Surprisingly, this is not the most ridiculous thing that I have read all week. Bear in mind however, that we are living in the age of President Trump. The bar is pretty low.
This week, the Friendly Atheist Hemant Mehta brought to my attention, this eyebrow raising story.
It caught my attention for more than one reason. If you came to this piece with a seemingly rational assumption as to the ideological motives of the parents involved . . . you may well be surprised. While I am unsure of the wife’s exact beliefs (I will not assume), the husband is a Presbyterian (studying to be a Pastor in the Presbyterian Church of North America).
Expecting an atheist? You were not the only one.
I will now jump a little ahead in the article to the most important part. You are not missing much (its a paragraph explaining how the parents are otherwise good candidates for adoption).
The problem, as the Children’s Aid Society Of Hamilton (in Ontario) saw it, was that the couple also said they had no desire to tell their future kids about Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny “as they do not wish to lie to children.”
They were eventually given foster kids, two little girls ages 3 and 4, in December of 2015. But because they won’t tell those kids that the Easter Bunny and Santa are real, the kids were taken away from them.
In January, their new placement support worker was increasingly angry about their failure to vouch for the hopping Easter mascot. According to their filed claim, the Baars were allegedly told it was “part of their duty as foster parents to teach the girls about the Easter Bunny because it is ostensibly part of Canadian culture.”
They assured the CAS worker that they’d buy new outfits for the girls and have a chocolate egg hunt. If that still fell short, the children could always spend Easter weekend with another foster family. Their offer was refused, Baars says, and the couple was warned their “inflexibility is a problem.” According to their lawsuit, they were given an ultimatum: “Tell the foster girls that the Easter Bunny was real or their foster home would be closed.”
The thing that caught my attention the most here is Canadian Culture.
Nationalistic cultures have been on every ones radar of late. Ever since the mass immigration crisis begun a few short years ago, westerners of all stripes have been taking to social media and decrying that their culture is at risk, threatened by this inbound mass of refugees. While the easy answer is a general scapegoat, I am not so simple. Those that raise cogent concerns cite polls (or A poll) done of regular every day Muslim majority populations, showcasing in these populations concerning apathy to typical sharia law. Essentially, though they may not participate or wish it on anyone at current, they would not overtly object to it either.
Though I take this genuine intellectual concern into consideration, I have to balance it out. Though its unpopular (and possibly incorrect) to directly compare extremely devote Muslims and Christians, I suspect that many so call first world Christians may not be beyond Leviticus style interpretations if blindly polled. And really, it goes beyond the theology aspect. Its easy to be an armchair Toby Keith or Ted Nugent.
Being unsure where to get trustworthy information on the immigration situation in Europe (it seems that nothing short of actually GOING THERE will enable a nuanced view these days!), I choose to take no real position on the matter. I air on the side of humanism and humanitarianism, views that some box dwellers may use to insert me into their opposition. Though this is common practice these days, we will all be better off when we quit cramming unfitting nuance into simple measured boxes of simplicity.
But that was a tangent. Common in my works.
While miles away from the initial starting material, they come together in the nationalistic cultures aspect. But it makes me ask a question . . . what is culture? Or more importantly, what is your nationalistic culture?
Though its a term that is often utilized by many, I doubt that even a quarter of these people have put much thought into what the term actually entails. Well, aside from some interpretation that no doubt fits their personal narrative.
For many, western culture is the gold standard. And for a majority, their nationalistic culture is the best of them all.
Or as I see it, a shopping cart.
Something that takes up a lot of space, yet has very little mass to show for it. Despite this however, its ability to generate waste is unparalleled.
Though asking the question “What is culture?” may seem silly or ridiculous, its really not. A big part of culture tends to be tradition (this is our custom because . . . we have always done things this way!). Though many things come to mind, religion is right at the forefront.
Or since this is in the context of Canada, there is hockey. From cradle to grave, Canadians are bombarded with hockey culture from all angles. From Tom Cochrane’s Big League being played proudly and patriotically on every rock station, to towns and cities of all sizes prioritizing hockey venues over even necessary infrastructure projects, hockey dominates in canada. From a marketing perspective, you can sell ANYTHING in this country if you can intertwine it with (or even merely ASSOCIATE it with!) our nations unofficial official sport.
Hockey is a big part of our culture. I would argue an even bigger part of Canadian culture than even Santa Clause or the Easter Bunny. Which makes me wonder, would a failure to expose your foster children to hockey culture at home also be punishable by not being allowed to keep the children?
While not entirely comparable (you can’t say that hockey isn’t real), I can spot parallels. On the more extreme end is a refusal to acknowledge it despite the child’s choice (“NO HOCKEY IN THIS HOUSE!”). More real world possibilities are:
a.) Disinterest (a person disinterested in knitting is not doing anything wrong by not exposing their children to that activity just because it would never naturally occur to them to begin with)
b.) Finances (if you can not afford to bankroll your child’s pursuit into an expensive sport like hockey, again, that is not malicious intent)
From the article:
Keep in mind they had no problem telling their kids about Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny. They also had no problem letting their kids spend time with other myth-spreading adults over those holidays. They just didn’t want to go through with the charade that lends credibility to the stories of a giant bunny who hides eggs and a large man who delivers presents via your chimney if you’ve been good.
The couple was not on the extreme end of the spectrum (“ENOUGH OF THAT!”) by any means. They just didn’t want to be a part of it. Seems reasonable enough.
Yet, apparently not.
It makes one wonder where the line is. Though we have no real cases to go on, if failure to perpetuate the Easter bunny and Santa as REAL are reason enough to remove children, where then is the line?
To play the devils advocate . . . if hockey would not be given the same consideration as Easter bunny / Santa, why not?
And how does religion play into this? Can a secular family adopt and raise a child with secular values (one of which may well be that Santa and the Easter bunny are not real!) and not run into problems?
These are important details.
To tell the honest truth, I can’t even entirely give the benefit of the doubt even to the parents in question. Sure, they were trying to teach something that is rational by any standard. But is is also a part of the indoctrination process (“Do not get distracted with false idols. Jesus is the ONLY way!”).
This story has a lot to consider.