competitive cartoon strip.

    Purchase stickers to cover the “lusting” segments (or sections) of Comfort’s overt expression.

    Obtain your own Facebook friends, or replace your sister.

    Emigrate.

    Work harder or take up a hobby to create more you time.

  5. Have you spoken to you brother about this and what have you said?

    I don’t know anything about your family dynamics but I would say you have as much right to talk to your brother about this as your sister does. It seems the most important thing is the impression your brother has about this whole situation.

    Ask him if he thinks the story is true and tell him why the people who gave it to him might want to lie to him.
    Make sure he knows it’s ‘just a story’. Perhaps give him some other fantastical stories to read as well so he has something to compare it to.

    There’s no need to come between your brother and sister, or your sister and her friends for that matter. Religious indoctrination relies on ignorance, whereas knowledge can only lead to enlightenment. No harm can come from widening his horizons, but you could damage your family relationships if you push the issue of him not going to a place like this or not receiving these kinds of ‘stories’. Even if you only speak to this friend of your sisters, it could come back to your sister and cause friction between the two of you.

    If you want to do more to tackle the problem, take Michael Fishers advice above about cutting it off at the source.

  6. Tell your brother and sister that Ray is just trying to frighten children with spooky stories. None of it is true.
    People sometimes do things they shouldn’t, like telling lies, stealing, or being greedy. That doesn’t mean that they are a completely bad person.
    A person being punished for someone else doesn’t make any sense. It’s just not fair, and you don’t need anyone’s permission to be a better person.

    Anyone who would use Ray’s tactics isn’t to be trusted.

  7. Report him to whoever runs the local community centre. It’s not right to use baking & crafts as a smokescreen for dishing out religious propaganda. If he’s not stopped, set up an astronomy class and hand out Jesus & Mo cartoons.

  8. I’d go about my business. You have far more access to influence your brother than a pamphlet does. Your values will weigh more, and they are communicated through actions that your brother will surely notice and evaluate.

    Talking about it here, I think, was a good idea. Following advice heard here, may not be. Although I surely state things as advisory, I hope you’ll take that advice as suspect! This is the Internet; I’m drinking tea and more delighted with the process of expressing my thoughts, in typed form, than of any real concern for your exact circumstance, or any outcome there.

    . . .

    The act of choosing a plan that involves people and ideas can be suspect in itself, and in a few instances might be characterized as meddling, pranking, intolerance and so forth.

    First impressions sometimes characterize us, to others (and perhaps with more weight than seems justified, with further experience of one another).

    It’s different to have a response (privately) to the pamphlet, than to express that response, either in words or in actions. The expressed response may well have consequences unintended, and at contrary purpose to the outcome you would more have liked to see come into being. Some forms of self-expression leave a strong evidence trail; whereas others leave only memories and (possibly lasting) impressions.

    . . .

    I doubt you can guess easily what will turn out to be so influential in his life, but I can tell you that when my parents gave me the first science-oriented present — on that-gift-giving-day-in-December-with-the-reindeers-and-a-cut-tree-decorated-with-lights-and-ornaments — and saw how I took to it — they took careful notice of the response to it.

    That gift was a geology kit; had ten different rocks, and the materials needed to make little tests on them, for identification and differentiation.

    I, in my turn, took notice of their notice, and what they did and didn’t do that I agreed with, day to day. As it turns out, it was a complex matter, deciding which of their values would become my own.

    And which, wouldn’t (they were Roman Catholics).

    . . .

    By the age of eight, I’d noticed when they had not the faintest intention of adhering to certain principles that seemed obvious to me (and still do) regarding truth — the ordinary playground variant of that term. It took many years to forgive them, their method to get from here to there. I thought (still do) the more direct way was of more efficacy. They seemed to value inconsistency, as an ordinary way to proceed; I saw in them, mostly, that very inconsistency in their views; and so, looked elsewhere.

    Much later in life, I revisited what I’d overlooked in them that I had, in fact, all along, agreed with. It was a difficult sorting; their world-view was muddier than I could stand to appreciate, and it drove me to seek from other opinion pools.

    . . .

    Those who educate children well are more to be honored than parents,
    for these only gave life, those the art of living well. — Aristotle

  9. I messaged him this;

    Hi —-,
    Thanks for arranging the bake off and crafts session that my sister —– took my brother —– to today, he seems to have enjoyed himself. Next time though please refrain from giving him a very Ray Comfortesque leaflet that says he’ll be punished for eternity if he commits lustful thought crime without repenting. Hes only 6.

    God bless x

    Adam.

    I thought it was perfect. I wasn’t going to be rude or threatening or send him a big list of reasons why what he believes is rubbish.

    Just to clear some things up I’m 23 years old and already told my parents id message the guy before I did. Both felt the same way about it as me. My Dad is a “born again atheist” and my Mum has a fuzzy and light form of Christianity. My sister isn’t religious either really and only goes to these things as a community event. I spend a lot of time with my brother and we do far more together than anyone else, he’s incredibly smart for a 6 year old and really enjoyed The Magic of Reality.

    I wasn’t looking for advice to be honest I just thought it would be interesting to see how other people would have reacted.

    • In reply to #15 by Adam Miller:
      >

      I spend a lot of time with my brother and we do far more together than anyone else, he’s incredibly smart for a 6 year old and really enjoyed The Magic of Reality.

      That should have given him immunity to some of the nonsense. It would make sense not to make a big issue of this with him, but just to tell him Ray Comfort is a silly man who makes up the sort of fairy-tale-myths illustrated in “The Magic of Reality”.

      I wasn’t looking for advice to be honest I just thought it would be interesting to see how other people would have reacted.

      Don’t worry about that. There will be other readers who may find this sort of discussion and advice, useful in dealing with proselytising leaflets given to children.

  10. In reply to #17 by brown dwarf:

    Inform the freedom from religion foundation. This is the kind of thing that they are good at fighting against.

    They’re good at fighting against leafleting? Cosmic. I’m inundated with fliers for Chinese restaurants; these things are the bane of my existence. Do you think the freedom from religion people could help me out with this? I suspect some of these eateries’ owners are Buddhist, if that helps.

  11. Hey, why not use your phone to videotape the proceedings and then edit the videos so that the guy you dislike is painted in the very worst light? Oh, wait, that’s what Ray Comfort does to people. You’ll have to come up with something more original than that. Sorry for wasting your time. BTW, that’s what I’d say to the “dude that runs the event”. I’d say, “hey, listen you are already wasting my sister’s time, how about only ruining one person’s mind per family. You certainly wouldn’t like it if I preached reason and thought to a 6 year old in your family.”

    • In reply to #21 by SoundGuyLuke:

      Buy some Godless Comics from RDFRS, and start passing them out. I’ll bet there will be a blanket policy banning “distribution of literature” in under a week.

      I love that idea. Or, here is an alternative, one that will not only piss off Christians but some of the people here as well. Get copies of the comic The 99. Here is an article about them: DC Comics introduces new Muslim superhero Its the first comic book (or for those who prefer graphic novel) to be based on Islamic themed super heroes. I read about it in a book about the Arab Spring and ways that Muslims who support secularism and tolerance are reaching out to young people. I think you can download copies here The 99

      • I LOVE it!!!!

        In reply to #22 by Red Dog:

        In reply to #21 by SoundGuyLuke:

        Buy some Godless Comics from RDFRS, and start passing them out. I’ll bet there will be a blanket policy banning “distribution of literature” in under a week.

        I love that idea. Or, here is an alternative, one that will not only piss off Christians but some of the pe…

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  13. Personally, I wonder whether allowing six year olds to believe in a nice afterlife for the deceased or a vague nice god is similar to Santa Claus and is at least tolerable. I don’t think it’s appropriate to start trying to burden six year olds with the idea of original sin! I would have very strong words with the person responsible and wouldn’t be comfortable sending my six year old to them in future.

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