The Instigator
brian_eggleston
Pro (for)
Winning
112 Points
The Contender
theatresabs09
Con (against)
Losing
22 Points

Children's welfare should take legal priority over their parents' freedom of religion

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/26/2010 Category: Religion
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 7,374 times Debate No: 10898
Debate Rounds (2)
Comments (39)
Votes (23)

 

brian_eggleston

Pro

Imagine you are a small child and as a special treat for your birthday your mummy and daddy take you to the zoo to see all the lovely animals locked up in their dirty, cramped cages.

You are having a wonderful time there and you have laughed at the funny little monkeys and gasped at the great big elephants and you have even been allowed to stroke the bunny rabbits. Then your mummy asks you if you would like to see the lions and you reply that you would. So, you all set off in the direction of the lion enclosure and when you are almost there a panicking zookeeper runs towards you shouting:

"Run for your lives! The lions have escaped and they are heading this way!"

Frightened, you turn round to your mummy and daddy but they are already legging it back to the car park. All of a sudden, a massive lion pounces on you from behind and mauls you badly, leaving you writhing around in agony on the ground as it heads off to join the rest of the pride on a rampage through the food plaza.

You are only semi-conscious but you are aware you are bleeding badly. After some time a crowd gathers round your terribly injured body and one of the people says:

"For goodness sake, somebody call an ambulance."

But at that moment your mummy and daddy return and your mummy says:

"No, stop! Don't call an ambulance, we are devout Christians and we believe only the power of prayer can heal our child."

Then your daddy kneels down beside you, bows his head and prays:

"Dear Lord. Please don't let our only child die, unless of course it is Your will, in which case that's fair enough, I mean, we are not going to argue with You are we? Oh, and while I'm on, as well as healing my child, could You also have a go at fixing the inlet manifold on my Nissan? The darned thing is loosing pressure again. Thanks very much. Amen."

Then your mummy bends over you and says:

"There's nothing to worry about, darling, just have faith and put your trust in the Lord and you'll soon be all better."

Just then, a man in a white coat pushes his way through the crowds:

"Let me through, I'm a doctor!"

And the man kneels down next to you and opens a leather bag full of drugs and medical equipment but your daddy turns to him and says:

"Take your filthy hands off my child at once, you horrible little heretic, we don't want your evil secular medicine or your unholy bandages around here. This child's fate is in the hands of the Lord, for the Bible teaches us that ‘a man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven' – John, chapter three verse twenty seven."

"But Sir" the doctor replies, "The child is haemorrhaging blood at an unsustainable rate - unless I stem the flow and arrange for a blood transfusion as soon as possible the child will die."

Then your mummy interrupts:

"The child will live or die according to God's will. Hallelujah!"

And your daddy adds:

"Praise the Lord!"

At this point the whole world around you slowly fades to black.

Sound like an unlikely tale to you? Unfortunately, it's all too realistic. Every year in the United States dozens of children die as a result of their Christian parents' devotion to what they call ‘God's will' and "in all but four states (Hawaii, Massachusetts, Nebraska and North Carolina) parents can use their religious ideology as a shield against prosecution for withholding medical treatment from their children." (1)

Please remember that the children left to die by their fanatically religious parents may not have formed any religious views of their own or, otherwise, they may have been indoctrinated by their parents and their preachers to share the same beliefs as them.

But given a blank sheet of paper, how many of those dead children would have refused the chance to live if they were given that option?

Society has a duty to protect all children from harm and the government empowers law enforcement officers and social workers to intervene in cases where parents are abusing or neglecting their offspring. However, the authorities are powerless to intervene if parents' neglect of their children's health is done in accordance with their religious beliefs.

This seems morally repulsive to me and I, therefore, affirm that since children are powerless to defend themselves, the law should put their best interests ahead of their parents' freedom of religion.

Thank you.

(1) http://www.time.com...
theatresabs09

Con

First of all before I get into the debate, I would like everyone to know I am a Christian and have been for almost 20 years. I firmly believe in God, the Holy Bible, and everything else that goes along with Pentecostal beliefs.

While my opponent does bring up a good point that the situation he has brought up does happen pretty much daily around the world, I would also like to point out that freedom of religion and speech are just a couple of our rights as American citizens. There are many different religions in our country. Buddhism, Confucianism, Islam, Christianity, and Wicca are just a few. Every religion practices different things. I am in no way trying to be hateful towards any other religion but in this society today, all religions can practice what they believe and not have penalties for it, unless they are Christians. What I mean by that, is, every other religion I have heard of in this country can do what they want, even if it refuses medical attention and it's ok. If someone from a Christian belief does it, they are instantly the bad guys. Why is it that the Christians are the ones being attacked while every other religion out there can basically do as they please in this country and no one says word one about it?

"Every year in the United States dozens of children die as a result of their Christian parents' devotion to what they call ‘God's will' and "in all but four states (Hawaii, Massachusetts, Nebraska and North Carolina) parents can use their religious ideology as a shield against prosecution for withholding medical treatment from their children." "

Ok this I will admit does happen. However, unless you are doing something that is completely against the law like murdering someone, the government is not allowed to step in under any circumstances. http://www.illinoisfirstamendmentcenter.com.... They are "to remain neutral" and "government will neither control nor prohibit the free exercise of one's religion." As for why these four states are not allowing that I do not know. Using this as just an example, I am not trying to start a whole other debate, but look at abortion. My opponent asks the question, "Given a blank sheet of paper, how many of those dead children would have refused the chance to live if they were given that option?" The same could be said about abortion. So called "doctors" are going into a mothers womb and killing unborn babies who have no choice in the matter. So is he saying that it is ok for something like this to happen but not for parents to use their religion? Yes, the law should step in and control child abuse in any way they can, except if it is because of religion, as my opponent also stated. Although, if the law steps in and does anything against parents' religious beliefs, that is going completely against the First Amendment (see above link). I do not agree that the law should step in on any circumstances when parents are enforcing their First Amendment rights of religion. If there was that much of a concern, then doctors can at least try to negotiate with the parents a neutral ground where the patient can get a little bit of relief, and the parents may practice the religious aspects they wish to. http://www.foxnews.com.... Notice the dates on this link versus my opponents'. His is from 2001, and mine is from 2005. This link shows that, yes, doctors are concerned for their patients, but will not step in too far. They know the boundaries they cannot cross.

My opponent believes that "the law should put their best interests ahead of their parents' freedom of religion." However what he does not realize is if this happens then the law will be going AGAINST our First Amendment right as American citizens. I firmly believe that would be wrong. As you can see, I have shown many reasons why the law should not step in and overstep the power of religion parents have in this country.
Debate Round No. 1
brian_eggleston

Pro

I am sincerely grateful to theatresabs09 for accepting this debate and also for posting such an eloquent and informed argument in response.

Firstly I should like to say that I am sorry that my opponent, as a Christian, feels "that the Christians are the ones being attacked while every other religion out there can basically do as they please in this country and no one says word one about it."

Perhaps my opponent will take some comfort in the knowledge that because Christianity is the majority religion in America reports of "attacks" on Christians are likely to be the most numerous.

Furthermore, these "attacks' are not necessarily the most vitriolic. For example, followers of Islam have also committed offences on American soil in the name of their religion, most notably the terrorist atrocities that took place on September 11th 2001, as a direct result of which hundreds of thousands of perfectly innocent Muslim civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan lost their lives. I am not saying the invasions of these countries by the US and her allies weren't justified (I believe they were, as it happens) but at least my opponent should concede that she doesn't have to worry about the USAF bombing her house like many Muslims do?

My opponent does rightly point out that "freedom of religion and speech are just a couple of our rights as American citizens" and go on to quote ‘government will neither control nor prohibit the free exercise of one's religion' from the First Amendment to the American Constitution.

However, neither of the rights of freedom of religion or speech are absolute - the federal hate crimes bill passed last year makes it an offence to express hatred against an individual or group based on their colour, religion, national origin, gender, disability or sexual orientation. (1)

This law is seen by many as an infringement upon their freedom of speech. For example, Focus on the Family, an American parachurch organisation said that "hate crimes legislation paves the way for religious persecution" and that similar hate crime laws in other countries have been "used to prosecute Christians speaking their disapproval of homosexual behaviour, posing a serious threat to liberty and free speech". (2)

In other words, these people argue that Christian homophobes should have the right to verbally abuse gays and lesbians because they do so in the name of their religion.

My opponent goes on to suggest that a general legal dispensation should be extended to Christians by stating:

"…unless (Christians) are doing something that is completely against the law like murdering someone, the government is not allowed to step in under any circumstances."

Now, members of certain Christian sects believe that powerful spells require the deaths of "unblemished" male children and boys are trafficked in from Africa for this purpose. (3)

These Christians do not consider killing innocent children in the course of religious ceremonies to be "murders" or even crimes; rather they consider sacrificing children to God to be one of their religious duties.

However, I assume that my opponent will agree with me that these Christians should, indeed, be charged with murder and with this being the case, she will also agree that by duly prosecuting them for their crimes their freedom of religion, as guaranteed in the American Constitution, would be denied them.

So, in conclusion, if it is right to prosecute a Christian that deliberately kills a child, even though it may be unconstitutional to do so, it must therefore follow that it is right to prosecute a Christian that deliberately allows a child to die.

Thank you.

(1) http://www.religioustolerance.org...
(2) http://www.family.org...
(3) http://www.thisislondon.co.uk...
theatresabs09

Con

http://www.msnbc.msn.com...
http://www.wnd.com...

This first article here shows the proof that Christianity IS under attack. The first part of the very first sentence says that, "Evangelical Christians met up for a Washington event called War on Christians..." That 3 word phrase, "WAR ON CHRISTIANS" shows there is an attack on Christians. It goes right on to say, "Speakers gave impassioned testimonies about Christian persecution across the country." If you continue to read the rest of the article written in '06 you will see many other phrases that show incontestable proof of this.

The second article proves the same thing in a different way. It proves that the Christian holiday Christmas and everything implicated with it "is deeply offensive" to those that are not associated with it. "Virtually every Hanukkah card is respectful. Similarly, every Kwanza card is a paper paean to this rootless, recent invention. You won't find many cards taking vulgar shots at those holidays.You will, however, find tasteless cards that mock Christmas. You'll find off-color risque Christmas cards that you'd be embarrassed to be caught looking at. Few even mention Christmas, almost as if the word is so offensive that casual card browsers should be protected from accidental contamination. Secularism is saying, if we can't completely banish Christmas, let's at least turn it into a bad joke." There are many others that I will let you read for yourselves that prove that Christmas, a CHRISTIAN holiday, is trying to be forced out of the year. Why? Because we are apparently a threat to everyone else. Why else, I ask you, would everything involving Christianity be on the brink of extinction?

The 9/11 act of terrorism was started in another country and not here on American soil. Yes, as my opponent stated, I don't "have to worry about the USAF bombing my house like many Muslims do," but I do have to worry about everything involving my religion being completely taken away from me because my rligion is the most hated in this country. As he pointed out, "the federal hate crimes bill passed last year makes it an offence to express hatred against an individual or group based on their colour, religion, national origin, gender, disability or sexual orientation." This is very true. However, I do ask that if it is "an offence to express hatred against an individual or group based on..religion...." then why is everyon getting up in arms about parents using their religion as opposed to modern medicine? Shouldn't it be a crime for anyone who speaks out against that? I would assume that my opponent would have to agree with that since he is the one who said in his opening argument, "I, therefore, affirm that since children are powerless to defend themselves, the law should put their best interests ahead of their parents' freedom of religion." and then goes on in his last argument to say that, "the federal hate crimes bill passed last year makes it an offence to express hatred against an individual or group based on their colour, religion, national origin, gender, disability or sexual orientation." This kind of has me confused because in his opening argument he is saying that the law shoud step in over parents' freedom of religin, then goes on later to say that it is an offense to do so. In this case, lik I stated, I would only assume that he woud agree with me on this since he did state that "the law is seen by many as an infringement upon their freedom of speech" but said nothing about religion.

In is last link, my opponent posted something that had nothing watsoever to do with the United States of America. They were talking all about kids in other countries like London and the UK but nothing from the US. I am sorry but I d not believe that is very relevent to this debate, as there are other rules and regulations in other countries that have nothing to do with us. If they were to come to this country and try sacificing like they do over in London, yes, my opponnt assumed correctly that I would agree they shold be punished and hve their rights denied. This is not the case, however. We have no control over what other countries do, and therefore, cannot punish them the way we would the citizens of this country.

I therefore concede, that, if parents wish to use their rights of religion as America citizens on their children, the law should not step in and they should not be prosecuted for using their freedom to their advantage.
Debate Round No. 2
39 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by errya 4 years ago
errya
Christians who speak against homosexuality are not 'homophobes' and they do not 'abuse' the homosexual. We simply think think the homosexuality itself is a sin, as it is wrong in the eyes of God. And since all sins are the same in the eyes of God, and we've all sinned, we are no better than the homosexuals. We don't look down on the homosexuals themselves, as we are equal to them, we just don't the homosexuality.
Posted by brian_eggleston 6 years ago
brian_eggleston
Dead right, thank you!
Posted by Korashk 6 years ago
Korashk
It seems like a lot of commenters are taking brian's example in the wrong way. I would bet 10 USD that brian knows his example is rediculous. Its real purpose was to show the kind of behavior that is used by the minority of the religious to not seek medical treatment for their children when they have curable/treatable conditions.
Posted by Demosthenes 7 years ago
Demosthenes
I know I'm a little late but Brian that seems like a pretty ridiculous example.
Posted by Spaztoid 7 years ago
Spaztoid
I don't understand the "Also, outside of debate.com, you should read very widely." part, but I wish to understand why you think my estimation of people is wrong. I am simply observing trends, but if you think that my observations are flawed, please elaborate. As for your perceptions abut my optimism, you have a faulty premise. I am not an optimist, but a radical (in it's original context). I believe that a problem once identified, should be solved instead of simply acknowledged and ignored.
Posted by SexyLatina 7 years ago
SexyLatina
Your estimation of people is different from reality, by my best guess. However, I do not want to destroy your optimism because it has value. Therefore carry on. Also, outside of debate.com, you should read very widely.
Posted by Spaztoid 7 years ago
Spaztoid
That's good, now that everyone nows it, we should fix it.
Posted by SexyLatina 7 years ago
SexyLatina
Spaztoid: Everyone already knows all of that.
Posted by Spaztoid 7 years ago
Spaztoid
As I am new to this site, I have been reading large number of debates and threads in the forums. I also have been looking over the votes and the people casting them, and it's rather funny to see the way the votes are being cast.

1.) People are predominately voting for their beliefs not the person who made the best argument. This is on both sides of the scale and is not limited to any one party.

2.) People are voting for themselves, which seems to be pointless and extremely biased as you were participating in the debate thus you will have a difficult time being unbiased.

3.) People are having a hard time accepting loss. Debates are being viewed as major battles in several ideological battlefields. Religion being the for most of them, when someone out debates their opponent, people will not accept that loss because by voting for the opposing side, they are voting against their own beliefs.

Many people here need to realize that these debates are isolated, meaning that you should be voting on the debate it's self, not the topic or your personal beliefs.
Posted by drkcloud123 7 years ago
drkcloud123
I believe the OP gave a poor example of an extremely injured child and the parent's reluctance to go to a hospital. its like arguing how a company is shitty because one worker happened to be an ex-convict, which is few and a non-issue
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