Secular kids aren't comforted by Christian religious symbols that depict devices of execution in medical facilities.

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I have been very fortunate that my son hasn’t had to make too many trips to the emergency room— a fact that an ER physician pointed out while he was stitching up my son’s eyebrow after a tumble on some bleachers. He was around ten years old, and we had been exercising at a local high school after class hours. Running up and down the bleachers is great exercise, but we bought a gym membership after that fateful afternoon.

As I comforted my kid while he obtained what would become his favorite facial scar, I couldn’t help but notice the cross hanging on the wall of the little room we sat in. I was grateful that it was only the cross and was missing the bloody corpse nailed to it.

I was raised Catholic, albeit a soft one, and only taught the happy and squishy parts of my parent’s religion. My family skipped over the most disturbing parts of the bible. Condensing it down to just “Jesus loves you, and God is good”. Christmas was Jesus’ birthday and Easter was was for plastic eggs, ham, and chocolate. Hell was reserved strictly for really bad people, like serial killers and such. The crucifixion, torture, and resurrection were glossed over, almost as if it was too scary for a little kid.

Almost. My childhood best friend was raised in a more fundamental Catholic household, and she recounted the gory parts for me with glee. She might as well have been holding a flashlight under her chin in a darkened room.

But even so, the cross, Jesus, and God for me weren’t all that scary. They were synonymous with goodness and protection.

My son, however, learned about Christianity objectively. To him, the cross is an execution device, which was used to murder Jesus, the self-proclaimed son of God. His resurrection… a poorly-written horror story. The idea of sin and repentance was just an awful version of “be good or Santa won’t bring you any presents”.

The cross is not a comfort for my secular kid

In fact, I think the cross is a terrible thing to put in front of any child. Particularly if it has a dead guy hanging on it. It is in reality, a device of torture. There really is no pretending it isn’t. While it may bring comfort to Christians, to secular or non-Christian people it is totally inappropriate.

If it were a happy Buddha, I might not have such an issue with it. But I have yet to visit a Buddhist Emergency room.

Saints, angels, and death apparatus aside, there is a larger problem with Christian hospitals and their policies. Their policies regarding reproductive care are outright discriminatory, backward, and utterly unscientific but are also not usually disclosed upfront. In the case of a medical emergency that involves a uterus and its complementary organs, someone might sit in a waiting room not knowing that the doctors there might have a religious objection to saving their life.

Because emergencies are just that, emergencies. Making the choice to go to a secular hospital in the moment isn’t always possible. In my own case, the closest hospital is only a mile away, and it’s really super mega-Catholic, while the secular hospital is in another city and county.

And I’m in California, not the Bible belt.

Secular kids deserve better. We protect them from scary movies and violence until they are old enough to understand that it is fiction. Why it’s appropriate to display wooden crosses with or without the dead guy is completely beyond me. This goes far beyond religious freedom and toes the line of indoctrination. Especially when put in a medical context.

Going to an emergency room is traumatic enough for any kid. They shouldn’t have to be subjected to symbols of death and execution when seeking medical care.

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I am a former adult entertainer, with a love of books, writing and humor. My job has given me a unique perspective on life. I spent twenty years as a stripper on and off and started writing as a way to...