I go to church every Sunday with my family. I am a liberal Democrat. The church is a Chinese evangelical church that my wife and her family are strong members of. I disagree with a few minor preachings of the church (gay rights, abortion), but generally think the values of family they "preach" are consist with mine. That was until this past Sunday, October 31st
It is not the church I would chose for my family to attend, but it is more important for my wife to go there than me to go to my church. So each Sunday I go, with my family. But last Sunday, with the election heavily weighing on my mind, something horrible happened. While I was hoping that politics would not be a main topic in church (and it was not), my sons (7 and 5) attended Sunday school. After church, we joined the others in the reception area, mingled, let the kids play and went home.
When we got home, my oldest son promptly announced that Halloween was evil and that he would not be participating, and asked me for confirmation of Halloween's evilness. I was taken by surprise, and shocked, and after discussing it with him, determined that the Sunday school lesson that day had been on the evilness Halloween. As a family, we always have celebrated Halloween. Many of my ancestors are Irish, and my great grandfather was one of the many that left Ireland during the potato famine and brought the traditions of the "Old Country", including Halloween, to America. As a kid, this was my favorite holiday, and as an adult, it is great to see the joy in all the children that are trick-or-treating. On this day, I have never seen, felt, or feared "evil". I've read stories of cults that have twisted the holiday to their needs, but that sure doesn't turn Halloween evil.
I had a fairly good understanding of the origins of Halloween.
At the least, the holiday's origin's included practices promoted by christians (soul cake, Jack and the devil). At worst it was an event to ward of the spirit of the dead from taking over a non-dead persons, started over 4,000 years ago, that might have included burning a victim at the stake (also a christian practice
, just not a good one). I talked to my son about the orgins of Halloween, and about good and evil. At seven we had not yet started an evil/good, black/white discussions with our oldest child. He is a very good kid, never in trouble, great grades at school. He is a model student, and has never "turned a card" in 4 years of grade school. He is very intelligent and is gifted in his logic/math talents and skills. And he was much too young to be discussing evil/good and why what some say is evil others say is not. After this open, lengthy discussion, he still declined to participate - and I supported him in this. My youngest and I carved the pumpkin and went trick-or-treating. My wife took the oldest to the church for pizza and games. The church's family values had split up my family on my favorite holliday.
So now I question the value of the values taught at this church. The concepts of evil and good are understood by my seven year old son, but being able to understand the facts and truly judge the nuances of evil and good are not. Brain washing is not a value that I consider good, and in no way was the information provided by the church either accurate or open for discussion. What type of values is this teaching?
So, if you have made it this far, I would really appreciate advise. I've considered all of the following, and don't know which to do:
Personally abstain from this church so that my children understand that I do not support all of the teachings at this church?
Force the whole family to go to another church?
Express my views to the church and provide information on the history of Halloween?
Attend the children's sunday school class and discuss the history of Halloween?
Do nothing and accept the fact that there is one more issue that my personal beliefs do not match that of the church I attend (not really an option I'm willing to take. This was the straw for me?)