Religious insensitivity


Re the Nov. 6 article An atheist’s view of hell: Richard Dawkins maintains, “Teaching kids they’re worthless sinners headed for hell is child abuse.” I can attest to that from my experience in South Florida. In 1971, kids from my Jewish neighborhood in North Miami Beach descended upon Thomas Jefferson Jr. High in North Miami, along with African-American kids from Liberty City, due to court-ordered desegregation. While I heard this nonsense from some black kids too, nothing equaled the efforts of the locals. They, including a few teachers, repeatedly handed me pamphlets equating Judaism with the evils of homosexuality and communism. They wore their George Wallace hats and buttons to school, presumably to offer the black kids a similar welcome.

I agree with Dawkins that it was, at least, attempted child abuse. Fortunately, my free-thinking parents inoculated me from this daily assault, but others weren’t so lucky.

David Sponder, Los Angeles, Calif.

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