The Instigator
brian_eggleston
Pro (for)
Winning
27 Points
The Contender
Maurice
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

The right to life ought carry greater legal weight than the right to free exercise of religion

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 6 votes the winner is...
brian_eggleston
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/8/2013 Category: Politics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,053 times Debate No: 28969
Debate Rounds (2)
Comments (13)
Votes (6)

 

brian_eggleston

Pro

Imagine it's your 9th birthday and your Mummy and Daddy take you to the zoo as a special treat.

You have had a lovely morning gasping at the huge elephants, laughing at the funny monkeys and stroking the cute little meerkats when all of a sudden a zookeeper runs towards you and shrieks: "Look out! The lions have escaped and they are heading this way!"

With that, you turn and run but you can't keep up with your Mummy and Daddy and moments later a lion pounces on you from behind, pins you the ground and proceeds to rip your limbs off, one by one.

The lion has already dismembered both your arms and one of your legs when help arrives: a zookeeper shoots the lion with a tranquiliser dart and the zoo's medics rush to your aid. Frantically, they unpack their medical equipment and put you on a stretcher, and then your Mummy and Daddy run up.

"Oh my poor little child!" wails your mother, "Are you okay?"

"Jesus Christ on a fvcking bike, woman!" you exclaim, "Do I look okay?"

"How dare you take our Lord's name in vain, you blasphemous little tyke," admonishes your father, who then raises his hands to the sky and cries, "Forgive him Father for he knows not what he does."

"Sorry, Daddy," you reply, "But I am actually in quite a lot of pain here, you know."

"Oh, dear!" says your Mummy, "What a pity, but don't let it spoil your birthday. I tell you what; after we've seen the rest of God's creatures, I'll buy you an ice cream to cheer you up."

"Oh, thanks Mummy," you say, "That's very kind of you, I'm sure, but how am I going to eat it? In case you hadn't noticed, I've got no fvcking arms, you daft old bint."

Meanwhile, the medics are working hard to stem the flow of blood haemorrhaging from your wounds and after applying numerous bandages, they lift you up your stretcher to take you to the waiting ambulance.

"Where on earth do you think you are taking my child?" your Daddy asks the medics.

"To hospital, of course," is the reply, "This child has lost a great deal of blood and unless he receives a transfusion quickly he will die."

"Put that stretcher down at once, you heathens!" demands your Daddy, "That child is a Jehovah's Witness, and I categorically refuse the use of foreign blood or blood components during his treatment, for the Good Book says: 'Abstain from what is strangled and from blood', Acts chapter fifteen, verse twenty-one. Praise the Lord."

"But Daddy," you plead, "I don't want to die; I've got my whole life ahead of me."

"Have faith, my child," he replies, "You shall be healed by prayer. 'All things whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.' Matthew, chapter twenty-one, verse twenty-two. Hallelujah!"

"That's right," says your Mummy, who then clasps her hands together and prays, "Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name. Our beautiful young son has had a bit of trouble with a lion, can you please stop him from bleeding to death and make his arms and leg grow back. Also, we got a parking ticket this morning; could you please do me a favour and smite the miserable sinner who issued it? Thanks very much. Amen."

At this stage your world fades to black and you never see the light of day again.

What do you think of that? If you'd gone to hospital you might have survived. They might even have been able to sew your limbs back on. We'll never know because your parents refused the vital medical treatment that could have saved your life, just because of their religious beliefs.

According to the multi-faith organisation Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance (OCRT) "The First Amendment to the US Constitution prohibits any action by an American government which restricts the free exercise of religion and Section 2 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees that "Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms: freedom of conscience and religion." Similar rights are enshrined in European law. (1)

OCRT continues: "Courts have generally interpreted the concept of freedom of religion very broadly to include both religious belief and most religious practices. e.g. the personal freedom to choose prayer and/or religious ritual in place of medical treatment for a disease or disorder. When faced with a medical problem, an adult can seek medical attention, use faith healing, try herbal or other alternative medical treatment, or pursue no treatment at all, and let nature takes its course. Some parents or guardians may wish to exercise the same options for their children. Parents and guardians are generally given almost complete freedom in providing or denying health care to their children." (2)

It seems unbelievable the right to life to life is not given the same weight as the right to free exercise of religion, but that's the reality.

In the United States, for example, "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness" is sometimes thought of as a Constitutional right but, in fact, the phrase originates in the Declaration of Independence. (3)

And although the 5th Amendment does state that "No person shall be...deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law" this just means that if a parent wishes to withhold life-saving medical treatment from their child for religious reasons, a third party acting on behalf of the child"s interests may challenge their decision in court.

Personally, I think the idea that a parent should be allowed to sacrifice their own child's life to appease some god is morally repugnant and that such a practice has no place in modern, civilized society.

For this reason, I firmly believe that legislators should employ whatever legal instruments are necessary to ensure that a child's right to life carries greater legal weight than its parent's right to free exercise of religion.

Thank you.

(1) http://www.strasbourgconsortium.org...
(2) http://www.religioustolerance.org...
(3) http://www.ushistory.org...
(4) http://www.law.cornell.edu...
Maurice

Con

Human rights are almost a form of religion in today's world.
Debate Round No. 1
brian_eggleston

Pro

In so far as human rights recognise the sanctity of human life, my opponent has a point: most of society shares the belief that a human life is the most valuable of all commodities.

Ironically, it is only psychopaths and religious extremists that do not share the belief that human life is of paramount importance.

Devoutly religious people have always placed faith and obedience above the right to life, and human sacrifice was common feature of the ancient pagan religions ofEurope, the religion of the Mayan civilisation and other primitive religions around the world. Indeed, ritual killings are still common in sub-SaharanAfricato this day. (1)

Furthermore, many adherents of certain faiths are willing to kill in defence of their religion, most notably: Muslim fundamentalists; Zionist Jews and Hindu extremists such as members of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh organisation.

In the past, Christians have also killed in the name of their religion: the Crusades and the Spanish Inquisition are a couple of notable examples; but these days the governments in most Christian-dominated countries have outlawed causing death in the name of religion; except where it comes to the "right" of parents to deny their children life-saving medical treatment, and it is this anomaly that I argue to needs to be addressed.

Thank you.

(1) http://hrbrief.org...
Maurice

Con

"Abstain from what is strangled and from blood" is not the actual writings
it's "abstain ... from the meat of strangled animals and from blood" and it's about not eating animals that were killed inhumanely - it has nothing to do with this argument.

Religion can give one hope to live when they consider suicide.

Religion has sparked the greatest civilisations of the world.

Religion gives people faith to fight death.

All of the major religions prohibit death in most cases
with exceptions (7 cardinal sins in christianity etc.)
Faith healing is deemed by major religions as a fraud by those who claim to be 'faith healers' and prayer doesn't ensure but only contributes to well being major religions hold the right to life very high only religious fanatics (which are rare) kill their children for their religion.

JC
Debate Round No. 2
13 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by babyy 1 year ago
babyy
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Posted by wrichcirw 1 year ago
wrichcirw
Well argued by PRO. It was quite funny as well, although at times it drew close to that line of funny vs. offensive.

I will give sources and argument to PRO.
Posted by likespeace 1 year ago
likespeace
Bladerunner060, I found the case! The 14-year-old's guardian was a Jehova's Witness herself and strongly supported his decision not to have a transfusion. That agreement between both the boy and the guardian somewhat simplified the ethical decision. The parents disagreed, but they'd given up custody years ago due to heavy drug use, so it was no longer their call to make.

http://www.seattlepi.com...
Posted by bladerunner060 1 year ago
bladerunner060
philocristos, you are aware that that has actually happened, right? The courts ruled the kid could refuse the transfusion and he died.
Posted by AlbinoBunny 1 year ago
AlbinoBunny
'All of the major religions prohibit death in most cases'

Wise words.
Posted by likespeace 1 year ago
likespeace
Pro's argument is quite compelling, and Con didn't offer up much in the way of defense. I wonder if a better defense might focus on WHOM he is saying OUGHT to act differently. The boys' and parents' actions are clearly consistent with their respective desires. Thus, Pro is asserting OUR SOCIETY (of voting adults) ought to vote to compel the medical team to save the boy. Why OUGHT we compel them to do this? That depends on our ethical system. From a utilitarian perspective, OUR SOCIETY (of voting adults) does not necessarily benefit from adding a boy to our society that is physically damaged and is more likely to cost OUR SOCIETY (of voting adults) more in the long-term than any value he will bring to it.

(For senior citizens, there is the argument that, although we are not a member of that society, we will likely one day become one. That argument does not hold for children! Once we have become a voting adult, it is extremely unlikely that we will ever regress to a child state under guardianship.)

Thus, while we can certainly empathize with the boy, the burden would be placed on Pro to argue for OUR SOCIETY (of voting adults) adopting a value system and definition of society wherein saving the boy was justified.
Posted by philochristos 1 year ago
philochristos
AlbinoBunny brings up another sticky situation. What if a 14 year old child becomes a Jehovah's Witness, but his parents are not. Should the parents be able to force a blood transfusion on their child?
Posted by blackfirewolf 1 year ago
blackfirewolf
The way that argument was shown in the imaginary situation is both freakin' amazing and disturbing...
Posted by AlbinoBunny 1 year ago
AlbinoBunny
That's a tough one. Can you pick and choose when to take the parents' decision by proxy over the child's, and does religious belief factor into that choice?

If the parents' grounds for the choice are religious, and the child disagrees, should we let 'free exercise of religion' count in the child's favour, and ignore the parents' choice?
Posted by Chuz-Life 1 year ago
Chuz-Life
I completely agree with Philo... but I absolutely enjoyed the challenge comments of this debate!
6 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Vote Placed by 1Devilsadvocate 1 year ago
1Devilsadvocate
brian_egglestonMauriceTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Obvious.
Vote Placed by wrichcirw 1 year ago
wrichcirw
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Reasons for voting decision: see comment. CON didn't really have a case.
Vote Placed by blackfirewolf 1 year ago
blackfirewolf
brian_egglestonMauriceTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro had the upper hand though con had some good points as well.
Vote Placed by bladerunner060 1 year ago
bladerunner060
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Reasons for voting decision: S&G to Pro for hopefully obvious reasons. Arguments to Pro because Con seemed not to be arguing the motion, but rather to be arguing the idea that religion is a good thing.
Vote Placed by puppyluvz 1 year ago
puppyluvz
brian_egglestonMauriceTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro was much more convincing.
Vote Placed by likespeace 1 year ago
likespeace
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Reasons for voting decision: Con did not offer any substantive rebuttal to Pro's arguments that, "The right to life ought carry greater legal weight than the right to free exercise of religion." In fact, he seems to agree, as evidenced in this quote--"Faith healing is deemed by major religions as a fraud by those who claim to be 'faith healers' and prayer doesn't ensure but only contributes to well being major religions hold the right to life very high only religious fanatics (which are rare) kill their children for their religion." The above also serves as an example of why I award S&G to Pro.