Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Right to Hate

A disturbing drama is unfolding in a Winnipeg courtroom as parents defend the right to raise their own children. While we would normally consider this an inalienable right, these parents have been a "nasty piece of business," white supremacists raising their children in an atmosphere of hatred. The seven-year-old daughter arrived at school with a swastika traced on her arm with indelible marker. Other racist slogans were added to her body, as a billboard for bigotry. She told a teacher that all blacks should die.

Now the courts will decide whether these parents are fit for the role. The mother and father have parted company, and the mother now says that her views were a terrible mistake. It's still scary stuff.

Religion has both promoted racial hatred and fought against it through the centuries. And religions have claimed the freedom of parents to raise their children according to their doctrines, as they see fit -- think of the Jehovah's Witnesses and blood transfusions. Most churches today would decry this sort of racism without reservation. What do you think? Should the state have the right to remove children from homes where their minds are being poisoned by hatred?


pupil said...

What strikes me about this particular case of rascism is that the first concern of those upon first hearing of it is not for the people at whom the racism and hatred is aimed but for the child whose psyche has been so badly desecrated. The grief is for the carrier of the hatred, even more so than for the intended receivers. I believe this child should be rescued. If making racist graffitti on public property be a chargeable offence than surely putting that graffitti on a child's skin should be grounds for removing that child.

Laura said...

Initially having not read all the details of this story, I knew it would be loaded with all kinds of tensions around personal freedoms and rights, which although a cornerblock of our democratic nation, frustrate me. The law, written with good intent, can spread to protect everything, good and bad.
Our kids started school in Winnipeg, and I got to thinking how, because of these parents' freedoms, it would become my job to make sure my kids were strong in their beliefs of right and wrong, which isn't a bad thing.We can't legislate out all that is wrong.(although I would chose to do that under my own agenda rather than in response to such visible hatred)
But that doesn' solve the problems of the child in question. Her sense of right and wrong so terrible skewed.
And then I got to thinking about teaching tolerance, but somewhere there has to be some rights that fall on the side of common decency and goodness, and there must be limits to our tolerance, or we don't stand for much.
And then I was grateful to read in the Globe's editorial that the spirit of the law can prevail and that the "best interest of the child" trumps personal freedoms.
I struggle with these issues (as you can see)...the blood transfusion one..I hear the parents deep religious beliefs and love for their child, but wow...who has the right to deny a child life???

lionlamb said...

Both your responses reflect the dilemma faced by those in authority.

We know that children's services step in when there is physical abuse or neglect, including life-threatening medical situations untreated on religious grounds.

What do we do when children are being poisoned by hatred?