Immediately upon crossing the final “i” and dotting the final “t” of my previous article, I began to come to an even deeper realisation of exactly what Dr. Dobson’s statement implies, and its potential to do harm. (For those of you who are just now joining the story, I highly recommend that you read the other article, before continuing on with this one.)
So, let’s recap. Dr. James Dobson, radio host, author and founder of “Focus On The Family,” has posited the idea that parents have a right to, as he puts it, “select their child’s religious orientation”:
“The right of parents to select their child’s religious orientation must be protected and no teacher or administrator should be allowed to contradict what the child has been taught at home.”
I, on the other hand, refuted his assertion and claimed that parents could not hope to choose their child’s religion, any more than they can choose the child’s blood type or eye color. Then, the wheels in The Cybersattva’s head slowly started to turn, and I got to thinking; could it actually be possible for a parent to choose what a child will believe to be true? Frighteningly, the answer to this question is yes, it is possible. The mechanism for accomplishing this is one that has been employed by religious bodies for millennia, and is still being employed today. Governments employ this same tactic in their efforts to control their citizenry, through channels including the media. The mechanism? Control of the information.
Let’s say that a mother, who we’ll call “Lucy,” has a small child, who she wants to believe that the sky is…yellow, for instance. Right from the beginning, Lucy manipulates and controls everything that the child sees and hears, to cause him / her to believe that the color blue is actually called “yellow,” even going so far as to change the text in books, and make the occasional statement, “Wow, that’s a pretty yellow sky today!” Before long, the youngster believes that the blue sky is actually yellow! (Of course, this approach also requires that Lucy change the real yellow to something else!)
This can only go on as long as Lucy maintains complete control of the child’s access to information. Fortunately, forces of nature dictate that sooner or later, the child will be exposed to the truth, whether it be through television, talking to friends or enrollment in the compulsory education system. At any rate, the gig will be up, and Lucy will have some “‘splaining to do!”
The same can be said for parents who would seek to choose their child’s religious beliefs, through the implementation of that ages old tradition of the church, information control. In this respect, it’s accomplished by such methods as home schooling and rigorous, compulsory attendance in a church. The parents of these children will also control who the child’s friends are, what they watch on television and what they listen to on the radio. Once again, it’s all about controlling the information, but there again, forces of nature will eventually bring some greater truths to bear against the limited info that the child has received. At that point, several problems arise and the questions start to flow like champagne at a wedding;
- Who’s telling me the truth?
- Who’s lying to me?
- What’s real?
- Why does the evidence point away from what my parents told me?
- Why are people making fun of me and calling me dumb?
- Why did my parents lie to me? I thought they loved me.
My fine, young readers, let me ask you this; what kind of a parent would want to subject their child to this kind of eventual, existential dilemma? What gives any parent the moral, legal or parental right to put their child through this? Make no mistake, it’s the parent’s fault when this happens, not the fault of the people presenting the external information, even though the “Christian” parent will make (and often has made) that assumption.
This is not what the founding fathers of this nation had in mind, when they penned the first amendment. The “Free Exercise” and “Establishment” clauses were never meant to enable parents to place their children in such a precarious position. As one who has, in the past, sworn to support and defend the constitution against all foreign and domestic enemies, I find James Dobson’s shameless purloining of the first amendment incredibly offensive.