Do Children Need to Be Protected From Religion?

June 25, 2004 | 12 comments
By

So suggests this somewhat disturbing column in the Christian Science Monitor. (Link via ecitsuJ, which also has some interesting follow-up commentary).

12 Responses to Do Children Need to Be Protected From Religion?

  1. Kingsley on June 25, 2004 at 4:54 pm

    Rubeiz seems to have a pretty broad definition of what constitutes “fanatic religious socialization,” which he feels governments need to step in & protect children from. Apparently, believing I belong to the “only true & living church” is a result of an abusive upbringing, & could lead to my involvement in pogroms, etc.

  2. Gary Cooper on June 25, 2004 at 5:00 pm

    Given that we live in the age of Leviathan, where everyone thinks they can use the State to enforce their own desires, appetites, prejudices, and covetousness, I suppose it’s just a matter of time before the “spiritual education” he calls for is imposed by government fiat. Surely anyone who reads this can understand now why so many choose home schooling for their children—but then again, since, by definition, home schooling would inculcate the very “close minded” religiousness the writer abhors, I suppose the State would have to burst into the privacy of homes, to “save the children” from “salvation”.

    I used to think that the “Great and Spacious Building” of Lehi’s dream stood “high in the air”, without foundation, just because it is built on “hot air”. I was wrong. The GASB stands high in the air because it is not content to remain where it is, its denizens mocking those of us who partake of the Tree of Life, but is actively moving towards that tree—not to partake of the fruit, but to cut down, burn, and destroy.

  3. William Morris on June 25, 2004 at 5:40 pm

    What do you all think about Rob Vischer’s comment that the column: “underscores [his] previously expressed view that religious voices may need to focus more on carving out spheres of community and individual autonomy for themselves, rather than seeking to impose their vision of the common good on a society-wide basis”?

  4. measure on June 25, 2004 at 5:48 pm

    The author of the piece seems to think that raising a child in a particular religion secures their fanatacism for life. If this were true, what explains the diversity of religion in the world? Should we not all belong to 2-3 major religions, passed down from generation to generation?

    Also, Certainly we have cases where different religions can peacefully co-exist in one part of the world, (say, catholics and protestants in america,) while at the same time the same two religions produce terrorism against each other in another part of the world (say, catholics and protestents in Northern Ireland)

    This seems to indicate to me that there is much more to religious fanaticism than what religion your child is taught is “correct”.

  5. Geoff B on June 25, 2004 at 5:58 pm

    This article clearly points out the dangers of multiculturism, the new mantra of the liberal and internationalist elite. If our society (founded as it was on a specificially Judeo-Christian ethic with the idea that certain values are specifically granted and promoted by the Creator) is just as good or bad as any other society, than why shouldn’t we be FORCED to learn about the wonders of all other cultures? And if we have to learn about other cultures, why shouldn’t we be FORCED to learn about other religions? If that is true, shouldn’t we be forced to learn about, for example, Satanism as a religion with equal value as any other religion? This is the slippery slope of the CSM article’s argument.

  6. Gary Cooper on June 25, 2004 at 6:02 pm

    William Morris,

    I think Rob Vischer is well meaning, but mistaken. If the forces of enforced agnosticism/atheism gain full control of the political sphere, there will be no place to hide, and I don’t believe “spheres of community and individual autonomy” will be be respected by our enemies or be a barrier to them. (Our experience with plural marriage should have taught us that.)

    Nope, we have to fight here and now, using the tools God has given us (freedom and the US constitution), and work to re-establish the levels of liberty we once knew, and spread the Gospel as far and wide as we can, or we’re doomed. Not “doomed” in the sense of ultimate defeat (Christ won ultimate victory over Satan at Gethsemane and Golgotha, of course), but “doomed” in the sense of losing our freedoms, and having to endure a living hell of persecution, oppression, murder, and rapine under a future, “politically correct” fascism, counting the days until Christ returns to the earth to liberate us.

    It may be that much of the world is so warped by sin that such a dictatorship is inevitable for most nations, but I believe here in the US, and really the entire Western Hemisphere, we still have some choice in the matter. I’d like to think we can still turn things around here, as long as we can still choose our own political leaders, vote, protest, speak out, etc. But I certainly don’t see any protection in throwing up our hands and just trying to find accomodation with The Great and Abominable Church (organized force against religious conscience)–“staking out autonomy” or “gaining concessions”. Satan simply isn’t going to be content with that; he seeks TOTAL power, and drives evil men to seek such, all to often for “nice” reasons (the strange spectacle of “good men” as false prophets we see so often). So, we fight now, and win now, and keep fighting until Christ returns, or are children (no, maybe our own generation!) suffer horribly.

  7. Chad too on June 25, 2004 at 6:32 pm

    Good heavens! I had no idea internet access had reached the mountain fortresses.

    I think you’re all overreacting to the meaning of the article. As I read through it, I see shades of President Monson counseling us at conference of the need to be more tolerant with our neighbors. It reinforces to me the importance of the LDS-seminary model of religious education where we teach our young ones and send them back into Leviathan’s schools (do you really talk this way, Gary?) to be examples to others of higher morals.

    I would disagree with Rubeiz that children should be taught that all religions are on par with each other, but adjust that slightly to the Pres.-Monson-tolerance idea of “you have good things and I respect that they are important to you, let me help you find more” and he’d have my support.

    There is nothing inherantly wrong with his five suggestions if I adjust #1 as I explained above. A greater understanding of world religions (you may note that such a course is offered through the LDS Church Institute program) and their adherants is a positive step in being able to converse with and respect all God’s children. Reactionary provincialism is not. Understanding and respecting other religions is not pushing forced atheism nor agnosticism. Your liberty is not threatened if your children know what the five pillars of Islam are, or if they play with the daughter of a Druze.

    And yes, I find categorizing religious education with child sexual abuse to be extreme. I think the same of some of the comments posted above. Perhaps there’s a happier medium somewhere?

  8. danithew on June 25, 2004 at 6:40 pm

    This article appears problematic and dangerous because it basically argues against a parent’s right to teach their children sectarian religious perspective and beliefs.

    At the same time, one has only to look at where the person comes from: Lebanon. If I had grown up in Lebanon and experienced the fighting and destruction that occurred because of so many warring religious communities, I might feel the same way as the author of this article.

    I’ve been studying Sunni Islamic sacred texts for some time now and I’ve been a bit alarmed by what I perceive to be pretty negative views of non-Muslims (polytheists, Jewish people, Christians, apostates, “People of the Book”, etc.). Sometimes believing you have “the one true church” or “the one true religion” leads to extreme religious prejudices. Clearly Lebanon suffered the brunt of much of this.

    I’m not worried so much about Mormons being violent about their religious beliefs — except maybe when pummeling some demonstrator who is disrespectful of garments in a public place (i.e., General Conference). But I am concerned that Mormons are often condescending towards those who are of other religious traditions. Our high esteem for our ordinances and doctrines sometimes turns into scorn for those of others.

    This particular writer’s approach is quite adverse to our point of view. But we should perhaps realize that he has a pretty solid foundation for his viewpoint.

  9. Chad too on June 25, 2004 at 6:47 pm

    danithew sez:
    “I’m not worried so much about Mormons being violent about their religious beliefs — except maybe when pummeling some demonstrator who is disrespectful of garments in a public place (i.e., General Conference). ”

    don’t forget Church Basketball ;-)

  10. danithew on June 25, 2004 at 7:42 pm

    LOL. Chad, you are so right! Church basketball is the true center of all Mormon fanatic violence!

  11. Ivan Wolfe on June 26, 2004 at 12:19 am

    I have met people (highly educated people) who have declared that the law should prevent parents from taking their children to church until they are 16.

    This is a very scary thought.

  12. Laurie Burk on June 26, 2004 at 1:55 am

    Gary Cooper wrote: “I think Rob Vischer is well meaning, but mistaken. If the forces of enforced agnosticism/atheism gain full control of the political sphere, there will be no place to hide, and I don’t believe “spheres of community and individual autonomy” will be be respected by our enemies or be a barrier to them. (Our experience with plural marriage should have taught us that.)”

    Excuse me, but it wasn’t ‘the forces of enforced agnosticism/atheism’ that gave us so much trouble with plural marriage — it was the good ‘Christian’ people of the time. I seem to recall a BY quote to the effect that a mob was never formed against the LDS people without a clergyman behind it. [And yes, I’ll try and find it]

    Also, Gary — Please, please, please remember that our Heavenly Father loves his Atheist and Agnostic Children too. Many of my friends fall in the Agnostic category [Atheists are, in my experience, quite rare]. They are not evil people. They are not trying to destroy the church or our religion. They are good people who are doing the best they know with what they know. Yes, they are spiritually blind, but their blindness comes from lack of experience and not from rebellion or intrinsic evil. I wonder if I would do half so well if I hadn’t had the gift of the Holy Ghost to shape me and guide my life.

    Heavenly Father wants all his children to have the opportunity to hear the Gospel, so he sends us to be examples and plant seeds. Some of us [like you, I believe] are examples to his evangelical children. And others [like me] have been given friends who are very brilliant, very liberal and have no religion. I doubt any of them will join the church in this life. But I plant seeds and do PR work for the church among a group who will never let the missionaries in.

    And that is important too.