My daughter has decided not to be a Christian. But she doesn't mind Jesus because the stories are nice.
"Mummy! I'm not a Christian." she pronounces. I wince slightly, I don't know why, I'm not a Christian but it took me a number of years to reach that conclusion and to be sure of my decision, P is five.
"My teacher said that I am a Christian because we are all Christians in our school, and I told him I am not!" I wince again. It's a Church of England school, there are no secular schools in these parts.
"That's OK P, if you don't want to be a Christian that is entirely fine with me but you must respect other peoples beliefs. Lots of people do believe in God and Jesus all over the world, they also believe in lots of other things as well."
"Fine. I'm not a Christian!" she reiterates and continues to play.
About 4 weeks later.
"Mummy, I told my teacher I am not a Christian, he doesn't believe me." she seemed distressed at being told she is something that she doesn't want to be.
Oh holy cow. Time to mention it to the school.
I very gently asked the teacher to respect P's beliefs and I told the teacher that she will not bring up her non-Christian-ness again. I told the teacher we are teaching P that we respect and love people from all cultures and religions and we mustn't impose our beliefs on others. The teacher said that it is a Church of England school. And I said that I understand that, but if we were a Sikh family we wouldn't be having this conversation.
As we respect and love everybody for who they are, I hope the school can find it in them to respect P's atheism - even if her non-Christian-ness only lasts three days.