When parents learned of a free soccer camp for kids in Queens park they jumped at the opportunity. What wasn’t mentioned to the parents was the hidden goal of the camp runners. The so-called free soccer camp was pushed with mix of soccer and prayer.

Religion In Soccer Is Nothing New

Katie Honan of dnainfo.com first posted the story. (Soccer Camp Angers Parents WIth Surprise Bible Talk for Kids) Now as an atheist is easy to jump to the conclusion of misconduct when religion is involved. After all, the organizers were offering a place for kids to come and play the beautiful game together. Something we love, considering our offices are decked out with soccer jerseys an national flags in the spirit of the recent World Cup. It’s not rare to see staff members joining in on game of FIFA. To anyone who watched the World Cup this year it was clear to see that religion and soccer sometimes go hand in hand. Soccer itself sometimes being the religion.

With that said, form Katie Honan’s article it sounds like the parents who brought their children to the camp were mislead in thinking it was only for love of the sport. Theres was no mention there being religion in soccer for this camp. A bit shady to say the least. There was something in particular that sparked a need of mention. A quote from one of the organizations members, Boto Joseph.

“Our aim is to uplift our community and, to use a religious term, be a blessing”

This is a problem most of us have with the way some religious people speak. The claim that what the teach is a blessing some how a blessing to all of us is out-right arrogant. It is the claim to knowledge that only they hold above another. Boto Joseph was touched by Jesus because he’s special, so now he want’s to pass on this blessing as he has the power to do so. To most religious people the thought that words they use can some how be taken offensively is mind blowing, but it is a perception that we need to make sure they understand.

It’s Not Okay

It is not okay to profess knowledge without reason and claim that someone without said faith is broken because of it. It is obscenely offensive. Boto Joseph when on to say:

“We are not here to convert anybody, we don’t have the power to do that. We’re here to tell stories and have God in their hearts.”

To Boto that act is a good one. To me? It’s misleading and gross. It implies that the children and parents want to have God in their hearts. Not everyone wants God in their hearts. Not only is that okay, but it is better. Let’s not taint the beautiful game. We don’t want religion in soccer.

Read Katie Honan’s article “Soccer Camp Angers Parents WIth Surprise Bible Talk for Kids” on dnainfo.com