There was an interesting discussion last week on a local message board that I read from time to time. A parent claimed that after their child returned from trick-or-treating, they inspected the loot and discovered a tract that said, in part, “God is perfect and we are not. We have all disobeyed God and broken His rules. The Bible calls that SIN. since we have disobeyed God, we deserve to be punished forever. That means we cannot be with God because of our sin.” It goes on to say that there is “good news” and a way to God through Jesus.
As you might imagine, this generated quite a lot of discussion on the forum. Someone who approves of the message pointed out that your own home is private property and characterized children who were trick-or-treating as “beggars.” He claims that if people knock on your door asking for candy, you have the right to hand out any message you want (I assume he means a legal message). I actually agree to a degree that it might be your right to distribute a message (with or without candy) if they so choose. However, in my opinion passing out literature pressing a message…any message, be it religious, political or social, to try to persuade children is wrong. Just because they have the right to do so doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.
These are not adults, they are kids. No one wants other people influencing the religious views of their children.
As the discussion progressed, some of those who supported distributing these kinds of tracts claimed that they “wouldn’t mind” if their kid received a message about another religion. That claim rings hollow. I’ll bet it would bother them – a lot. Particularly if it were an anti-religion message.
But let’s take religion out of it. Hopefully we can all agree that distributing pornography, for example, would be across the line. But is distributing literature to children that promotes drugs, cigarettes, alcohol or firearms across the line? How about a risque ad for Hooters? What about a political brochure? A pro-war message? An anti-war message? Promoting a charity?
We’re all going to have different feelings about those latter examples, but again, just because you have the right to do it doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.