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sir_toejam



Posts: 846
Joined: April 2005

(Permalink) Posted: May 24 2006,09:34   

Is extreme religious indoctrination child abuse?

Over on PT Nick Matzke posted a reaction to the writings of Nancy Pearcy:

http://www.pandasthumb.org/archives/2006/05/yet_another_ver.html

In that post, we see Nancy describe both her "early struggles" with her religious beliefs, as well as her current recommendations for how to indoctrinate children.

Nancy tell us what it was like to grow up orthodox Lutheran, and how much she struggled with it in high school; note the last sentence.  No, I didn't clip anything out, it really is a stark transition:


Quote
I grew up in a Lutheran home where I was taught orthodox Christian doctrine from an early age. I went to a Lutheran grade school. I knew the word “evolution” and I knew in some vague fashion that “they” were wrong and “we” were right. But the how’s and why’s, specific scientific theories and evidence, I was never taught.

Halfway through high school, I realized I did not believe the Christianity I had been taught for so many years. I was hanging onto it out of respect for my parents. But I personally had no reasons for believing it to be true. I had no criterion for holding to creation instead of any other world view. I decided the only honest thing to do was reject the faith. I embarked on a tumultuous and painful search for years through agnostic philosophies and eastern religions.

What I had was a borrowed faith. I was a “second-generation Christian.” I believed because my parents and teachers told me to. My borrowed faith lasted only until I found out other young people believed opposite things because their parents and teachers told them to. Without being able to put it into words at the time, I realized that this was not an adequate reason to belive.

I did eventually become convinced of the truth of the Bible and accept Jesus as my Lord.


OK, so she was born again.  Let's move the current day, where she now profers this as the best way to indoctrinate (er, i mean teach) kids:

Quote
It is a major concern of mine to help children make creationism their own. That happens only when the child, on whatever level he is able, thinks the issue through for himself. I hope not only to teach the subject of creationism, but to teach children how to think.

To help our young people find their way through the creation-evolution debate, we need to teach them how to handle basic scientific concepts. What is the difference between a fact and a theory? Between data and interpretation? How can the same data be explained by different conceptual schemes? What constitutes evidence? What does it mean to say a piece of datum is evidence for or against a theory? How can we misuse evidence, or mislead with statistics?

It is not enough to teach children to memorize individual proofs for creationism. It is good to know, for example, about the implications of the contemporaneity of man and dinosaurs.


do note the last sentence again.

This got me thinking.  First, that parents who expose their children to extreme religious viewpoints, while not preparing them for how those views differ from observable reality set them up for the kind of mental dissonance that Nancy describes in the first quote.  I don't know just how extreme it was, but it's not like I  (nor I'm sure most of you) haven't seen this kind of reaction before, and watched teenagers (and older) suffer as they struggle to reconcile an early set of taught beliefs with what they actually see and learn as they get older.  Second, that the way Nancy describes the way she wishes kids taught reminds me of descriptions of some brainwashing cults.  

It's probable that if we actually asked Nancy to detail what she really wants wrt teaching kids, it wouldn't look so odd.  However, on the surface at least, there are some disturbing things in what is quoted above.  What I see is someone so convinced of their worldview, that they would be willing to distort information and out and out lie to kids to "prepare them for us evilutionists" (to borrow from our favorite AFDave).  Which got me thinking that that sounds an awful lot like cultism.

Further, if we think about the implications of cultism on children, one could make an argument that this is a form of mental abuse, and therefore child abuse.

Now just to be specific, I’m not talking religion in general here, but working back from extreme examples of cultism, and eventually locating exactly where the kind of indoctrination profered by Nancy fits on that scale.  Moreover, our own AFDave has provided examples of the places he is indoctrinating his kids at (and proud of it).  Are these examples of cultism?

so let’s start with the most extreme example i can think of that actually DOES happen:

If your neighbors had kids and submitted them to a brainwashing cult, would you consider that child abuse or not?

To steal a post from that thread, Registered User had this to offer as a place to start:

Quote
Posted by Registered User on May 24, 2006 01:16 AM (e)

http://www.da-tulareco.org/child_abuse.htm

There are four forms of child maltreatment: emotional abuse, neglect, physical abuse and sexual abuse.

Emotional Abuse: (also known as: verbal abuse, mental abuse, and psychological maltreatment) Includes acts or the failures to act by parents or caretakers that have caused or could cause, serious behavioral, cognitive, emotional, or mental disorders. This can include parents/caretakers using extreme and/or bizarre forms of punishment, such as confinement in a closet or dark room or being tied to a chair for long periods of time or threatening or terrorizing a child. Less severe acts, but no less damaging are belittling or rejecting treatment, using derogatory terms to describe the child, habitual scapegoating or blaming.

i.e., “That’s God’s punishment for what you did;” “When you do that, you make Jesus sad” “Do you want to go to ####?” etc., when spoken to 3-6 year olds.

Whether that sort of stuff can constitute child abuse hasn’t been addressed directly, as far as I know. The big bad atheism-promoting ACLU hasn’t gone there, to my knowledge.

Many people — even self-identifying “libertarians” — believe that parental autonomy is a fundamental right. It’s an interesting and (IMHO) an important political issue but one that this country is far far away from ever seriously addressing.


well, if we're far away from seriously addressing this issue in general, perhaps we should get started here.

  
Ladlergo



Posts: 32
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 24 2006,09:46   

Well, this is quite an interesting topic.  I'll have to mull it over for a while, but for now I have a few legal questions (in case anyone is familiar with the subject).  What's the history of cases involving brainwashing in the western world?  Have they ever been considered?  Have there ever been any cases concerning the brainwashing of minors?

   
sir_toejam



Posts: 846
Joined: April 2005

(Permalink) Posted: May 24 2006,10:12   

a little addition:

today our own AFDave posted this in one of his screeds:

Quote
Oh, by the way, I also like to write poetry.  You will see mine in the form of a soon-to-be-released new Dynamation called "The Watchmaker" at www.kids4truth.com. See, we want to get to these kids with the truth at a young age, so that they will not go wrong in science like you did when they grow up.


Is this evidence of cultism, or not?

judging by Dave's statement that he had no idea of the difference in genetic similarity between chimps, gorillas and humans, it's at the very least an indication of the kinds of kids produced by such an approach.

  
beervolcano



Posts: 147
Joined: Dec. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: May 24 2006,10:59   

Just about all education can be labelled as indoctrination, but that's not what indoctrination is.

It has to be pretty forced. The child cannot decide what to believe for himself.

I guess the test would be to see if there is not just education going on, but downright coersion. That would be cultish behavior, IMO.

--------------
("It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into."--Jonathan Swift)

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 24 2006,11:05   

Yes, extreme religious indoctrination (and AFDave's antics) are child abuse. Yes, they are a more obvious and pernicious form of abuse than "normal" parenting (quotes absolutely intended).

The problem isn't what is child abuse, the problem is what isn't? As Phillip Larkin said in "This Be The Verse":

"They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
 They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
 And add some extra, just for you.

But they were fucked up in their turn
 By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
 And half at one another's throats.

Man hands on misery to man.
 It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
 And don't have any kids yourself."


Now don't take me the wrong way (heaven forfend!;) I am not defending cultism/fundy bullsh1t of the AFDave variety, but I see a problem with the conveniently easy stereotyping of a extremely religious upbringing as child abuse. It has parallels with the vehement atheist's occasional sweeping generalisation of religious belief as a mental illness. (I am an atheist, and vehement, but I don't like to make catagory errors of the "all X is Y" type)

Part (and only PART) of the definition and diagnosis of child abuse (as indeed certain mental illnesses such as delusion) rests on what is perceived by the child to be "normal". (By the way, if Thordiddly reads this, this is precisely why we need to legalise gay marriage, let gay people adopt, and treat different people as equally as possible). A child raised to be a devout baptist in a community of devout baptists will feel and appear "normal" in that social group. To all intents and purposes.

Obviously this is all WAY more complex than can be given in this glib and inexpert treatment I am attempting, my only intention is to raise this one caveat: be careful how we define these things as child abuse.

As I said at the start, yes I consider these things to be child abuse. Certainly from any rational perspective, or any perspective in which one views the child as being capable of functioning in a more diverse social environment, religious indoctrination of this child deliberately stunts their ability to think and interact.

The caveat I raise is that, to a greater or lesser extent, ALL education does this. My background and education has forever (barring brain injury) prevented me from becoming a fundamentalist religious person. I am sure AFDave (or someome very much like him) considers that a legacy of my horrid abusive upbringing removed from the light of his personal sky pixie. The one saving grace I have, which saves me from slipping headlong into ridiculous cultural relativism, is that my ideas can be tested independantly of me, and found to be applicable in the natural world. My ideas are not contrary to observed reality.

So in summation, yes I think we can say that by any modern norm or rational perspective, that the indoctrination of children in extremist religion is at least tantamount to child abuse. However, we should bear social context in mind, and hope that the state is sufficiently well run (ha!;) to provide a state education system which challenges these extreme religions by exposing children to more diverse ideas.

Louis

--------------
Bye.

  
sir_toejam



Posts: 846
Joined: April 2005

(Permalink) Posted: May 24 2006,11:17   

Quote
It has parallels with the vehement atheist's occasional sweeping generalisation of religious belief as a mental illness.


funny you say this, because it was an argument about dawkins that got me going in this direction to begin with.

do please note what i mentioned in bold tho:

I’m not talking religion in general here

just to be clear.

I assume there is a sliding scale, and want to figure where we DO draw the line, legally and socially, as to what is cultism, and what is child abuse.

Quote
The caveat I raise is that, to a greater or lesser extent, ALL education does this.


but this is a gross overgeneralization, and a mischaracterization wrt public education in general.

why?

because the difference is that public education is designed around parsimony based on evidence, while at the opposite extreme, cultism is based on forced ideology with NO evidence (or faked evidence).

I see a BIG difference between the two, with a ton of room to explore in between.

  
Joe the Ordinary Guy



Posts: 18
Joined: April 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 24 2006,15:11   

Quote (sir_toejam @ May 24 2006,16:17)
I assume there is a sliding scale, and want to figure where we DO draw the line, legally and socially, as to what is cultism, and what is child abuse.

I also agree that there is a sliding scale, but I suspect that the line gets redrawn on a case-by-case basis. And of course the view of abuse depends on which side of the line you personally fall. If you were raised an atheist by atheist parents, you might be happy for your good fortune, but a fundie would be quite certain you were abused.

The other thing to consider is that religious indoctrination is actually fairly mild compared to some of the truly vile and depraved things that adults have done to children. To get anyone to buy it as an argument, you’d have to compare it to “raped the kid with a broom handle” and “locked the kid in a broom closet for two weeks without food”.

Offhand, I wouldn’t want to advance it as an argument.

  
sir_toejam



Posts: 846
Joined: April 2005

(Permalink) Posted: May 24 2006,15:29   

Quote
but a fundie would be quite certain you were abused.


that's a bit of a cop out.

it's like saying there are no objective ways of determining child abuse.

Would a disciple of Manson say we are all abused?  of course they would! (and they, in fact, did!)

does that mean they are correct?  

would someone who beats their children (and i don't mean "spanking" i mean BEAT) consider someone who doesn't to be abusing their children?

taking your argument, we could say, sure they do.

but there IS a measurable, consistent negative psychology that results from beating your kids that doesn't when they are not.

hence, that's why it's been considered child abuse for some time.  It wasn't always.

that's what I'm trying to explore here.

Are there measurable, objective negative psychologies that result from cultism?

can you honestly answer "no"?

OK, let's knock it down a notch to the kind of "education" profered by Pearcy.

Seems that based on her own history, the very thing advocated by Pearcy could result in severe negative psychology in the long term.

should we as a society be responsible for the damage these kids end up causing when they grow up and try to ram their forced belief structures down everybody elses' throats?

Take a gander at AFDave.

Is AFDave the result of a psychological dysfunction?  Is that dysfunction having a negative impact on society at large?  Would allowing AFDave to indoctrinate children in ever more dysfunction qualify as abuse?

  
sir_toejam



Posts: 846
Joined: April 2005

(Permalink) Posted: May 24 2006,15:35   

Quote
What's the history of cases involving brainwashing in the western world?  Have they ever been considered?  Have there ever been any cases concerning the brainwashing of minors?


the easy answer is yes.

If nobody provides specific examples on point in the next day, I'll go ahead and see what i can dig up.

EDIT:

as a quick start, and to support the idea that "there is nothing new under the sun", evidently not only is thinking of extreme religious indoctrination as child abuse not a new idea, it seems to have had a go in the courts a few times, based on this attempt at defense by thefamily.org website.

http://www.thefamily.org/dossier/books/book3/chapter3.htm

this specifically is giving a brief overview of the "brainwashing" or mental abuse aspect of cultism in the courts, but it's a start.

do note the interesting case cited at the end, where the ones who did the DEprogramming were actually held liable!

might as well start with the most extreme counter-argument, eh?

  
Joe the Ordinary Guy



Posts: 18
Joined: April 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 24 2006,15:59   

Quote (sir_toejam @ May 24 2006,20:29)
that's a bit of a cop out.

it's like saying there are no objective ways of determining child abuse.

Sorry, I certainly didn't mean to suggest that. Perhaps I should've used some qualifiers and said "And of course the view of abuse sometimes depends on which side of the line you personally fall." I think in these initial comments, most people are going to raise the Complexity and Relativity flags before venturing to define specifics. Even your observation:
Quote (sir_toejam @ May 24 2006,20:29)
and i don't mean "spanking" i mean BEAT

could be open to some debate based on different interpretations of "spanking" and "beat".
This is a REAL thorny issue, is all I'm sayin'

  
sir_toejam



Posts: 846
Joined: April 2005

(Permalink) Posted: May 24 2006,16:04   

Quote
This is a REAL thorny issue, is all I'm sayin'


couldn't agree more.  which is why i thought it would be a great thing to toss about here at the bar.

watch out for flying beer bottles.

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 24 2006,22:39   

Hi Sir TJ,

Perhaps I didn't communicate what I wanted correctly. If so, my bad.

I absolutely agree with everything in your original posts, and I certainly agree that an extreme fundy upbringing is at least tanatmount to child abuse.

The caveat I was raising was that (as you mentioned with Dawkins' comments on religion as a mental illness etc) is that there is some degree of environment to be considered. Like you say, that degree, and the degree of abuse, is difficult to determine. Legally we must draw a line somewhere, scientifically it is nigh on impossible to do so.

Beervolcano brings up a good point, coercion. So here's my tentative proposal, see what you think of it, should the following aspects be present I reckon it's abuse:

1. The parental opinion/worldview is being forced onto the child in a strongly coercive manner (threats of #### or similar etc). There are adverse consequences for not adhering, or appearing to adhere to, the "party line".
2. The opinion/worldview is demonstrably at odds with observed reality.
3. Dogmatically holding to this recieved opinion/worldview could hinder social or professional progress in more diverse social and professional environments. (think Fred Phelps type homophobia in a modern multinational corporation etc).

How does that grab you?

I reckon that an extreme fundy upbringing fills those criteria nicely.

Cheers

Louis

--------------
Bye.

  
Renier



Posts: 276
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 24 2006,23:20   

Very very interesting Thread.

Quote
Emotional Abuse: (also known as: verbal abuse, mental abuse, and psychological maltreatment) Includes acts or the failures to act by parents or caretakers that have caused or could cause, serious behavioral, cognitive, emotional, or mental disorders. This can include parents/caretakers using extreme and/or bizarre forms of punishment, such as confinement in a closet or dark room or being tied to a chair for long periods of time or threatening or terrorizing a child. Less severe acts, but no less damaging are belittling or rejecting treatment, using derogatory terms to describe the child, habitual scapegoating or blaming.

i.e., “That’s God’s punishment for what you did;” “When you do that, you make Jesus sad” “Do you want to go to ####?” etc., when spoken to 3-6 year olds.


I don't know if the examples given would really fit the criteria above.

First example. “That’s God’s punishment for what you did;”. How is this different from "No Games as punishment for what you did"?

Second Example “When you do that, you make Jesus sad”. How is this different from "You make Daddy/Mommy sad if you do X"?

The he11 thing hovever might be something. Eternal punishment by torture of the worst kind. This does appear to be abuse, to me anyway.

Everyone here knows I am an ex-fundie. The he11 thing is pretty intense, for fundies, to say the least. It was for me anyway. I think the whole role of he11 in fundie religion is blackmail, threatening with eternal torture. If a child grows up believing he11 is true, then it is the single most powerful factor that makes him adhere (and defend) the given doctrine.

I recall the stage when I started doubting the Christian Doctrine. I would have left it easier and earlier were it not for the he11 factor. It might sound stupid, but reaching the stage where you know your faith will not take you to heaven (and by default land you in he11) is pure torture. It makes it even worse then you lost the ability to have faith in all the things you were told. So, you are going to he11 and can't help it, and, there is nothing you can do about it.

The chalenge would be to define and prove the behavioral, cognitive, emotional or mental disorders that arrive from fundie upbringing. I wish Afdave would let us study him :-)

However, I think any state would be LOATH to interfere in religious upbringing. There are various political reasons. The fundie population in America is substantial, and polititians are not going to do that much and offend them. It's voters that count in the end.

Another problem is drawing a line between acceptable indoctrination (standard Christian upbringing) and unacceptable upbringing (Fundie). To define a scale where you say "X" is ok but "1.2X" is not. I don't see this as easy or anything that will surface soon.

Some posters has sugested that each case would have to be seen on it's own merit. More detailed analysis is required on the effects that Fundie stuff has on kids. We should also remember that the effects would differ from child to child. I know a fundie pastor who has three kids. One of his kids is fundie and the other two are agnostic. Why did one kid fall for it and the other two not?

Futhermore, are there any studies that shows that the ratio of disorders are more for fundies than non fundies?

Then, lets assume there is a court case and 2 (loving) fundie parents gets convicted on child abuse. The kids are taken away from them. Does this help? Would the kids be better of with foster parents?

It is a very sensitive subject this. I don't have any answers to this, although if a way could be found to limit the cultish parents from damaging a child by indoctrination, then I would be all for it. Fundies however will raise he11 before submitting to such a thing, of this I will assure you.

  
sir_toejam



Posts: 846
Joined: April 2005

(Permalink) Posted: May 25 2006,04:57   

Quote
(list) How does that grab you?


promising.  Did you check out the link provided by Registered User in my original post?

read the section on how abuse is defined; here's a relevant snip (sorry for the repetition, Renier):

 
Quote
Emotional Abuse: (also known as: verbal abuse, mental abuse, and psychological maltreatment) Includes acts or the failures to act by parents or caretakers that have caused or could cause, serious behavioral, cognitive, emotional, or mental disorders. This can include parents/caretakers using extreme and/or bizarre forms of punishment, such as confinement in a closet or dark room or being tied to a chair for long periods of time or threatening or terrorizing a child. Less severe acts, but no less damaging are belittling or rejecting treatment, using derogatory terms to describe the child, habitual scapegoating or blaming.

Neglect: The failure to provide for the child’s basic needs. Neglect can be physical, educational, or emotional. Physical neglect can include not providing adequate food or clothing, appropriate medical care, supervision, or proper weather protection (heat or coats). It may include abandonment. Educational neglect includes failure to provide appropriate schooling or special educational needs, allowing excessive truancies. Psychological neglect includes the lack of any emotional support and love, never attending to the child, spousal abuse, drug and alcohol abuse including allowing the child to participate in drug and alcohol use.



I see several aspects of the definitions of emotional abuse applying here, and the potential for using neglect as punishment.  Renier has already started on some of these.

compare/contrast.

I'll have more later.

  
Lou FCD



Posts: 5378
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 25 2006,05:06   

I see a slippery slope with the "x is ok, but 1.2x is abuse" thing.  I don't claim to know where to draw the line, but clearly a line must be drawn somewhere.

I am also an ex-fundy.  Before getting sucked in, I wanted nothing more in life than to be an astonomer and/or astrophysicist.  Once the hook was in, I withdrew from public school and paid my own way through christian high school, where most of the non-religion classes were comprised of material I learned in grade school.  I then attended Bob Jones University in SC.  At the end of the first semester, I was asked to leave Blow Job U. because I was asking too many questions and not liking the answers I got.  It was just the beginning of a long road of awakening from a drug-induced-coma-like state.

I then spent quite a few years drifting around through life, became an electrician by accident, and though I eventually tried to go back to college, I didn't finish.  Being a single dad, divorced, and working in a bar wasn't terribly conducive to getting an education.  I'm not whining, and I know it's certainly possible to do, but it's much harder than being 18 with support from home.  It's a situation I should never have been in, and indeed would not have been in, were it not for the creeps peddling this crap.

Look, I am personally 100% responsible for the choices I make and I make no bones about that.  But the fundgelical movement absolutely, positively caused harm in my case.  Though I have long since dumped most of the emotional baggage of fairy-tale bullshit, twenty years on I'm still feeling the effects and consequences of what I allowed those freaks to do to me.  And I'm still pissed about it.

Hard-core fundyism is child abuse, plain and simple, and should be stopped.

Ramen.

(After previewing this post, I see I have much more anger to deal with than I thought.  Yet, I believe my point still stands.)

--------------
Lou FCD is still in school, so we should only count him as a baby biologist. -carlsonjok -deprecated
I think I might love you. Don't tell Deadman -Wolfhound

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sir_toejam



Posts: 846
Joined: April 2005

(Permalink) Posted: May 25 2006,05:09   

thanks for tossing one back with us, Lou.  Your perspective is certainly a welcome one on this issue.

I'd comment further, but I'm out the door and will return a bit later in the day.

please feel free to continue on, all; i'll catch up.

  
PennyBright



Posts: 78
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 25 2006,10:17   

Abuse and it's relationship to religiosity being a topic near to my heart, I had to finally join the forum in order to participate in this one.

   There is no question in my mind that extreme religiosity can lead to abusive behaviour, and I see no reason to think that 'educational'/indoctrination practices would be exempt.  

   I do think you will probably find that in those cases where the religious indoctrination is so extreme as to be abusive the abusive behaviour is not limited to the religious teaching aspects of the parent/child relationship.

   I think Louis' list is on the mark, though I would also add  

 4.  The opinion/worldview/practice is demonstrably harmful when adhered to.

   While I acknowledge the right of adults to choose to marytr themselves for their faith, forcing children to adhere to such practices is appalling.

Penny

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Conversation should be pleasant without scurrility, witty without affectation, free without indecency, learned without conceitedness, novel without falsehood. - Shakespeare (reputedly)

  
Joe the Ordinary Guy



Posts: 18
Joined: April 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 25 2006,10:33   

Let me ask this:

Does there in fact exist one or more behaviors that would be UNIVERSALLY considered child abuse?  By “universally” I mean “regardless of culture or societal context”.

My gut reaction is, well, yeah, murdering your kid would be such a behavior.

But ya know, I’m coming to be impressed with humankind’s ability to find exceptions to anything.  Still,  I’ll stick with my vote for murder. Can anyone think of any others?

My sense of it is that there are probably very few such behaviors, and this would point up the difficulty in getting any particular behavior classified as “child abuse”.

The four forms of child abuse listed on the Tulare County DA page are useful, but they can be more compactly expressed in two categories: PHYSICAL or MENTAL. I would guess that a behavior that is UNIVERSALLY regarded as child abuse is more likely to be a Physical one.

I do NOT think that Louis’ list is workable:

 
Quote (Louis @ May 25 2006,03:39)
1. The parental opinion/worldview is being forced onto the child in a strongly coercive manner (threats of #### or similar etc). There are adverse consequences for not adhering, or appearing to adhere to, the "party line".


“Billy, learn your science lesson or you won’t get into CalTech and you’ll end up being a hamburger flipper. And Mommy will kill herself.”

 
Quote (Louis @ May 25 2006,03:39)
2. The opinion/worldview is demonstrably at odds with observed reality.


Geez, isn’t this the whole problem with trying to reason with Creationists? They literally observe a different reality than do others.

 
Quote (Louis @ May 25 2006,03:39)
3. Dogmatically holding to this recieved opinion/worldview could hinder social or professional progress in more diverse social and professional environments. (think Fred Phelps type homophobia in a modern multinational corporation etc).


“Sorry, Billy, your CalTech degree sorta automatically disqualifies you for a management position here at Fundie-Owned Corp.”

There’s NOTHING that can’t be twisted around. But you knew that already.

  
Ladlergo



Posts: 32
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 25 2006,10:39   

Quote (Joe the Ordinary Guy @ May 25 2006,16:33)
Still,  I’ll stick with my vote for murder. Can anyone think of any others?

How about raping one's prepubescent offspring?  I think that's pretty universal.

   
Flint



Posts: 478
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 25 2006,11:05   

I'll vote with the child abuse folks, depending on certain classifications. I carve them up like this:

1) Belief as ratified by evidence. "I believe it's raining outside."
2) Belief without evidence when it's consistent with evidence supporting related matters. "I believe the flagellum evolved normally."
3) Belief without evidence, even though if the belief were correct, evidence would be overwhelming. "I believe in <insert god of choice>"
4) Belief in defiance of evidence. "I believe the earth is 6000 years old."

The fourth category clearly reflects parental abuse, or at the very least malignant neglect. The believer has a no-doubt-about-it damaged brain.

The third category is problematic. It seems human nature for children to have invisible playmates, to WANT horoscopes to be true, or UFOs or miracles. It's possible to outgrow the beliefs and expectations, but probably not the wants. Most of us sincerely want centuries of youthful vigor.

And I think most religious belief falls into this category. To sincerely accept unattested and unattestable things incapable of being refuted. But it's probably a fine line to slip over into the category of sincerely accepting solidly and unambiguously false things for reasons psychologists may someday understand.

  
Renier



Posts: 276
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 26 2006,02:06   

Quote
The third category is problematic. It seems human nature for children to have invisible playmates, to WANT horoscopes to be true, or UFOs or miracles.


Ah, I really think you got something there. How does the childhood thing of "invisible playmates" differ from the way the fundies construct their "personal" relationship with Jesus?
Some children create "make-believe" friends to fill a specific need. What is this need, and is it possible that fundies are doing the exact same thing?

  
edmund



Posts: 37
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 26 2006,06:23   

STJ wrote:
Quote
Now just to be specific, I’m not talking religion in general here, but working back from extreme examples of cultism, and eventually locating exactly where the kind of indoctrination profered by Nancy fits on that scale.

STJ, I apologize. (Over on PT, I'm B. Spitzer.) On looking over my post to you the other day, I'm embarrassed to see how cranky it was. I should have kept my virtual mouth shut and let you explain yourself, instead of rushing to judgment.

--B. Spitzer

  
sir_toejam



Posts: 846
Joined: April 2005

(Permalink) Posted: May 26 2006,10:43   

No worries.  This is a contentious issue on the face of it, let alone when we grind out some of the details.

feel free to add your perspective as you deem fitting.

  
sir_toejam



Posts: 846
Joined: April 2005

(Permalink) Posted: May 26 2006,10:53   

would it help this discussion to get some summary legal opinions/statues/court cases to go along with the few referenced so far?

I'd be happy to do so.  

I think Nick might also have some ideas on where to get some legal perspective on this issue as well.

other directions/input anybody would like to see?

The court cases i cited from the family.org site suggest this is a REAL issue, not just one we are bantering about here, so I personally would like to see as many perspectives and as much evidence as possible.

  
sir_toejam



Posts: 846
Joined: April 2005

(Permalink) Posted: May 26 2006,10:58   

Quote

Ah, I really think you got something there. How does the childhood thing of "invisible playmates" differ from the way the fundies construct their "personal" relationship with Jesus?


there are fundamental differences in reinforcement.

In the latter case, especially wrt what we specifically are addressing here, there is a potentially significant reinforcement influence (both positive and negative) coming from the parents themselves.

How is this the case with an imaginary friend?

   
Quote
If a child grows up believing he11 is true...


Would convincing a child that the concept of he11 has validity constitute an aspect of coercion that could be construed as the kind of child abuse we are discussing here?

 
Quote
3) Belief without evidence, even though if the belief were correct, evidence would be overwhelming. "I believe in <insert god of choice>"
4) Belief in defiance of evidence. "I believe the earth is 6000 years old."

The fourth category clearly reflects parental abuse, or at the very least malignant neglect. The believer has a no-doubt-about-it damaged brain.


perhaps, as noted above (beervolcano), one of the key constituents that seperates abusive parental behavior from non is the coercion aspect?

If i present a set of religious beliefs to my kid, and they accept that, it's one thing.  However, if I present those same sets of beliefs, and then utilize coercion to force them to accept them, that's something different, yes?

  
sir_toejam



Posts: 846
Joined: April 2005

(Permalink) Posted: May 26 2006,12:53   

Lou presented his own case as evidence on point.

I didn't really see anybody disagreeing with that.

Is there a general consesus then that what Lou describes is in fact, child abuse?

It even seems like long-term institutionalized abuse in general.

It would seem so to me (obviously), but is this the point we start from, or the point we end at?

  
Fractatious



Posts: 103
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 27 2006,01:28   

I am obviously a little slow moving around the board.

Ironically, I recently completed a paper (still awaiting my grade for it) concerning "abuse of children". (I posted concerning Hovind and manipulation/indoctrination on the Media Theistic Blunders thread but will focus on the legality and definition side of things).

My country is New Zealand. For those who don't know where that is, we're parked right next door to Australia with only the Tasman Sea separating us. Our politicians are battling out our Crimes Act, where in Section 59 it allows for parents or those acting in the role of a parent to hit a child with *reasonable force*. Yet it can be determined exactly what *reasonable force* will be. Considering too that if you hit your spouse, hit your employer/employee or hit an animal, you face immediate assault charges (hit can be defined as push and slap), it would seem that in relation to children, its subjectively defined. Ok, I'm getting off topic a tad bit but I do have a point to this.

Quote
1998 Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Article 1.

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Article 2.

Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.

Article 3.

Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.


However religious families find away around a childs rights with:

Quote
Article 26.

(3) Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.


These are sketchy, which is why the following is more vitally important when dealing with children.

Quote
Convention on the Rights of the Child

Article 12

1. States Parties shall assure to the child who is capable of forming his or her own views the right to express those views freely in all matters affecting the child, the views of the child being given due weight in accordance with the age and maturity of the child.

Article 13

1. The child shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of the child's choice.

Article 14

1. States Parties shall respect the right of the child to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.

2. States Parties shall respect the rights and duties of the parents and, when applicable, legal guardians, to provide direction to the child in the exercise of his or her right in a manner consistent with the evolving capacities of the child.

3. Freedom to manifest one's religion or beliefs may be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary to protect public safety, order, health or morals, or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others.


The implications are quitec clear but the reality is vastly different. Most children are not aware of their rights. In fact, most adults are not aware of the rights of children.

  
PennyBright



Posts: 78
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 27 2006,06:16   

The UN Convention of the Rights of the Child is a good good thing.

Unfortunately the US refuses to ratify it.   Conservative opposition and our insistance on being allowed to sentence minors to death have gotten in the way.

--------------
Conversation should be pleasant without scurrility, witty without affectation, free without indecency, learned without conceitedness, novel without falsehood. - Shakespeare (reputedly)

  
Lou FCD



Posts: 5378
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 27 2006,07:24   

STJ

Just a quick drive-by.

Thanks for starting this topic, I believe it's a rather important and thought provoking subject.

While I've been chewing on this quite a bit, I'm still a little too angry to post anything substantive and sane just yet.  (I've really been pissed over this since you've brought it up, and it's a good thing strangely enough.)

Just to clarify something I said earlier, though, when I returned to college in the mid nineties, it was to a real University... Marshall U. in WV.  (This would probably not be a good time for any WVU folks out there to chime in, just in case the thought crossed your itty bitty minds.   :p  )

On second thought, let me throw this out there:

The fundy mantra goes along the lines of:

"If you don't accept Jesus in your heart as your Lord and Master and personal Savior, and ignore those scientists, with their 'man came from monkeys' and their 'billions of years' lies, Jesus will send you straight to he11 where you will burn in torture and torment for all eternity."

The preceding is (for anyone born and raised on some other planet who may never have heard this explicitly stated) neither parody nor caricature.

How is this not, by anyone's definition, child abuse?

The speaker has:
1. Invoked the ultimate, omniscient, invisible authority
2. Demanded unquestioned self-abasement and servitude to that authority
3. Insisted that irrational delusion replace observed reality which in turn can only harm the ability of the listener in question to function
4. Threatened not only harm, but eternal, unspeakable torture as the only alternative to #2 and #3 above

This is not even in the same ball park as "Billy do your homework or you'll work at McDonny's Booger Joint for the rest of your life".  Yes, I'm paraphrasing, and I admit I dropped the maternal suicide clause from the statement earlier in the thread.  I don't know that "Mommy will kill herself" is an oft repeated refrain, and in context I don't think Joe meant it was.

I have to insist that the fundy statement is orders of magnitude more detrimental than the Booger Joint statement, with or without the involuntary matricide clause.   (Maternal suicide or involuntary matricide - you be the judge)

Ok, "quick drive-by" evolved into "rambling diatribe" and "biting missive", so I'm off to experience and examine more internal (but hemorrhaging) anger.

Peace.  (I'm aware of the irony of that statement in this post, shut up.)

:)

--------------
Lou FCD is still in school, so we should only count him as a baby biologist. -carlsonjok -deprecated
I think I might love you. Don't tell Deadman -Wolfhound

Work-friendly photography
NSFW photography

   
sir_toejam



Posts: 846
Joined: April 2005

(Permalink) Posted: May 27 2006,11:28   

Quote
you face immediate assault charges (hit can be defined as push and slap), it would seem that in relation to children, its subjectively defined. Ok, I'm getting off topic a tad bit but I do have a point to this.


no, I think the analysis of subjectivity in definition and usage is right on point here.

Quote
However religious families find away around a childs rights with:

Quote  
Article 26.

(3) Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.



Are there records of parents utilizing this article as support in a civil or criminal case?

Quote
3. Freedom to manifest one's religion or beliefs may be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary to protect public safety, order, health or morals, or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others.


SO much contained in a simple sentence.  Seems we could spend weeks trying to unravel exactly how  "prescribed by law", and "protect ... fundamental... freedoms"  influence the decision on what is and is not child abuse.


So... would a productive approach be one of volume?  compare how these issues have balanced out in actual legislative action in various places and states, and in actual court cases?

I bet some of the underlying issues have been addressed by the US Supreme court at one time or another.

thoughts?

  
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