Does He Have a Religion?

A nurse moved to the next question on the form for RB, ‘Does he have a religion?’
‘He’s four weeks old. He can’t speak.’ I answered. 
She looked at me blankly. I said we’re agnostic. She marked no and moved onto the next question. Either she didn’t understand me, or she thought I was a dick. I’m sure many won’t find issue with that question. I wouldn’t if the question was ‘Do his parents have a religion?’ but it wasn’t, it was ‘Does he have a religion?’ 

Religion should be a personal choice. Church didn’t feature in my husband’s life. I was brought up Church of England. We went to church every Sunday, I went to Christian camps and was in the church choir. I loved it as a child. As an adult, I chose to become agnostic. Until I could reason for myself, my choice of religion was not my choice but my parent’s choice. I think the same for RB.

We’re agnostic. I still love the heritage of church. I go to sung Evensong to hear angels and soak up buildings that have lived up to 30 times as long as me. But for the faith, that will be RB’s to decide. He may be atheist, agnostic, CoE, Muslim, Catholic, Church of Scotland, Methodist, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, Zoroastrian. His religion is his choice but until he can make that choice, no, our child does not have a religion, irrespective of what we, his parents, have decided upon for ourselves. 

I don’t think anyone would ask which political party he supports, but it’s exactly the same thing. Both will be influenced by family choice. Some people may stick with their parents’ choice, but we shouldn’t assume it. He’s his own person. He may grow up in a household that supports one belief over another, whether that’s religious or political, but it’s not his until he decides that for himself.

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