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Teen Kicked Out Of Sunday School For Correcting Pastor On His Biblical Translations

Teen girl reading the Bible at church
FatCamera/Getty Images

When students are going through school, whether it’s their primary education or extracurriculars, people generally stress the importance of education and high grades.

But it’s clear some people are more interested in rule-following than learning, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.

While attending a Sunday School class, Redditor throwaway_394757 asked about some of the Greek translations she’d heard that did not make sense, based on her lessons in Ancient Greek.

But when she was accused of being disruptive, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if she was wrong to ask.

She asked the sub:

“AITA for getting myself kicked out of Sunday School?”

The OP was struggling with her stepfamily in a religious way.

“I am the drama this week. I (16 Female) got kicked out of Sunday school at my stepdad’s church this weekend.”

“My mom married Brad earlier this year. He has 4 kids (12 Female, 10 Male, 9 Male, 7 Male) who are with him most of the time, and to say their family is religious is the understatement of all time.”

“The daughter has to wear skirts all the time and can’t cut her hair, and they’re all at church at least three times a week and have family Bible time and stuff every day.”

“I wouldn’t care except that now that my mom and Brad are married, they expect me to participate, and that’s just not my bag.”

“I think it’s superstitious misogynistic nonsense and I always leave events at their church feeling icky.”

The OP’s mom and stepdad refused to see her perspective.

“I tried to get my mom to let me go to my dad’s on Sundays to avoid conflict, but that’s a nonstarter so far, so I try to avoid talking about it.”

“But Brad is like making it his personal mission to get me ‘saved’ or something, so the subject comes up regularly.”

“I finally put my foot down about not wanting to go to church with them and it turned into a big argument.”

“My mom asked me to just go and keep the peace for the younger kids because it’s something we do as a family.”

“So, I go and mostly just read, but I don’t lie about why I’m there or my religion if someone asks me a question. It p**ses Brad and my mom off, but I figure if they don’t like it, they could have let me stay home.”

The situation escalated at the most recent Sunday school class.

“The problem is that the Sunday school teacher for my age group is a real piece of work and thinks we’re all stupid because we’re teenage girls. So he likes to go into a lot of biblical Greek translation stuff to make himself look smart.”

“The only thing is he’s almost always totally wrong.”

“My dad sends me to private school, and I took two years of Ancient Greek (I’m taking Latin now) and I know he’s bulls**tting people.”

“So I brought an interlinear New Testament and a Koine Greek dictionary with me this week, and when he got started, I corrected him.”

“Not in a mean way, but just like, ‘Wow, that’s not what it says here at all, can you explain more?’ and ‘Oh, that’s weird, because that’s not how Brill defines that word.'”

“The dude was turning red by the end of it and asked me to stop interrupting, so I just shrugged and said I was trying to learn.”

“He told the pastor, and the pastor told Brad that I’m not allowed to come to Sunday school anymore because I’m disrespectful.”

“So Brad and my mom are mad and want me to apologize for derailing class instead of just getting through quietly, but I don’t know.”

The OP was conflicted about what to do going forward.

“I explained to my mom and Brad what happened, but they just said that was rude, and Brad tried to make an argument about it being a different kind of Greek (but it’s not).”

“I don’t think anyone at the church really cares, to be honest.”

“My dad doesn’t like what’s going on at all and said if it gets out of hand, I should let him know.”

“I’m spending the Christmas holiday with him this week and next week, so we’re going to talk about changing up the living arrangement, and I may just continue to stay there after New Year’s.”

“AITA?”

Fellow Redditors weighed in:

  • NTA: Not the A**hole
  • YTA: You’re the A**hole
  • ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
  • NAH: No A**holes Here

Some were glad that the OP stood up for herself and asked educational questions. 

“Girl, you are going to kick a** and take names in this world! And there are going to be a lot of ruffled feathers along the way as you clearly well know, but you just keep at it, and I admire you.”

“I wish I had your confidence and psychological fortitude as a teenager, but even now I could stand for a dose or two of your strength! Not to mention your intelligence!”

“I hope this whole situation works out for you justly and you can stop being subjected to this indoctrination.”

“In the meantime, I hope you have another adult who can be in your corner on this too. You shouldn’t have to fight alone, even if you’re more than capable.”

“NTA in the slightest; don’t let this world diminish that fiery spirit you’ve got.” – rubyredrising

“Classics (Latin, Greek, and Classical Civilisation) teacher here. Just wanted to say I’m so proud of you, and I also got kicked out of Sunday School as a teenager for similar.”

“If you can talk to your dad or another trusted adult about this, please do. You sound smart and confident, but it’s always good to have an extra backup.” – Knit2Purl2PSSO

“NTA.”

“You proved that the purpose of the Sunday school ‘lesson’ was not about learning. If it were, the teacher would have been happy to have a discussion with you.”

“The adults who are trying to force you to attend and agree with something that you don’t believe in don’t respect your opinions, yet expect that you should respect theirs. That’s not how respect works.” – medievalsandwich34

“I grew up in church and hated it most of the time until I left and really explored my beliefs. I found a church that actually seems to match up with what I think Christianity is supposed to be, but the reality is that’s not the norm, especially in America.”

“The idea that someone has to go to church and just sit there quietly is so ridiculous to me… there’s no benefit, at all, to that except to make others think your family is all doing Christianity the ‘right way.'”

“It’s garbage, and it’s the reason everybody hates the church. Hypocrites ruin the entire point of institutions like this.” – dereksalem

“First of all, when I read your original post, you had me grinning. The guy is trying to bulls**t to make himself look important, and he got shown up by a 16-year-old. And a girl no less (THE HORROR).”

“You need to tell your dad all of this. He may have to go back to court to change the custody arrangement but with the information about the church and how it’s being forced on you.”

“You’re 16. The judge is going to take your feelings and preferences into account. You need to find out the name of the church and Google it. You may need the information on their website and any Sunday school materials for evidence in court.”

“What is wrong with your mother? Is she so desperate to have a man in her life that she’s willing to join an oppressive cult?” – Little-Gur-5233

Others were concerned about how the OP’s mom and stepdad were treating her.

“NTA.”

“Good on you for standing up to the indoctrination. Disgusting behavior from your Mom and Brad for forcing you into something you’ve explicitly told them you want no part of.”

“Had they just listened to you from the beginning, this entire situation could have been avoided.” – ShakeyBacon

“Have you talked to your dad about it? Religious education can often be part of the custody agreement, and your dad could reasonably bring up that he wants to alter the custody agreement to include religious education if it’s not there.”

“I suspect your mom would be likely to drop it at that point.” – Honeycrispcombe

“OP, you and your post get an upvote from me. Way to go with using source material/language to debunk what the guy was trying to pass off as ‘the truth.'”

“Sadly, that church (and Brad) wants mindless indoctrination, not actual soul-searching and questioning. don’t let them railroad you into doing something you don’t want to do.”

“NTA.”

“Also, get your dad to bring up custody again so that you can tell the judge that you do not want Sundays (or any other church days) with your mother?” – RndmIntrntStranger

“NTA. Tell your dad that they are forcing you into religious indoctrination, his custody lawyer will have a field day.” – MaxV331

“The fact that Brad wants to convert you pushes this over the line into an issue that I think your dad should be bringing up with your mother.”

“I don’t know what kind of legal agreement they have regarding visitation and what both parents need to agree on, but I’m wondering if something could be mandated in that agreement (at your father’s instigation).”

“I think both parents usually have to come to some kind of agreement about what religion a child will be.” – Classroom_Visual

“Hiking is an activity, or Friday night movies, or even volunteering somewhere.”

“This is religious indoctrination, it’s not on the same level as ‘this is our family activity, come to join us.'”

“That you had questions and evidence as to why you’re asking, and they kicked you out says this was never about anything but pushing an agenda.”

“Your mom may have to deal with the fact that you’re not going to humor your stepdad’s hobbies and it’s not your job to keep his kids from realizing there are other ways to live (I suspect part of this is he wants to keep tight control of the household, and questions breed rebellion).” – Steamedfrog

The subReddit was openly concerned for the OP’s well-being while staying with her mother and stepdad, who were clearly trying to push a belief system rather than a form of education.

They also made it clear that they hoped the OP’s dad could take her in since he was clearly interested in her education after placing her in a school that taught her Greek in the first place.

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan lives in North Chicago, where she works as a poet, freelance writer, and editor. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Western Michigan University, and her BA in English from Indiana University South Bend. Her poems have appeared in Rogue Agent, Whale Road Review, the James Franco Review, Thank You for Swallowing, and elsewhere; and her essays and book reviews have appeared with Memoir Mixtapes, The Rumpus, BookPage, and Motherly, among others. When she's not reading and writing, she's in her garden or spending time with her family. For more, visit www.mckenzielynntozan.com.