Headline 5: Religion violates the rights of children, according to Innaiah Narisetti, chairman of the India chapter of the Center for Inquiry. Narisetti will present a thesis that will be deliberated in October (2007) at the CFI's congress in Beijing. He will argue that religious education is a form of child abuse.
Narisetti contends, "Such abuse begins with the involuntary involvement of children in religious practices from the time they are born." He goes on to say, "All religions, through ritual, preaching, and religious texts, seek to bring children into day-to-day religious practice."
Narisetti suggests that the time has come for the United Nations to set limits on how early religious institutions should have access to children.
When I read the complete article on this child abuse headline, I knew I wanted to address it, but I've struggled for over a week on how to proceed without offending, in one way or another, virtually everyone on the planet.
You see, I believe Mr. Narisetti has a point. Children are being legally brainwashed every day under the guise of freedom of religion. But to claim that ALL religions violate the rights of children in one form or another and therefore constitutes child abuse is a dangerous declaration. Especially when such a declaration would put the United Nations in charge of assessing religious practices and setting limits on how early organized religion should have access to children.
Let's assume the United Nations does take over setting religious limits . . . what then? These are the problems with Mr. Narisetti's suggestions, as I see them:
I believe Mr. Narisetti's heart is in the right place when it comes to child abuse. But his suggestions lack realism. To have the United Nations, and therefore, individual governments, in charge of determining acceptable religious practices of children rather than parents is to move one step closer to Big Brother.
Headline 5 originally posted June 29, 2007
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