Sunday, April 17, 2011



“Our children are our own. They are ours to thrash or kill, if we choose;
who are you to poke your nose in?”. Yes, millions of parents still feel
that way, in every part of the world. They justify harsh punishments
with dictums like “ you can train a plant but not a tree” or “spare
the rod and spoil the child”. Too many traditional religions encourage
parents to regard children as their property-or to believe that the more
children they have, the better.” “ A child has not only a mouth but also
two earning hands”. Where do sayings like these come from? Which
social institutions underlie much of the child abuse endemic to world
today, yet are scarcely ever accused by name? Religions, of course. It
is religions that inspire and perpetuate much of the abuse that afflicts
children around the globe.
Over the ages, religions have exploited the power of the bond
between parents and children, fashioning priestly infrastructures that
touch every aspect of life, enmeshing families ever deeper in allegiance.
In most cultures this entrapment begins at or soon after birth with
the naming of the baby. Parents feel it their duty to abide by religious
customs, traditions and rituals. This, in turn, assures a livelihood to the
priestly class.
Priests encourage parents to bring their children along when they
visit places of worship. Parents obey, often hoping that experiences in
the temple, church, mosque,or synagogue and Buddhist Centers will
help children develop faith in God and to practice ethical conduct.
Children are thus controlled right from birth, in all countries and in all
religions. Believing parents do not merely indoctrinate their children
on the virtues of their own religions. They warn their young against
embracing other religions, against embracing other religions, against
following their customs and beliefs. Thus are the seeds of hatred sown,
directly or indirectly, in impressionable minds.
Children are not born into religion; of necessity, they are born not
even knowing what religion is. Yet, the religion of their parents is
attributed to them. By the time they start talking then writing, they can
name their religions because it has been named for them. Thus steeped
in religion from childhood, most people find they cannot climb free
of religion later in life. Many find it impossible to shed this ingrained
religious influence, even if they blossom into scientists or technologists.
Education helps them carve out their careers, but they practice religion
as they always have. Before you believe in anything, science demands
that it be subjected to inquiry, analysis, and proof. If something cannot
be proven, it should not be blindly believed. But around the world,
the educated exempt religion from the scientific scrutiny they apply to
everything else. When religion and science conflict, most people follow
religion and give science a pass. Religion stands revealed as a barrier
to human development. They do not apply the scientific temperment
acquired in the course of their education to matters of religion.
Beholden to their faiths or mired in tradition, parents have too
often stood mute, helpless spectators to the religious abuse of children.
Examples include denial of health care to children, practices by several
Christian denominations, widespread sexual abuse of children by
Roman Catholic and other clergy, female genital mutilation as practiced
under Islam and some traditional African religions, cruel corporate
punishment under Sharia law, ostracism of low-caste children,
child marriage, and temple prostitution under Hinduism: and male
infant circumsision, originated by Judaism. If the civilized world is
sometimes outraged by such abuses, it has nonetheless kept quiet, afraid
to confront religon head-on, in. Individuals have dared to criticize
religions child abuse, only to be ignored or ostracized as “atheists”.
Fortunately, some light shimmers along this dark horizon.
On November 20, 1989, The United Nations General Assembly
adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child, proclaiming
elementary rights for children worldwide. One hundred ninety one
countries have so far adopted it. In many of them, so called Children~s
Charters have been established, building key provisons of the UN
Convention on the Rights of the Child into local law. Still, the so-called
Children~s Convention has not been ratified everywhere, Somalia,
wracked by civil war and without a stable government, has not done so.
Nor has the United States of America!
The Children~s Conventin covers all children below eighteen
years of age, recognizing legal rights whose respect is incumbent upon
parents, families, and governments. It forbids discrimination based on
case, color, creed, or gender in safeguarding children`s rights. Under
Convention, every girl and boy, irrespective of territorial boundaries,
enjoys freedom of expression and the right to access information.
Governments are to safeguard children`s religious freedom, their
freedom of thinking, and their right to mix with others. Child rearing
is recognized as the primary responsibility of parents, but governments
must extend a helping hand when needed. Children ar not to be treated
as the personal property of parents, and they are not to be abused.
Obviously Children`s Convention describes the way things should
be, not the way they are in most parts of the world. To its credit,
the United Nations has recognized that the Convention`s ideals are
often violated. The United Nations Children`s Fund (UNICEF) haS
LAUNCHED a movement to safeguard children from abuse- but this
movement is of limited effectiveness because it has tried to proceed
without blaming religion. Religions influence is strong, even at the
UN. For example, the Vatican has coopted UNICEF, convening a
recent conference at which religious leaders shed crocodile tears over
children`s plight but took no substantial action. Child abuse rooted in
religion was describted in sanitized language as a “cultural crisis”.
UN agencies have recognized that children are being used as bonded
labor, abused in wars, sexually assaulted, and more. They have striven
to rescue victims in some places. But they willnot identify religion
among the principal causes of abuse. Child abuse is impossible to resist
when the principal perpetrator cannot –must not-be named. We cannot
expect religions to condemn themselves. It is like handing our house
keys to a thief with a request to stand guard.
Those who escaped from religion have contributed disproportionately
to progress and development in all ages. The urge to learn new things,
to study, to conduct research, and to live in tune with nature….all
of these things belong to a level above religion. When children are
inculcated in religion and compelled to adhere to it, this thwarts brain
development. It is crime to warn children that they will lose their sight
or fall ill if they refuse to worship god or raise unpalatable questions-
or if should be. Brains that should blossom with each passing year are
instead blunted. And the priests have no objection because a thinking
soul is a threat to every religion.
Religion should be taught on scientific lines in schools. Children
should learn about all religions, their own and others. They should be
taught that gods and demons, devils and apparitions, heaven and hell
are all human creations, and that the world`s scriptures are all human
works. They should learn that life is supreme and it should be respected.
Children should have the freedom to choose any religion or none once
they reach the age of maturity.
For their part, parents should realize that religion ought not to be
ascribed to children as a hereditary trait. Indeed, they should be kept at
a distance from religion , just as parents keep them away from politics,
obscenity, pornography and marriage. Taking children to temples ,
modifying their bodies ( whether temporarily or permanently) in
accord with ritual, encouraging blind worship, and terrorizing them
in the name of a deity are no longer unacceptable. Parents need to
appreciate and accept that children have inherent rights.
One hundred and ninety one countries have signed the Children`s
Convention and their parliaments have begun to adopt charters and
other legislation to implement it. But it has yet to be adopted by a
developed country like United States because of religious opposition.
Even parents hesitate to support to the Convention, for fear of losing
their grip on their children. Parents may have been brought up
entangled in a religious tradition. But they should not impose their
rituals, customs, habits and superstitions on their children as a forced
legacy. Now is the day to break with this unhealthy past.
Ultimately, human progress depends on the recognition that all
religions are ultimately opposed to human values. The very assertion
that we live for God is contrary to human values. Children should be
rescued from religion; only then they can be restored to humanity.
Written by Innaiah Narisetti

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Brief history of Radical Humanist movement in Andhra Pradesh, India

The Radical Humanist movement in India under the guidance of phislopher-revolutionary M.N.Roy played vital role in bringing renaissance and rational thinking as well as secular outlook in public life.As part of it The andhra Pradesh state contributed its mite through innumerable study camps, secular marriages, conferences, literature.Humble attempt was made to trace the history of the movement which was published in
Radical Humanist monthly journal under the editorship of Ms Rekha Sarawat.The link to the site can be viewed at: