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Australian philosopher, literary critic, legal scholar, and professional writer. Based in Newcastle, NSW. Author of FREEDOM OF RELIGION AND THE SECULAR STATE (2012), HUMANITY ENHANCED (2014), and THE MYSTERY OF MORAL AUTHORITY (2016).

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Blog break

As I hinted at in my last post, I've now reached a blog break point. I'll be away for just over a week - reading my emails and responding as much as I can, but not with enough access to the net to be blogging.

4 comments:

Brian said...

Hi Russell. I was just looking at MPhil's blog. He had a article on the German constitution guaranteeing each person the right of freedom to develop and freedom of religion. These rights (should) stop one person from indoctrinating a child as it violates that child from developing in any which way and freely choosing a religion. I noticed that our constitution, section 116 has a freedom of religion, but I don't think we have an express right to freedom to develop ourselves. Is this the case?

Russell Blackford said...

Yeah,I doubt that it would be interpreted that way though. And really, the idea of a total freedom for a child to develop isn't very coherent. Parents are always entrusted to shape their children in many ways, and overall it's a good thing.

What gets up my nose is when religious folks complain about other ways in which children are shaped by parental decisions, forgetting that they want the right to shape their children's fundamental worldviews.

The provision in the Australian Constitution is very limited, I'm afraid. It hasn't, for example, stopped government funding of religious schools.

Brian said...

And really, the idea of a total freedom for a child to develop isn't very coherent. Parents are always entrusted to shape their children in many ways, and overall it's a good thing.

I agree, but religion doesn't seem to me to be a necessary part of that shaping of the child. Many people aren't brought up religiously around the world and other things being equal do alright. There's nothing to stop them choosing a religion later. So I think a case can be made that parents should parent, but not indoctrinate as far as possible.

It hasn't, for example, stopped government funding of religious schools
I'm worried about the government promoting faith schools. I've read reports of schools run by fundis where they 'teach evolution alongside the bible and believe that they show the bible account to more accurate'. This isn't good for the children involved, they will be disadvantaged in society, and it isn't good for society as we'll have less people who can converse with and practice certain if not all types of science.

Still, it shouldn't surprise that this has happened under Howard's and Rudd's watches....

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