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Abbreviated rant due to abbreviated naptime

Mia has a set of four cds that she received as a gift from my parents. According to the back of the box, "This collection includes over 4 hours of the best loved lullabies, rhymes and songs such as: Humpty Dumpty; Eentsy Weentsy Spider; This Old Man; One, Two Buckle My Shoe; and many, many more!" That is the entire description of the contents - keep it in mind, it becomes relevant later.

Yesterday, I played some songs off a couple of the cds for Mia because she loves to crank up the volume and dance and I was getting a little tired of the classic rock station we usually listen to. We were doing fine, until we got to the "Silly Songs" cd, and I started hearing things about Jonah and the whale, Gabriel and his trumpet, Daniel in the lion's den, and Abraham, Isaac and Jacob sailing down to Jericho. These are not lullabies and nursery rhymes, they are bible stories.

I'm irate. I would be just as upset if there were stories from the Koran or the Bhagavad Gita or little jingles about Ganesh or Zoroaster (although I suspect many people would not feel those were equal offenses). I resent the assumption that everyone is Christian (or I suppose Judeo-Christian since these are Old Testament stories), I resent the assumption that everyone finds these stories acceptable for their children, and I resent like hell the casual imposition of anyone else's religious beliefs on my child.

Comments (49)

Addy got a set of Noah's Ark books from a family friend. I keep them out and I read them to her because A) She loves the animals and B) It's important to me that although we will (hopefully) raise her to be objective of any sort of religion, knowlege of Judeo-Christian beliefs are important in catching allusions in literature and the like. I understand your frustration, however and you can always toss that one CD out the car window.

OH I am SO with you on this!!!!!!!!! You have no idea.

Yep, I'm with you on this one. It's not right to assume everyone wants Christian songs for their kids. And they aren't nursery rhymes and lullabies.

I know my dad will give my children some sort of pushy religious gift sooner or later. Of course, in his case, it will be clearly labelled as "crazy Christian stuff" in some way so at least I'll know to be wary.

At the same time, I bet the religious folk who bought that are outraged because they put all the religion on the "Silly Songs" disc.

Amen! Err...some such other word meant to display my same exact feelings on this issue.

My Father-in-Law is Zoroastrian. Can I tell you how excited I am that you know what that is? Am I retarded?

Yes.

Perhaps you could give them religiously inappropriate gifts over the holidays? I'm sure there are many Buddist, Hindu, and Pagan-esque items lurking, doing non-religious impersonations . . .

I hear ya. No matter how I want to teach my children religion, I want to do it on my terms... not someone else's imposition.

I am not trying to offend, but they are just stories. Sure they have Biblical context to them but just the same they are just stories. Much like Hercules or the little Mermaid have religious backgrounds.

We have the same CD. I bought it for the boys so they could learn about those stories (just for interest sake) since we are seemingly the only non-Christians around. Having said that, I would be none too happy if someone had given them the CD as a gift - that was MY decision to make, no one else's.

I would be as frustrated as you are. Teaching your kid the basics of religion is one thing - the little allusions and lessons that have seeped our way into modern culture. But I want to do that on my terms, not because someone whips out songs of Abraham without warning. Sheesh (I almost just closed with "Jesus!" which, well, that would have been pretty bad.)

Thanks for the post--I'll be sure to file that one for later.

I totally, totally, totally agree. I can't even say how much I agree. Certainly anything that reflects religious beliefs should be well-represented on the packaging.

When one of my babies was born, someone gave us a _My First Bible_. I didn't appreciate them deciding what my child's religious upbringing would be. I didn't say so, though--just donated the bible.

My mother and I have had to butt heads on this subject, because she is a Christian and feels that all Christian books are just stories, no big deal, whereas my feeling is that she only feels that way because they happen to reflect her own beliefs. I finally got her to understand my point of view by asking if she would have felt a series of books about a certain other religion she disapproves of were "just stories," if someone had read them to me as a child.

I'd be upset too.

Ummmmmmmm- a little warning of the contents woudl have been probably appreciated by most who bought this C.D....

Lady has a classical lullaby cd, and Kumbaya is on it. I find his hilarious because of the peace loving hippie assumption that goes along with the title of the song, and also becaue I never thought of Kumbaya as a lullaby (maybe it is? am I ingnorant?)

The most hilarious of all? Lady sits up in her crib when it comes on and sways to the music, clapping her hands every so often. I feel like I should relocate her to a field of daisies and give her an acoustic guitar. Or maybe a tambourine?

I am so with you. It drove me crazy last year when everyone said to me, you excited for babies first christmas? I would say, we were Jewish and people would look at me like I have 18 heads!

Amen sister!!
Get it? Amen?
I agree with you 100%. I would probably somehow lose that CD, much like the crazy unexplained disappearance of a certain Easter Story book Dean received this past year...

Totally with you on this one, and I'd hate to think I had bought a children's CD that turned out to have religious content without saying so.

Like what Fake Rake says!

or you could always make up alternative lyrics to the songs (as did Antonio on Wings, actually he just misunderstood)

Example: INstead of "Michael Rowed the Boat Ashore" it becomes "My goat knows the bowling score....alleluia!!"

heh

also? it's itsy bitsy spider...i would steer clear of anyone claiming it's eensy weensy. they are probably trying to sell you something. :)

Can't say anything here that wouldn't offend someone so I will just say I love you guys!

Yo, send that CD to me and I'll let my dogs chew it to pieces.

The eensy weensy spider? What's up with that? Is that cousin to itsy bitsy? I can't believe they wouldn't put a warning on the cd for religious stuff. I'm sure they'll burn in hell for this. ;-)

I will never make it in a 'typical'christian setting, i question everything. like, did anyone question Noah and the voices that told him to build an ark? like his wife? anyone?

I can understand. I mean, if you went to church with me or them surely it would be appropriate, but you don't, so there is that. I'm sure it was an honest mistake, because it wasn't even listed, right?

Even as a Christian, sometimes even religious kids' songs are a little...hmmm. Think about it - the harmless Jesus Loves Me? Which we totally sing in 2 year old Sunday School because well, what else are we going to do? The lyric "They are weak but he is strong" - is that what we really want our children to think? That they are WEAK? And God is STRONG? I mean, we're not in a weight lifting competition here.

Maybe we'll stick to Deep and Wide. They like that one best, anyway.

Hmmm... I woulda thought they'd have warned you at least on the cover of the cd. There are so many opinions to be had on this issue... and so many ways it could be interpreted... I can see everyone's point of view from "they're just stories" to "don't impose religion on my child"... but still, it should have included something about "Bible Songs" being on the cd.

Oooooh, that raised my blood pressure, just reading about it! Having grown up non-Christian, I know all too well the cultural assumption that everyone IS Christian.

I spent years reading comparative religions to achieve the delicate balance of wacky beliefs which I hold today, and which I intend to pass on to my daughter, until she is old enough to study and figure out what works for her.

I know just what you mean. My oldest daughter is not even 3 yet, and so far I have had to re-gift, throw out, or exchange (depending on the circumstances) 4! stuffed animals that say a good-night prayer, 1 CD, 2 Baby's first Bibles, 1 coloring book, and an outfit. And my family knows that we don't want the kids exposed to their religious beliefs. Some of my family is dumb though. Yours sounds like a genuine mistake, but what were the manufacturers thinking when they failed to mention it on the label?

Did you parents know that was on there? Or was it a mistake? Are you mad at your parents or at the cd company? Just curious.

I live in the bible belt so it's pretty much the norm around here for everyone to assume everyone is a Christian or at least comes from a Christian family. And there are a lot of Christian Bible songs... maybe there just weren't enough Jewish lullabies to fill up a cd.. or maybe they just weren't in English. That could explain it. But you know... at least you can just chuck the cd.. unless Mia is already singing Father Abraham... then you might be in trouble.

I'm so with you. There is a big assumption that everyone is Christian and things like that aren't offensive, but they are. It makes it seem like the CD manufacturers wanted to sneak them in there, doesn't it? Because why wouldn't you just include it in the description? I don't think those Bible story songs are such a classic that they can fairly be included in "and many more!"

I think someone gave me the same set and I feel the same way you do. I tossed the entire thing. Also when Nata was born someone gave me a little bear praying that sang the lords prayer or something. Tossed that one too. Stil ahd the tags. I am okay with people having their religions and believing in whatever they want. But it's not okay to shove it down my kids throats either. Even if they think it's "harmless, they don't know what it is", true but I do.

Solidarity sister.

I agree!

This comes from someone who was told that church was fabulous, wonderful and "a must" in your life, that life would be empty without it, and more than anything, even from when I was little, it pissed me off because nobody else would let me decide what I wanted to believe.

Kudos to you for helping Mia make her own choices.

I'm also wondering - were your parents aware of the contents of the CDs when they gave them to you or was everyone was misled by the description? And of course you are completely right - I also get pissed off when people just assume.

I teach English, and we cover much of the Bible as part of the Western "canon," (for allusions and symbolism what not) and it never fails that kids are always like, "yo, these stories are creepy." God smiting people, God asking Abraham to kill his son, Noah getting wasted and passing out naked, the list goes on. At least once every year, SOMEONE says "you know, I read these stories in my little kiddie bible and didn't realize what was really going on..."

Anyway, I don't know how that exactly relates to Mia's CD, but I thought you'd be interested. :)

I agree with you that 'casually' dumping unwanted religion is annoying as hell, but is it really that bad to listen to? I mean, most people I know take part in Christmas, despite maybe not being religious. Aren't they still just upbeat songs for children?

Interesting how they put them all on the "silly" cd.

Just out of curiosity, did your parents know that the CD was religiously affiliated when they bought it, or were they just going by the description on the package?

I hear you, Beth. The worst for us will be Christmas time: no doubt, the monkey will want a tree, and we'll be singing Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer -- because it's all over the radio, TV, etc...inevitably imposed on us....

Beth, I certainly understand your feelings of anger about this (despite the fact that I am Muslim, and that those stories you mentioned actually are a part of the religious tradition that I was raised in.) Every year I get more and more peeved when people question my decision to not celebrate holidays like Christmas and Easter. I don't care if other people are able to celebrate these as "secular" or "family" holidays -- they are definitely not a part of any family traditions I grew up with, and I see no reason to limit the happy-good feelings of the "holiday season" to the one month before December 25.

This is a sore spot for me, as well.

And y'all? I'm almost positive that Beth was upset about the songs being on the cds to begin with, not about her parents buying the cds. Which would be why she pointed out what the back of the packaging said.

Perhaps the whole idea that America calls itself a Christian nation may have something to do with why so many people think that it is socially acceptable to give "religious" presents to other people's kids...

I wouldn't have a problem with it. I was given "religious" gifts as a child, and it has been reflected in my life (in a good way, not a bad way).

For someone who I know has either been bought up in a Christian family, has attended a Christian school, or goes to Church semi-regularly, I would go out of my way to find a "religious" gift for them/their children.

Beth I hear you LOUD AND CLEAR.

I think discovering this on a CD that made no mention of these songs would annoy the crap out of me. And I am a somewhat lapsed Episcapalian who had her son christened as such. The only redeeming aspect of it is that they're part of the 'silly songs' portion of the collection.

But I have friends of many faiths, agnostics and atheists. I would never ever do this to someone on purpose. You should ship it to the manufacturer with a complaing, COD of course.

I am guessing but you are talking about the Cedarmont kids range??(am I allowed to say that?)I understand where you are coming from totally but I always assumed that the background of that "brand/band" is Christian.I have a few of the CDs which my daughters absolutely love,I bought one (non religious)in the begining and they enjoyed them so much I got them on DVD too and 5 years later (and despite owning hundreds of other kids CDs)they are still a favourite and all the kids who come to my house absolutely love to watch them.I am not particularly religious but I do know the majority of the range by this group is of religious nature and they used to be known as the number one selling Christian Childrens Music in the World.The range is quite an 'old' one too.I understand how you must feel but if you can bring yourself to 'skip' those songs the rest of the songs are lovely :)

I'm culturally Jewish of atheist extraction and I went to a Quaker summer camp where we learned those songs and I thought it was hilarious to be singing these bible stories.

But I don't sing them to my son. I may later on, but I don't now and I wouldn't want to be blind-sided by them on a "Silly Songs" cd.

Okay, this is TOO perfect. My husband went this morning to check out a new daycare for our baby (one that doesn't cost a MILLION dollars a day).

He called me after the tour to give me the full report. He said "it's at a church. Is that okay?" I was all "yeah, that's cool. Did you ask them what exactly they are going to teach our child?" He said they told him they teach the "basics". Whatever that is.

Then he overheard them reading a Dr. Seuss book to the kids. All of a sudden, "Hop on Pop" turned into "Adam and Eve". My husband said it was all very tricky. He didn't like it at all.

But the place is still way cheaper. So we may have to go for it and just hope they don't bring out the snake's and speaking in tongues on his first day there.

I totally agree. That's complete crap!! I would have been just as angry.

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