December 26, 2014
An article in Nirmukta, published today, outlines the ongoing abuse of children in various religions – both due to religious reasons, and due to perversion often found (of course, not exclusively) in religious institutions.
There will surely come a time when children's legal rights will become stronger and punishment for many such activities institutionalised in law.
[This is a placeholder blog post, for my research/ notes on this topic. This initial post is not well researched, largely being an organised summary of the Nirmukta article, but time permitting, I’ll add to it in future months/ years.]
In the name of God: A profile of Religion-Related Child Abuse – by Bette Bottoms, Phillip Shaver, Gail Goodman and Jianjian Quin (Journaal of Social Issues, 1995)
Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment (a book). The author says: "Religion can provide children with a wonderful upbringing, but it is naïve and irresponsible to see religion only as a force for good" (Source).
Child abuse in Christianity
1) A little boy, a toddler, had been starved to death by a small cult in Baltimore for failing to say "amen" at mealtimes [Source]
In response I wrote: This place of shame and atrocity on children (the Church) is supposed to be the promoter of the 10 commandments. That is one more reason why I oppose all religion. These are political bodies, all about protecting the "reputation" of the "church" or other such political institution.
Prof.Babu Joseph, an Indian Christian leader wrote in response: If some religionists have gone wrong how can one denounce religion in toto.Like in politics there are bad apples in religion too.The very purpose of religion is reformist.
My problem is that this is not about bad apples but SYSTEMATIC political behavior, that protects criminals. Organised religions SYSTEMATICALLY protect criminals. Just like any (major) Indian political party does.
This Commission not only deals (mainly) with abuses in Christian institutions, but in Hindu ones, as well (e.g. the report on a Hindu swami I discussed here).
4) "For decades the higher-ups in the Catholic Church were reassigning known sexual predators to remote parishes rather than having them arrested and prosecuted. Those men in authority thus engaged in willful cover-ups, brash lawbreaking, and the aggressive slandering of accusers—and all with utter impunity. The extent of this criminality is hard to exaggerate: over six thousand priests have now been credibly implicated in some form of sex abuse, five hundred have been jailed, and more victims have been made known than one can imagine. After the extent of the crimes—the rapes and molestations as well as the cover-ups—became widely publicized, many Americans, and many Catholics specifically, were disgusted. Not only were the actual sexual crimes themselves morally abhorrent, but the degree to which those in positions of power sought to cover up these crimes and allow them to continue was truly shocking. The result has been clear: a lot of Catholics have become ex-Catholics. For example, consider the situation in New England. Between 2000 and 2010, the Catholic Church lost 28 percent of its members in New Hampshire and 33 percent of its members in Maine, and closed nearly seventy parishes—a quarter of the total number—throughout the Boston area. In 1990, 54 percent of Massachusetts residents identified as Catholic, but it was down to 39 percent in 2008. And according to an “American Values” survey from 2012, although nearly one-third of Americans report being raised Catholic, only 22 percent currently identify as such—a precipitous nationwide decline indeed." [Source]
Child abuse in Islam
The indoctrination and use of children as suicide bombers in some Islamic socities is one of the most abominable abuses imaginable.
Taliban's attack on girl children who 'dare' to study in school (e.g. Malala) is another example, driven by Islamic extremism.
When a young girl was sexually abused by a Mullah at a village near Mangaluru the case was about to be hushed up claiming that it was a matter inside the ‘community’. [Source]
This is the kind of indoctrination sometimes practiced in Islam:
Child abuse in Hinduism
The Hare Krishna movement has been cited in this article (Narendra Nayak's article, cited above). Also:
1) In Chandraguthi near Belgaum young girls are dedicated to the goddess Yellamma(in other words to a life of prostitution).
2) In temples near Vijayapura children are thrown from a height and caught in blankets. In Gulbarga there are instances of child sacrifice, burying of children up to the neck in pits during eclipses etc.
3) An incident had taken place in the heart of Mangalore several years ago in which a five year old girl was sacrificed by a father and daughter duo.
4) I could also recall one incident connected with a so called miracle in which a man, a Ayyappa devotee was photographed dipping the feet of a child into ‘boiling’ oiland claiming that it was due to the protection of Ayyappa that the child’s feet were not being burnt! On seeing that I panicked not because of his ‘miracle’ but because of the fear that some other gullible devotee of the same god could perhaps try to do the same with real boiling oil! So, I had to rush to the Press to debunk the miracle adding that no one should try to replicate that. Luckily this was well publicized in the newspapers and such an incident did not happen.
Child abuse in Buddhism
We could also take up the case of Shambavi, a six year old, said to be a reincarnation of Maitreyi, friend of Dalai Lama in his previous incarnation! Preparations were on to establish a Mutt in her name and she was being taken care of by a lady who claimed to have found her in Varanasi. When we challenged that she changed her tune and said that she was her daughter! A complaint was filed with the Human Rights Commission stating that the place of the child was in a school and not in any religious place. This campaign caught on well and the Commission ruled that her place was in school! Dalai who was supposed to inaugurate the religious institution developed cold feet as he did not wish to be involved in a case of child abuse and backed out! [Source]