• Religious Segregation Starts Early

    This week I am on vacation and today I took my kids to a small zoo. There we saw lots of strange animals, not the least of which were human beings. While at the small zoo there was two large groups of summer campers. Both groups were from the same summer camp, but one group was the girls (with women counselors) and the other group was the boys (with men counselors). The two groups were NOT together; they were segregated.

    It was strange that even though the two groups wore shirts from the same camp, they made sure that they weren’t in the same area as each other. They really were completely segregated. Both groups from a Hebrew camp and the men wore yarmulkes and the women wore pretty long skirts despite the ridiculously hot weather. So it is safe to say that the camp is religion based.

    I hate that kids are segregated by gender at such a young age because of religion. It really is needless. They were at a zoo; it isn’t like the girls are going to like different things than the boys. Every kid likes zoo animals.

    When you segregate kids by gender, you teach them that the other gender is… well… other. In some context that’s fine, but in the religious context it often is a prerequisite for assigning specific tasks to each gender and reinforces religious gender roles.

    What is my role here? Should I have had a live and let live attitude? Or should I have been more vocal in my disapproval? If so, what should I have said and how should I have said it?

    Interestingly enough, I know that if the situation were reversed and I was part of an atheist camp at the zoo, there would be no shortage of religious believers being vocal in telling me and the kids about God and/or Jesus. Religious believers often have no problem at all butting in where their opinions are not wanted. As an atheist and humanist, should we be equally as vocal and rude? Or is that an aspect of religion we should not try to emulate? What are your thoughts on this? Post a comment below.

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    Category: Religion


    Article by: Staks Rosch

    Staks Rosch is a writer for the Skeptic Ink Network & Huffington Post, and is also a freelance writer for Publishers Weekly. Currently he serves as the head of the Philadelphia Coalition of Reason and is a stay-at-home dad.