by Patrick Appel
A reader writes:
This has to be the #1 misquoted statement by Dawkins, and it's not surprising that someone did it again. Dawkins never claims that "imposing parental beliefs on children is a form of child abuse", he consistently says that labeling children as a Christian child or a Muslim child is child abuse and that's a pretty distinct difference. Geras obviously sees no difference, but the key is that if you label an infant a christian, this is obviously not something the child has had any choice in and gives the appearance of no choice. Dawkins always goes on to point out that we do not follow the practice of labeling with anything else. We never say that "this child is a capitalist child" or "this child is a republican child" and statements like those kind of sound absurd since they reflect some kind of choice by the child that he has never actually made.
It also seems wrong to equate the teaching of morality with the teaching of religion. If the child at the age of seven follows all the ten commandments except 1, 2, and 4, does the child deserve to be punished? If the child is punished for those, I'd back claims of child abuse.
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