A few days ago, I was engaged in a debate with my friend George on the issue of „icons in schools”. The word „innocence” came to the foreground of the discussion at some point. The implication on my friend’s side was that the religious message in the minds of children (from such an early age) somehow deprives them of their innocence.

Today, opening my google page, the first headline from cnn.com presented an unheard of case of „Three boys, 8 and 9, charged with raping 11-year-old girl” (http://edition.cnn.com/2007/US/law/11/19/child.rape/index.html). I was instantly made to wonder what part mass-media played (for I suspect it played a serious part) in getting these children engage in such (mis)conduct.

I don’t want to comment much on the issue, but my intuition is that the vulgarity which especially television instils in the minds of children from the earliest ages, combined with the general frame of mind characteristic of the secular society, which tries to secure more and more „rights” for us to do whatever we please [provided we don’t hurt others, they say, but how can you make sure that children will discern what will or will not hurt others in the process?] cannot but lead to such effects as the one witnessed by the headline quoted above.

For me, in the light of my previous debates, the question boils down to this: who/what actually deprives children of their innocence in our modern, liberated societies? Is it the presence of religious symbols and education in the public schools? Is it the values promoted by the Western pop-culture? Anything else?