A Strange Form of Indoctrination
The Western religions by no means have a monopoly on childhood indoctrination. This is perhaps one of the more bizarre examples of that:
The journey from Jigme Wangchuk to His Holiness Galwa Lorepa; the journey from Boston, USA to Drukpa Sangag Choeling Monastery in Dali, near Darjeeling town in North Bengal was definitely a trying and testing time for both 11-year-old Jigme, his parents and his sister.
However, for the Drukpa Kagyu Sect of Tantrayana Buddhism (Lamaism), it was a time for boundless exhilaration as they had found one of the Gyalwa Namsum (Three Victorious Ones) after a long gap of more than 700 years.
Born in Boston, USA, Jigme Wangchuk was identified as the first reincarnation of HH Galwa Lorepa of the Drukpa Kagyu sect, a reincarnation after more than 700 years. With Jigme Wangchuk coming to Darjeeling even his parents have sold their family business in the USA and come to Darjeeling to stay here and serve him. His sister also will be studying in Darjeeling henceforth.
Talking to HT, he stated it is a big transition. “I do miss being a joyful school boy. I miss my home, my grandparents, aunts and uncles. However, being a Rinpoche is such a great honour and I feel blessed with my past responsibilities.
“My parents keep visiting me here in the monsatery and they told me that they have moved here to serve me and take care of me. As for my friends, I will contact them through emails,” he added.
HH Galwa Lorepa has withdrawn himself (own will) from Grade 5 of St. Peter School in Boston. Henceforth he will be continuing his monastic studies in the Druk Sangag Choeling Monastery in Darjeeling.
However, the transition from a USA schoolboy to one of the heads of a Buddhist sect has not been an easy one for the family. Dechen, mother of Jigme talking to HT stated, “He used to always talk of his past life but we did not take it seriously, dubbing it as a young mind fantasies. Two years back we were visiting South India on a holiday. One afternoon at the Kagyu Nalanda Monsatery in Mysore, Jigme suddenly stopped playing and started narrating his past life as if in a trance.”
Perhaps the parents should have trusted their first instinct about this young boy’s childhood fantasies – now he really believes that he is a reincarnation of some 700 year old religious guru.
Global progress towards banning all corporal punishment of children
From End Corporal Punishment official web site. In the following text the hypertext links, italicized, are deactivated. Please visit the web site.
In many states the law provides defences for parents, other carers and teachers who use corporal punishment to discipline children: provisions which allow “reasonable chastisement” or “lawful correction”. In addition there may be education laws providing for corporal punishment in schools and laws allowing corporal punishment in penal institutions and as a sentence of the courts.
Law reform to end corporal punishment involves removing any provisions authorising corporal punishment and removing any special defences that may exist, so that the criminal law on assault applies equally to any assault of a child, whether or not it is described as discipline. It is a fundamental principle of human rights – upheld in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, article 7 and in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, article 26 – that all are entitled to equal protection of the law without discrimination.
In some states the law is silent on corporal punishment of children, but nevertheless it is socially and legally accepted and therefore explicit prohibition is required.
Click (active link at the web site) for the latest summary information on progress towards universal prohibition, and selected facts and figures on states pursuing reform and states so far resisting.
Click (active link at the web site) for information of legislation in states which have achieved full prohibition.
Worldwide, corporal punishment in schools has been prohibited in at least 108 states. But at least 78 states have not prohibited corporal punishment as a disciplinary measure in penal institutions for children in conflict with the law, and 43 have not prohibited it as a judicial sentence of the courts for young people convicted of an offence.
Our online global table shows data for all states and dependent territories on the extent of prohibition in three categories: Home; School; Penal system. Listed alphabetically, select from below
TABLE A-D | TABLE E-H | TABLE I-L | TABLE M-P | TABLE Q-T | TABLE U-Z (active links at the web site)
Also available from the table are individual reports for each state, with details of laws relating to corporal punishment in the home, schools, penal system and alternative care settings, as well as summaries of prevalence research and extracts from recommendations made by human rights treaty bodies. Click here for individual state reports.
Our global and regional tables, available as PDF files (updated August 2009), summarise the extent of prohibition in the home, schools, as a sentence for crime, as a disciplinary measure in penal institutions, and in alternative care settings. Download from here:
[Please visit the web site for latest data]
This analysis has been compiled from information from governmental and non-governmental sources, including reports on implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Every effort is made to maintain its accuracy. Please send us updating information and details of sources for missing information: email@example.com.
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James Dobson just has to be responsible for many psycopaths in America
Dr. Dobsons advice books have sold millions of copies and even though his prescriptions have been refuted over and over, he contines to reap millions of dollars from sales of his books. This can only be occurring because his buyers are Idiot Americans who have been raised by other Idiot Americans to follow dogma and superstition and avoid reason at all costs.
Advice of violence-prevention professionals compared to advice of James Dobson
Compiled by Eric Perlin
A critical look at the evangelical right’s leading proponent of violent authoritarianism in the family, Dr. James Dobson, through quotes from his best-selling publications. In the following material, Dobson’s admonitions (shown here in green when viewed with Netscape) are juxtaposed for easy comparison to the advice of experts in the fields of domestic violence and child-sexual-abuse prevention. (shown in italics for this post)
Psychologists Ronald Slaby and Wendy Roedell: “(O)ne of the most reliable predictors of children’s level of aggression is the heavy use by parents of harsh, punitive discipline and physical punishment… Parental punitiveness has been found to be positively correlated with children’s aggression in over 25 studies…(P)arental punishment is one important aspect of a general pattern of intercorrelated parental behaviors that influence the child’s aggression.” 1
James Dobson: “Contrary to what it might seem, (a child) is more likely to be a violent person if his parent fails to (spank him), because he learns too late about the painful consequences of acting selfishly, rebelliously, and aggressively.”2
Protect Your Child by Laura Hutton: “Every child should be taught that he has personal rights that should be respected by all adults…’I have the right to say no if someone touches or wants to touch the private parts of my body.’ ” 3
James Dobson: “A spanking is to be reserved for use in response to willful defiance, whenever it occurs. Period!” 4
Victims Information Bureau of Suffolk County: “The pain a woman feels cannot be measured by how many bruises she has on her body… Most women report that even if the physical abuse is not severe, the emotional trauma from being abused by someone they love has long-lasting effects.” 5
James Dobson: “When a youngster tries this kind of stiff-necked rebellion, you had better take it out of him, and pain is a marvelous purifier.” 6 “…It is not necessary to beat the child into submission; a little bit of pain goes a long way for a young child. However, the spanking should be of sufficient magnitude to cause the child to cry genuinely.” 7
Victims Information Bureau of Suffolk County: “Many men make statements such as, ‘My partner makes me hit her.’ Blaming the victim is an easy way of denying responsibility for your own behavior…. No matter what your partner does, you don’t have the right to hurt her.” 8
James Dobson: “Some strong-willed children absolutely demand to be spanked, and their wishes should be granted.”9
Protect Your Child: ” I have a right to scream for help even if I am told by a molester to be quiet and obey….l don’t have to obey someone who hurts me or wants to hurt me.” 10
James Dobson: “Two or three stinging strokes on the legs or buttocks with a switch are usually sufficient to emphasize the point, ‘You must obey me.’ ” 11
Suffolk County Women’s Services: “You cannot end the violence by trying to be ‘better’ or by trying harder to please your abuser.” 12
James Dobson: “You can explain (to your child) why he has been punished and how he can avoid the difficulty next time.” 13
The Safe Child Book by Sherryl Kerns Kraizer: “We need to look at the ways in which we teach our children to be blindly obedient to adults and authority figures. Most children do not know they can say no to a police officer, a teacher, a principal, a counselor, a minister, a baby-sitter, or a parent when an inappropriate request is made.” 14
James Dobson: “By learning to yield to the loving authority…of his parents, a child learns to submit to other forms of authority which will confront him later in his life — his teachers, school principal, police, neighbors and employers.” 15
Suffolk County Women’s Services: “You have a right to a life free from abuse.” 16
James Dobson: “Most (children) need to be spanked now and then.” 17
The Safe Child Book: “Young children tell me that some of the ways they don’t like to be touched are: kisses on the mouth, getting their shirts tucked in by grown-ups, being picked up, having their hair stroked, having to kiss Grandma and Grandpa or Mom and Dad’s friends… They can be unwanted touch, just as sexual abuse is unwanted touch… It is important to respect children’s preferences. By learning to say no to one type of touching, children learn to say no to the other.” 18
James Dobson: “Minor pain can…provide excellent motivation for the child… There is a muscle, lying snugly against the base of the neck… When firmly squeezed, it sends little messengers to the brain saying, ‘This hurts; avoid recurrence at all costs’.” 19
Victims Information Bureau of Suffolk County: “Men who abuse do so in order to maintain power and control over their partners.” 20
James Dobson: “A child wants to be controlled.” 21 “… The need to be controlled and governed is almost universal in childhood… It is through loving control that parents express personal worth to a child.” 22
The Safe Child Book: “Private parts include the genital area, the buttocks, and the breasts. It is sometimes easier for parents to say something like ‘The parts of your body that your bathing suit and underwear cover up are special parts of your body. You can touch yourself there, but other people shouldn’t. except if you’re sick or at the doctor. Those same parts of the body are special for other people and it’s not okay for someone older than you to touch you…’ ” 23
James Dobson: “If a parent responds appropriately, on the backside, he has taught the child a valuable lesson…” 24
Victims Information Bureau of Suffolk County: If your partner has to change her behavior in order to keep herself free from your physical or verbal assaults… then she is being abused.” 25
James Dobson: “Corporal punishment in the hands of a loving parent is a teaching tool by which harmful behavior is inhibited.” 26
Child Sexual Abuse Prevention: Tips to Parents: “Children who may be too frightened to talk about sexual molestation may exhibit a variety of physical and behavioral signals. …Symptoms (include):..excessive crying…” 27
James Dobson: “Real crying usually lasts two minutes or less, but may continue for five. After that point, the child is merely complaining… I would require him to stop the protest crying, usually by offering him a little more of whatever caused the original tears.” 28
Victims Information Bureau of Suffolk County: “Batterers over-personalize their partner’s behavior, perceiving any disagreements as attacks against him.” 29
James Dobson: “When a child has lowered his head and clenched his fist, he is daring the parent to take him on.” 30
Child Sexual Abuse Prevention: Tips to Parents: “Other behavioral signals (that indicate a child may have been sexually molested include)…aggressive or disruptive behavior…” 31
James Dobson: “An appropriate spanking from a loving parent in a moment of defiance provides (a) service. It tells (the child)…he must steer clear of certain social traps… selfishness, dishonesty, unprovoked aggression, etc.” 32
Victims Information Bureau of Suffolk County: “When trying to resolve a conflict, look for ‘WIN-WIN’ solutions, where both of you feel that the resolution is acceptable. Don’t make your partner into your opponent. Remember that the goal is to solve a problem, not have the ‘upper hand’.” 33
James Dobson: “When you are defiantly challenged, win decisively.” 34
1. Slaby and Roedell, “The Development and Regulation of Aggression in Young Children,” in Judith Worell, ed., Psychological Development in the Elementary Years (New York: Academic Press, 1982), pp. 98, 106, 107.
2. Dobson, James, Dare to Discipline, Tyndale House and Bantam Books, p. 41.
3. Huchton, Laura M., Protect Your Child, Prentice-Hall, Inc., p. 71.
4. Dobson, James, The Strong-Willed Child, Tyndale House and Bantam Books, p. 37.
5. Domestic Partner Education Program, Victims’ Information Education Bureau of Suffolk, p. 10.
6. Dare to Discipline, p. 16.
7. Dare to Discipline, p. 23.
8. Domestic Partner Education Program, , p. 7.
9. The Strong-Willed Child, , p. 73.
10. Protect Your Child, p. 71.
11. The Strong-Willed Child, pp. 53-4.
12. Confronting Family Violence, Suffolk County Women’s Services, p. 3.
13. Dare to Discipline, p. 23.
14. Krazier, Sherryl Kerns, The Safe Child Book, Dell Publishing Company, lnc., p. 98.
15. The Strong-Willed Child, p. 235.
16. Confronting Family Violence p. 3.
17. The Strong-Willed Child, p. 63.
18. The Safe Child Book, p. 47.
19. Dare to Discipline, p. 26.
20. Domestic Partner Education Program, p. 4.
21. Dare to Discipline, p. 16.
22. Dare to Discipline, p. 39.
23. The Safe Child Book, p. 48.
24. Dare to Discipline, p. 40.
25. Domestic Partner Education Program, p. 5
26. The Strong-Willed Child, p.35.
27. Child Sexual Abuse Prevention: Tips to Parents, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Human Development Services, Administration for Children, Youth and Families, National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect.
28. Dare to Discipline, p.38.
29. Domestic Partner Education Program, p. 9.
30. Dare to Discipline, p. 40.
31. Child Sexual Abuse Prevention: Tips to Parents
32. The Strong-Willed Child, p. 36.
33. Domestic Partner Education Program, p. 17.
34. Dare to Discipline, p. 36.
See Eric Perlin vs. Stephen B.
UN agency adopted a new general comment in 2006 on corporal punishment
In 2006 the Committee on the Rights of the Child adopted a new General Comment on the issue of corporal punishment
The Committee’s General Comment on Corporal Punishment
At its 42nd session, held in Geneva from 15 May to 2 June 2006, the Committee on the Rights of the Child adopted a new General Comment on the issue of corporal punishment. This is the first General Comment concerning the protection of children from all forms of violence which the Committee resolved to publish following its Days of General Discussion on violence against children in 2000 and 2001. It reflects the Committee’s commitment to address the problem of corporal punishment, which dates back to the early days of monitoring the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and which has consistently informed the Committee’s recommendations to States parties over the years.
General Comment No.8 (2006) on “The right to protection from corporal punishment and other cruel or degrading forms of punishment (arts. 19; 28, para. 2; and 37, inter alia)” aims “to highlight the obligation of all States parties to move quickly to prohibit and eliminate all corporal punishment and all other cruel or degrading forms of punishment of children and to outline the legislative and other awareness-raising and educational measures that States must take” (para 2). As well as being an obligation of States parties under the Convention on the Rights of the Child, addressing and eliminating corporal punishment of children is “a key strategy for reducing and preventing all forms of violence in societies” (para 3).
The Committee defines corporal punishment in paragraph 11 of the General Comment:
“The Committee defines ‘corporal’ or ‘physical’ punishment as any punishment in which physical force is used and intended to cause some degree of pain or discomfort, however light. Most involves hitting (‘smacking’, ‘slapping’, ‘spanking’) children, with the hand or with an implement – whip, stick, belt, shoe, wooden spoon, etc. But it can also involve, for example, kicking, shaking or throwing children, scratching, pinching, burning, scalding or forced ingestion (for example, washing children’s mouths out with soap or forcing them to swallow hot spices). In the view of the Committee, corporal punishment is invariably degrading. In addition, there are other non-physical forms of punishment which are also cruel and degrading and thus incompatible with the Convention. These include, for example, punishment which belittles, humiliates, denigrates, scapegoats, threatens, scares or ridicules the child.”
Children are subjected to such punishment in all settings and must be addressed and eliminated in all settings, including within the home and family.
The Committee distinguishes between violence and humiliation as forms of punishment, which it rejects, and discipline of children in the form of “necessary guidance and direction”, which is essential for healthy growth of children. The Committee also differentiates between punitive physical actions against children and physical interventions aimed at protecting children from harm.
Human rights standards
The foundations of the human rights obligation to prohibit and eliminate all corporal punishment and all other degrading forms of punishment lie in the rights of every person to respect for his/her dignity and physical integrity and to equal protection under the law. The Committee traces this back to the original International Bill of Human Rights – “The dignity of each and every individual is the fundamental guiding principle of international human rights law” (para 16) – and shows how the Convention on the Rights of the Child builds on these principles. Quoting article 19 of the Convention, which requires States to protect children “from all forms of physical or mental violence”, the Committee states (para 18):
“… There is no ambiguity: ‘all forms of physical or mental violence’ does not leave room for any level of legalized violence against children. Corporal punishment and other cruel or degrading forms of punishment are forms of violence and the State must take all appropriate legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to eliminate them.”
The fact that article 19 and article 28 – on school discipline – do not specifically refer to corporal punishment does not in any way undermine the obligation to prohibit and eliminate it (paras 20, 21 and 22):
“… the Convention, like all human rights instruments, must be regarded as a living instrument, whose interpretation develops over time. In the 17 years since the Convention was adopted, the prevalence of corporal punishment of children in their homes, schools and other institutions has become more visible, through the reporting process under the Convention and through research and advocacy by, among others, national human rights institutions and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
“Once visible, it is clear that the practice directly conflicts with the equal and inalienable rights of children to respect for their human dignity and physical integrity. The distinct nature of children, their initial dependent and developmental state, their unique human potential as well as their vulnerability, all demand the need for more, rather than less, legal and other protection from all forms of violence.
“The Committee emphasizes that eliminating violent and humiliating punishment of children, through law reform and other necessary measures, is n immediate and unqualified obligation of States parties….”
The Committee goes on to note that this approach is mirrored in the work of other international human rights treaty monitoring bodies and of regional human rights mechanisms, including the European Court of Human Rights, the Inter-American Court of Human
Rights, and the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
Common arguments by governments against prohibition of all corporal punishment are also addressed by the Committee. For example, in response to the contention that a certain degree of “reasonable” or “moderate” corporal punishment is in the “best interests” of the child, the Committee states that “interpretation of a child’s best interests must be consistent with the whole Convention, including the obligation to protect children from all forms of violence and the requirement to give due weight to the child’s views; it cannot be used to justify practices, including corporal punishment and other forms of cruel or degrading punishment, which conflict with the child’s human dignity and right to physical integrity” (para 26). And there is no conflict between realising children’s rights and the importance of the family unit, which the Convention fully upholds. The Committee recognises that some justify the use of corporal punishment through religious faith teachings and texts but again notes that “practice of a religion or belief must be consistent with respect for others’ human dignity and physical integrity” and that “[f]reedom to practice one’s religion or belief may be legitimately limited in order to protect the fundamental rights and freedoms of others” (para 29).
You can continue reading the comments here:
Click the Wiki link below the map of Europe to see the latest data.
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Religious objections to our laws
I had the temerity to suggest on a public forum that male circumcision was a barbaric practice. That raised a lot of hackles and you cannot imagine how long that thread lasted and how hard it was to get people to stop posting and move on. I happen to earnestly believe that genital mutilation is barbaric for males and even more so for females, although far more males suffer at the present time. Now, many states have enacted laws with stiff punishments for those involved with female genital mutilation. People entering the country are warned about the law and given explicit information about what will happen to them if they disobey the law. Female genital mutilation cases open the opportunity to press equal protection claims in the courts because females are clearly being favored by such law. Such a legal shift might sidestep the contentious first amendment religious freedom claims that are at the heart of so much abuse of children by religious objectors and their defenders.
Hypocrites claim humans are the perfect creation of a god, then set about remodeling his handiwork. If I understand the religious justification, the Jews insist on this blood sacrifice rite to prove their fealty to god. The surprising thing is that even secular Jews insist on doing this because of tribal pressure to conform. It is clear that Jewish parents, who do not suffer, use there male children as instruments to maintain their standing in the tribe. Well, I say why not slice off one of your ear lobes instead? Why wouldn’t that work as a blood sacrifice rite? Find another way to please your god if you have to. Just leave your child out of it until he is old enough to make adult decisions for his own benefit.
Fortunately, the international trend seems to favor laws against circumcision of both males and females. The Canadian medical system will not pay for the procedure any longer and stricter laws apply. At least among civilized people attitudes are changing, and this is the first step in any civil rights campaign. The really good news is that as the religious justification is defeated in courts, the decisions will pile up and eventually legislatures and courts will strengthen the hand of child rights advocates in other areas where children are abused because of religious objections. Right now there is not enough momentum so we are still at the stage where education and persuasion are needed.
The only reason circumcision is not outlawed in the United States (either by law or by popular outcry) is because society defers to the religious sensibilities of Jews (and perhaps Muslims) because it is after all a religious rite. For generations, we have been taught not to question the religious rites of others lest they question ours (or worse question our lack of religion) and then we get into huge interminable non-productive fights. Over dogma. Looking at circumcision scientifically and dispassionately we can see there may be a case for male circumcision perhaps, perhaps in Africa and other parts of the world where men are not educated about personal hygiene and prevention of STDs and AIDS. Here in the US education, condoms, soap, and water is all that is required.
However, we have the Oregon Supreme Court case of a young 12 year old boy that was told by a lower court that his father could have him circumcised: http://www.nysun.com/article/65926 I think four Jewish groups leaped to the defense of the father. Not the boy mind you − the father. The boy never appeared in court to testify. The lower court was completely disinterested in hearing what he had to say about his own penis. Such a stark example shows how absolutely stone deaf we are to the plight of children. Fortunately the Oregon Supreme Court issued a ruling that turned the case back to the lower court with instructions to question the boy. So far no final ruling on this so far as I know.
Abandonment of the child is the common thread that runs through all of the injustices heaped on helpless children. Jurisdictions permit practices for supposed noble religious freedom reasons, but in reality there are hidden and selfish parental motives if you dig deeply enough. In the case of the Amish you don’t have to dig that deep. Amish communities have been allowed to survive through statutory exceptions especially carved out for them in the law. If these exceptions were not granted do we really believe that a cultic group like this would still be functioning in our midst? Remember their history. The Anabaptists were violently suppressed at gunpoint by angry Swiss where they originated. They have had several hundred years to make their case for continuing to exist and that is long enough, in fact it is too long. So let’s revoke the statues that permit them to abuse their children and overturn the Yoder Supreme Court decision. If the Amish are on to something really great they will flourish and we will all be riding around in horse drawn carriages and reading our bibles by candlelight in a matter of years.
We must stop allowing religious objections to interfere with teaching about science, sexuality and human reproduction. Even the liberal state of California permits parents to shield their children from sex-ed and sex bias education which secular children are able to profit from to build better, healthier lives. Systemic inequalities are thus built in to state policies. If your parents are obstinate enough and stupid enough you get the shaft. Sorry kid. Furthermore, the Supreme Court ruled:
In essence, under the Constitution public schools are entitled to teach anything that is reasonably related to the goals of preparing students to become engaged and productive citizens in our democracy. Diversity is a hallmark of our nation. It is increasingly evident that our diversity includes differences in sexual orientation. Our nation’s history includes a fundamental commitment to promoting mutual respect among citizens in our diverse nation that is manifest in the First Amendment’s prohibitions on establishing an official religion and restricting the free exercise of religious beliefs on which plaintiffs base some of their federal claims. Our history also includes instances of individual and official discrimination against gays and lesbians, among others. It is reasonable for public educators to each elementary school students about individuals with different sexual orientations and about various forms of families, including those with same-sex parents, in an effort to eradicate the effects of past discrimination, to reduce the risk of future discrimination and, in the process, to reaffirm our nation’s constitutional commitment to promoting mutual respect among members of our diverse society. In addition, it is reasonable for those educators to find that teaching young children to understand and respect differences in sexual orientation will contribute to an academic environment in which students who are gay, lesbian, or the children of same-sex parents will be comfortable and, therefore, better able to learn.
Case 1:06-cv-10751-MLW Document 36 Filed 02/23/2007 Page 4 of 38
Besides circumcision there are the other medical exemptions that are carved out for Jehovah’s Witnesses (12 million) and the Christian Scientists (estimated at 194,000 in 2001 but there is little confidence in the true number) on strictly free exercise of religion grounds. Many of these children suffer and die (statistics are difficult to locate). Do we have a constitutional form of government or a Christian theocracy? If we are a theocracy then we had better start following the Koran and all the other religious texts if we want to be fair. We are either neutral or we are not. Favoring Christian or Jewish bible texts doesn’t look neutral to me.
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Abuses Against Children Persist Despite Rights Convention
By Lisa Schlein
08 October 2009
Child rights advocates have kicked off more than a month of global activities leading up to the 20th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Convention, which was adopted by the U.N. General Assembly on November 20, 1989, is the most widely ratified international human rights treaty. Every country in the world, except the United States and Somalia, has ratified it.
Before the Convention on the Rights of the Child came into force in 1989, most of the world thought children should be seen and not heard. Now, 20 years later, some of their voices are being heard, but their rights continue to be violated.
“I believe every child has the right to feel safe, protected from armed conflict, abuse, child labor, trafficking, exploitation. It is really very simple. No child should have to suffer at the hands of others. Not one,” says UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, Hollywood actress, Mia Farrow, who has been fighting for the rights of children for years.
Senator Barbara Boxer and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are moving to accomplish US Senate ratification of the UN CRC. Political analysts say there are votes in the Senate to accomplish ratification, but it may be a tough battle given the unmitigated opposition by fringe partisans who seemingly speak for the Republican party these days. The preposterous lies and distortions they are spreading about the convention are beyond the pale.
Ratification is merely the first step. The difficult challenge will come when state and federal laws will have to be adapted to the requirements of the convention. One obstacle is the prohibition of executing minors which is legal in Texas. Corporal punishment is still legal in 20 states even though there is consensus by child development experts that this reprehensible practice is counter productive. Over 60 nations have made it a crime to strike a child. We must govern ourselves by reason not dogma.
The UN CRC is not just about child soldiers in Africa or elsewhere, or the trafficking of children for illicit purposes. Approximately 9,000,000 American children suffered abuse or neglect in a recent year where data is available.
The Republican religious fringe must not be permitted to seize control of our national debate like they did with health care reform. Shout them down and shut them up, they have no legitimate standing.
“Folks, this is scary stuff! Big Brother (Governments) want to take over our rights as parents and have children tell us what to do! The devil loves to twist around the natural order that Almighty God has made, we are in dark times!”
– Deacon John
Quoted from the web site: http://deaconforlife.blogspot.com/2009/06/childs-rights-forces-mobilize.html
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Freedom of conscience is the root of all our freedoms
Freedom of conscience is the root of all our freedoms because no one can be a self directing individual free of parents, governments or religious institutions without this bedrock principle. The men most responsible for the bill of rights, Jefferson and Madison, had a clear notion that freedom of conscience was the principle they were protecting in the first amendment. Madison wrote: that religion “must be left to the conviction and conscience of every man; and it is the right of every man to exercise it as these may dictate”.
Accordingly, secular parents do not steer their children towards atheism, if they are wise. Instead the idea must be to explain the religious “menu” so that when they mature, children can place an order intelligently. This is the essence of the Humanist ethos. People of limited imagination believe that everyone shares their way of looking at the world and cannot put themselves in a humanist’s shoes. Theists think they are commanded by their holy books to dominate and control their children. I suppose they just cannot fathom the notion that children are persons in their own right with their own life to direct as they see fit. Or, that the prevailing ethos among atheists and Humanists is to NOT dominate their children but to help them learn how to make decisions for themselves based on rational thinking and self reflection.
Children did not ask to be born and they are under no obligation to fulfill some master plan of their parents and especially some master plan of a religious institution. Teaching a child to think for themselves is the best insurance a child could have against being duped into a cult or other controlling group of people. To succeed, the insidious indoctrination process must diminish the ability to reason. Instead of how to think for themselves, children are taught dogmatism and to distrust their own ability to think.
There are clearly different outcomes for children raised to enjoy intellectual autonomy (personal independence) and those burdened with intellectual heteronomy (the condition of being under the domination of an outside authority, either human or divine). In many churches, homes, and faith schools, children are taught intellectual heteronomy. I quote from Donald Capps’ book, “The Children’s Song, The Religious Abuse of Children”:
“What is at stake here is the freedom of children to think for themselves and to feel secure in the knowledge that adults will not hold their expressions of intellectual autonomy against them. Especially where biblical literalism is taught and practiced, and where punitive attitudes towards sinners are voiced and countenanced, children are unlikely to experience such freedom to think and reason for themselves. Rather, they are likely to feel that it is wrong for them to think for themselves and that, if they do, they are likely to incur the disapproval, if not the wrath, of precisely those adults who have power over them. Fearing the negative consequences of their exercise of intellectual autonomy, they are likely to overreact, to place even greater strictures on their own freedom of thought than these adults may have required of them.” (p. 59)
Parents who promote intellectual heteronomy likely grew up in such a stifling environment themselves and simply cannot imagine any other way of thinking or being. This is a key argument for ending childhood indoctrination. The chain must be severed once and for all. Every parent who contemplates imposing their religion on their children should study Donald Capps’ book before they do that.
Both Madison and Jefferson were strongly against any establishment of a state religion, although the practice was widespread in the original colonies. Today the most dangerous threat to our free and open society is coming from theocrats that sincerely want to sweep away the constitution and institute biblical laws. Seriously, and they managed to get G. W. Bush elected twice. Ok, I am drifting off topic.
Today, the institutions and parents do every thing they can to thwart the ability of children to grow up with a mind that is untainted by a particular flavor of faith. Parents are swayed by clerics, family members and co-religionists. However, freedom of conscience is an inalienable right which “people cannot possibly relinquish to civil government”. — Madison (or if you follow the logic to parents or priests).
Yet parents and clerics step all over this right for the simple reason that they are in a position to do so and they claim children are too young to exercise such a right. Well they are too young, but who says children need to choose at the ripe old age of three, or four?
Why on earth is religion different? Because it is religion, that’s why and a majority of religious people and the clerics want it that way because they know it will get harder to impress their wild improbable dogma on an adult mind. For all the noble justifications offered, there is little doubt that the institutions are in this indoctrination game to save their institutions. Which makes children simply instruments of their plan. In any other sphere of human activity, using others as instruments is an abhorrent practice. Not where religion is concerned.
The incredible fact is we reserve a special measure of loathing and disgust for people who mistreat small helpless animals or helpless people. Why? Precisely because they are vulnerable and helpless.
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An Ethical Dilemma: Childhood Conversion in Christian Fundamentalism
University of Sydney
Centre for Peace & Conflict Studies
An Ethical Dilemma: Childhood Conversion in Christian Fundamentalism
I strongly recommend reading Ms. Bennett’s dissertation, but in the interests of brevity will simply reproduce her conclusion here.
The child is the forgotten citizen, and yet, if statesmen and educationists once came to realise the terrific force that is in childhood for good or for evil, I feel they would give it priority above everything else. All problems of humanity depend on man himself; if man is disregarded in his construction, the problems will never be solved. –235 Montessori, The Forgotten Citizen
In addressing the scenario posed in Huntington’s Clash of Civilisations of a war between cultures, the accepted practice of enculturation must be considered. Recognising that some enculturation is a necessary basis for education it is critical that it is combined with cultivating the student’s ability to question traditions and to challenge the status quo should it be required. A fundamentalist paradigm transmits beliefs without engaging in critical thinking, with priority placed on conforming to a state of mind that combines belief in a single absolute truth with a complete trust placed on an authoritative book or person. In the case of Christian fundamentalism, this paradigm translates to the conviction that there is one True God, the Bible contains His authoritative word, and of a single exclusive path to salvation found only by conforming one’s mind to the narrative the church prescribes. As a consequence any person who does not conform to this narrative is seen as having “rejected God”, choosing instead to live life by their own rules and worship “fake” gods. These are their beliefs and consequently they bring their children up to believe the same thing; creating a perpetuating cycle of violence.
Many fundamentalists are not aware that their unchanging truth is in fact a new interpretation of a truth shaped by theological debates and politics over the last two millennia. Most are unaware that their interpretation of the Bible has been distorted by the modern paradigm from which they see it. They do not realise that by adopting a simplistic literal interpretation, without regard for Jewish midrashim and the role of mythos, prevents fundamentalists from understanding the “more-than-literal” meaning that the authors embedded in their writings. When children are brought up with in a fused premodern-modern paradigm based on a single unchangeable truth, they struggle to interact with the postmodern world and its many truths and constant change.
Insecurities grow as the now adolescent or adult fundamentalist feels that the basis from which they understand reality is under threat. If there is no absolute truth then how is one to distinguish what is good from what is evil? How can one evaluate all the conflicting truths that surround them? These fears lead to an even more distorted version of their religion, one caught up in identity and ideology.
Note: Juliet Bennett is seeking advice concerning publishing her dissertation. You can forward information to me.
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- Parents have an endless supply of justifications (endhereditaryreligion.com)
- Why Young Adults are Walking Away From Biblical Truth (codybateman.org)
Parents have an endless supply of justifications
One parent wrote to tell me that I could not understand the practice of indoctrinating young children because I did not believe what they believe, meaning I am not an indoctrinated Christian. He wrote that if Christians did not “indoctrinate” their children, they would be hypocrites. The scare quotes are his, not mine.
In reply, I wrote that I perfectly understand what this Christian and many other believers have said about the power of their belief and how they have no choice. To an outside objective observer that is not trapped in such a bubble of belief I can sympathize, but it does not lessen the fact that they are deluded to believe that they have some kind of ultimate truth that will save them and their children if they do what they are told.
Organized religions have clever and insidious ways to trap people and keep them ensnared. They have grown so good at this that adherents don’t even realize they live in a locked cage.
Christian truth is no more the ultimate truth than is the Muslim’s, the Hindu’s, or any of the other myriad faiths that make the same claim. In as much as there is so much disagreement between billions of people around the world and in as much as imposing Christian dogma and superstition on a small child can have profound negative effects on their mental health, isn’t the most responsible thing a parent can do is allow their children to gain the maturity they need to make a decision about this for themselves? The choice is between living a life guided by unrelenting doctrine or guided by freedom and reason.
If your religion is so good, so true, so pure, why won’t an 18 year old who has not been abusively indoctrinated see this for themselves? Not a single believer has given us a straight answer to that question. Why must Christians (and all the other believers in various and sundry superstitions) proselytize?
Saying you have no choice is clearly not the case. You do have a choice, but you are tightly wedded to just one option and cannot see there is a serious downside to what you advocate: unmitigated unthinking obedience to your faith. Such obedience is not admirable, because it marks you as an unthinking slave.
Here is what I propose. To understand the harm you may be doing, commit to reading the personal stories people post to exchristian.net for 30 days. Look hard at exactly what the result of childhood indoctrination produces, not the rosy picture you have painted in your mind. I don’t know what sect you belong to or how many people are in your congregation, but start paying attention to how people that leave are treated. Know that a large number of children do leave their childhood faith as soon as they are out from under their parents supervision. Many drift into other religions because it is extremely difficult to escape the results of childhood indoctrination. What you advocate can have life long negative effects. Realize you are degrading one of the most fantastic natural devices in the universe, the human mind.
What I hear is really all about you, your concerns, your fears. If you don’t consign your children the rest of the congregation and your cleric will all mark you as a “bad” Christian. Isn’t that the truth of the matter? Forget what the bible says, your real concern is what others will think about you and your devotion.
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- Why do outsiders think they have a right to impose their non-beliefs on believing parents? (endhereditaryreligion.com)