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Like many of the people in the modern anti-religion (anti-ALL-religions), I have, on occasion, been accused by modern-day Christians of unfairly lumping their religion in with all the other unreasonable dogmas which are so destructive to society, yet whose malignancy is tolerated under the guise of ‘religion’.
Sure, they agree, Islam is guilty of persecuting, jailing and executing people on the vacuous charge of ‘witchcraft’. That is obviously wrong and evil and ignorant. (Or, so the narrative goes…) Christianity is better than other religions because we have shed the shackles of ignorance and, for centuries, indulge in these sort of unenlightened practices and have not for centuries…
Show me – they dare – an inquisitor or a witch hunter today!
Well, OK – let’s do that!
Christians today – and not just in developing countries, but in the UK and the US – are active in hunting down and torture-killing witches. The new twist to the narrative is that these modern-day ‘witches’ are children.
Here is a bit about a 15-year-old boy who was murdered (and his younger siblings tortured) by relatives in the UK because they suspected the children of witchcraft. The trial of the family members has concluded with a guilty verdict earlier this year – that is 2012!!!
And, the US is not immune…
Recent surveys show that some 20+% of the adults in the USA believe in ‘witches’ – of the malignant, fairy-tale type, not of the neo-Pagan religious practitioners type…
So much for Christianity having come out of the dark ages!!!
Here are some supporting links:
Facebook: Stand Against Helen Ukpabio
The short of it is: unreasonable belief leads to unreasonable actions. Adults must be free to do stupid things, but children must be protected from their parents’ religious beliefs.
We accept that a parent, while responsible for a child, does not have the freedom to abuse them sexually. It is high time we extended this protection of children to include protection from religious abuse, because it is no less destructive than sexual abuse!
And while I am at it…
Most of us consider Judaism to be another one of the ‘civilized’ religions – one which has produced some of the most enlightened minds in the field of science and which is not ‘oppressive’ on its practitioners the way some other religions are…
Yet, there is Judaism and there is Judaism…
Many Jews are well integrated into their host societies and for them, being ‘Jewish’ is more of a national identity than it is a religious faith. Many do practice some of the customs which identify them as ‘Jews’ as a form of private observance and, as long as they do not impose it on their children before they are old enough to give informed consent (and, yes, I am referring specifically to the intolerable practice of arbitrary amputation of part of a penis in infants, which ought to be illegal), I have no argument with it.
However, there are other forms of Judaism alive and well in our society – ones which I consider much less benign.
When a group of people refuses to integrate and takes great pains to segregate itself from the society in which they live, bad things happen.
When religion is the ‘carrot and the whip’ to enforce such a segregation, we ought not tolerate this: it is one thing for adults to exercise their freedom of religion, it is quite another one for them to strip it away from their children.
Because we have learned that over and over and over again , and as one of my role-models, Asma Jahangir, has taught us – when a religious minority demands special rights, they will always use these ‘rights’ to oppress minorities within themselves, most commonly children and women.
As is the case in this story of a self-segregated Orthodox Jewish community, their ‘internal courts’ and child abuse…
Aside: when we fought – and succeeded – against the opening of Sharia courts in Ontario, we also fought against separate ‘Jewish tribunals’ – in effect, the Jewish versions of Sharia courts. I am pleased to say that, unlike in the linked article, Ontario is free of this malignancy: a society cannot exist unless there is one set of laws for everyone, equally applied to everyone by both the police and the courts!!!
To sum up: one law – and one and equal law enforcement - for all members of society is necessary in order to maintain society. Children have innate rights which even their parents must not be permitted to violate – and permitting parents to violate their children’s right to religious freedom (through childhood indoctrination) is deeply connected to and, in reality, little different from permitting parents to commit or facilitate child sexual abuse. It is about time we started treating the two crimes alike!