By Peter J. Smith
NEW YORK, June 18, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Religious education is a form of child abuse and violates the rights of children, contends a thesis to be considered by secular humanists at the Center for Inquiry’s congress in Beijing this October.
The Center for Inquiry, an organisation recently awarded special consultative status as an NGO at the United Nations (UN) will consider the proposals of Innaiah Narisetti, the chairman of the Center for Inquiry’s India chapter, that portend the next stage in the assault on the rights of parents to educate their children.
Nasiretti called the influence of religion a "severe shortcoming in the global campaign to protect children" and a contributor to child abuse saying, "In one form or another, all religions violate the rights of children."
"Such abuse begins with the involuntary involvement of children in religious practices from the time they are born," says Narisetti. "All religions, through ritual, preaching, and religious texts, seek to bring children into day-to-day religious practice."
"This gives holy books and scriptures, as well as those who teach them, an early grip on the developing minds of young people, leaving an indelible impression on them," said Narisetti, calling Sunday schools, madrassas, or Jewish or Hindu temples, centers of indoctrination for children.
Nasiretti’s proposal would reject the long-recognized inherent rights of parents to educate and provide for their children’s religious instruction in favor of regulating children’s exposure to religious influence by world governments abiding by the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
"The time has come to debate the participation of children in religious institutions," continues Narisetti. "While some might see it as a matter better left to parents, the negative influence of religion and its subsequent contribution to child abuse from religious beliefs and practices requires us to ask whether organized religion is an institution that needs limits set on how early it should have access to children."
The UN forum proposed by Narisetti would debate the "pros and cons" of religion on children and determine whether religion contributes to global child abuse.
"The UN must then take a clear stand on the issue of the forced involvement of children in religious practices; it must speak up for the rights of children and not the automatic right of parents and societies to pass on religious beliefs, and it must reexamine whether an organization like the Vatican should belong to the UN," stated Narisetti.
"Until this happens, millions of children worldwide will continue to be abused in the name of religion, and the efforts made by the UN will continue to address the symptoms but not the disease."