Vjack at Atheist Revolution writes about the abhorrent behavior of so many Christian children:
Imagine yourself back in the third grade. It is recess, and you are with your classmates on the playground. There is a teacher in the vicinity, but the supervision is fairly minimal. Suddenly, a group of 6 or more children approach you and say something along the lines of, "Have you been saved?" You are not sure what to make of the question, so other questions about your religious beliefs and experiences follow. Without understanding the consequences, you tell them that you and your family are atheists, Jews, Catholics, Buddhists, non-fundamentalist Protestants, etc.
The children start calling you names and hurling insults at you. If you happen to be Jewish, you will hear things that would make neo-Nazi's proud. You are a sinner. You are going to burn in a lake of fire. You will rot in hell. They form a circle around you, holding hands to make sure you can't easily escape. They tell you that the only way you can save yourself is to accept Jee-zuhs. They begin praying around you loudly to "save your soul."
The teacher, if he/she even notices what is happening shrugs it off. Maybe he or she cannot see that you are crying by now. It does not look like the children are touching you, so there seems little cause to disrupt the activity. Maybe the teacher even approves of what the children are doing. After all, he or she may have been raised in this culture of intolerance.
This, dear reader, is a prayer circle.
I think it is beyond question that Christian children who do this did not get the idea entirely on their own, nor do they act entirely without parental approval. No, I think it's pretty certain that the parents of these children encourage such practices, at least implicitly through their own bad examples, and approve of it continuing. And why not? Such disrespectful behavior and attitudes are common in the proselytization of conservative evangelicals. Non-Christian adults have to deal with it far too often, so it's not a surprise that children would be subjected to it as well.
Where are the school authorities? They don't recognize that anything wrong is happening. Or they don't want to get involved and upset the many Christians in the community by infringing on "freedom of religion" (where religious freedom means the freedom to harass). Or they agree with the behavior because they, too, believe that non-Christians must be saved at any cost. What's a little harassment if it means ensuring that a soul isn't tormented in hell forever?
This behavior says a lot about what such Christians think about non-Christians. Although they may proclaim the importance of "tolerance" and "respect" whenever atheists are openly critical of their beliefs, they have no interest in showing tolerance or respect towards other religions, much less to atheism. After all, they have the truth and it's unreasonable for those with the truth to respect falsehoods ó right? Such attitudes have been important in Christianity for millennia ó violent eras like the Crusades probably wouldnít have been possible, otherwise.