Fundy juries

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Dave Jones

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Apr 17, 1990, 10:43:13 PM4/17/90
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In the news today, yet another couple is being tried for vital
witholding medication from a child on religious grounds, causing
his death. It seems to be an epidemic. This time the charge is manslaughter,
not simple child endangerment. I think the newsperson said "Christian
Science", but I'm not sure.

Anyway, they are trying to impanel the jury, and one of the attorneys
asks about the prospective juror's religious beliefs and the other
says, "Whoa! Wait a minute!" and that's just what they are doing
while the judge thinks it over.

The news didn't say, but I am assuming it was the prosecutor who
was asking because he was afraid of jury-nullification of the law.
You know, the juror says, well yeah, it's against the law to withhold
vital medical attention from a child, but according to my religion,
it should not be, so, "Not guilty!"

It looks clear-cut to me. The prosecutor should be allowed to question
the jurors and dismiss those who, because of religion or any other
reason would refuse to uphold the law. "Freedom of religion" does not
mean freedom to rewrite the law of the land, any more than it means
freedom to abuse your children. We will see what happens.

Erann Gat

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Apr 21, 1990, 4:49:13 PM4/21/90
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In article <12...@goofy.megatest.UUCP>, djo...@megatest.UUCP (Dave Jones) writes:
> It looks clear-cut to me. The prosecutor should be allowed to question
> the jurors and dismiss those who, because of religion or any other
> reason would refuse to uphold the law. "Freedom of religion" does not
> mean freedom to rewrite the law of the land, any more than it means
> freedom to abuse your children.

Actually, that is exactly what it means. It used to be the law of the land
that students had to pray in the public schools. This law was found to be
in conflict with the freedom of religion guaranteed in the first amendment
and that law is no longer upheld.

Now, I will grant you that the case of Christian Scientists and others
letting their children die of treatable diseases is very different from
forced prayer in the schools. But to call it "the freedom to abuse your
children" is not being quite fair. These people did not withold medical
treatment from their children out of a desire to see them suffer and die.
They did it because they loved their children and believed in their heart
of hearts that to put their fate in the hands of God was the best thing
they could do for them.

Now, you may be horrified at this attitude. There are those who are
equally horrified by people who favor the ban on prayer in the schools.
There are people far less radical than Christian Scientists who believe
that prayer is at least as important for one's overall well being as
medical care. There are people who are as shocked that children are
being denied spiritual care as you are that children are being denied
medical care. Should your prejudices carry more weight than theirs?

What people have to face up to is that freedom has a price. The price
is that sometimes you have to let people do things that shock and
horrify you. Sometimes you even have to let people die in order to
preserve freedom. (Though I have no data, I stringly suspect that the
freedom to hang glide has claimed more lives than the Christian Scientists.)

Perhaps when enough children have died, people will start to think twice
about becoming (or remaining) Christian Scientists.

Erann Gat
g...@ai.jpl.nasa.gov

These opinions are my own, but everyone is welcome to as many as they want.

David Hatcher

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Apr 21, 1990, 5:24:30 PM4/21/90
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In article <7...@forsight.Jpl.Nasa.Gov> g...@robotics.Jpl.Nasa.Gov (Erann Gat) writes:
> Sometimes you even have to let people die in order to
>preserve freedom.

Sad, but true!

> (Though I have no data, I stringly suspect that the
>freedom to hang glide has claimed more lives than the Christian Scientists.)

I know that automobile accidents have.


David Hatcher

Jeffrey Schavland

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Apr 21, 1990, 6:31:30 PM4/21/90
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In article <34...@shemp.CS.UCLA.EDU> pie...@cs.ucla.edu (Brad Pierce) writes:
>
>Medical care is a human right.
>
Since when is medical care a human right? I always thought that people
have (in theory) the "right" to do anything they want as long as it doesn't
infringe upon the "rights" of others. Saying that medical care is a human
right is just as wrong as saying that employment or silly putty is a
human right.
--
Jeffrey A. Schavland | schv...@pequod.cso.uiuc.edu
University of Illinois | schv...@ux1.cso.uiuc.edu
at Urbana-Champaign | j-sch...@uiuc.edu

"If Communism goes, I've still got the U.S. House of Representatives."
-Robert Novak

Brad Pierce

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Apr 21, 1990, 5:55:27 PM4/21/90
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>What people have to face up to is that freedom has a price. The price
>is that sometimes you have to let people do things that shock and
>horrify you. Sometimes you even have to let people die in order to
>preserve freedom.

This price of freedom should not be paid by children. There are people
that beat their children because they believe that "spare the rod
spoil the child". Should society allow this behavior in the name of
the parents' freedom?

Medical care is a human right.

Whoever deprives another of a human right, whether the denier is a
government or parent, is not exercising freedom, but abusing power.

It is gross injustice to treat another human as property, even if
you are that person's parent.

-- Brad

Ronald BODKIN

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Apr 22, 1990, 2:53:05 AM4/22/90
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[about Christian Scientists letting children die instead of receiving a blood
transfusion]
>Now, you may be horrified at this attitude...

>What people have to face up to is that freedom has a price. The price
>is that sometimes you have to let people do things that shock and
>horrify you. Sometimes you even have to let people die in order to
>preserve freedom. (Though I have no data, I stringly suspect that the
>freedom to hang glide has claimed more lives than the Christian Scientists.)
There is a difference here, however. I don't think anyone is
advocating forcing an adult C.S. to receive a blood transfusion -- this is
their unalienable right. BUT, the child is a separate human being, and
not a property of their guardian(s) (i.e. parent(s)), and just as a parent
who INSISTED their child hang glide would indeed be abusing the child,
the same holds here. It is also not acceptable for a parent to insist
on their child taking a 40 day hunger strike, although it is perfectly
legitimate for the parent to do so themself. When a parent is allowed
to enforce irrational and extremely damaging prejudices on their child,
this departs from the area of PERSONAL liberty.
Ron

Jeff Schavland

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Apr 22, 1990, 5:12:43 PM4/22/90
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In article <82...@becker.UUCP> b...@becker.UUCP (Bruce Becker) writes:

>In article <1990Apr21....@ux1.cso.uiuc.edu> schv...@pequod.cso.uiuc.edu (Jeffrey Schavland) writes:
>|In article <34...@shemp.CS.UCLA.EDU> pie...@cs.ucla.edu (Brad Pierce) writes:
>|>
>|>Medical care is a human right.
>|>
>|Since when is medical care a human right? I always thought that people
>|have (in theory) the "right" to do anything they want as long as it doesn't
>|infringe upon the "rights" of others. Saying that medical care is a human
>|right is just as wrong as saying that employment or silly putty is a
>|human right.
>
> I'm not so sure about employment, but I know
> for sure that silly putty is a human right.
>
> It puzzles me why anyone would attack the concept
> of "Medical care is a human right". Somehow the
> idea of medical care infringing on the rights of
> others is laughable.

Medical care can very easily infringe on the rights of others. If you
tax me to pay for your "right" of medical care, then it becomes my business.
If you force me as a, let's say parent who is a Christian Scientist, to
provide medical care to my children, you have certianly "infringed" on
my rights.
--
Jeffrey A. Schavland

schv...@ux1.cso.uiuc.edu | Illini Space Development Society
schv...@pequod.cso.uiuc.edu | NSS Chapter at the University of Illinois
j-sch...@uiuc.edu | 104 Transportation Building

"Mr. Hiss represents the concealed enemy against which we are all fighting, and
I am fighting. I have testified against him with remorse and pity, but in a
moment of history in which this Nation now stands, so help me God, I could not
do otherwise."
-Whittaker Chambers, testifying before HUAC, 25 August 1948

Ronald BODKIN

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Apr 22, 1990, 6:40:13 PM4/22/90
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In article <82...@becker.UUCP> b...@becker.UUCP (Bruce Becker) writes:
> It puzzles me why anyone would attack the concept
> of "Medical care is a human right". Somehow the
> idea of medical care infringing on the rights of
> others is laughable.
No one is attacking the (permissive) right to obtain medical
care -- but the right to medical care as in right to force others to
pay/give this care is a different question. THIS would infringe on
those paying/being forced to provide said care.
Ron

Bruce Becker

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Apr 22, 1990, 3:26:36 PM4/22/90
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In article <1990Apr21....@ux1.cso.uiuc.edu> schv...@pequod.cso.uiuc.edu (Jeffrey Schavland) writes:
|In article <34...@shemp.CS.UCLA.EDU> pie...@cs.ucla.edu (Brad Pierce) writes:
|>
|>Medical care is a human right.
|>
|Since when is medical care a human right? I always thought that people
|have (in theory) the "right" to do anything they want as long as it doesn't
|infringe upon the "rights" of others. Saying that medical care is a human
|right is just as wrong as saying that employment or silly putty is a
|human right.

I'm not so sure about employment, but I know
for sure that silly putty is a human right.

It puzzles me why anyone would attack the concept
of "Medical care is a human right". Somehow the
idea of medical care infringing on the rights of
others is laughable.

--
,u, Bruce Becker Toronto, Ontario
a /i/ Internet: b...@becker.UUCP, br...@gpu.utcs.toronto.edu
`\o\-e UUCP: ...!uunet!mnetor!becker!bdb
_< /_ "I still have my phil-os-o-phy" - Meredith Monk

Barry Shein

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Apr 22, 1990, 7:37:07 PM4/22/90
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From: schv...@ux1.cso.uiuc.edu (Jeff Schavland )

>Medical care can very easily infringe on the rights of others. If you
>tax me to pay for your "right" of medical care, then it becomes my business.

But presumably you enjoy the same right, so you're taxing each other.

Change the topic, if you tax me to pay for your "right" of free
speech, then it becomes my business. Just as only one of us might
become sick, only one of us might be demanding protection of our free
speech.

Is the complaint about medical care, or taxes in general? Your
statement seems to be far too broad a sweep to figure this out.

>If you force me as a, let's say parent who is a Christian Scientist, to
>provide medical care to my children, you have certianly "infringed" on
>my rights.

That's been argued in the courts over a thousand issues, if you choose
to not partake, voluntarily (due to religious or personal preference),
of something which is freely available to you, that's your business.

But it doesn't, a priori, excuse you from all taxes relating to that.
It was your choice not to walk in the park or whatever, no matter how
good or solid the reason (you're deathly allergic to grass, etc.)

Or is all this only true in some mythical world which exists only in
your head?
--
-Barry Shein

Software Tool & Die | {xylogics,uunet}!world!bzs | b...@world.std.com
Purveyors to the Trade | Voice: 617-739-0202 | Login: 617-739-WRLD

James Seidman

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Apr 23, 1990, 1:46:55 AM4/23/90
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b...@world.std.com (Barry Shein) writes:
>From: schv...@ux1.cso.uiuc.edu (Jeff Schavland )
>>Medical care can very easily infringe on the rights of others. If you
>>tax me to pay for your "right" of medical care, then it becomes my business.
>
>But presumably you enjoy the same right, so you're taxing each other.

Just out of curiosity, are you really *that* naive? Do you really think
that in a system of socialized medicine, it isn't the rich subsidizing the
poor? If so I recommend you take a class in economics.


--
Jim Seidman, Harvey Mudd College, Claremont, CA 91711. (714) 621-8000 x2026
"All of us who attempt to heal the wounds of others will ourselves be wounded;
it is, after all, inherent in the relationship."
- From "Healing the Wounds" by David Hilfiker, M.D.

Bradley L. Richards

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Apr 23, 1990, 1:09:53 AM4/23/90
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>Now, I will grant you that the case of Christian Scientists and others
>letting their children die of treatable diseases is very different from
>forced prayer in the schools.
>
>Now, you may be horrified at this attitude. There are those who are
>equally horrified by people who favor the ban on prayer in the schools.
>There are people far less radical than Christian Scientists who believe
>that prayer is at least as important for one's overall well being as
>medical care. There are people who are as shocked that children are
>being denied spiritual care as you are that children are being denied
>medical care. Should your prejudices carry more weight than theirs?
>
>Erann Gat

You're right--these are *very* different issues. The ban on prayer in
public schools is a ban on *organized* prayer. Those people who believe
prayer is important are free to pray on their own. And if some children
of non-Christians grow up and convert to Christianity, that change of belief
is just fine. But denying medical care to a child is a little more
dramatic--the child never gets that second chance.

It's a tough question: how much do we allow the government into our family
lives. I know someone who spanked her child in public and some well-meaning
nitwit reported her to the police for child abuse. The cops came and put
the whole family through a nightmare while they did a home study. Where
do we draw the line?


---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Bradley L. Richards bra...@cs.utexas.edu
Department of Computer Science uucp: cs.utexas.edu!bradley :-)
Univ of Texas, Austin, TX 78712 AFIT/CISP, WPAFB, OH 45433
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Gunther Wil Anderson

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Apr 23, 1990, 4:50:59 PM4/23/90
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In article <22982.2...@kuhub.cc.ukans.edu> br...@kuhub.cc.ukans.edu writes:
>I'm not a lawyer or anything, but IMHO medical care and employment are
>covered under "pursuit of happiness" in the Declaration of Independence.
>
Pursuit of Happiness is a neat concept, but is really only useful when
you're trying to rally the locals. To use it as a legal principle is
to invite all manner of difficulties. If abusing women gratifies me
tremendously, am I guaranteed the same protection under the law? If
destruction of my neighbors properts eases my tension, am I not
culpable? Employment and medical care are not rights, per se. They
are considered to be basic human necessities, but to declare them as
rights places the government in the position of providing it.
Unemployment insurance is such a right. (Before I am called a
nincompoop, other rights such as free speech are guaranteed simply not
to be infringed, since they cannot be provided).

(Also, the Declaration of Independence was, as far as our legal system
is considered, a non-binding resolution. The niceties of its
composition, if they exist at all in out government now, are there by
coincidence -- not by plan.)

>I think your definition of "right" is a little off. We have the right to
>free speech. We have the right to keep and bear arms. It is possible to
>be entitled to certain things that we call rights. And as far as I'm
>concerned, medical care falls under the heading, "You have the right
>not to be killed." (see the Clash, not the Constitution)
>

(But do I have the right to die?)

Back to the original question (if I've followed the thread properly),
yes, you do have the right to live, in general, but the trick is that
you have the right to live (again, in general) as you please. (Yes,
this right has been continuously and deeply infringed, but that's not
the topic here.) If I should happen to cut my leg off with a
chainsaw, and I decide it looks neat, I am at liberty not to seek
medical care. In order for that care to be forcedon me, I must be
declared incompetent first. Even though medical care is available,
and necessary to my future well being, I must seek it out.
The question here is whether the government is required to
preserve the life of someone until they are old enough to make the
determination to seek or not themselves. As always, this discussion
boils down to personal morality and religion. There is no universal
truth here, and all the government can do is take a stand, and hope it
pans out. In this case, they've decided that you must reach your
majority before you can decide to not seek care. Your parents are not
at liberty to make that determination for you.

>| Bryan Whitehead | The currents rage so deep inside us |
>| br...@kuhub.cc.ukans.edu | This is the age of Video Violence |
>| br...@next.cc.ukans.edu | No age of reason landing upon us |
>| I never check mail on my | This is the age of Video Violence |
>| other accounts! | - Lou Reed |
> The television screen is the retina of the mind's eye - Prof. Brian O'Blivion

Gunther W. Anderson
gun...@jhunix.hcf.jhu.edu
... crabcake...
... jhuvms...
... jhuvm...

br...@kuhub.cc.ukans.edu

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Apr 23, 1990, 2:08:50 PM4/23/90
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In article <1990Apr21....@ux1.cso.uiuc.edu>, schv...@pequod.cso.uiuc.edu (Jeffrey Schavland) writes:
> In article <34...@shemp.CS.UCLA.EDU> pie...@cs.ucla.edu (Brad Pierce) writes:
>>
>>Medical care is a human right.
>>
> Since when is medical care a human right? I always thought that people
> have (in theory) the "right" to do anything they want as long as it doesn't
> infringe upon the "rights" of others. Saying that medical care is a human
> right is just as wrong as saying that employment or silly putty is a
> human right.

Weelllllll....

I'm not a lawyer or anything, but IMHO medical care and employment are
covered under "pursuit of happiness" in the Declaration of Independence.

Silly Putty may be another matter, however.

I think your definition of "right" is a little off. We have the right to
free speech. We have the right to keep and bear arms. It is possible to
be entitled to certain things that we call rights. And as far as I'm
concerned, medical care falls under the heading, "You have the right
not to be killed." (see the Clash, not the Constitution)

- Bryan

br...@kuhub.cc.ukans.edu

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Apr 23, 1990, 2:36:55 PM4/23/90
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In article <1990Apr22.2...@ux1.cso.uiuc.edu>, schv...@ux1.cso.uiuc.edu (Jeff Schavland ) writes:
> In article <82...@becker.UUCP> b...@becker.UUCP (Bruce Becker) writes:

> If you force me as a, let's say parent who is a Christian Scientist, to
> provide medical care to my children, you have certianly "infringed" on
> my rights.

You're confusing "right" and "obligation."

You have the right to own a gun. However, except for one or two isolated
rural communitites, nowhere in the U.S. actually requires you to possess
a firearm (in fact, most places would just as soon you didn't). Medical
care is the same way.

I guess the real fundamental issue here is that it's stupid for human
beings to suffer and die merely because they can't afford the medical
attention available to their wealthy counterparts. If you're arguing that
this isn't guaranteed by the Constitution, I hate to agree with you but
I do. Nonetheless, that's not necessarily the way it should be.

David Heisterberg

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Apr 23, 1990, 5:17:55 PM4/23/90
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In article <22982.2...@kuhub.cc.ukans.edu>, br...@kuhub.cc.ukans.edu writes:
> I'm not a lawyer or anything, but IMHO medical care and employment are
> covered under "pursuit of happiness" in the Declaration of Independence.
^^^^^^^
Note that it's pursuit, not attainment. Also, the DofI doesn't have any
legal significance, except maybe to clarify original intent.

And as far as I'm
> concerned, medical care falls under the heading, "You have the right
> not to be killed."

Isn't that stretching it? I would like to agree with you, I mean, it
sounds nice and all, but just because people "ought" to have something
doesn't mean we have the capability of providing it. If a meteor falls
on your head and kills you, there's nothing anyone can do about it. And
if it falls on your head and turns you into a vegetable, requiring
incredibly expensive treatment just to keep you alive, well, to be
honest, I'd rather keep my money than have the government force me to
give it up for your sake. In fact, unless I'm the one who bounced the
rock off your noggin, I don't think anyone has the right to make me
fork over my money for your well being. However, I might just do it
anyway. Remember, you can't fool economics: the government's money is
MY money, and YOUR money, and HIS money, and HER money, etc.
--
David J. Heisterberg d...@osc.edu And you all know
The Ohio Supercomputer Center d...@ohstpy.bitnet security Is mortals'
Columbus, Ohio ohstpy::djh chiefest enemy.

James Seidman

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Apr 23, 1990, 2:19:55 PM4/23/90
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br...@kuhub.cc.ukans.edu writes:
>I'm not a lawyer or anything, but IMHO medical care and employment are
>covered under "pursuit of happiness" in the Declaration of Independence.

Well, IMHO this line of thinking is a very dangerous one. Does that mean
that unemployment (and accompanying welfare) is covered under the "pursuit
of happiness" clause? How about those people who want to use XTC under that
clause? Maybe medical care should be covered under the "life" part of it,
but I think that the "pursuit of happiness" is so vague as to serve no
function other than giving something for lawyers to invoke when they're
desparate.

--
Jim Seidman, Harvey Mudd College, Claremont, CA 91711. (714) 621-8000 x2026

The Doctor: It was a terrible babble of inhuman voices.
Prof. Chronotis: Oh, that was just the undergraduates!
- Doctor Who, "Shada"

Doug Linder

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Apr 24, 1990, 8:25:29 AM4/24/90
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In article <23...@mimsy.umd.edu>, kil...@mimsy.umd.edu (Darren Provine) writes:

> However, Doug Linder seems to have returned, and he suggested this
> experiment: ^ I wasn't aware that I had left

>> OK, say we take 100 kids and put them in a standard hospital where they
>>recieve whatever medical care trained doctors feel necessary. then we
>>take 100 other kids as a control group (poor things) and put them in an
>>ideantical hospital in every way except instead of doctors, priests pray
>>over them for the same amount of time. [ And legislate whichever works
>> best. - kwh ]
>
> Firstly, if I remember my statistics correctly, the effectiveness rate for
> `modern medicine' is about 80%, and the effectiveness rate for `doing
> nothing at all' is about 60%. I don't know of any data on prayers. (If
> these statistics are old or mangled by senility, corrections are welcome.)

You don't have any data on prayers because "doing nothing" == "praying"

> But more importantly, I find Doug's article horrifying.
> What scares me about him is that, though he clearly believes the control
> group is going to have more children die, Doug is willing to sacrifice them
> to prove his point -- apparently, those children who die are insignificant
> when it comes to getting his own opinions legislated.

[ more stuff about what a child-killing ogre I am ]

Oh, please, Darren, I thought even you were smarter than this. I almost
didn't even reply to your message because I find it very hard to belive that
anyone would take your babble about me callously killing children seriously.
However, there *are* some thiests about, so I'd better make myself very clear.
I'll try to use small words. Perhaps it is my fault after all for not being
clear in the first place, I thought everyone would understand - that's what I
get for overestimating the brains of fundies. Here we go:
I wasn't *serious*, Darren. It was a *hypothetical* situation, intended to
desmonstrate through analogy what I thought about the effectiveness of prayer
as a substitute for medical care - i.e; not much. If anyone ever tried to
preform this experiment, I'd be first in line trying to stop them. As far as
I'm concerned, religious freedom does not extend to killing children. I never
thought I'd find myself using an argument from the pro-lifers, but did anyone
ever ask the children if they wanted to live? Maybe, but then again the kids
are probably so programmed that they'd opt for prayer too.
Please don't think that this kind of thinly veiled ad hominem rhetoric will
affect me in any way. I highly doubt that anyone except you honestly thought
that I was in favor of sacrificing children.


> (The rest of Doug's article was the standard Christianity bashing that he
> has posted nonstop since he first showed up on the net, and since he said
> nothing new there's no point in replying to it.)

Oh, don't give me this patronizing BS. Do you really think the content of
*your* posts has changed? Please, be serious. We both write and respond to
each issue as it comes up from our own perspective. Don't tell me you haven't
indulged in any "bashing" yourself. Implying that you are somehow better than
I when it comes to posting is senseless. You certainly aren't any better at
writing or debate.

--
Douglas D. Linder lin...@merrimack.edu
Merrimack College, N. Andover, MA {uunet,wang,ulowell}!samsung!hubdub!linderd

v^v^v Atheism: Living life on your own two feet - not on your knees! v^v^v^

"By the cold and religious we were taken in hand -
shown how to feel good; and told to feel bad."

- Roger Waters, from The Final Cut (Pink Floyd)

Doug Linder

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Apr 23, 1990, 9:34:51 AM4/23/90
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In article <7...@forsight.Jpl.Nasa.Gov>, g...@robotics.Jpl.Nasa.Gov (Erann Gat) writes:

> Now, you may be horrified at this attitude. There are those who are
> equally horrified by people who favor the ban on prayer in the schools.
> There are people far less radical than Christian Scientists who believe
> that prayer is at least as important for one's overall well being as
> medical care. There are people who are as shocked that children are
> being denied spiritual care as you are that children are being denied
> medical care. Should your prejudices carry more weight than theirs?

Erann, I read an understood your posting, and I agree with you that there are
some costs of freedom which we might not always like. However, in this case I
really do think my opinions (not prejudices) do in fact carry more weight. I
suggest that we do this logically. Suppose we agree that what everyone wnats
is for children to be healthy and not die. OK, say we take 100 kids and put


them in a standard hospital where they recieve whatever medical care trained
doctors feel necessary. then we take 100 other kids as a control group (poor
things) and put them in an ideantical hospital in every way except instead of

doctors, priests pray over them for the same amount of time. In addition,
families and even churches around the country are encouraged to pray that these
kids get well. At the end, why don't we make the law based on a logical
experiment: whichever group had more surviving kids? I think we all know which
group that would be.
Actually, I wonder why ANY christians send their kids to hospitals at all.
It would seem that if, as a chraistain, a person's faith were TRULY strong,
then they would think they way the Christin Scientists (oxymoron) do: is "god"
is almighty (and we believe he is) then he will heal the kid if he wants, and
let the kid die if that's what he desires.
So, how about it? Hey, Charley Wingate, do you send your kids to the doctor
when they are sick? How strong is YOUR faith? Rodney Raymond Morrison?
What's that? You DO send your kids to the doctor? What's the matter, isn't
your faith strong enough? You DO think god is omnipotent, don't you?

> Perhaps when enough children have died, people will start to think twice
> about becoming (or remaining) Christian Scientists.

Feh! You'd think that by now enough PEOPLE have died, period, as a result of
xtainity that people would have to be PAID to profess that belief in the
death-cult in ANY sect.

--
Douglas D. Linder lin...@merrimack.edu
Merrimack College, N. Andover, MA {uunet,wang,ulowell}!samsung!hubdub!linderd

v^v^v Atheism: Living life on your own two feet - not on your knees! v^v^v^

"Though I drew this conclusion, now it draws me."
- Friedrich Nietzsche, from Thus Spake Zarathustra

btif...@pbs.uucp

unread,
Apr 24, 1990, 11:10:50 AM4/24/90
to
From: pie...@lanai.cs.ucla.edu (Brad Pierce)
Date: 21 Apr 90 21:55:27 GMT

>This price of freedom should not be paid by children. There are people
>that beat their children because they believe that "spare the rod
>spoil the child". Should society allow this behavior in the name of
>the parents' freedom?

"Society" has no business interfering in the matter, provided we are
talking about loving, God-ordained discipline designed to train up a child in
the way that he should go, so that when he is old he will not depart from it.
Withholding the rod of discipline because of the current society's warped
views regarding the supposed inherent goodness of man is possibly the worst
type of child abuse, and it's pretty clear from even a cursory look at the
ills of our present society what a lack of discipline leads to. Foolishness
is bound up in the heart of a child; the rod will drive it far from him. The
irksome thing is that most people apparently can see no difference between
loving correction using "the rod" (whatever non-injuring instrument that might
be), and the perverted abusive beating, scalding, whipping, punching, or
whatever else it is that is done to children [or wives, for that matter] by
sick people. In our zeal to correct such abuse we must not deny parents
their God-ordained right to function as God's representatives in instructing
and training their children in the right way, which will from time to time
involve physical discipline.



>Medical care is a human right.

The opportunity to care for oneself medically or to seek medical care
would fit the Founding Fathers' idea of a "right". They would not have said
you had a right to require me to provide it. Of course, if you were in need
and I could assist and refused to, I'd be wrong. Nevertheless, it is worse
to extort money or other services from me to pay for your medical care
involuntarily.



>Whoever deprives another of a human right, whether the denier is a
>government or parent, is not exercising freedom, but abusing power.

What is a "human right"? This must be answered before your assertion
can be evaluated. The Founding Fathers recognized man as an eternal being
whose rights are endowed by his Creator, and that temporal governments were
obligated to uphold those eternal rights. If you mean that any authority
which seeks to abridge such God-given rights is abusing power, you are right.
Such is the case with our present government. If there is no God, and man is
not eternal, we have no rights, only revokable privileges granted by the state,
which becomes god. That, in fact, is the situation in this country now (not
that there is no God, but that we have denied His existence and replaced Him
with ourselves), and our rights are in the gravest peril. We have lost most
of what was won in the War for Independence, and the rate of decline is
increasing.

"For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or
give thanks; but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish
heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged
the glory of the incorruptible [immortal] God for an image in the form of
corruptible [mortal] man ... therefore God gave them over to the lusts of
their hearts ... for they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and
worshiped and served the creature [i.e., themselves] rather than the
Creator ..." -- Romans 1:21-25

"The fool has said in his heart, 'There is no God.'" Psalm 14:1



>It is gross injustice to treat another human as property, even if
>you are that person's parent.

"Behold, children are a GIFT [heritage] of the Lord; the fruit of
the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the
children of one's youth. How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of
them ..." Psalm 127:3-5. Children belong to God and are lent to parents,
thus they belong to the parents. They do NOT belong to the state, contrary
to the general belief going around these days. They also do not merely
belong to themselves (and neither do you). God has designated the FAMILY
as the training ground for children; not the school (man's invention), not
the peer group, not the government. Fathers are charged with the responsibility
of bringing up their children in the knowledge and admonition of the Lord.

"There never was a society throughout all of history....without a
family as the central unit for launching the education of children,
the character formation, and as the moral agent of society."

-- Amitai Etzioni


"The group consisting of mother, father, and child (is) the main
educational agency of mankind."

-- Martin Luther King

=============================================================
From: schv...@pequod.cso.uiuc.edu (Jeffrey Schavland)
Date: 21 Apr 90 22:31:30 GMT

>Since when is medical care a human right? I always thought that people
>have (in theory) the "right" to do anything they want as long as it doesn't
>infringe upon the "rights" of others. Saying that medical care is a human
>right is just as wrong as saying that employment or silly putty is a
>human right.

That is the present day view: I have a right to do whatever I want
as long as it doesn't hurt anybody else (or infringe on their rights, which
is construed to be their "right to do whatever they want"). Aside from the
fact that it never did, does not now, and never will work, it is far, far
removed from the original understanding of rights upon which this nation was
founded. You do NOT have a right to do whatever you want. You are temporarily
allowed to get away with it, it is true, but don't confuse mercy with a right.
The original understanding of rights was that they come from God, and we are
responsible to God. (Remove God, and of course, I have just as much "right"
to do anything I want as anybody; in fact, without God, who are you to tell me
I can't do something which hurts you if it pleases me and I'm big enough to
get away with it? If there is no God, there are no rights, just the rule
of the strongest -- THINK ABOUT IT before you blast me!) Without belief in
God (the true God, not the New Age concept), there can be no lasting virtue in
the people, and the nation cannot long endure. This will become more evident
in the near future.

"The highest glory of the American Revolution was this: it
connected in one indissoluble bond, the principles of civil
government with the principles of Christianity, from the day of
the Declaration ... They (the American people) were bound by
the laws of God, which they all, and by the laws of the Gospel,
which they nearly all acknowledged as the rules of their
conduct."

-- John Quincy Adams, 1821


"[In American democracy, rights] were granted on the ground that
man is God's creature. That is, freedom was given to the
individual conditionally, in the assumption of his constant
religious responsibility."

-- Alexander Solzhenitsyn


"It is indeed a truth, which all the great apostles of freedom
outside the nationalistic school have never tired of emphasizing,
that freedom has never worked without deeply ingrained moral beliefs
and that coercion can be reduced to a minimum only where individuals
can be expected as a rule to conform voluntarily to certain
principles."

-- Friedrich Hayek


"Men are qualified for civil liberty, in exact proportion to their
disposition to put moral chains upon their appetites; in proportion
as their love of justice is above their rapacity; in proportion as
their soundness and sobriety of understanding is above their varity
and presumption; in proportion as they are more disposed to listen
to the counsel of the wise and good, in preference to the flattery
of knaves."

-- Edmund Burke, in "Letter to a Member of the National Assembly"


"To suppose that any form of government will secure liberty or
happiness without any virtue in the people, is a chimerical
idea."

-- James Madison
(in debates during the Virginia ratifying convention, June 20, 1788)


"Republican institutions in the hands of a virtuous and God-fearing
nation are the very best in the world, but in the hands of a corrupt
and irreligious people they are the very worst, and the most
effective weapons of destruction. An indignant people may rise in
rebellion against a cruel tyrant: but who will rise against the
tyranny of the people in possession of the ballot-box and the whole
machinery of government? Here lies our great danger, and it is
increasing every year.

"Destroy our churches, close our Sunday-schools, abolish the Lord's
Day, and our Republic would become an empty shell, and our people
would tend to heathenism and barbarism. Christianity is the most
powerful factor in our society and the pillar of our institutions."

-- Philip Shaff, 1889

==============================================================
From: bra...@cs.utexas.edu (Bradley L. Richards)
Date: 23 Apr 90 05:09:53 GMT



>You're right--these are *very* different issues. The ban on prayer in
>public schools is a ban on *organized* prayer. Those people who believe
>prayer is important are free to pray on their own. And if some children
>of non-Christians grow up and convert to Christianity, that change of belief
>is just fine. But denying medical care to a child is a little more
>dramatic--the child never gets that second chance.

There wouldn't be such a flap over school prayer if only offically
organized prayer were being repressed. The fact is, children and students
(and teachers) in public schools are being harassed and persecuted by the
authorities for such activities as: being seen with a Bible; wearing T-shirts
that say anything perceived as "Christian"; being caught praying silently on
their own; meeting separately to pray and/or study the Bible, etc. Some
legal cases have even involved school officials firing Christian teachers or
harassing Christian students for meeting together off school property, after
school hours, in their own homes, on their own time!!!!! It is permissable
to teach transcendental meditation or promote a homosexual lifestyle, but
the Jewish/Christian God is illegal.

"The government is God's servant. That means that AS MEN all
government officials stand on an equal footing with their
subordinates; have no claim to superiority in any sense whatever ...
For exactly the same reason the Calvinist gives preference to a
republican form of government over any other type. In no other form
of government does the sovereignty of God, the derivative character
of government powers and the equality of men as men, find a clearer
and more eloquent expression."

-- J. C. Monsma in "What Calvinism Has Done For America"


"Indeed the concern over the Christian status of the nation is
well founded."

-- Supreme Court in 1791, upholding the right of five ratifying states to
protest the omission of a direct mention of God in the new Constitution.


"Christianity is part of our common law ... its divine origin
and truth are admitted and therefore it is not to be maliciously
and openly reviled and blasphemed against, to the annoyance of
believers or the injury of the public."

-- Supreme Court Court in 1844, Vidol vs. Girard


"Probably at the time of the adoption of the Constitution, and
of the First Amendment to it ... the general, if not the
universal sentiment in America was, that Christianity ought to
receive encouragement by the state so far as was not
incompatible with the private rights of conscience and the
freedom of religious worship. Any attempt to level all
religions, and to make it a matter of state policy to hold all
in utter indifference would have created universal
disapprobation, if not universal indignation."

-- Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story, 1851


"Our law and our institutions must be necessarily based upon and
embody the teachings of the Redeemer of mankind. It is
impossible that it should be otherwise, and in this sense and to
the extent that our civilization and our institutions are
emphatically Christian ... No purpose of action against
religion can be imputed to any legislation, state or national,
because this is a religious people. This is historically true.
From the discovery of this continent to the present hour, there
is a single voice making this affirmation .. We find everywhere
a clear recognition of the same truth ... this is a Christian
nation."

-- Supreme Court in 1892, Church of the Holy Trinity vs. U.S.


"We are a Christian people, according to our motto. The right
of religious freedom, demands acknowledgment, with reverence,
and duty of obedience to the will of God."

-- Supreme Court, 1952, Zorack vs. Clauson


"We have already seen that the First Amendment to the Constitution
originally applied only to the Federal Government. Thus contrary to
the popular notion, the First Amendment does not in principle set
forth the separation of 'Church and State', as it is called: the
more appropriate terms being 'religion' (the term used in the
Amendment) and 'government' (of which, in the federal area, Congress
is a branch). The First Amendment but draws a line beyond which the
powers of the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT cannot extend. But on the other
side of that line, the powers of the individual States are left
unimpaired; as is made plain by the Tenth Amendment. The Bill of
Rights begins, 'Congress shall not,' and ends with 'reserved to the
States respectively.'"

-- James Bulman in "It Is Their Right"


"Whereas the glory of Almighty God and the God of mankind is the
reason and the end of government ... therefore government
itself is a venerable ordinance of God."

-- The Great Law of Pennsylvania, April 26, 1685


"Be it therefore enacted ... that no person or persons
whatsoever within this province ... professing to believe in
Jesus Christ ... shall henceforth be any ways troubled,
molested (or disapproved of) ... in respect to his or her
religion nor in the free exercise thereof ..."

-- Maryland Toleration Act, April 21, 1649


"The rights of the colonists as Christians ... may be best
understood by reading and carefully studying the institution of
the Great Lawgiver and Head of the Christian church, which are
to be found clearly written and promulgated in the New
Testament."

-- Samuel Adams, 1772


"We have this day restored the Sovereign to Whom all men ought
to be obedient. He reigns in heaven, and from the rising of the
sun to the setting of the sun let His kingdom come."

-- Samuel Adams at the signing of the Declaration of Independence


"Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political
prosperity, religion and morality are indespensable supports.
In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism who
should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness,
these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere
politician, equally with pious man, ought to respect and cherish
them. A volume could not trace all the connections with private
and public felicity. Let it simply be asked where is the
security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of
religious obligation desert the oathes, which are the
instruments of investigation in Courts of Justice? And let us
with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be
maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the
influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure,
reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national
morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle."

-- George Washington announcing his farewell from public life
on September 17, 1796


"It is impossible to govern rightly without God and the Bible."

-- George Washington


"All human laws which contradict His laws, we are bound in
conscience to disobey."

-- George Mason, 1789


"By our form of government, the Christian religion is the
established religion."

-- Supreme Court of Maryland, 1799

"...a government and a country were to commence with the very
first foundations laid under the divine light of the Christian
religion. Let us not forget the religious character of our
nation."

-- Daniel Webster, 1820


"The Bible is the rock on which our republic rests."

-- President Andrew Jackson, 1845

"I am much afraid that the schools will prove the very gates of
hell, unless they diligently labor in explaining the Holy
Scriptures, and engraving them in the hearts of youth. I advise
no one to place his child where the Scriptures do not reign
paramount."

-- Martin Luther

"Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have
removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the
people that their liberties are the gift of God?"

-- Thomas Jefferson


"[The] Christian religion, when divested of the rags in which
[the clergy] have enveloped it, is a religion of all others most
friendly to liberty, science and the freest expressions of the
human mind."

-- Thomas Jefferson in a letter to Moses Robinson, March 23, 1801


"The statist notion that governmental power should supersede
parental authority in all cases because some parents abuse and
neglect children is repugnant to American tradition."

-- Supreme Court of the United States

"If man is not governed by God, then he must be governed by
tyrants."

-- William Penn

"Men and nations will change their principles to perpetuate
their existence, but God is the same yesterday, today, and
forever."

-- Star R. Scott

"Those who are not willing to fight for freedom by day are
doomed to fight tyranny by night."


"If we really value pluralism, we must recognize that it is not
appropriate in a free society for the government to use
subsidies to impose its social philosophy upon educational
institutions. That is tyranny, and must be recognized and
proclaimed as such. True, a free society cannot long endure
without a consensus of values -- but that consensus must be
genuine and vital, not a by-product of government manipulation
... There is, in other words, a direct relationship between the
abdication of moral and intellectual authority by many educators
and the persistent erosion of our freedoms -- especially our
economic freedoms."

__ Dr. John A. Howard, recently retired President of Rockford
College in Illinois, commenting on the LACK of a wall between
government and education in America today.

=============================================================================
=============================================================================

Sobering quote from Ohio School Guide Compulsory Education Law:

"The natural rights and parents to custody and control of their
children are subordinate to the power of the state to provide
for the education of children. Laws providing for the education
of children are for the protection of the state itself."

So God's laws are subordinate to the state, and the state is now God, and
individual rights are subordinate to the state (which means they are no longer
rights, merely revokable privileges), a 180-degree turnaround from the views
of the Founding Fathers. The ultimate obective is the welfare of the state.

"If we can separate a people from their history, they will be
easily persuaded." -- Karl Marx



>It's a tough question: how much do we allow the government into our family
>lives. I know someone who spanked her child in public and some well-meaning
>nitwit reported her to the police for child abuse. The cops came and put
>the whole family through a nightmare while they did a home study. Where
>do we draw the line?

A few years ago at a swimming pool I observed a pretty serious case
of child abuse perpetrated by a LARGE woman who probably outweighed her
3-year-old son about 8 times. The boy was playing in the water on the steps
at the shallow end. It was time to go: the mother informed him of this. No
response. Mother gently takes son by the hand; son begins to fly into a rage,
mother quickly lets go. Mother tries sweet talking. Son continues to play
in water. Mother resorts to lying and bribery, a sure fire way to teach her
son moral values ("if you don't come right now you won't get a candy bar").
Son ignores her: he knows he can get anything he wants if he makes a fuss,
and he knows his mom will not physically back up her authority (i.e., she has
relinquished her authority, but not her accountability for the damage she is
doing). A couple more attempts to take the boy by the hand fail miserably.
Mother resorts to pleading, a deserate "What can I do?" look on her face. I
knew exactly what she could and should do, and what that child needed, but
it wasn't my business to interfere. This woman was a victim of the current
popular and grossly mistaken ideology, and the real victim is her son. Without
the benefit of discipline he has very little chance of turning out right.
This mother is raising a rebel, and I would not want to see the end result,
when her son is 18 or 20. Whereas it was amusing to see this small boy in
complete control of this large woman, it was also pretty disgusting.

Of course, when all is said and done, one would have to admit to an
alienable right to silly putty :-) ...


Disclaimer: My views are generally diametrically opposed to those of my
employer, who assumes no responsibility for them; but this in no way makes
them any less valid.

Ken Fernald

unread,
Apr 24, 1990, 11:21:47 AM4/24/90
to
In article <7772.2...@pbs.uucp> btif...@pbs.uucp writes:
>In article <7...@forsight.Jpl.Nasa.Gov>, g...@robotics.Jpl.Nasa.Gov (Erann Gat) writes:
>>
>> Actually, that is exactly what it means. It used to be the law of the land
>> that students had to pray in the public schools. ....
>
> It has never, ever been the law in this nation that children or
>anyone else HAD TO pray, either in school or anywhere else. Children used
>to be free to pray or not to pray; now they are only free not to pray.

No, now they are free to pray or not to pray ON THEIR OWN TIME.

Before, they were forced to sit quitely while a public prayer was
conducted in class. Sure, they could have asked to step out for
a moment, but I don't know many pre-teens willing to submit themselves
to the resulting ridicule. In fact, when I was in school, asking would
have certainly resulting in indirect (if not direct) disciplinary action.


--
/------------------------------------------\
/ kenneth w. fernald (k...@ecersg.ncsu.edu) \
\ north carolina state university /
\------------------------------------------/

Erann Gat

unread,
Apr 23, 1990, 9:23:35 PM4/23/90
to
In article <19037.2...@merrimack.edu>, lin...@merrimack.edu (Doug Linder) writes:
> However, in this case I
> really do think my opinions (not prejudices) do in fact carry more weight.
[ Description of a scientific experiment to compare the efficacy of medicine
and prayer deleted]
> At the end, why don't we make the law based on a logical experiment [?]

Not everyone shares your conviction that life should be lived according
to the outcome of scientific experiments. In particular, Christian
Scientists don't believe it, and the first amendement guarantees them
the right not to believe it. There are less extreme examples. There have
been studies that show that sex tends to reduce heart disease. Should we
require everyone, married or not, to engage in regular sex? (Hey, I'm all
for it!)

The point is PEOPLE HAVE A RIGHT TO BE IRRATIONAL. There is perhaps
an argument to be made that they do not have the right to be irrational
with their children, but this launches us down a slippery slope. For my
money I would rather let a few Christian Scientists' children die than
open the door to the government regulating how I raise my kids.

> Actually, I wonder why ANY christians send their kids to hospitals at all.

Some Christians believe that God helps those who help themselves. Others
are simply hypocrites.

Hal J Eisen

unread,
Apr 24, 1990, 1:25:06 PM4/24/90
to
It seems to me that we should look a bit more closely at the
definition of being a child's legal guardian and the definition of
child abuse. I feel that child abuse is when a parent comes home
upset about something other than the child's behaviour, yet relieves
their frustration by physically beating up on thier child. The
responsibility of a guardian is to make decisions for another
individual because that individual is incapabale of deciding for his
or her self. This includes picking a religion for the individual.
Thus, if a parent says "my child is also a Christian Scientist" then
that is as good as the child saying "please don't heal me - i trust in
god." Someone please correct me if my impression of these terms is
wrong.

Hal J Eisen

Charles Hedrick

unread,
Apr 23, 1990, 11:11:56 PM4/23/90
to
> Actually, I wonder why ANY christians send their kids to hospitals at all.
>It would seem that if, as a chraistain, a person's faith were TRULY strong,
>then they would think they way the Christin Scientists (oxymoron) do: is "god"
>is almighty (and we believe he is) then he will heal the kid if he wants, and
>let the kid die if that's what he desires.

It may be useful to understand that Christian Science is a rather
unusual form of Christianity (if indeed it is one at all). In relying
solely on prayer, they are not just asserting that God should be
allowed to decide whether the person lives or dies. I'm not the right
person to explain Christian Science, but as I understand it, they
believe that natural law is ultimately not real. It is binding only
on those who believe it is, or who are part of a community that
believes it is and aren't individually enlightened. This is not just
an exaggerated view of the role of prayer in the rest of the Church.
It's based on a view of reality that is fundamentally different from
the one most of us believe in.

It is very unusual for Christians to have any objection to medical
service (aside from some specific cases such as abortion). The only
case I can think of the Jehovah's Witnesses' objection to some
treatments (transfusions?). None of the "major" Christian groups
(measured by numbers of members) have such objections. (A fairly
large fraction of hospitals in the U.S. were started by religious
groups.) Even those who do object to medical treatment do not do so
on the grounds that you propose (that God can heal them if he wants).
Generally Christians believe that God does most of his work through
human agents. The goal of Christianity is for us to become
instruments of God's work. To refuse help from others because God can
do it directly is to fly in the face of some of the most basic
teachings of Christ.

This is probably not the right place to discuss prayer. I'd be
interested in the results of a study such as the one you described,
where a controlled attempt is made to see whether prayer helps a
patient. (Of course setting it up is probably impossible, since you'd
have to have a control group matched to the experimental in other
ways, for whom you were sure no prayers were being offered by anyone.)
At any rate, prayer is not primarily intended to create miracles. For
the most committed Christians, it is a spiritual discipline intended
to develop their relationship to God, and to make them more effective
in serving him. It is not primarily (and for many, not at all) a way
to request miracles.

I confess that I am somewhat ambivalent about claims for miraculous
healing. The only attempt I know of to investigate such claims was by
Nolan (author of a number of well-known novels). His book "Healing"
serves as a caution to those who believe miracles have happened. It's
clear from his book that people can believe they have seen a
miraculous healing and be wrong. Unfortunately his book isn't as
helpful to me as it might be, because none of the healers he studied
was an orthodox Christian. The only one who claimed to be a Christian
faith healer was Kathryn Kuhlman, but even she had some disquieting
aspects from a Christian point of view. (She is apparently also an
astrologer.) The more plausible reports come from individual
healings, rather than the well-known media types that he studied.

I am reluctant to completely rule out healing based on prayer. I know
otherwise plausible people who have reported such events. But it's
not the hope of one of these rather unusual miracles that motivates
most people to pray, nor would any sane Christian suggest that we omit
normal medical care while praying.

Dust In The Wind

unread,
Apr 23, 1990, 11:47:01 PM4/23/90
to

I was going to stay out of this thread, because all the useful things had
already been said.

So far, the best comment was that more children die in car accidents than as
a result of religious refusal of health care. We all know this, and we all
know that humans have a right not to ride in cars, but nobody has said that
parents shouldn't be allowed to expose their children to such a danger.

However, Doug Linder seems to have returned, and he suggested this
experiment:

> OK, say we take 100 kids and put them in a standard hospital where they
>recieve whatever medical care trained doctors feel necessary. then we
>take 100 other kids as a control group (poor things) and put them in an
>ideantical hospital in every way except instead of doctors, priests pray

>over them for the same amount of time. [ And legislate whichever works
> best. - kwh ]

Firstly, if I remember my statistics correctly, the effectiveness rate for
`modern medicine' is about 80%, and the effectiveness rate for `doing
nothing at all' is about 60%. I don't know of any data on prayers. (If
these statistics are old or mangled by senility, corrections are welcome.)

But more importantly, I find Doug's article horrifying.

What scares me about him is that, though he clearly believes the control
group is going to have more children die, Doug is willing to sacrifice them
to prove his point -- apparently, those children who die are insignificant
when it comes to getting his own opinions legislated.

At first, it might seem ironic that Doug, who goes on long & loud about the
separation of church and state, and who likes to talk about how horrible
religious organisations have been, would suggest that we sacrifice some
children in order to control the free exercise of religion. But it has been
my experience that fanatics of any flavor are equally unconcerned with human
life -- all that matters is that _they_ have control of the people who do
manage to survive.


(The rest of Doug's article was the standard Christianity bashing that he
has posted nonstop since he first showed up on the net, and since he said
nothing new there's no point in replying to it.)


kil...@cs.umd.edu Darren F. Provine ...uunet!mimsy!kilroy
"Silence is the best reply to a fool."
-- Ali ibn-abu-Talib, cit. from Ali the Caliph

btif...@pbs.uucp

unread,
Apr 23, 1990, 9:31:45 PM4/23/90
to
In article <7...@forsight.Jpl.Nasa.Gov>, g...@robotics.Jpl.Nasa.Gov (Erann Gat) writes:
>
> Actually, that is exactly what it means. It used to be the law of the land

Carl Tait

unread,
Apr 24, 1990, 12:06:45 AM4/24/90
to
In article <65...@jarthur.Claremont.EDU> jsei...@jarthur.Claremont.EDU (James Seidman) writes:
>br...@kuhub.cc.ukans.edu writes:
>>I'm not a lawyer or anything, but IMHO medical care and employment are
>>covered under "pursuit of happiness" in the Declaration of Independence.
>
>Well, IMHO this line of thinking is a very dangerous one. Does that mean
>that unemployment (and accompanying welfare) is covered under the "pursuit
>of happiness" clause? How about those people who want to use XTC under that
>clause? Maybe medical care should be covered under the "life" part of it,
>but I think that the "pursuit of happiness" is so vague as to serve no
>function other than giving something for lawyers to invoke when they're
>desparate.

And remember that "pursuit of happiness" != "happiness." The government
cannot prevent me from attempting to write and publish The Great American
Novel (assuming it doesn't contain national defense secrets), but there's
certainly no guarantee I will achieve the Nirvana of actual publication.
Neither can the state coerce taxpayers into forking over the money to get
my literary gem into print. Freedom of speech lets me write what I want,
but at my own expense. I'm free to pursue happiness, but that doesn't
mean I'll attain it.

Carl Tait

Ronald BODKIN

unread,
Apr 24, 1990, 12:28:17 AM4/24/90
to
>The point is PEOPLE HAVE A RIGHT TO BE IRRATIONAL. There is perhaps
>an argument to be made that they do not have the right to be irrational
>with their children, but this launches us down a slippery slope. For my
>money I would rather let a few Christian Scientists' children die than
>open the door to the government regulating how I raise my kids.
Sure individuals do, but I don't think its reasonable to allow
parents to do anything they like with their children. Obviously, there
comes a point where irrational treatment becomes child abuse. Is
withholding life-saving treatment child abuse when it was readily
available? I think so. What if the parents, instead of being christians,
just had "bad vibes" about "hospitals and all that stuff". Would you
still be happy to allow their decision not to save their child's life
alone?
Ron

David Goldfarb

unread,
Apr 24, 1990, 4:53:18 AM4/24/90
to
In article <23...@mimsy.umd.edu> kil...@mimsy.umd.edu (Dust In The Wind) writes:
)However, Doug Linder seems to have returned, and he suggested this
)experiment:
)> OK, say we take 100 kids and put them in a standard hospital where they
)>recieve whatever medical care trained doctors feel necessary. then we
)>take 100 other kids as a control group (poor things) and put them in an
)>ideantical hospital in every way except instead of doctors, priests pray
)>over them for the same amount of time. [ And legislate whichever works
)> best. - kwh ]
)
)Firstly, if I remember my statistics correctly, the effectiveness rate for
)`modern medicine' is about 80%, and the effectiveness rate for `doing
)nothing at all' is about 60%. I don't know of any data on prayers.
)
)But more importantly, I find Doug's article horrifying.
)
)What scares me about him is that, though he clearly believes the control
)group is going to have more children die, Doug is willing to sacrifice them
)to prove his point -- apparently, those children who die are insignificant
)when it comes to getting his own opinions legislated.
)
)Darren F. Provine

Oh, come *on*. Darren, (if I may call you Darren) I *know* you can
do better than this. I've *seen* you do better than this.
Are you familiar with the phrase "thought-experiment"? Doug Linder
was not seriously advocating that we *do* this experiment any more than
Erwin Schrodinger was advocating that we lock a cat in a box with a vial
of cyanide. He was making up an example to try to prove a point, nothing
more. I went back and looked at his article, and there was nothing, *nothing*
to indicate that he actually thinks that we should really do what he des-
cribes. If I were Tim Maroney, I'd accuse you now of trying to confuse the
issue by wilfully misreading. But I think you made an honest mistake, if
a rather bizarre one.
If it turns out that I'm wrong about Doug's views, of course, then
I'm prepared to join you in shock and horror. But I don't think I am.
(Incidentally, for real scientific value we need at least one more
control group: a group of children who neither receive medicine nor are
prayed for. It would also be good to include a group that recieves medical
care *and* is prayed for.)

David Goldfarb gold...@ocf.berkeley.edu (Insert standard disclaimer)
"And if you said, 'Jump in the river,' I would,
Because it would probably be a good idea..."
--Sinead O'Connor

T_Rex

unread,
Apr 24, 1990, 12:46:24 AM4/24/90
to
In article <1990Apr22.2...@ux1.cso.uiuc.edu> schv...@ux1.cso.uiuc.edu (Jeff Schavland ) writes:
>In article <82...@becker.UUCP> b...@becker.UUCP (Bruce Becker) writes:
>>In article <1990Apr21....@ux1.cso.uiuc.edu> schv...@pequod.cso.uiuc.edu (Jeffrey Schavland) writes:
>>|In article <34...@shemp.CS.UCLA.EDU> pie...@cs.ucla.edu (Brad Pierce) writes:
>>|>
>>|>Medical care is a human right.
>>|>
[Jeff writes...]

>>|Since when is medical care a human right? I always thought that people

[stuff deleted]
[Bruce writes...]

>> It puzzles me why anyone would attack the concept
>> of "Medical care is a human right". Somehow the
>> idea of medical care infringing on the rights of
>> others is laughable.
>

[Jeff writes...]

>Medical care can very easily infringe on the rights of others. If you
>tax me to pay for your "right" of medical care, then it becomes my business.
>If you force me as a, let's say parent who is a Christian Scientist, to
>provide medical care to my children, you have certianly "infringed" on
>my rights.
>--
>Jeffrey A. Schavland
>

It seems to me that this is the Canadian 'universality of health-care' vs
the tiered, privately-insured system I understand to be the norm in the States.
( if I'm wrong about this, let me know ). Jeff, I think you're talking about
two different issues here; the latter concerns the right of someone to
refuse medical care, if I read you right ( this is a *real* can of worms!).
The former concerns whether you, as a taxpayer, want to finance the medical
care of someone else. Now, I'm concerned about where my tax $ go, 'cause up
here we pay *alot* of 'em! I'd be upset if I was financing someone's nose job,
or butt tuck, but I don't begrudge a penny spent on improving or maintaining
someone's health, esp. someone who couldn't afford it otherwise! Jeff, do
you *really* feel that this is an infringement on your rights? Don't people
come before dollars. Taxes get spent in alot worse ways, !


Just curious,
Pete.

br...@kuhub.cc.ukans.edu

unread,
Apr 25, 1990, 1:11:31 AM4/25/90
to
In article <2633DA2...@maccs.dcss.mcmaster.ca>, wo...@maccs.dcss.mcmaster.ca (T_Rex) writes:
> . . . Jeff, I think you're talking about

> two different issues here; the latter concerns the right of someone to
> refuse medical care, if I read you right ( this is a *real* can of worms!).
> The former concerns whether you, as a taxpayer, want to finance the medical
> care of someone else. Now, I'm concerned about where my tax $ go, 'cause up
> here we pay *alot* of 'em! I'd be upset if I was financing someone's nose job
> or butt tuck, but I don't begrudge a penny spent on improving or maintaining
> someone's health, esp. someone who couldn't afford it otherwise! Jeff, do
> you *really* feel that this is an infringement on your rights? Don't people
> come before dollars. Taxes get spent in alot worse ways, !

Yeah, no kidding!

Interesting point about cosmetic surgery. Is that stuff really medical care?
I mean, seems like it's more body modification than actual treatment (putting
it more on line with tattoos and piercing than heart or lung surgery). If the
fact that it's done by a doctor legitimizes it, then a lot of what's been
said about the Church of the AMA may well be correct.

Cathy Johnston

unread,
Apr 24, 1990, 5:09:39 PM4/24/90
to
In article <19048.2...@merrimack.edu> lin...@merrimack.edu (Doug Linder) writes:
>>> OK, say we take 100 kids and put them in a standard hospital where they
>>>recieve whatever medical care trained doctors feel necessary. then we
>>>take 100 other kids as a control group (poor things) and put them in an
>>>ideantical hospital in every way except instead of doctors, priests pray
>>>over them for the same amount of time. [ And legislate whichever works
>>> best. - kwh ]

You've already explained that this is merely a thought experiment. Perhaps
you might indulge me in one:

Next door to you lives a Christian Scientist couple named, say Smith. They
have a little boy (let's call him Joey.) You become aware that Joey is sick,
and that the Smiths are not taking him to a doctor. You try to convince
them to seek out medical help, but they refuse. So you call the police.
The police try very hard to convince the Smiths to let them take Joey to
the emergency room, but they refuse. The police officers can see that
Joey is very sick, and know that the law requires the Smiths to seek
medical care for a minor, so they arrest the Smiths and take Joey to the
emergency room.

Now in the emergency room, the doctors do some tests and see that Joey has
an intestinal blockage that needs surgery right away. They rush him to the
operating room, open him up, and discover that the blockage had already
started to clear spontaneously. (Maybe when the ambulance hit that pothole
on Main St. Joey was at just the right angle that it popped loose. Maybe
his parents' prayers healed him. But one way or another, Joey would have
gotten well without the surgery.) Joey picks up a postoperative infection
in the hospital and dies.

Ok. Let's see where we are here. The Smith's are in jail because you turned
them in. Joey is dead as a direct result of the unnecessary medical
treatment which you had a big part of forcing on him over the objections
of his parents.

People die of complications of surgery all the time. People have
unnecessary surgery all the time. It's not even all that uncommon for
people to die of complications from unnecessary surgery (it's called
malpractice.) That this hasn't happened to a child of Christian Scientists
forced into medical care probably says more about the number of Christian
Scientists and the difficulty of knowing whether their children are sick.

I would hope that, unless you have a fanatic religious devotion to the
laws of chance, you would be somewhat uncomfortable at this point. A
child is dead, and as a result of actions taken against his parents' will.
You and I accept these things as the risks of living in an imperfect world;
Christian Scientists, as Charles Hedrick has pointed out, have a very
different world view, and they *do*not* accept these risks. All those
sayings about how "life is risky" and "nothing is sure" are scant comfort
when a child is dead -- indeed, they sound a little trite..

I'm not claiming to have any answers. I'm just saying that I think your
answer has some serious problems. Maybe I'm just objecting to you seeming
so sure that the problem is so simple. Medical ethics are hard questions,
even when dealing with people who agree with your values and world view.

I think it is a serious question to ask whether, as a general rule, a
child's best interests are served by his/her parents or by prosecutors,
judges and radical special interest groups bringing lawsuits.

--
Cathy Johnston ca...@gargoyle.uchicago.edu ca...@gargoyle.uchicago.bitnet

"Education is a strange good. Once people pay for it, they demand less of it"

James P. Willey

unread,
Apr 25, 1990, 5:22:24 AM4/25/90
to
In article <23014.2...@kuhub.cc.ukans.edu> br...@kuhub.cc.ukans.edu writes:
>
>Interesting point about cosmetic surgery. Is that stuff really medical care?
>I mean, seems like it's more body modification than actual treatment (putting
>it more on line with tattoos and piercing than heart or lung surgery). If the
>fact that it's done by a doctor legitimizes it, then a lot of what's been
>said about the Church of the AMA may well be correct.
>

Cosmetic surgery can be considered medical care under the right
circumstances. If you were in an accident and had major injuries to your
face, then cosmetic reconstruction of your face would be a natural part
of your medical treatment. However, a tummy tuck, face lift, etc should
not be considered as legitimate medical care.


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
James P. Willey hay...@arrakis.NEVADA.EDU
Disclaimer: I'm responsible for my employers opinions, not vice versa.

Kraneberg, an oldtime historian of [North] American technology, once said-
in the form of a First Law- "Technology is neither positive, negative,
nor neutral."
Indeed. It is all three.
And omnipresent.
(Robotech)

Jon Taylor

unread,
Apr 24, 1990, 6:14:23 PM4/24/90
to
In article <7772.2...@pbs.uucp>, btif...@pbs.uucp writes:

> It has never, ever been the law in this nation that children or
> anyone else HAD TO pray, either in school or anywhere else. Children used
> to be free to pray or not to pray; now they are only free not to pray.

Not so. Children are as free to pray now as they were free NOT to
pray before. When I was very young, the teacher said the Lord's Prayer,
and I was free to ignore it (though there were undoubtedly schools where
things were more coercive). Nowadays, there is no organized prayer, but
a religious child may find plenty of opportunities to pray at his/her
will. I've never once heard of anyone (even fanatics like MM O'Hair)
trying to prevent individuals from praying in public places.

Joe Rossi

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Apr 24, 1990, 5:54:31 PM4/24/90
to
In article <35...@ucbvax.BERKELEY.EDU> gold...@ocf.Berkeley.EDU
(David Goldfarb) writes:
> (Incidentally, for real scientific value we need at least one more
>control group: a group of children who neither receive medicine nor are
>prayed for. It would also be good to include a group that recieves medical
>care *and* is prayed for.)

yeah, well if I was kid i'd want to be in this last group.

--
jro...@jato.jpl.nasa.gov "big wheel turn by the grace of God"
**********************STANDARD DISCLAIMER******************************

Dust In The Wind

unread,
Apr 24, 1990, 10:53:23 AM4/24/90
to

Recap: Doug Linder posted an article about a medical experiment which he
clearly expected to be fatal to some of the subjects, and I responded
negatively.

David Goldfarb has followed up, and he seems to think that Mr. Linder was
not seriously suggesting anything, but rather speaking hypothetically. In
rereading Mr. Linder's article I see where he does use phrases like `say
we take', which indicate that I was in error. I apologise for my mistake.


Anyway, I have the impression that Doug would only abide by the results of
this experiment if it worked out the way he wants. Suppose it worked out
that 69% of the medically treated kids got well, and 71% of the control
group got well (by whatever mechanism you like, either "God is in a
troublemaking mood" or "statistical anomaly"); would Doug then support
legislation of prayer as medical care?

It is my impression that Doug would be against the legislation of prayer
in such a case -- and so would I. Further, anyone who took such results
and determined not to go see doctors anymore would be (IMHO) acting very
foolishly.

I doubt such an experiment would serve any purpose; I find it unlikely that
Doug would accept as valid any results contrary to what he wanted. If one's
hypothesis can only be verified (and not falsified), then we aren't actually
dealing with a proper application of the scientific method.

-=-=-

What do I think? Well, I don't have all the answers. I am against having
the state interfere unneccesarily in child raising, but I am also against
child abuse. Jim Meritt pointed out that there are laws about safety seats,
but even with such devices children still die in accidents. If the state
is going to insist that parents cannot decide to put children at risk, then
can parents override a human's right not to get in a car, just because the
human is a little one? If so, why can't a parent choose to override the
`right' to medical care as well?

This is quite like a situation where a person is in a coma, and the decision
must be made to turn off the life support machines. If use of medical
technology overrides the family's decision in the case of children, why not
keep everybody in a coma alive forever? In neither case are we certain that
the patient will actually get better. It is likely that an adult will have
made religious decisions, where we tend to think that children are not old
enough to have done so -- but I don't much like the idea that the state can
make religious decisions for children.

I am doubtful that there is any perfect solution to this issue.

-=-=-

People can call me `Darren' if they'd like, but `kilroy' might be clearer
in some situations, as there are several `Darren's around here. (You may
also address me as `Sir' or `Your Magnificence'. 8^)

Also, since Tim Maroney doesn't seem to read this group (and is therefore
not here to defend himself), can we please leave him out of our articles?
(I've never actually had an exchange with Mr. Maroney, but he seems to get
an inordinate amount of bad press.)


kil...@cs.umd.edu Darren F. Provine ...uunet!mimsy!kilroy

"Okay, I'm a moron." -- Dave Peru

Erann Gat

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Apr 24, 1990, 12:09:10 PM4/24/90
to
In article <7772.2...@pbs.uucp>, btif...@pbs.uucp writes:

You are ignorant of history. While it is true that there has not (to my
knwoledge) been a law that made it a crime not to pray, there have been
laws requiring teachers to lead prayers, bible study, moments of silence,
etc. Some of these laws have been quite recent. It is true that in
many cases the students officially had the option of being excused from
these activities, but as a practical matter walking out on a prayer in
a school in the deep south is an invitation to ostracism. (Believe me,
I have first hand experience.) Freedom on paper and freedom in fact are
two very different things.

Today individual students are quite free to pray in the schools! They
can pray between classes. They can pray during lunch. They can pray
after school. They are not free to pray during class and disrupt a
lesson, and they are not free to coerce others to pray. And that is
how it should be.

Erann Gat
g...@ai.jpl.nasa.gov

These opinions are my own, but everyone is welcome to them.

Erann Gat

unread,
Apr 24, 1990, 12:42:32 PM4/24/90
to

You missed the point. Personally I agree that irrational treatment
of children can be child abuse. The trouble is that no one can agree
where to draw the thin line between abuse and parental judgement. My
contention is that if we are to have religious freedom in this country
then we must never allow the government to draw that line, and we must
occasionally accept even the death of an innocent child as the cost of
that freedom.

If you try you can come up with a horror story for ANYTHING! Suppose
a fine upstanding Methodist family on their way to church got into a
car accident and their kid died despite the seatbelt. Would you
prosecute them? It is a scientifically provable fact that staying
home on Sunday is safer than driving to Church. Is it child abuse to
expose children to that sort of danger just because of a religious
belief? Of course not. The only difference between that and the
Christian Scientists is prejudicial.

As far as parents with "bad vibes": no I would not be happy if their
child died. I suspect that they would be even less happy than I.
(If not the kid is probably better off dead anyway.) To paraphrase
Voltaire, I may not like the way you raise your kids, but I will
defend to the death your right to choose how you do it.

HOWEVER, we do have to excercise some good judgement when we decide what
is a religious belief and what is not. If an alchohlic bum stood up
in court and explained that he had beaten his eight year old daughter
to death with a belt because "God made me do it" then he is either
lying or psychotic. We may decide that the Christian Scientists are
lying about their beliefs to escape prosecution (unlikely) or that
they are psychotic (perhaps more likely). But if we decide that they
are neither sane and sincere then we have no choice but to accept the
deaths of their children as they have or forfeit our freedom. I
unhesitatingly will choose the former.

Consider this: suppose that the Christian Scientists had enough political
clout to pass a law banning medical care. Is there any substantive
difference between their denying you the freedom to choose medical care
and your denying them the freedom to reject it?

Erann Gat

unread,
Apr 24, 1990, 12:53:38 PM4/24/90
to
In article <7...@forsight.Jpl.Nasa.Gov>, I wrote:
> HOWEVER, we do have to excercise some good judgement when we decide what
> is a religious belief and what is not. If an alchohlic bum stood up
> in court and explained that he had beaten his eight year old daughter
> to death with a belt because "God made me do it" then he is either
> lying or psychotic. We may decide that the Christian Scientists are
> lying about their beliefs to escape prosecution (unlikely) or that
> they are psychotic (perhaps more likely). But if we decide that they
> are neither sane and sincere then we have no choice but to accept the
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
What I meant to say was "neither insane nor insincere". Sorry.
^^ ^^^^^^

> deaths of their children as they have or forfeit our freedom. I
> unhesitatingly will choose the former.

Erann Gat
g...@ai.jpl.nasa.gov

Andy Freeman

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Apr 25, 1990, 3:42:33 PM4/25/90
to
In article <2633DA2...@maccs.dcss.mcmaster.ca> wo...@maccs.dcss.mcmaster.ca (T_Rex) writes:
>Jeff, do you *really* feel that this is an infringement on your
>rights? Don't people come before dollars. Taxes get spent in alot
>worse ways, !

Without stating my position, I note that these arguments are not
very compelling. Bad spending in one part of govt does not justify
slightly better spending in other parts. "Don't people come before
dollars" is actually wrong; inefficient govt spending kills people.
(Health care spending in the US has several good examples of this;
the diseases of the pretty get far more support than things that
kill the ugly, and the govt is no better than the private sector.)

-andy
--
UUCP: {arpa gateways, sun, decwrl, uunet, rutgers}!neon.stanford.edu!andy
ARPA: an...@neon.stanford.edu
BELLNET: (415) 723-3088

Tom Fortner

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Apr 25, 1990, 5:10:56 PM4/25/90
to
In article <12...@goofy.megatest.UUCP> djo...@megatest.UUCP (Dave Jones) writes:
>In the news today, yet another couple is being tried for vital
>witholding medication from a child on religious grounds, causing
>his death. It seems to be an epidemic. This time the charge is manslaughter,
>not simple child endangerment. I think the newsperson said "Christian
>Science", but I'm not sure.

Let me make it clear that the overwhelming majority of Christian "fundamental-
ists" (I despise that term, but...) disapprove of withholding heath care from
minors or majors on such religious grounds. Christian Scientists, Mormons, and
Unity School of Christianity members frequently are confused with us, but are
not part of the "Bible-believing community of faith". Please don't make so
blatant an error to confuse us with them.
Tom.

--
Tom Fortner
Christian Medical & Dental Society
UUCP: cms2!tomf
INTERNET: to...@cms2.lonestar.org

Wayne Aiken

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Apr 24, 1990, 9:31:20 PM4/24/90
to
In article <7772.2...@pbs.uucp> btif...@pbs.uucp writes:
>In article <7...@forsight.Jpl.Nasa.Gov>, g...@robotics.Jpl.Nasa.Gov (Erann Gat)
ites:
>> Actually, that is exactly what it means. It used to be the law of the land
>> that students had to pray in the public schools. ....

> It has never, ever been the law in this nation that children or
>anyone else HAD TO pray, either in school or anywhere else. Children used
>to be free to pray or not to pray; now they are only free not to pray.

This is 100% false. The original poster was correct in that at one time,
organized prayers were practiced in public schools. It may not have exactly
been the law that students were *forced* to participate, but it might as well
have been. Students who did not care to participate were subjected to almost
complete ostracism and hostility from students and faculty alike. Kids have
enough to worry about (like getting a good education) without having to deal
with this.

The case Murray vs. Curlett in 1963, which forbade the schools to participate
in religious ceremonies (of which prayer is an integral part) said absolutely
nothing, nor in any way forbade anyone to pray anywhere at any time. The
only effect it had is that schools may not conduct prayers nor make special
accomodations for those who wish to do so. A child is perfectly free to pray
any time they wish; during home-room period, recess, before tests, or at any
other time, as long as they don't create a disruption. Think about this- how
can anyone possibly stop a person from praying? The school prayer issue is
possibly one of the biggest non-issues ever created. It isn't enough for some
people that they be allowed to worship as they choose- they must have the
endorsement and involvement of government- that is a right they don't have.

Wayne Aiken neto...@ncsuvm.bitnet "You can BE what
PO Box 30904 neto...@ncsuvm.ncsu.edu you WON'T!!"
Raleigh, NC 27622 wa...@shumv1.ncsu.edu --"Bob"
(919) 782-8171 BBS: (919) 782-3095

Erann Gat

unread,
Apr 25, 1990, 9:55:09 PM4/25/90
to
In article <7...@forsight.Jpl.Nasa.Gov>, I wrote:
> ... if we are to have religious freedom in this country
> then we must ... occasionally accept ... the death of an

> innocent child as the cost of that freedom.
>

I was positive I would get massively flamed for that comment, but not
a single person has replied to it. This has me slightly worried. Was
everyone so massively offended that they decided it not worth the
keystrokes? The only other explanations I can come up with are 1) The
message didn't make it through the net, 2) It made it through nut nobody
read it or 3) everyone agrees with me. Somehow, none of these seem
very likely.

Since no one seems to want to take the trouble, I will flame myself. It
occurred to me (after I posted the article) that there is a fatal flaw
in my reasoning. Consider: according to strict Christian doctrine, if someone
dies in a state of Grace they go to heaven: instant eternal bliss,
no worries, no taxes, just fun in the son. It seems reasonable to conclude
then that for me to kill someone while they are in a state of Grace is the
greatest favor I can do them. I risk my own immortal soul to insure that
theirs is dispatched directly into heaven with no further suffering on
earth and no more chances to transgress and be cast into the flames.

Granted there are not many people who actually believe this. But as a
matter of principle I am now willing to draw the line limiting religious
freedom where it causes the death of another person. Dear me, where
will it all end? If we draw the line at killing, how about causing
permanent disabilties? temporary excruciating pain? mild mental anguish?

May I be allowed back in the human race now?

> Erann Gat
> g...@ai.jpl.nasa.gov
>

Or maybe it's my signature. Honestly, I intended it to be humorous:

chris ross

unread,
Apr 26, 1990, 4:03:50 AM4/26/90
to
btif...@pbs.uucp writes:
> Withholding the rod of discipline because of the current society's
> warped views regarding the supposed inherent goodness of man is possibly
> the worst type of child abuse, and it's pretty clear from even a cursory
> look at the ills of our present society what a lack of discipline leads
> to. Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; the rod will drive
> it far from him. The irksome thing is that most people apparently can
> see no difference between loving correction using "the rod" (whatever
> non-injuring instrument that might be), and the perverted abusive
> beating, scalding, whipping, punching, or whatever else it is that is
> done to children [or wives, for that matter] by sick people.

I agree that many individuals lack self-discipline, that this lack causes a
variety of social ills, and that extreme physical abuse is the province of
the insane. However, I consider your belief in the necessity of some degree
of physical violence -- whether or not you call it "discipline" -- to be
untenable.

To do violence to any other human, except in self-defense against violence,
is to assert that _you_ are unwilling to seek other means of resolving your
differences. You are in effect saying, "I have done all I can think of to
convince this person through reason, so it's now OK for me to use pain to
motivate them."

With respect to children, those who consider it appropriate to resort to
violence as discipline "on very rare occasions, only when absolutely
necessary," should consider the following hypothetical statements:

I only rarely strike my close friends.
I very rarely strike my parents.
I rarely strike total strangers.
I seldom strike my doctor, or my boss, or the bus driver, or the
checkout person at the supermarket, or...

I only strike these people when I deem it necessary,
and then only lovingly.

There's a term for the actions described above (the intent of the fifth
statement notwithstanding.) It is "assault," and is considered a crime
in our society.

The obvious response to this is that children, and one's own children in
particular, are somehow qualitatively different. They certainly are!
Children are simply not mentally equipped to deal with the trauma of being
abused, no matter how much love their parents profess to feel as they
deliver the abuse. They are also physically defenseless, a fact which is
consciously or unconsciously taken advantage of. Both these facts only
make the crime more serious.

Why do you think children cry when struck, even if the blows cause no pain?
It is because they have placed complete trust in their parents as sources of
care and sustenance, and that trust has been betrayed. They do not perceive
that such discipline is beneficial; something they have always associated
with love and joy has somehow suddenly become a source of pain and hate.

The poolside incident you describe late in your article also fails to
support your argument. Neither the tendency of parents to resort to
violence nor the subsequent obedience by their children prove that violence
is necessary; they simply show that the parents lack the patience, self-
control, and/or intelligence to seek nonviolent alternatives. Violence also
serves to bring about the very social ills which you claim it prevents,
because it teaches children that violence is a valid problem-solving method.

> In our zeal to correct such abuse we must not deny parents their God-
> ordained right to function as God's representatives in instructing and
> training their children in the right way, which will from time to time
> involve physical discipline.

To call the use of violence a "God-ordained right" only serves to illustrate
the extent to which religious dogmatists are willing to rationalize their
desire to resort to violence. Their argument can be simply restated as
"someone claiming to speak with divine authority once wrote that it's ok to
strike my children; therefore it's ok to strike my children."

I can write a book, too. I can state therein that any form of violence
against children is a crime. I can also claim, as do the authors of the
Bible, that I speak with divine authority, and my claim will be as
meaningless as theirs. That millions of people choose to follow the Bible
does not prove its validity; it is merely evidence of human gullibility.

==========

On the subject of religion and morality,
you make the following quotations:

> "Men are qualified for civil liberty, in exact proportion to their
> disposition to put moral chains upon their appetites; in proportion
> as their love of justice is above their rapacity; in proportion as
> their soundness and sobriety of understanding is above their varity
> and presumption; in proportion as they are more disposed to listen
> to the counsel of the wise and good, in preference to the flattery
> of knaves."

> "To suppose that any form of government will secure liberty or


> happiness without any virtue in the people, is a chimerical
> idea."

Once again, I am in emphatic agreement with your basic points. But your
assertion that morality cannot exist without religion is unfounded. Much of
your article comprises statements that put forth this assertion in one form
or another. None of them support it. If it were true, all non-religious
people would be amoral, which is not the case.

(a discussion of humanist ethics is appropriate at this point,
but it's, er, 4AM. maybe tomorrow :-)

chris ross---\ "Your species has the most amazing capacity for
| | self-deception, matched only by its ingenuity
cjr...@bbn.com in destroying itself." -- The 7th Doctor

Steve Lamont

unread,
Apr 25, 1990, 7:28:33 AM4/25/90
to
>Interesting point about cosmetic surgery. Is that stuff really medical care?
>I mean, seems like it's more body modification than actual treatment (putting
>it more on line with tattoos and piercing than heart or lung surgery). If the
>fact that it's done by a doctor legitimizes it, then a lot of what's been
>said about the Church of the AMA may well be correct.

Well, there are certainly abuses of any medical procedure, cosmetic surgery
included.

However, there are certainly instances where cosmetic surgery may be necessary
to the well being of the patient, say, repairing the damage done by a
disfiguring accident or a birth defect. While these conditions may not be
life threatening, their alleviation can be of tremendous benefit to the
patient, from a psychological or even social standpoint. These benefits can
range from elevated self esteem to enhanced employability (studies have shown
that, unfortunately, attractive people have an easier time finding jobs than
less attractive people -- regardless of ability).

If we restrict the label of legitimacy to only those medical procedures which
involve life threatening situations, a great number of beneficial services
will be "delegitimized." For instance, the common cold isn't *likely* to kill
you, so, under such a restrictive definition, it would not be "legitimate" to
treat it until such time as it becomes pneumonia.

Are breast augmentations, liposuctions, and fanny tucks legitimate medical
procedures? It depends upon the application. If someone is going to be
miserable without one, then maybe it is valid.

spl (the p stands for
perhaps you can take a
few inches off this
honker, Doc...)
--
Steve Lamont, sciViGuy (919) 248-1120 EMail: s...@ncsc.org
NCSC (The other one), Box 12732, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709
Don't send in no bums. I want deals.
-John Steinbeck, _The Grapes of Wrath_

Ronald BODKIN

unread,
Apr 26, 1990, 7:16:32 AM4/26/90
to
In article <7...@forsight.Jpl.Nasa.Gov> g...@robotics.Jpl.Nasa.Gov (Erann Gat) writes:
>You missed the point. Personally I agree that irrational treatment
>of children can be child abuse. The trouble is that no one can agree
>where to draw the thin line between abuse and parental judgement. My
>contention is that if we are to have religious freedom in this country
>then we must never allow the government to draw that line, and we must
>occasionally accept even the death of an innocent child as the cost of
>that freedom.
This is where I disagree. On the matter of severe damage for
the children on the basis of strong evidence (e.g. that medical care
would save the child's life) I don't think its reasonable to allow
the abuse. I appreciate your worry about infringing on religious
freedom, but I don't see how you can avoid imposing certain
constraints on parents. For example, what if someone believes that
children should be (severely) beaten for punishment (say its a religious
belief of theirs). Is this acceptable? You suggest that psychosis is
an acceptable standard, but implicitly this only acts to make certain,
universally accepted as, "loony" sets of beliefs as not free, as they
are considered pyschotic. As for your Methodist family, obviously
taking children out of the house (this only an instance) is not even
slightly dangerous (it is necessary, in fact). As for there being
no difference, I would submit that an infinitessimal risk is really
not comparable with near-certain death. The only difference in our
beliefs lies in a question as to just how extreme the views should
be in order that they be considered psychotic. I am more prepared
than you for the justice system to make such judgments about
parenting. One good idea would be to allow children to choose under
as many circumstances as possible (i.e. conscious and able to give
an opinion).

>Consider this: suppose that the Christian Scientists had enough political
>clout to pass a law banning medical care. Is there any substantive
>difference between their denying you the freedom to choose medical care
>and your denying them the freedom to reject it?

The fact that my views are rational and based on evidence? Of
course, your analogy *should* say denying medical care for my children.
Essentially, I would not live in a country that was so overrun by
such religious elements (just as I wouldn't live in Iran).
Ron

Al Thompson

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Apr 25, 1990, 10:13:52 AM4/25/90
to
In article <90114.2131...@ncsuvm.ncsu.edu> NETO...@ncsuvm.ncsu.edu (Wayne Aiken) writes:
|In article <7772.2...@pbs.uucp> btif...@pbs.uucp writes:
|>In article <7...@forsight.Jpl.Nasa.Gov>, g...@robotics.Jpl.Nasa.Gov (Erann Gat)
|ites:
|>> Actually, that is exactly what it means. It used to be the law of the land
|>> that students had to pray in the public schools. ....
|
|> It has never, ever been the law in this nation that children or
|>anyone else HAD TO pray, either in school or anywhere else. Children used
|>to be free to pray or not to pray; now they are only free not to pray.
|
|This is 100% false. The original poster was correct in that at one time,
|organized prayers were practiced in public schools. It may not have exactly
|been the law that students were *forced* to participate, but it might as well
|have been. Students who did not care to participate were subjected to almost
|complete ostracism and hostility from students and faculty alike. Kids have
|enough to worry about (like getting a good education) without having to deal
|with this.

I attended public schools in Illinois (Chicago, Northfield and Winnetka)
from 1946 to 1954. Never once in any of those schools did we have prayers
or even a time when we "could" pray. So, if they ever did require prayers
in Illinois the requirement had passed out of existence by the end of
WWII.

Russ Nelson

unread,
Apr 25, 1990, 11:09:26 AM4/25/90
to
In article <7784.2...@pbs.uucp> btif...@pbs.uucp writes:

From: pie...@lanai.cs.ucla.edu (Brad Pierce)
Date: 21 Apr 90 21:55:27 GMT

>This price of freedom should not be paid by children. There are people
>that beat their children because they believe that "spare the rod
>spoil the child". Should society allow this behavior in the name of
>the parents' freedom?

"Society" has no business interfering in the matter, provided
we are talking about loving, God-ordained discipline designed to
train up a child in the way that he should go, so that when he is
old he will not depart from it. Withholding the rod of discipline


because of the current society's warped views regarding the
supposed inherent goodness of man is possibly the worst type of
child abuse, and it's pretty clear from even a cursory look at the
ills of our present society what a lack of discipline leads to.
Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; the rod will drive
it far from him.

I would like to take this moment to inform people that some Christians
(Quakers) believe in the inherent goodness of man. There are also
some fundamentalist Christians who believe that the "rod of
discipline" is a metaphor for the shepherd's staff.

Please do not use this asshole's words to condemn *all* Christians.

Oh, and by the way, you can discipline a child without punishment, and
without beating the child. Discipline != punishment.

--
--russ (nelson@clutx [.bitnet | .clarkson.edu]) Russ.Nelson@$315.268.6667
Violence never solves problems, it just changes them into more subtle problems
Give them a fighting chance -- support the RKAB (right to keep and arm bears)

Dust In The Wind

unread,
Apr 25, 1990, 10:10:22 AM4/25/90
to

Doug Linder's most recent article was pretty clearly written before my
apology in response to David Goldfarb's comment reached his machine, so
this response will elide most of what I said there.

Mostly, I want to explain this comment:


>
>(The rest of Doug's article was the standard Christianity bashing that he
> has posted nonstop since he first showed up on the net, and since he said
> nothing new there's no point in replying to it.)

Given that I said that in a public forum , I feel obliged to respond to
Doug's objection:
>
>Implying that you are somehow better than I when it comes to posting is
>senseless. You certainly aren't any better at writing or debate.

I was not referring to either your debating skills or your ability to form
sentences, nor was I claiming to be `better' at posting articles.

Rather, I was replying to the tone of this paragraph:
>
> So, how about it? Hey, Charley Wingate, do you send your kids to the
>doctor when they are sick? How strong is YOUR faith? Rodney Raymond
>Morrison? What's that? You DO send your kids to the doctor? What's the
>matter, isn't your faith strong enough? You DO think god is omnipotent,
>don't you?

The use of all upper-case words is often the Usenet equivalent of shouting;
and when the poster is disguising accusations behind rhetorical questions,
that usually indicates that no answers are needed -- because none will be
accepted. (Before you tell me I'm all wrong, notice that your questions
_assume_ what answers go in the slots. That is usually an indication that
the poster has his mind made up and closed tight.) In my experience, when a
thread has become this emotionally-charged, there is no point in continuing.

Reread that paragraph; if you were a theist would you bother to respond?


In general, I find both the content and literary style of your articles
rather limited. That I have seen, you have never talked about why you are
not a Buddhist, or a Hindu -- Christianity is the religion you don't believe
in. And, on the off chance that your most recent article was supposed to
convince me that I've misjudged you, let's take a look at what you wrote:

You frequently make claims to absolute truth, but you have presented no more
support than Jimmy Swaggart can provide for his beliefs. Your last article
was no different:
>
> You don't have any data on prayers because "doing nothing" == "praying"


Your articles usually reflect the belief that anyone who disagrees with you
is either an idiot or uneducated. Your last article was no different:
>
>However, there *are* some thiests about, so I'd better make myself very
>clear. I'll try to use small words. [...] I thought everyone would
>understand - that's what I get for overestimating the brains of fundies.


You have been making the same claims to Truth since your first article, and
you've never provided any evidence. You have been making the same insulting
asides since your first article, and they still add precisely nothing to the
presentation (though they do serve to detract from anything useful that you
might have to say).

As near as I remember, all of your articles after the first 2 weeks have
been virtually interchangeable. Even if there _was_ some new insight
from your keyboard, I sincerely doubt I would bother to wade through the
gratuitous slams and unsupported assertions in an effort to find it.


I suppose that you feel my perception of you is totally inaccurate -- in
which case, changing that opinion will be best accomplished by articles
which demonstrate its inaccuracy. A flaming response, however, will only
serve to demonstrate the correctness of the image you have thus far
presented.


kil...@cs.umd.edu Darren F. Provine ...uunet!mimsy!kilroy

``No man who says "I'm as good as you" believes it.'' -- Screwtape

Keith Tookey

unread,
Apr 25, 1990, 12:51:47 PM4/25/90
to
In article <9...@gargoyle.uchicago.edu> ca...@gargoyle.uchicago.edu (Cathy Johnston) writes:
>Next door to you lives a Christian Scientist couple named, say Smith. They
...

>Ok. Let's see where we are here. The Smith's are in jail because you turned
>them in. Joey is dead as a direct result of the unnecessary medical
>treatment which you had a big part of forcing on him over the objections
>of his parents.

>I would hope that, unless you have a fanatic religious devotion to the


>laws of chance, you would be somewhat uncomfortable at this point. A

>I think it is a serious question to ask whether, as a general rule, a


>child's best interests are served by his/her parents or by prosecutors,
>judges and radical special interest groups bringing lawsuits.

A good, thoughtful, post, Cathy, thank you.
My comments:

Occasionally, someone is trapped by a malfunctioning seatbelt and cannot escape
a burning car, and thus dies. (This is rare; a state trooper friend of a friend
has never in his career had to unbuckle a corpse.)
This does not prevent me from requiring my baby boy to be buckled in,
because, you see, I DO believe in the laws of probability.
I would believe I had done the right thing even if my son died.
(I believe the mandatory seat belt laws are a parallel issue;
can the State force action to protect a child against the wishes of the parent?)

I argue that the state has the right to protect children from
clear and present danger (be it a christian scientist with menningitis or
a child getting the 'devil beat out of him' by a cult).
All it takes is mandatory reporting, followed by court action if necessary.
Christian Scientists in Great Britain and Canada live under a system where
medical care is mandated. Why can't US Christian Scientists do so?

Leaving the Christian Scientists alone for now, what of the person
who beats his child due to sincerely held beliefs?
Where do we draw the line?
Is it OK to beat your child if your minister tells you to?
How about a child who volunteers for a child sacrifice?

While there are several reasonable places to draw a line,
(I am not a slippery slope fanatic)
legal precedent says that freedom of belief is guaranteed,
but not freedom of practice.
I say that withholding medical care from children should not be a protected practice.
When the measles epidemic hit the Principia, (and it was not reported
until students with measles left campus for break)
it endangered all the children at Principia, and all children with whom
they associated.

Sympathetic to CHILD(Children's Healthcare Is a Legal Duty)
but speaking only for myself.

--
_ __ _____
/ / _/_ / /__) / /
/\^ _. ^ / /-. /\ / _ _ /_ _. . .
/ \_(/_/__/__/ / / \ / (_)_(_)_/ <_(/___\/
_/

Jon Taylor

unread,
Apr 25, 1990, 1:30:28 PM4/25/90
to
In article <7784.2...@pbs.uucp>, btif...@pbs.uucp writes:

... many, many things...

I hope you will forgive me for responding to them in pieces, as my
time is limited. I am impressed with the effort you made to use real
quotes and references.

> What is a "human right"? This must be answered before your assertion
> can be evaluated. The Founding Fathers recognized man as an eternal being
> whose rights are endowed by his Creator, and that temporal governments were
> obligated to uphold those eternal rights. If you mean that any authority
> which seeks to abridge such God-given rights is abusing power, you are right.
> Such is the case with our present government. If there is no God, and man is
> not eternal, we have no rights, only revokable privileges granted by
the state,
> which becomes god.

Your first question is a good one. I would say that it has never been
and will never be answered completely and absolutely. The Founding
Fathers DID believe in God, and used God as their basis for argument,
but this does not, alas, mean that the rights given by God were or are
obvious. The current government in Iran is the perfect counter-example:
they surely believe that God is on their side, and that they are sent by
Him to create a perfect society, but would you agree?

...referring to libertarianism:

> That is the present day view: I have a right to do whatever I want
> as long as it doesn't hurt anybody else (or infringe on their rights, which
> is construed to be their "right to do whatever they want"). Aside from the
> fact that it never did, does not now, and never will work, it is far, far
> removed from the original understanding of rights upon which this nation was
> founded.

I would argue that it has never REALLY been tried. We are probably as
close to it in this society as anyone ever has been, but we're still
miles away. Incidentally, I agree with your several mentions of the
problems and evils of the welfare state.

> (Remove God, and of course, I have just as much "right"
> to do anything I want as anybody; in fact, without God, who are you to
tell me
> I can't do something which hurts you if it pleases me and I'm big enough to
> get away with it? If there is no God, there are no rights, just the rule
> of the strongest -- THINK ABOUT IT before you blast me!)

You will be blasted by many others on this net, alas, but not by me.

I HAVE thought about this, and your question is again a very good one.
I have no certain answer to it, though I continue to work on it. Quite
honestly, I don't think it is answerable through pure logic, any more
than God can be proven or disproven with logic. Some elements of faith
are necessary, and I think those of us who reject your God have some
duty to try to replace it with a humanistic faith. I do not accept that
the only alternative is tyranny and brutality, even though that may have
been all that has been seen in history. You, perhaps, are awaiting the
apocalypse, but I am not, and I think we have the ability and power to
write the future as we see fit. The goal is to do it well.

You quote many intelligent Christians (Washington, Adams,
Solzhenitsyn, ML King) which, as I said before, I appreciate. I hope
the anti-Christians on this net took the time to read their words and
consider them.

I could not agree more with these particular quotes:

> "It is indeed a truth, which all the great apostles of freedom
> outside the nationalistic school have never tired of emphasizing,
> that freedom has never worked without deeply ingrained moral beliefs
> and that coercion can be reduced to a minimum only where individuals
> can be expected as a rule to conform voluntarily to certain
> principles."
> -- Friedrich Hayek


>
> "To suppose that any form of government will secure liberty or
> happiness without any virtue in the people, is a chimerical
> idea."
>

> -- James Madison
>

What I do not accept is that belief in a Christian God is necessary to
have a moral people.

> There wouldn't be such a flap over school prayer if only offically
> organized prayer were being repressed.

Perhaps, but I don't believe it. Some Christians DO want organized,
public prayer in the schools.

> The fact is, children and students
> (and teachers) in public schools are being harassed and persecuted by the
> authorities for such activities as: being seen with a Bible; wearing
T-shirts
> that say anything perceived as "Christian"; being caught praying silently on
> their own; meeting separately to pray and/or study the Bible, etc. Some
> legal cases have even involved school officials firing Christian teachers or
> harassing Christian students for meeting together off school property, after
> school hours, in their own homes, on their own time!!!!!

I'd be curious to hear some specific examples. You seem to be a very
scholarly person, so I hope you'll oblige us (or at least me, if you'd
prefer to use email) with them. If what you say is true (esp. the last
reference) I would have to agree that this is perversion of the concept
of religious freedom.


> "We are a Christian people, according to our motto. The right
> of religious freedom, demands acknowledgment, with reverence,
> and duty of obedience to the will of God."
>
> -- Supreme Court, 1952, Zorack vs. Clauson

This and your many other quotes from old Supreme Court decisions are
interesting, but I think you must agree that they are dated. Things DO
change. After all, the Plessy v. Ferguson decision (allowing Jim Crow
racist laws) was made in 1896 - do you think it is still applicable?

> "The statist notion that governmental power should supersede
> parental authority in all cases because some parents abuse and
> neglect children is repugnant to American tradition."
>
> -- Supreme Court of the
United States

I agree with this and your many other comments about the state taking
over the raising of children. As a libertarian, I am also disturbed by
the arrogating of authority by any collective group, of which the state
is the best example.

>
> A few years ago at a swimming pool I observed a pretty serious case
> of child abuse perpetrated by a LARGE woman who probably outweighed her
> 3-year-old son about 8 times.

...I'll abridge this story about a manipulative child and weak parent...

Again, I am in agreement with you that flabby, weak-kneed liberalism
is not a sufficient replacement for moral guidence. And I also agree
that there is much too much of this sort of thing in America today. (I
assure you, my own children will not EVER get away with anything like
this, if I can help it!) I would even go so far as to say that SOME of
the Christian parents I have seen in action do seem to be exemplary, and
worthy of emulation by anyone. But is it NECESSARY to be Christian to
be moral? I think not.

I thank you for a provocative and well-written piece. You will be
summarily flamed, gassed, drawn, and quartered by others, though I'm
sure your faith will see you through. I, at least, will continue to
read your postings with interest, as long as you refrain from trying to
convert me through the usual "witnessing". Intellectual argument is
always welcome.

Erann Gat

unread,
Apr 26, 1990, 1:32:37 PM4/26/90
to
OK, let's try this one more time...

In article <7...@forsight.Jpl.Nasa.Gov>, I wrote:
> Consider: according to strict Christian doctrine, if someone

> dies in a state of Grace they go to heaven ... It seems reasonable to conclude


> then that for me to kill someone while they are in a state of Grace is the
> greatest favor I can do them.

This was intended as an extreme example of the sort of idea some lunatic
might get into his head, not a serious statement about what a good
Christian should believe.

Erann Gat
g...@ai.jpl.nasa.gov

Jon Taylor

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Apr 26, 1990, 3:03:32 PM4/26/90
to
Gat) writes:
> > ... if we are to have religious freedom in this country
> > then we must ... occasionally accept ... the death of an

> > innocent child as the cost of that freedom.
> >
>
> I was positive I would get massively flamed for that comment, but not
> a single person has replied to it.

Sorry - besides the fact that I don't happen to think 'flaming' people
is very productive, I happen to agree with you, and I suspect many
others here do too. Freedom definitely has its costs and Americans in
general expect a very large amount of it. We thus must also accept some
rather nasty side-effects, like allowing crazy people more leeway to do
horrible things.

An earlier posting by Mr. Tookey asked:

Christian Scientists in Great Britain and Canada live under a system where
medical care is mandated. Why can't US Christian Scientists do so?

The answer is that we expect greater personal freedom from government
interference than the Canadians and British do. They get certain
benefits from their lost freedom, like fewer murders and other horrors
that are endemic to this country. There are certainly many in this
country who would like to move in their direction - they just haven't
yet convinced the majority to go along.

Mark Meyer

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Apr 26, 1990, 7:39:04 PM4/26/90
to
In article <7772.2...@pbs.uucp> btif...@pbs.uucp writes:
>... Children used

>to be free to pray or not to pray; now they are only free not to pray.

Oh, come on. Children are still free to pray in school, and
many still do it (usually around exam time :-) )...

--
Mark Meyer USENET: {ut-sally!im4u,convex!smu,sun!texsun}!ti-csl!mmeyer
Texas Instruments, Inc. CSNET : mmeyer@TI-CSL
Every day, Jerry Junkins is grateful that I don't speak for TI.
"Your present is under the tree. It's the ticking one marked 'Open Me First.'"

Wayne Aiken

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Apr 26, 1990, 8:18:38 PM4/26/90
to
In article <56...@bu.edu.bu.edu> a...@cs.bu.edu (Al Thompson) writes:
>In article <90114.2131...@ncsuvm.ncsu.edu> -me-

>|In article <7772.2...@pbs.uucp> btif...@pbs.uucp writes:
>|> It has never, ever been the law in this nation that children or
>|>anyone else HAD TO pray, either in school or anywhere else. Children used

>|>to be free to pray or not to pray; now they are only free not to pray.
>|
>|This is 100% false. The original poster was correct in that at one time,
>|organized prayers were practiced in public schools. It may not have exactly
>|been the law that students were *forced* to participate, but it might as well
>|have been. Students who did not care to participate were subjected to almost
>|complete ostracism and hostility from students and faculty alike. Kids have
>|enough to worry about (like getting a good education) without having to deal
>|with this.

>I attended public schools in Illinois (Chicago, Northfield and Winnetka)
>from 1946 to 1954. Never once in any of those schools did we have prayers
>or even a time when we "could" pray. So, if they ever did require prayers
>in Illinois the requirement had passed out of existence by the end of
>WWII.

Count yourself lucky. Although prayers in schools were widespread at one
time, the practice was inconsistent. Some places never did it; other regions
continue the practice to this day, even though it is now against the law.

As to not having time when a person "could" pray, there is ample time that a
person can pray; before & after school, during home-room period, recess,
between classes, etc. In fact, nobody can ever stop a person from saying a
silent prayer any time they want. That there is no *official* time set aside
for such practices in no way means that a person can't pray; it only means
that if they do so, they do it on their own.