Child Abuse by Religions: Children Must Be Rescued from Religion and Restored to Humanity. (Woman in Religions)
Innaiah, Narisetti, Free Inquiry
Our children are our own. They are ours to thrash or kill, if we choose; who are you to poke your nose in?" Yes, millions of parents still feel that way, in every part of the world. They justify harsh punishments with dictums like "You can train a plant but not a tree," or "Spare the rod and spoil the child." Too many traditional religions encourage parents to regard children as their property--or to believe that the more children they have, the better. "A child has not only a mouth but also two earning hands." Where do sayings like these come from? Which social institutions underlie much of the child abuse endemic to the world today, yet are scarcely ever accused by name? Religions, of course. It is religions that inspire and perpetuate much of the abuse that afflicts children around the globe.
Over the ages, religions have exploited the power of the bond between parents and children, fashioning priestly infrastructures that touch every aspect of life, enmeshing families ever deeper in allegiance. In most cultures this entrapment begins at or soon after birth with the naming of the baby. Parents feel it their duty to abide by religious customs, traditions and rituals. This, in turn, assures a livelihood to the priestly class.
Priests encourage parents to bring their children along when they visit places of worship. Parents obey, often hoping that experiences in the temple, church, mosque, or synagogue will help children develop faith in God and to practice ethical conduct. Children are thus controlled right from birth, in all countries and in all religions. Believing parents do not merely indoctrinate their children on the virtues of their own religion. They warn their young against embracing other religions, against following their customs and beliefs. Thus are the seeds of hatred sown, directly or indirectly, in impressionable minds.
Children are not born into religion; of necessity, they are born not even knowing what religion is. Yet, the religion of their parents is attributed to them. By the time they start talking, then writing, they can name their religion because it has been named for them. Thus steeped in religion from childhood, most people find they cannot climb free of religion later in life. Many find it impossible to shed this ingrained religious influence, even if they blossom into scientists or technologists. Education helps them carve out their careers, but they practice religion as they always have. Before you believe in anything, science demands that it be subjected to inquiry, analysis, and proof. If something cannot be proven, it should not be blindly believed. But around the world, the educated exempt religion from the scientific scrutiny they apply to everything else. When religion and science conflict, most people follow religion and give science a pass. Religion stands revealed as a barrier to human development. Th ey do not apply the scientific temperament acquired in the course of their education to matters of religion.
Beholden to their faiths or mired in tradition, parents have too often stood mute, helpless spectators to the religious abuse of children. Examples include denial of health care to children, practiced by several Christian denominations; widespread sexual abuse of children by Roman Catholic and other clergy, female genital mutilation as practiced under Islam and some traditional African religions; cruel corporate punishment under Sharia law; ostracism of low-caste children, child marriage, and temple prostitution under Hinduism; and male infant circumcision, originated by Judaism. If the civilized world is sometimes outraged by such abuses; it has nonetheless kept quiet, afraid to confront religion head-on. Individuals have dared to criticize religious child abuse, only to be ignored or ostracized as "atheists."
Fortunately, some light shimmers along this dark horizon.
PROCLAIMING CHILDREN'S RIGHTS
On November 20, 1989, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child, proclaiming elementary rights for children worldwide. …