Religious decree should not be confused with national law

Photo from The Hindu

Dear Editor,

Where corporal punishment is concerned, it appears that the major constituent of pro-violence towards children – and make no mistake that physical assault is the most obvious of violent acts we are humanly capable of – adheres to the ‘moral’ notion, penned on ancient papyrus some 3000 years ago, that somehow beating children is a sign of love. It is no wonder that there is a high rate of domestic violence in this country with such an interpretation of love. Can you imagine what happens when people dislike each other?

For a long time, our nation has been held captive by the demands of faith-based institutions that argue on the basis of their personal beliefs. While to each his/her own, what is unconscionable is the imposition of personal belief on other people. Certainly no religious person wants to be made to follow another faith’s doctrines. Why therefore must the entire country be subject to one or another particular faith’s creed? We are not all of the same faith. We do not all believe that ‘Spare the rod and spoil the child’ is an even remotely sane prescription.

This is what we know: The Convention on the Rights of the Child affirms the right of the child to freedom from all forms of violence. Corporal punishment violates physical integrity, demonstrates disrespect for human dignity and undermines self-esteem. Numerous psychological studies have found that corporal punishment leads to emotional debilitation, possible depression in girls and anti-social behaviour in boys. It also breeds violent mentalities, which is understandable; when you teach children that violence is needed to solve problems, then what will they do when they grow up?

There are alternative, non-violent ways to nurture our children’s potential. Instead of crying out for the right to abuse your kid, you should be demanding that the government provide you with the resources you need to be the best parent you can possibly be. Parenting books, schools that inspire positive habits, free daycare – to name a few.

Religious decree should not be confused with national law.

Finally, please do not hit your child.

Yours faithfully,
Ferlin Pedro

Taken from Stabroek News.

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One thought on “Religious decree should not be confused with national law

  1. It has to be clearly stated and constantly reinforced that Guyana is a secular state. Even if there were no religious diversity, secularism would be a sound principle to follow. Guyana must not be a theocracy. With regard to corporal punishment, we need to be guided as much as possible by the findings of psychology. The internet has some very useful sites in this regard.

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