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

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Comment by Richard J. Collins on August 8, 2009 at 11:34am
I have carefully thought about Dark Stranger's and Ralph McRaes objections which are valid. I cannot attempt to go into detailed rebuttals here, but if you read our posts on the web site you may come away with altered views. I have been carrying on a conversation with parents on an Amazon discussion forum for over one year. For every objection the parents raised, I developed a counter point. My counterpoint file has over 50 entries. What people invariably miss in this issue is that change has to come about voluntarily and that will happen when enough people become convinced the status quo is unethical and unfair to children.
Comment by Richard J. Collins on August 7, 2009 at 2:44pm
I neglected to attribute the first two paragraphs of my previous post to Stanford professor Rob Reich. He was writing in defense of his position that home schools should be regulated.
Comment by Richard J. Collins on August 7, 2009 at 2:41pm
Under what circumstances should freedom be limited? The standard
classical liberal response is that liberty should be restrained when the
exercise of one person’s liberty interferes with or harms another person.
This is generally called the “harm principle” among philosophers. The
liberal democratic state can legitimately pass laws that restrict your liberty
to harm other people.

What is key to understand is that liberal democracies enshrine the individual,
not groups or collectives. Each child is an individual, and while no
liberal democrat wants children to have the same status as an adult, the
fact remains that children have the same interest in freedom as adults do.
That is, children are born to freedom, though are not born in the condition
of being free.

The idea that enlightenment principles were so sound that everyone would eventually see the light was tried for hundreds of years. What was the result. The forces of unreason simply grew stronger and stronger until the now represent an existential threat to free societies. George Bush ushered in the ethically corrupt adminstration that nearly accomplished the nefarious goals of the rabid fundamentalists. These people are quite insane.
Comment by Zeb on August 7, 2009 at 12:59pm
I would encourage the longer route, fight and keep religion out of the schools, let education deconvert and let the future parents breed more dirty lil heathens.
On principle I can agree with what you're saying, though I find the idea of how such a 'right' of children will be protected quite creepy and orwellian. We're just going to have to deal with the parent's right to instruct and raise their children without state intervention, if you please.
Comment by Richard J. Collins on August 7, 2009 at 11:37am
Thanks Richard for your support. When I began to study this issue two years ago people told me I was on a fool's errand. Then I discovered facebook and the marvelous opportunities it offered to bind people together from around the world and many different cultures. My FB site now has around 555 people, but there are at least 5 other facebook sites advocating freedom of religion for children. Joe Winter's site has over 4,000 members. I congratulate him on his astute use of the picture from the documentary Jesus Camp. Wish I had thought of that.
Comment by Richard J. Collins on August 7, 2009 at 11:27am
We are not advocating a state role except for the re-examination of parental responsibility to acknowledge the rights of children as persons. The rights of children are well established in the secular democracies of Europe and other advanced nations around the world. Part of this is due to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child which the US has not yet ratified or began to implement. Sec of State Clinton and Senator Boxer plan to introduce legislation in the senate to ratify the convention. It will take many years to implement fully.

We as a nation pride ourselves on holding the banner for human rights on high and extolling freedom. Yet our smallest citizens are not enjoying their rights or their freedom. In our liberal secular democracy if freedom means anything, it means the right of the individual to make decisions that effect their lives.

I wish I could be as sanguine as you. The threat to our open society is very real and not enough people have seen the danger yet.
Comment by Monkeyfinger664 on August 7, 2009 at 8:30am
I was not forced. Others should not be either.
Comment by Rich Goss on August 7, 2009 at 1:51am
Good luck with this great idea. In the Root of All Evil, Dawkins makes a big issue over the vertical transmission (father and mother to child) of ideology. Kids are genetically wired to listen and obey. This is why religion is so difficult to uproot.
Comment by Richard J. Collins on August 7, 2009 at 12:23am
Dave writes:
She was brainwashed she's not going to heaven if her decedents were not Catholic.

I was never aware that this was part of the psychological weapons used on Catholics. How utterly depraved and debased. I realize of course that there are Catholics and then again their are Catholics. They run the gamut.
Comment by Richard J. Collins on August 7, 2009 at 12:15am
This is why part of our effort, in fact what has been called "The Atheist Imperative", is to reach out and let people know there are people who can help them through the difficult deconverting process. There are dozens and dozens of self help web sites to offer encouragement and sage advice.

Part of my effort is collecting such information and we will be publishing it on our WordPress web site. The current web site that is storing our collection, Secular Earth will soon be shutting down.

Look for Apostate Alley



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