Boundaries of religious freedom

Freedom of religion is important. No one should be forced to believe something as long as their beliefs do not impact other people, although that doesn’t mean that unfounded beliefs shouldn’t be challenged. Unfortunately some people don’t realise that their beliefs belong to them and cannot just be passed onto their children, who neither have the knowledge or capabilities to yet understand the arguments, weigh the evidence and come to their own conclusion. At times this imposition of a parent’s religion onto their offspring is relatively harmless but this is not always the case and there is a disturbing precedent where people feel that freedom of religion includes the freedom to impose their beliefs on others.

This can be seen in a recent article in The Telegraph concerning how parents religious beliefs are at times responsible for a child being put through unnecessary suffering when there is nothing more that can be done medically. Continue reading

The best parenting style?

First off, I don’t know what it is. I don’t have kids, don’t particularly like them, and am not hugely familiar with parenting. However I’ve seen some parenting stories online and found the contrast to be worth bringing to people’s attention. On one side we have extreme, and abusive, parenting as promoted by a Chinese women and on the other end we have a Canadian study showing that physical punishments cause long-term harm.

The abusive incident occured in New York, where a Chinese couple forced their, almost naked, son to run around and lie down in the snow. The video got onto Youtube and attracted a huge amount of attention. Just as terrifying as the parents actions were the rationalisations which includes trying to give the son a “masculine temperament” and claiming that the child’s intense training, of which this snow incident was just one aspect, had cured his health problems. The first reason is sexist and contains harmful gender stereotypes while the second can’t be claimed from the available evidence. Continue reading