Children at Protest Marches? No Problem

This weekend saw people all over the world participate in the March for Science. The march was originally created in response to the alarming anti-science attitudes of US President, Donald Trump and his cabinet of billionaire brigands. In an act of solidarity with scientists in the USA, marches have been organised in many places, including main centres in NZ. There are supplementary issues specific to NZ such as the dismissal of scientific evidence, or the backlash that scientists experience when they speak out in an area that is perceived to be too politicial (see Mike Joy for an example).

I wasn’t able to make it to the march since the nearest one was a few dozen kilometers away and car travel would expose me to criticisms of hypocrisy given the closeness of the march to climate change issues. While reading the report of the march, I was annoyed by some of the commenters who expressed outrage at parents taking their children to the march. Apparently, it’s disgusting to politicise children like that.

Let’s consider a different issue: parents letting children attend religious education in schools. The common line opponents to religion in schools make is: “keep it out of schools. If parents want to raise their children into a religion, then they can do it at home”. One way or another, it is a widely held view that parents are free to raise their children into their religion*, one that I suspect that the commenters would hold.

Given that one accepts that viewpoint, then it is only logically consistent then that parents should also be free to take their children along to participate in a protest march as well. If anything, a protest march is better since it is a one-off event that the children will likely forget about when they are older, while religious indoctrination is persistent.

So ignorant  commenters, do you take you children to church? Or have you not removed them from RE in school? If you have said yes to either of those questions, then according to your own reasoning, you are just as bad, if not worse than the protest marchers that you were so quick to criticise. Good on the people who attended the March for Science, future generations will appreciate that you gave a damn about their future.

*I don’t actually agree that parents are free to raise children into a religion, but that’s for another blog post.