Janet HeimlichThis blog post originally appeared on Religious Child Maltreatment.

As we approach the holidays, we are often reminded of just how much religion permeates our culture. Christmas trees, menorahs, Kwanzaa traditions, Santa at the mall (for children who believe), holiday music on every radio station. December also marks the beginning of the Islamic New Year.

We can’t get away from it. During this time of year, symbols of faith are ubiquitous.

With the exception of some extremists who feel their holiday is not getting enough attention, most people seem happy to celebrate alongside others who share different beliefs. We should not take this for granted, because when it comes to improving the lives of children who are raised with faith, one of the biggest obstacles seems to be disdain for other people’s beliefs. Read more 

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Janet Heimlich is an award-winning journalist and the author of "Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment," the first book to fully examine the issue of child abuse and neglect enabled by religious belief. In 2012, Janet founded the Child-Friendly Faith Project whose mission is to share knowledge and build community around the issue of religious child maltreatment (RCM) and advocate for and empower those whose lives are impacted by RCM. She also sits on the board of directors of Foundation Beyond Belief and co-hosts the podcast, "Parenting Beyond Belief." Prior to becoming a child advocate, Janet was a freelance reporter for National Public Radio, work for which she won numerous journalism awards; she has also written nonfiction articles for such publications as Texas Monthly and the Texas Observer.

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