Second annual day of protest against hereditary religion coming soon
January 20, 2013 will be the date for the second annual international day of protest against hereditary religion. The protest will again be held in cyberspace, but the aim is to eventually have annual protests in the real world. Complete with marches, rallies, and public speeches. Not to mention music.
The concept of children as the property of their parents comes from antiquity and is part of the legacy of patriarchy. Modern children are conceived as persons in their own right because the notion of one person owning another person amounts to slavery. Furthermore, children have internationally recognized rights, including the right to make their own decisions according to their ability to do so. The decision to join a religion is a decision best left until a child is a mature adult. But, institutionalized religion has been unwilling to acknowledge that children have religious freedom rights. The institutions depend upon a steady stream of new adherents to maintain their flocks as older members fall into sickness and death due to aging. Until recently no one has mounted any serious challenges to hereditary religion.
Religious authorities deny any harm comes to children and insist a child is always free to make a choice later on in life. This claim simply does not stand up to the facts as observed. Indeed, there is nothing tentative about the religious indoctrination process. It is designed to produce a lifelong adherent and it usually succeeds admirably.
The notion of ending hereditary religion is novel and can startle people upon first hearing the proposal. An immediate reaction is often instant rejection. Defenders of the status quo argue that children need religion in order to behave. Such arguments completely ignore the fact that children in the highly secular societies of Europe and elsewhere behave just fine without being subjected to religious superstition and dogma. Moreover, the evidence is mounting that early religious indoctrination is detrimental to a flourishing intellectual life and can even produce mental anxiety problems when there is a stress on obedience and fear.
Here is the link to the 2013 protest event page:
Children and the Burden of Shame
Children in fundamentalist families are often regarded as little adults, with the same sinful tendencies and the same need to be “saved.” Consequently, there may be little or no realization that a growing child needs to progress through various stages of cognitive and emotional development. Instead, childhood issues such as egocentrism, aggression, sexuality, and teenage rebellion are labeled as sins, instead of natural and predictable processes. The “sin” is attributed to an innate fault in their natures that needs to be corrected, the child is made to feel ashamed of him or herself, and is disciplined accordingly: “Shame on you,” “You’re so selfish. What’s the matter with you?” “You know Jesus sees you when you do that!” The focus is on guilt, control and force, instead of fostering self-confidence and new coping skills. The innocent child feels they are defective, bad, inadequate, or a failure. They become filled with shame.
Shame is more damaging than guilt, when we feel bad because of what we have done, not because of who we essentially are. Shame takes a heavy toll on a child’s self-esteem, and often becomes a part of their psyche that persists into adulthood.
On the other hand, good parents know that poor childhood behavior is linked to needs, not to a flawed nature, and is part of a child’s natural development.
Now, I wish this were not a terribly large church, or a terribly politically active or important church
The following excerpt is clipped from a post written by a women who successfully walked away from a dominionist cult and now is considered a leading expert. Her articles appear on DKos and Talk2Action.org. She writes under the pseudonym of dogemperor. The dominionist fringe ideas have gradully insinuated themselves into the broader evangelical sects, such as the Southern Baptists. Domionists are a threat to our democracy for the simple reason they hate this country for banning prayer in schools. At least that is why the militancy of the RW Christians is thought to have started. From that beginning each year it became more and more toxic.
In my research on dominionism since (which I have done, in part, to help along my own recovery from the scars of spiritual abuse)…I am becoming increasingly convinced that (especially among the pente/charismatic groups involved in dominionism, possibly increasingly so even among the Southern Baptists) part of the reason people are having such poor success in debating dominionists is because they do not realize they are in essence dealing with someone who is in a coercive religious group.
Dominionist groups, especially those into “spiritual warfare” (cross reference Marguerite Perrin on “Trading Spouses” for an example of this in action–I honestly wish I could say it’s an extreme example, but in some dominionist groups her behaviour is sadly typical), have an entire system designed to isolate their members from “mainstream reality” and to essentially create a dominionist “group-think”.
Speaking from my own experiences as a former dominionist (having been raised in it), here are some of the things that my church has done to pretty much prevent any outside influences:
a) Taught explicitly that everyone outside the group is evil, possibly even in league with Satan, and that Satan may even be “working through them”
b) Taught that criticism of the group was “blaspheming against the Holy Spirit” and criticism of members or the church was answered with “touch not mine annointed” or “thou shalt not judge a man of God”
c) Taught that demons were the cause of all hardship and illness (including diseases; genetic diseases along with multigenerational poverty were termed “generational curses” and even colds and flu were the result of “solidified demonic corruption”) and that these could be cured by “naming it and claiming it” as well as donations of up to fifty percent of income to the church
d) Taught that “doorways to Satan” could open up and cause “demonic oppression” by things as innocuous as peace symbols (which they preached were Satanic), Nike shoes, and Pokemon (!) (yes, they literally teach that if kids had Pokemon stuff they’d be demonised; they also do book burnings of Harry Potter books for the same reason, and even criticised C. S. Lewis’ “Chronicles of Narnia” because it was fantasy)
e) Taught people to not associate with “unsaved” people unless for the purpose of conversion, and even distributed “Christian Yellow Pages” to this effect (which required a fundamentalist statement of faith to be signed before they’d list someone)
f) Ran their own TV and radio “godcasting” network (now focusing largely internationally; see here…the fact they are now vomiting this stuff out over the international airwaves makes me sick and sad like you would not believe) and told people that literally all media outside from the church was Satanic
g) Handed out voter’s guides from the AFA and a predecessor group (Freedom’s Heritage Forum) telling people explicitly whom to vote for (by the way, a deacon of the church is the state head of the AFA)
h) Taught explicitly that deceptive tactics are perfectly permissible in an attempt to convert someone (and yes, this is denomination wide; I’ve documented over 40 separate “front groups” used for various forms of targeted prosyletising by the Assemblies, including targeting other churches)
i) Taught people could literally be hexed into conversion by essentially cursing these people in the name of Christ to be miserable and even suicidal unless they converted
j) Taught that involuntary exorcism of people who were LGBT, not dominionists (and openly critical of the group), and so on were perfectly permissible (I will never be able to come out safely to my parents that I’m bisexual or that I’ve always felt like a man in a woman’s body as a result; it would literally be a death sentence in my case–I saw kids being publically outed involuntarily and subjected to involuntary exorcisms during “revival meetings” and know all too well that people have literally gone insane in these “exorcisms”)
I wish this was an abberation.
Unfortunately, a church deacon at the very church I walked away from is head of the Kentucky AFA (one of our two main dominionist groups here–the other is in Lexington and is the state FotF frontgroup), essentially has been at the center of the dominionist movement in the state for the past thirty years, and is busy setting up a multi-station “godcasting” network on shortwave radio (yes, most of the annoying religious broadcasters on shortwave radio are affiliated with High Adventure Ministries, which is a front group of the very Assemblies church I walked away from). It’s also a major stop on the Assemblies “traveling preacher” circuit, is the second largest church in my home state (with anywhere from 7000 to 17,000 in attendance, depending on whose figures you believe and whether a “revival meeting” is in progress there), and no less than Oliver North has been at the church preaching that the Reds were the Antichrist so he pushed the Iran-Contra arms deal as a mission from God (!) It was also one of the first of the so-called “Third Wave” churches promoting the “Joel’s Army” stuff I’ve written about–the same stuff that “Jesus Camp” teaches to little kids–and was pushing this stuff all the way into the 1960s.
Also, sadly, this view is also not atypical–John Ashcroft’s “eccentricities” like being annointed with Wesson oil (!) are typical teachings in those churches, and practices at Ted Haggard’s New Life Church are very similar to the tactics of “deliverance ministry” preached at the church I walked away from.
The particular denomination I’m a walkaway from, the Assemblies of God, is the largest neopentecostal church in the world with estimates of anywhere from ten to 40 million members; they’re powerful enough that they have a de facto political party in Australia (Family First), may in fact be the religious majority in Brazil now, and operate the largest megachurch in the world–one with nearly three-quarters of a million members in South Korea.
And even more frightening, they are getting more and more control of the government–to the point that someday, they could eventually force us walkaways back at gunpoint–or kill us “just like Hitler did to the Jews”–or, worse yet, start a war that kills everyone.
Director of Strategy and Policy for the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Science and Reason
Sean Faircloth served five terms in the Maine Legislature. Faircloth served on the Judiciary and Appropriations Committees. In his last term Faircloth was elected Majority Whip by his colleagues.
An accomplished legislator, Faircloth successfully spearheaded over thirty laws, including the so-called Deadbeat Dad child support law which saved Maine taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars and was later incorporated into federal law. Faircloth had numerous legislative successes in children’s issues and justice system reform.
In two years as Executive Director of Secular Coalition for America, Faircloth conceived and led the Secular Decade plan, a specific strategic vision for resecularizing American government. Faircloth writes about his ten point vision of a Secular American government in his book Attack of the Theocrats: How the Religious Right Harms Us All and What to Do About It.
Faircloth earned a reputation for strategic thinking, innovative ideas, and speaking to groups in a way that energized them to support the secular cause.
As Director of Strategy and Policy for the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Science and Reason, Faircloth will expand his strategic efforts on behalf of the entire secular movement, speak regarding policy issues, discuss the ideas in his book, and seek innovative ways to improve the secular movement. Faircloth has spoken around the United States about separation of church and state, the Constitution, children’s policy, obesity policy, and sex crime law. Faircloth chaired a Commission on sex crime law reform which led to substantive improvement in that area of law. Faircloth chaired an early childhood commission, as well as a Commission regarding the citizen initiative process.
In Maine Faircloth also had the idea for the Maine Discovery Museum and led the four-year project from concept to completion in 2001. Maine Discovery Museum was then the second largest children’s museum outside Boston of the twenty-five children’s museums in New England. Faircloth graduated from the University of Notre Dame and has a law degree from University of California Hastings College of the Law. Faircloth served as a state Assistant Attorney General, and as a lobbyist for the state bar association.
- A New Way of Thinking — Faircloth Interview – - – Point of Inquiry (richarddawkins.net)
- Q&A, Sean Faircloth on Secular Strategy, Romney & the Religious Right – Sean Faircloth – RichardDawkins.net (richarddawkins.net)
- [UPDATE 10-Feb - video Chapter 7] Sean Faircloth discusses his new book Attack of the Theocrats – Sean Faircloth – Pitchstone Publishing (richarddawkins.net)
- Attack of the Theocrats!: A Review and an Interview with Author Sean Faircloth (patheos.com)
- Universal Tolerance (atheistethicist.blogspot.com)
- Religious Bias in Public Schools (atheistethicist.blogspot.com)
Another Journalist Revels in Ignorance about Dominionism
|Frederick Clarkson||print page|
|Mon Sep 19, 2011 at 11:00:10 PM EST|
The first of these is his complaint that left-wing Jewish writers are primarily responsible for critical work about the role of dominionism and Christian Reconstructionism in evangelical Christianity. Those he names: Sara Diamond, Michelle Goldberg, Rabbi James Rudin, and Rachel Tabachnick do indeed hail from Jewish backgrounds, but there are many non-Jews, including evangelicals, who have prominently written about these subjects. I have written extensively about them myself, notably in my 1997 book Eternal Hostility: The Struggle Between Theocracy and Democracy. Chip Berlet, Senior Analyst at Political Research Associates in Somerville, MA has written widely about these things in books and articles. Although we did not coin the term, he and I certainly popularized the use of the term dominionism in the early 90s. But evangelical seminary professors Wayne House and Thomas Ice predated all of our books in this area, in their 1988 book Dominion Theology: Blessing or Curse?. Steve Clapp wrote an influential feature article in Christianity Today magazine about Christian Reconstructionism in 1987. Bill Moyers did a TV documentary in 1987. More recently, Rev. Dr. Bruce Prescott a national leader in the moderate Baptist movement published a six-part series (here at Talk to Action) on dominionism based in part on his personal experiences in the right wing takeover of the Southern Baptist Convention; and when the Religious Right, led by a well-known Christian Reconstructionistnamed Steven Hotze, took over the his local Republican Party in Houston in the early 90s. There are many, many such examples. The fact is that these matters have been prominently written about by journalists and scholars, Christian and non-Christian, evangelical and non-evangelical for decades. In any case, writing about these things did not begin in 2006 nor has writing in this area been dominated by Jews.(For a primer on dominionism and Christian Reconstructionism in the context of the current controversy, see Berlet’s essay ”Inside the Christian Right Dominionist Movement That’s Undermining Democracy.”)
Please continue reading:
- USA Today Op-Ed Claims David Barton and John Hagee are “Marginal Figures” (barthsnotes.wordpress.com)
- Rise of the Religious Right in the Republican Party Part 2 (yumaprogressive.wordpress.com)
- Dominionism – Part Ii (maboulette.wordpress.com)
- Dominionismism: A conspiracy theory unmasked (gentlewisdom.org.uk)
- Major Ron Paul Supporter Favors Death Penalty for Gays (alternet.org)
Childhood religious grooming is unethical and can be emotionally abusive.
Robert Kunzman: The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child vs. the Parental Rights Movement
Today’s post is from Robert Kunzman, author of Write These Laws on Your Children: Inside the World of Conservative Christian Homeschooling. Kunzman spent ten years as a high school teacher, coach, and administrator and is currently an associate professor in the Indiana University School of Education. He is also the author of Grappling with the Good: Talking about Religion and Morality in Public Schools.
Quick—who are the only two nations who haven’t ratified the 1989 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child?
Somalia is one of them—no bonus points for that guess. Who else stands against the 193 nations who’ve ratified the treaty? None other than the United States of America. This may change under the Obama administration; U.N. ambassador Susan Rice recently proclaimed the situation a disgrace and indicated that U.S. ratification of the treaty was under active discussion.
But not if the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) has their way. Calling the UNCRC “anti-family” and “anti-American,” they have urged their 80,000 members—as well as those who’ve joined ParentalRights.org, a “grassroots” organization founded by HSLDA—to voice their opposition. To further their cause, they have been a driving force in promoting a Parental Rights Amendment, which now has more than 110 co-sponsors in the House of Representatives.
Why does the most powerful and prominent homeschool advocacy organization in the world see the UNCRC as such a threat? Ultimately, it’s an argument about who should have a say in the raising and educating of children.
I’ve spent the past five years exploring the world of homeschooling from a variety of angles, traveling the country and visiting with families in their homes, observing their homeschooling practices and talking with them about what they’re doing and why they’re doing it. I quickly discovered that the range of philosophies, methods, and outcomes is vast indeed. But one fundamental conviction among homeschool parents emerges again and again: the state has no business telling them how to raise or educate their children.
This conviction is especially strong among conservative Christian homeschoolers, who most observers agree constitute the largest subset of the likely two million homeschoolers in the United States (HSLDA describes itself as a Christian organization). Not infrequently, parents pointed to the biblical passage of Deuteronomy 6:6-9 when explaining to me their motivation to homeschool. The Message, a popular Bible paraphrase, puts it this way: “Write these commandments that I’ve given you today on your hearts. Get them inside of you and then get them inside your children. Talk about them wherever you are, sitting at home or walking in the street; talk about them from the time you get up in the morning to when you fall into bed at night.”
This orientation toward parenting and education helps explain why homeschool parents are particularly resistant toward any government role or authority in the education of their children. Good parents (whether homeschoolers or not) see education, broadly construed, as part of their job description: raising a child involves constant teaching, and the most important lessons in life generally occur outside of school walls. But most homeschoolers take this a step further. They don’t see any real distinction between this broader notion of education and formal schooling itself—which makes sense, if homeschooling is just woven into the fabric of everyday family life. And if homeschooling is seen as simply part of parenting, then it becomes easier to understand why many homeschool parents view government oversight of education as an unjustifiable intrusion into their sacred domain.
For conservative Christian homeschoolers, educating their children is a God-given right and responsibility, and one they can delegate only at great moral and spiritual peril. Like many in the broader homeschool population, conservative Christians see homeschooling as a twenty-four-hour-a-day, all-encompassing endeavor. For them, perhaps more explicitly than other homeschoolers, homeschooling is a shaping not only of intellect but—even more crucially—character. This means more than just moral choices of right and wrong; character is developed through the inculcation of an overarching Christian worldview that guides those moral choices. These parents share a fierce determination to instill Christian character in their children, a process that entails protecting them from the corrupting influences of broader society. To accomplish this, the family becomes the defensive bulwark and sanctuary wherein children are prepared for eventual engagement with the world.Parental interests aren’t the only ones at stake in the educational process, of course. A democracy depends upon the cultivation of informed citizens who can deliberate respectfully about the best ways to live together. And while most parents naturally believe that their efforts are dedicated to what’s best for their children, in reality this isn’t always the case; as the UNCRC asserts, children have their own educational interests at stake as well. But in the context of homeschooling—the ultimate in educational privatization—how to define and protect these various interests remains a complicated and contested question indeed.
Bridging the science-religion gap is possible — some stunning new insights
Burton writes, “Objectivity and reason must be seen within a larger picture of our biological needs and constraints.”“The goal of this dialogue should be to maximize personal hope and a sense of meaning while minimizing the untoward effects of unjustifiable personal attitudes and social policies. We should force ourselves to distinguish between separate physiological categories of faith — the basic visceral drive for meaning that has real purpose versus the unsubstantiated cognitive acceptance of an idea. Compassion, empathy and humility can only arise out of recognizing that out common desires are differently expressed.”“If possible, both science and religion should try to adopt and stick with the idea of provisional facts. Once all facts become works-in-progress, absolutism would be dethroned. No matter how great the “evidence” the literal interpretation of the Bible or Koran would no longer be the only possibility. By exploring and making common knowledge of how the brain balances off contradictory aspects of its biology we might gradually turn absolutism into an untenable stance of ignorance.”“Imagine how different dialogue might be with future generations raised on the idea that there are biological constraints on our ability to know what we know. To me, that is our only hope.”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MuyUz2XLp1E The four horseman have a discussion.
- Baggini explains why science and religion are incompatible (whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com)
For children to be free, mothers must first break free from superstition and dogma
A major roadblock to elevating children’s rights over parental authority is the conservative refusal to modify their position on gender roles, and to discard worn out family stereotypes. The religious nuclear family with father at the head, an obedient wife trailing behind, and well behaved self controlled children is their ideal. Women in the US, Western Europe and other enlightened countries have managed to pry the grasping hands of backwards patriarchal men loose to some degree, but in places like Africa,
South Asia, and the Middle East, patriarchal systems are alive, well, and doing great damage to women and children. Consistently, justifications for the status quo reside in religious practices and cultural
norms, which are held sacrosanct, immutable. Parents free exercise of religion trumps children’s human rights.
In tracing where religious freedom is cited as a justification to maintain absolute control over childhood religious indoctrination my research has taken many turns. Most recently I have focused on International conventions and treaties such as the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (which 147 nations ratified, but Somalia and the United States did not) the CCIPR, (which the United States signed, but added stipulations that essentially make selected provisions worthless within our borders) and the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) I have to research the status of this convention’s adoption by the US, but I suspect it has no status either because of conservative objections. I was led to the UN conventions by the work of Innaiah Narisetti, the CFI/India Chair and a proponent of child rights. His paper is on Dawkins.net.
How is resistance to child’s rights articulated? Well, there is no better place to discern the thinking of conservatives than their think tanks. I started with The Heritage Foundation and came up with this long critique of the UN approach to bringing women and children out of the dark ages and free of the bondage of religion and tribal oppression.
The following are brief excerpts to give you a flavor of the paper:
Yet, on the issue of women’s and children’s rights, the U.N. High Commissioner on Human Rights has permitted committees and agents under the U.N. umbrella to turn these principles on their head as they communicate with the signatories of the CRC and CEDAW treaties. These agents are targeting patterns of behavior and social norms that have had the greatest positive effects on society and the individual: marriage, motherhood and fatherhood, caring for children in the family, chastity, and the special role of religion. They have asked nations to change their domestic laws in ways that ultimately will promote sexual activity among adolescents, increase abortion and legitimize prostitution, and in general alter the
foundations of society. The sexual norms they promote, moreover, are primarily those sought by radical feminists. They are becoming the tenets of a new “moral” code against which all religions, domestic policies, and cultures would be judged.
- UN and Women’s rights: CEDAW and SC resolution 1325 (whereglobalstudentsmeet.wordpress.com)
- Costa Rican Activist Natasha Jiménez Reporting From CEDAW in New York (iglhrc.wordpress.com)
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