Conversations on Conversion – Saying “No” Respectfully At School

Scene 1: Your child is a student in a mission school. As such, he is expected to take part in prayer sessions, religious classes, masses, etc. Your child is uncomfortable with these religious practices and would like to be excused from them.

The proselytiser says: If you do not want your child to take part in these religious practices, you should not have sent him to this school.

You say: According to the guidelines provided by the Ministry of Education for mission schools, these religious practices/sessions must be optional and admission to the school cannot be contingent on taking part in such activities.

Scene 2: The teacher proselytises and aggressively asks you to go to his place of worship. (There is an obvious power differential in the teacher-student relationship, and the teacher should not be exploiting or abusing that differential.)

The proselytiser says: I have your interest in mind. You should attend this prayer group/place of worship because it is the only true way.

You say: Thank you for your kindness. I’m a Buddhist and I’ve no interest in going to your place of worship.

If the teacher persists in persuading you to attend his place of worship, you should raise this issue with the principal.

Scene 3: Your peers aggressively ask you to attend prayer group/their place of worship.

The proselytiser says: If you are my friend, you will attend my prayer group/place of worship.

You say: Thank you for your kind invitation. I’m a Buddhist and I’ve no interest in joining your prayer group. Please respect my religious beliefs in the same way that I respect yours.

If you are studying in a secular government school and you are uncomfortable with your peers conducting prayer group meetings within the school compound, please inform your teachers.

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conversations on conversion