In our most recent S&R poll, readers were asked the following: Two children of a family belonging to the Followers of Christ Church have now died after “faith-healing” was chosen over medical treatment. What do you believe authorities should do?
The results looked like this:
- Pursue appropriate criminal sanctions. Religion is no defense for child endangerment. (75%, 101 Votes)
- Nothing. These kinds of cases fall under the absolute right to freedom of religion. (25%, 33 Votes)
I find the results of the poll (unscientific though it may be) fascinating. Specifically, I’m interested in the thinking of the 25% who believe that letting a child die of a curable condition is … well, okay. It’s okay because their understanding of the Constitution is that the worst form of child neglect and endangerment imaginable is acceptable so long as it’s executed in the name of a god.
Let’s be sure we get this part right. Say Bob lets his baby die because he’s sorry, hateful ignorant white trash. Mary lets her baby die because the Lord told her to. Bob goes to prison. Mary gets knocked up and has another baby (with the blessing of society).
Am I getting close here?
Based on assumptions drawn from a 40+ year acquaintance with the American public, let me further speculate that many of the people who are okay with what happened in Oregon probably believe it’s a horrific crime to abort a fetus. So, in this view, aborting a blastocyst – mortal sin. Letting an actual living, breathing human die – will of God.
What we have here is absorbing in and of itself, but the philosophy has larger implications that are even more important to understand. In essence, we’re being told that the call of religion supersedes the details of any crime. It’s an absolutist stance that doesn’t seem to allow for any shades of gray.
To make sure I’m not making things up or – God forbid – constructing a straw man, I’d like to ask the people who voted for the absolutist position tell me what’s wrong with these assertions:
- if your religion condones it, it’s okay to withhold medical care from an innocent, even if it results in unfathomable suffering and eventual death
- if your religion condones it, it should therefore be okay to kill a child for certain kinds of misbehavior
- if your religion condones it, it should be okay to kill another human being for violating the teachings of your church
- if your religion condones it, it should be okay to hijack an airliner and fly it into a large building, resulting the deaths of thousands of infidels
- if your religion condones it, it’s okay to stone your sister to death for looking at a man she isn’t married to
- if your religion condones it, it’s okay to use your position in the church to rape children entrusted to your care
- and how about this: if your religion condones it, it’s okay to have an abortion
In short, I’d like to know what, if anything, isn’t acceptable if you have the sanction of a religious body or official.
I personally cannot conceive that the framers of the Constitution intended any such hogwash. This noble document, which stands as perhaps the greatest political framework in history, wasn’t devised as a hiding place for the most ignorant among us, and it’s impossible to imagine that the list of our inalienable rights includes the right to deprive an innocent child of the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
If it does, then we now have all the justification we’ll ever need for abolishing it as we would any other archaic, barbaric drivel.
So there it is – come tell me what I’m missing. But be forewarned – the positions as stated and as acted upon by this mouthbreathing cult in Oregon are philosophically absolute, so be careful about interpreting and drawing lines. That’s not a path that’s going to serve you very well, I don’t think.