Anyone who has read The Atheist Camel Chronicles knows I am no shrinking violet when it comes to anti-theist activism and calling religious teaching what it is … promulgating superstitious nonsense. But there are limits to what I am willing to do to curb the spread of theist non-think.
I don’t remember when or why I joined a facebook cause entitled “Ban Religious Child Grooming” but evidently I did. I was reminded of this when I received an alert from an administrator about some religious event or organization’s effort to proselytize children. Clicking on the link to the page I read the “about us” section and withdrew from the cause post haste, hopefully not losing a facebook friend or two in so doing.
No one is more aware of the travesty that religious delusion wreaks on civilization. I am well acquainted with the ill effects religious training of children in their formative years has on their acceptance of secular reality, as well as its long term impact on the propagation of the God Virus. And while I applaud their sensitivity and awareness of the ills of religious indoctrination, advocating banning the teaching of anything; any belief system, presumed fact, unproven theory, conspiracy theory, world view, et al, when it is endorsed and approved by the parent guardian of a minor, is a recipe for disaster.
Foundational to the Ban Religious Child Grooming credo is this:
- Only proven fact should ever be taught as being actual facts. [So much for teaching String Theory]
- Without religious child grooming the twin towers would still be standing [How could anyone possibly know this? One wonders if that is an actual “ fact” or assumption]
- Without religious child grooming thousands of wars would never have occurred. [“Thousands”? Is that an actual fact? Sounds like exaggeration at best, hyperbole at worst.]
- The proven fact of evolution also acts as 100% proof that the biblical accounts of creation are a sham and a deception. [ only if the religionist interprets the creation story literally; if interpreted as a euphemism for natural causes of creation is it still deception, or just a parable?]
- The age of consent laws and the fraud laws should already be protecting children from religious child grooming, but these crimes are basically ignored. [“Fraud laws”? Would a parent be liable for fraud for proffering Santa, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy to their 5 year old? Is promoting belief in God /gods in and of itself religious child grooming?]
One tends to get on pretty boggy ground when one speaks of “actual fact.” Evolutionary theory has already undergone some minor changes since Darwin’s day. It is likely new discoveries will enhance/change our understanding of the “actual facts” of evolution. Should we ban the teaching of evolutionary theory because it is more certain than not that what we think we know as fact now will be tweaked, corrected and certain details of it proven to be erroneous, thus not “actual fact”?
Last week NASA discovered a new life form on Earth; new bacteria that lives on and reproduces arsenic in place of phosphorous. Up until last week biologists were quite sure that no such life form could exist on Earth, that all life forms shared common chemical compositions which did not include arsenic as a primary source of life sustenance. That fact would be declared wrong, in hindsight and under the proposed ban, such teachings would have been illegal. Every biology book would be guilty of passing on non-fact. I wonder what the statute of limitations would be, and the penalty.
Once upon a time the teaching of a solar centric universe was banned. Proclaiming ones atheism was banned. Reading unpopular books was banned. Practicing certain religions was banned. And not just by religious authority, but by secular governments as well. Banning almost never has the desired effect. All banning achieves is driving the undesired activity underground … the use of illicit drugs and the prominence of prostitution is witness to that.
But beyond this the slippery slope becomes a cliff. If we empower the government to ban religious teaching of children, irrespective of its absurdity and [potential] negative impact on the child and society, we open the door to banning any new thought or hypothesis or unpopular idea. It is Big Brother at his very ugliest and virulent.
I’m all for aggressive activism, but only when rights and freedoms aren’t trashed and the reality of historical precedence aren’t ignored. To do otherwise makes us exactly what we as thinking people despise: intolerant, short sighted, unthinking and dangerous.