I live here in the USA and freedom is a very important concept. People will say things like “This is what I believe and you must respect my beliefs.”
Simply because a person holds a belief does not mean that it should be respected. In fact, respecting all beliefs is a dangerous attribute as I will show with some examples.
In the West most people cannot conceive living in a world where parents would not do everything possible to save the lives of their children. Go in to hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt to treat a child for some horrible disease? No problem. Sacrifice an organ to give their own child life – of course.
“Father let daughter drown rather than be rescued by male lifeguards because it would ‘dishonour’ her.” –> This seems remarkable. Impossible. Certainly, an anti-survival trait for a parent to have. A majority of Western people would not have any reservations of a man or men rescuing their daughter who was drowning. A living human is far better than a dead one.
Clearly, the beliefs of the father killed his daughter. Would you not let a surgeon touch your daughter if it was required to perform a life-saving surgery? Of course.
Of course, it doesn’t even take a life-threatening situation for some people in this world to allow their beliefs to kill.
Mom murders newborn by throwing it out the window because it was possessed of an evil spirit. This isn’t Munchausen by proxy. This woman genuinely believed that her child was possessed of an evil spirit and did what she felt was appropriate to expunge the evil spirit. Her beliefs killed her child.
A lot of people want to make laws regarding “sincerely held beliefs” that allow people to do things that for everyone else is illegal. Would anyone argue that in the above two cases that the parents had “sincerely held beliefs”?
In fact, the “sincerely held beliefs” clause is really window dressing for the present of allowing businesses to discriminate against customers. This is basically institutionalized discrimination – in this case pointing mainly towards LGBT people.
People believe strongly that LGBT people are ‘wrong’ – and do things to torture them, denigrate them, and kill them. This page hold an incomplete list of gay people killed in the US alone. Not to mention the periodic reports from ISIS with video documentation of the sincerely held beliefs of Islam throwing gay people off of buildings. Perhaps they view it as a sport and place wagers on which gay person’s body will fall furthest from the base of the building?
In reading in depth about the ISIS killings one finds that these ‘gay’ people could in fact be anyone. Anyone that doesn’t conform to the norms of ISIS.
So far, we have hit Hindu (throwing baby from building), Christians (history of killing gay people in the USA), Muslim (Father let’s daughter die instead of allowing her to be touched and ISIS killing ‘gay’ people). Finally, we get to Judiasm.
There was a man who stabbed people at a gay pride parade in Jerusalem. He went to jail. He then got out of jail and then proceeded to attack another gay pride parade in Jerusalem which then resulted in the death of a young woman who was supporting her LGBT friends. His ‘sincerely held beliefs’ didn’t include LGBT people.
Back to Hinduism. You would think the age of burning witches was long gone in the past. But it isn’t. A 63 year old woman is blamed for an illness in her home area and she is stripped and killed by a mob of the other people who live in the area. The key point of the article is the last statement: “Assam[the area name] has seen an increasing number of murders reported where the victim has been accused of witchcraft.” I’m sure everyone in the crowd had “sincerely held beliefs” that :
- Witchcraft is real
- The 63 year old woman, Purni Orang was a witch
- There is a younger woman who they believe is a goddess
- That the younger woman believed to be a goddess can identify witches
- That the alleged witch, Purni Orang, caused the sickness in Assam
Hard to believe that any of the 5 statements above could be believed by anyone as a factual statement in 2015. In an additional article I will discuss the different mindsets of Earth and how the above beliefs are possible – even likely – in the year 2015 – or for the most part any year in any era.
Of course, I’ve outlined potentially “isolated” and specific incidents. You could easily blow this off as not statistically significant.
You would unfortunately be incorrect.
What other people believe is just killing people all over the place.
Acid attacks often maim women for life. Sometimes they die of immediate repercussions from the acid attack. Sometimes years of suffering are endured before suicide or complications take these women’s lives. What is an acid attack? It is often when a spurned man feels that he has been wronged by the woman and buys acid and typically throws the acid on her face causing devastating amounts of damage including blindness and unrecoverable disfigurement. What does this have to do with beliefs? The man believes he is the woman’s superior. He believes that it is appropriate to take this course of action. It is the man’s belief that in fact causes the damage to the woman as much as the physical actions. If the belief did not exist then the action could not take place.
Honor killings also occur around the world and in many different cultures. Thousands of women killed every year typically by the people they should trust most – their family members. These killings are much more explicit than the father above that let his daughter drown. Typically they center around either the belief that a woman relation is having sexual relations, or intends to marry, or even just associating with someone that either isn’t acceptable or of another religion. Infrequently, both the man and the woman in the relationship are killed. More frequently just the suspicion of being with a man is enough for a daughter to be killed by her entire family in bludgeoning, stoning, stabbing very personal ways – compared to stopping life guards from rescuing a drowning woman.
I think in the above I set forward that sincerely held beliefs of a religious nature can be very dangerous. Further, that “sincerely held beliefs” should not be a cornerstone of law in any way, shape or form.
Thornier issues remain. We in the USA treasure our freedom. Beliefs are quite clear in their ability to harm others. Beliefs cannot be regulated. This was attempted in Russia which resulted in a failure.
And yet… There are people who would make laws that would require the killing of people. It takes a lot of belief to think that gays should be killed. It takes even more belief to write a proposed law to kill gays. Finally, the amount of belief it takes to not only propose the law, but to sincerely believe that once the law is enacted that it is time to go hunt some gay people. This shows that the methods, philosophy, and actions of ISIS are not so far behind some people here in the USA. Should this law been proposed (it was later struck down from going to ballot)? Should a person be able to suggest and document this without being placed in an insane asylum or even prison? Yes, there are limits to freedom of speech – and clearly proposing this law is a threat. Threats are not free speech.
So, give it some thought if you have stalwartly read this entire article and tell me in the comments… What do you think should be done about beliefs that encourage or dictate the deaths of others?