Rights of Children to Life>Religious Freedom

No this thread is not about abortion. In fact I suspect many of our atheists here will agree with me.

The question is supposing some religious sect forbids certain medical treatments or otherwise results in less than ideal health conditions should the children’s right to health and life be superseded over that sect’s religious freedom? To give an example, Jehovah’s Witnesses forbid members to have blood transfusions resulting in the deaths of many JWs including children. In such cases I think the government needs to step in and mandate the medical care for children and if need be take the kids away from the parents.

I think that being taken to church is unhealthy.

But slightly more seriously, what about foreskins?

What about non-religious idiocy, like thinking that immunizations are too risky to, er, risk?

I guess what I’m saying is, it sounds great in concept, but I can see the potential for problems in the implementation.

That does not kill the kid.

You said “or otherwise results in less than ideal health conditions”. Pick which bar we’re leaping, please.

Curtis, i’d like to ask you a question in reverse, given that you appear to be on the “yes, the kids should be taken away” side (though of course I could be wrong). If we are called upon to remove children from their parents if the penalty for their guardianship is the child’s death, then couldn’t that same moral imperative mean we should take children away from atheist parents, given that they may risk losing salvation (an arguably considerably worse crime)?

Yes I am on that side. However Christians cannot force religion on people as you have advocated .

Well, let’s be clear, i’m not personally advocating it.

Given that you appear to be advocating that Christians (among others) impose their moral standards on others when a life is on the line, why do you draw the line when it’s eternal life on the line?

When it does not exert force or coercion.

You’re advocating literally taking children away from the control of their parents in worst cases, and giving the government the power to decide what medical treatment children recieve in the best. How is it not force to physically and legally disallow someone from practicing an element of their religious faith? How is it not pushing your faith on someone to say “No, your moral code is incorrect. Mine is right. I am not content to disagree; everyone must obey my code”? Your idea is forcing religion on people.

You are such a believer. if they tell you, you buy it.
I saw a program of Jehovah Witness people refusing blood transfusions. Few hospitals would operate with those restrictions. A few did. They discovered that the result were often better with less complications. The hospitals instituted new policies and greatly reduced blood use in operations and got better results. They saved a lot of money . Now a lot of hospitals are doing it.

IIRC there have been several cases where a court has mandated health care for a child over the parent’s objections (based on religious reasons). One such case was only a year or two ago (on iPhone commuting so cannot get cites just now but will later if people want them).

The short of it is an adult can refuse treatment but a child is unable to and the default should be to save the child.

As a parent, lemme say, parents are nothing special. Our society lets parents make medical decisions for kids because that’s the most efficient and effective way to go about doing it: most parents have their kids’ best interests at heart, and are far more capable of making sound medical decisions than the kids would be (because they’re, y’know, kids), and the parents will do the work of making these decisions for free. This system works so well that we tolerate a little bit of nonsense in it: if someone decides to treat their kid’s allergies with homeopathy, or decides to circumcise their kid, or decides to delay vaccinations, we’re okay with it. We even tolerate the significant nonsense of the anti-vaxers.

But when a parent’s beliefs are resulting in a threat to the life of the kid, the normally-efficient system has broken down, and we step in. We can do this because the kids are not the property of the parents, and parents don’t have any sort of special moral authority to make these decisions: it’s just that some adult needs to do it, and as long as the parent is able and willing to do so, it’s efficient and effective to leave it up to them.

The alternative is to let some people kill other people, because the first group are the kids of the second group and the second group is delusional. Er, religious. Just as Curtis isn’t allowed to impose his religion on me, I see no reason why a crazy religious parent ought to be able to impose his religion in a deadly fashion on his kids.

Isn’t this argument self-defeating, though? Bob the Jehovah’s Witness wants to prevent Frank his kid from getting a blood transfusion. Curtis wants to prevent Bob from preventing Frank from getting the transfusion. It sounds like you want to prevent Curtis from preventing Bob from preventing Frank from getting the transfusion.

How do you differentiate your coercive desires from Curtis’s such that yours are okay and his are not? He can easily differentiate between his and Frank’s by pointing out that Frank’s desires cause physical harm; what differentiation do yo make?

There are established procedures where the state can order medical treatment against the wishes of the parents.

They are not invoked all that often. The state recognizes that the parents should have the primary control of how their children are raised. So it will override the parents only is cases where there is a clear and immediate medical problem that will cause the child’s death or serious disability. And problems like that are actually relatively rare - in most cases it’s more a matter of degree. Doctors may agree that a certain course of treatment is a good idea but they usually can’t say that the patient will definitely die without it.

Death of the soul is not a proven material fact. Death of the body is.

Presumably the child can make their own decision as to what they believe. In fact a lot of Christians would say that their decision isn’t valid unless it’s made by the child alone as a rational person.
I made my own decision.

You believe in one montheistic deity, along with the paradigm of salvation/damnation. I don’t.
Personally, I think any deity who would play such horrible games with His own creations is a pretty sick deity.

/puts on the asbestos granny-panties;).

To be clear, I actually haven’t expressed my own opinion of the subject yet; i’m just interested in seeing what happens to Curtis’s rationale in different situations. I’m pretty much on board with, as you say, generally leaving decisions up to parents but perhaps stepping in when it’s a question of life or death.

I don’t differentiate. I fully admit that, even if it the best thing to do to remove decisions about their child from parents, that what you have is a coercive situation. Of course, if I say that I do not want such a situation, i’m as guilty as Curtis as attempting to force my own views on other people. The argument is only self-defeating so long as you are ruling out a forced situation entirely, which I don’t but seemingly Curtis does.

While I agree that Curtis can point out that Frank’s desires cause physical harm, I assume that he is against harm in general, and i’m interested in seeing if his ideas change when what is at risk isn’t physical harm, but spiritual harm.

For a Christian, and particularly a Christian as seemingly certain as Curtis, death of the soul is something to worry about, proven material fact or not.

That’s true, but we are formed into our rational selves by our surroundings, including our parents. I don’t think it’s a sure thing that we could assume parents have zero chance to affect their child’s future faith (or otherwise).

I don’t, either. I’m an atheist.

IIRC, there HAVE been cases where parents were charged with neglect after refusing to get children medical aid, due to religious beliefs.
One such case

Another article
And in the case of the state taking over, isn’t there a term for this? Would this be an example of guardian ad litem?

Your first case, the parents, Dale and Leilani Neumann, were ordered to spend 30 days in jail each year for the next six years and were placed on 10 years’ probation. So, 180 days in jail over six years SEPARATELY (so one of them should be home with the other kids).

I vote for a statute that takes the rest of the kids away and a mandatory sentence of 20-life. If you don’t feed your kids, they get taken away and you’re prosecuted on top of that. In this case the parents KNEW about her disease, had plenty of doctors and hospitals to choose from.

Another case in Milwaukee, 2003 where an autistic boy died during an exorcism to remove the evil spirit in him. He was crushed/suffocated by being wrapped in sheets. Article here.

It’s time to make laws about how far a “faithful” education can go. Exorcisms and prayer as a cure for a disease should be outlawed, period. Churches that encourage exorcisms or “all cures come from god” should be closed.

As a father of 3 girls, I’m totally with you on this.

Edited to add: God made available to us the technology to transfuse blood. God also says that all meat is good when taken with thanksgiving. Logically all medical technology is good as long as we don’t harm others in the process of saving a life.