New gambit -- Petition to end forcing faith on children

This week I created a petition on iPetition which asks people to support the end of childhood religious indoctrination. The petition is a tool to excite interest and get people thinking about one of the most profound changes we can envision to fortify the rights of children around the world and to more carefully define the role of parents.

My vision of children recognizes them as persons having rights and among the most important of these is the right to not have their precious minds tampered with, and their intellects dulled by ancient dogma and superstition.

Imagine if this petition gathers a million supporters. The support will sway many people who at some level realize the corrupt status quo no longer deserves popular support. Of course, I will see that the Pope and all religious leaders around the world are made aware of support for the petition.

Help us make this petition go viral by sharing this link to your friends and social network members. Post information on your blogs and send emails to members of your social networks. Ask them to join the effort. Here is a suggested appeal you can use:


I wanted to draw your attention to this important petition that I recently signed:

"Stop forcing faith on hapless children"

I really think this is an important cause, and I'd like to encourage you to add your signature, too. It's free and takes less than a minute of your time.



Rich Collins

Views: 283


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Comment by Richard J. Collins on August 15, 2009 at 2:22pm
An amendment to the constitution has been introduced and has abot 60 sponsors last I checked. It does not stand a chance of passage, but the Christian fascists pushing this use it to rake in cash donations from parents they feed lies and distortions to. Millions go into the kitty to further broadcast propaganda. With respect to the religious objectors exemptions that is going to have to be fought state by state, probably. I think Michigan is working to revoke their exemption law.

Sweden and Japan really do not need laws, their culture has taken care of the issue. I am more optimistic than you are Jason. I think we can create a groundswell against imposing religion on children that will encompass the entire world. Remember that there are an estimated 700 million atheists in the world. Many of them had religion pushed on them as children and quite a few are just a bit ticked off. You can follow the comments people make that sign the petition if you like, and sample for yourself the mood of people.

I am all for pushing education. No problem with that. But we can take a more aggressive stance at the same time. Watch what is happening in the UK. Keep in mind that observers are calling Europe, Post-Christian Europe. The trend towards secular societies has never been stronger.
Comment by Jason Spicer on August 15, 2009 at 3:04am
I agree that most religious indoctrination is child abuse. Threatening children with excommunication in this life and eternal hellfire in the afterlife is simply abusive cult behavior. I remember being terrified by a film about "The Rapture" shown by my church when I was six or seven years old. And as JayBarti points out, there are parallels here with the idea of banning the burqa, not as a limit on the freedoms of the burqa wearers or children, but as a restraint on those who would harm others.

Unfortunately, while the burqa is an issue for a very tiny minority of people in Western societies (and even in the Muslim world), so there is some chance of closing that barn door in the relatively near future, religious indoctrination of children by parents is a nearly universal practice. I very much doubt that we can make much headway against that barbaric and selfish tradition without first making more progress increasing the percentage of atheists in the population. In short, while I think Sweden and Japan might be ready for such a push for child protection against cult induction, the US just isn't ready. In fact, I suspect that the reactionary religious majority in the US would attempt to enshrine a permanent parental right to religious indoctrination in the Constitution, if pressed on the issue, making it even harder to fight in the long run. Bad enough that the Free Exercise clause of the First Amendment is interpreted as allowing the religious to avoid paying taxes, ignore local zoning ordinances, and even withhold proper health care to their dying children. I would hate to see it expanded to guarantee that parents can brainwash their children into dangerous superstitions.

As others have proposed, a better strategy is to continue pushing for well-rounded education for all, with an emphasis on science, statistics, and critical thinking. I'm OK with the idea of comparative religion classes, though I fear that it may be difficult to ensure they are presented in an even-handed way; they may end up simply promoting the majority religion in many cases.
Comment by Richard J. Collins on August 10, 2009 at 5:43am
We see support is growing. The point to remember is we don't have to convert all the parents in the world to our point of view. We just have to get a clear trend going. The churches live a precarious financial life. As the Catholics are finding out, once money stops coming in, a ruinous chain of events follows. Churches are finding it more and more difficult to swing bank loans and many face foreclosure. In the UK, thousands of churches are empty and sit forlornly amongst weed filled lots. Studies show most churches really don't serve the people in their communities. They are nothing more than private social clubs run for the benefit of the members and supported by tax exemptions. Some faiths will see the hand writing on the wall and reform. For starters, they could swear of preying on the very young. They will either reform or die.

I do believe family members are going to be key to saving many children from dogma and superstition. It might be older siblings or a wise uncle, like Cliff. Or a wise aunt. The thing we have to do is give people permision to break the taboo about not interfering in another families' business. That's fine up to a point, but we are talking about saving innocent children here. But actually, the examples I gave are of family members taking a positive step, not outsiders.
Comment by Goz on August 9, 2009 at 7:29pm
if this became the norm,how would one enforce such a law?
Comment by Richard J. Collins on August 9, 2009 at 6:07pm
Dark Stranger, write:
.. this is a bad idea to try to attempt isolating children from their parents

Parents who understand how unethical it is to force a religion on a child will not attempt to do this. Instead they will see to it that their children learn all about religion...not just the parent's religion. They will approach their duty as a responsibility for seeing to it that their children have the complete knowledge they need to make their own decision about whether to participate in a religion or not.

If you have not been convinced that forcing religion on a child is abusive, you need to spend time reading the personal narratives people post on the dozens of self-help sites for those who have left religion or want to leave. Depression and panic attacks are not uncommon. Angry fights between family members break out and friends leave friends who walk away. This is a silent epidemic going on around us and no one is the wiser.
Comment by JayBarti on August 8, 2009 at 6:55pm
Lets be clear I don't disagree with the argument for why it would be a good thing, and that parental and privacy rights appear to be inflated if not in law but in perception. Jason Splicer made an excellent argument with a like answer, that I am still trying not to agree with, even though I still feel it is a bad idea.

The problem always isn't the extremists or those who are really negligent and hurtful, there are laws to deal with them. The moderates are who you are trying to win to your side, taking that approach while possibly legal in fact is and might be received as a do it because we tell you, and your wrong. It is a lot of people to tell that they are wrong.

I was simply offering an alternate path to accomplish something in a similar direction, but might be more likely to be accepted by the moderates.
Comment by Richard J. Collins on August 8, 2009 at 4:34pm
We are going to disabuse a lot of people about their so called parental rights. Where do such rights arise? The following paper is from Professor James Dwyer.

Debunking the doctrine of parental rights
The scope, weight, and assignment of parental rights have been the focus of much debate among legal commentators. These commentators generally have assumed that parents should have some rights in connection with the raising of their children. Rarely have commentators offered justifications for attributing rights to persons as parents, and when they have done so they have failed to subject those justifications to close scrutiny. This article takes the novel approach of challenging parental rights in their entirety. The author explores the fundamental questions of what it means to say that individuals have rights as parents, and whether it is legitimate to to do so. In defining existing parental rights, the Article focuses on parental rights in religious contexts, because it is in this arena that the notion of parental rights takes its strongest form. The author contrasts parental rights with other individual rights that receive protection under our legal system. He concludes that the claim that parents should have child-rearing rights is inconsistent with certain principles underlying all other individual rights recognized in our society. After demonstrating this theoretical shortcoming of the notion of parental rights, the Article challenges the soundness of the commonly advanced justifications of parenting rights. The author concludes that all the proffered justifications for parents' rights are unsound and recommends a substantial revision of the law governing child-rearing. The author proposes that children's rights rather than parents' rights serve as the basis for protecting the legal interests of children. The law should confer on parents only a child-rearing privilege, limited to actions that do not harm the child's interests. Such a privilege, coupled with a broader set of children's rights, satifies parents legitimate interests in child-rearing while providing children with a more appropriate level of protection than they receive under the current legal approach. -- Introduction
Comment by JayBarti on August 8, 2009 at 2:06pm
The issue is always going to butt up against private parental rights and child safety, as long as the majority is religious or self identified as such the child safety argument will probably not win.

I know a few culturally Christians, Catholics and others who did not seem to have been passed along the strength of fervor that their parents might have had. I certainly didn't have it passed along even though my great grandfather was a baptist minister. I know this, I have verified through records and even know where and when he died. For some reason, either my grandmother (who probably believed) or my mother (?) just decided not too pass along that part of the heritage along.

I know it is important to grow up free enough to make up your own mind. But it is still a majority vote society with minority protections. Making educational standards equal and nationally enforced for both home, private and public schooling might be a better starting place.

The issue changes then and your more likely to get the moderates on your side as well. Equal and fair access to education is a better argument. You might also get the poorer yet often more religious parents on board as well no matter what they might believe. Every parent on some level, wants better opportunity for their children, better education is an obvious path.
Comment by Realizer on August 8, 2009 at 1:34pm
Signed......If you want to see the results of childhood indoctination visit Hilldale Ut-Colorado City Az. formerly Short Creek. Here is where the Elders marry their 14 year old cousins because god told the prophet via a vision.........
Comment by Richard J. Collins on August 8, 2009 at 12:12pm
The other point people miss is the damage the fear mongering and wish mongering does to fragile young minds. There is nothing at all benign about the process of mind control used to get children to accept superstitious dogma. If you think otherwise, I invite you to investigate the dozens of web sites devoted to helping people recover from religion or find the strength to leave. We all know that religion is divisive when it comes to communities and nations. What many people miss is just how divisive religion is among family members. There is something basically corrupt about a system that discourages honest conversation between children and their parents. Many children realize as early as age 7 or 8 that there is something problematical about religion. But, their questions are shushed. Blasphemy you know. Children innocently wander into forbidden territory with their questions. When the are shushed, the result is they learn the lesson not to think for themselves. Try having an honest intellectual discussion with the deluded people who come out of this mind control regime. They simply do not understand how to gather facts and develop a rational explanation of their position. They actually don't know how to separate fact from fiction.



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