Parents acquitted of torturing daughter thanks to “religious freedom”
In our brave new world, multicultural and diverse as it is, our moral sensibilities can often be rattled by the brutishness and ignorance of many cultural traditions that make their way to our shores. As some of you reading this blog may remember, my heart bleeds for the way African children are tortured due to a dangerous mix of new and ancient religious superstitions. The Christian crusade to possess Africa has re-ignited the belief in witchcraft, and the victims tend to be unwanted children. The sheer amount of suffering happening in places like Uganda and Nigeria is enough to make one ill, but it gets worse when this type of violence is excused as merely a matter of “religious freedom”.
When Swedish prosecutors attempted to bring two Congolese parents to justice after they systematically tortured their daughter, the defence was able to argue that exorcisms were part of their religious freedom. Combined with too little physical evidence (those horrible scars could have been anything, they say), the prosecution was unable to get a conviction.
I find myself in the uncomfortable position of agreeing with my right wing counterparts who despair multiculturalism, albeit for entirely different reasons. I don’t believe that all cultural achievements are equal. I believe many traditions are barbaric, dehumanizing, misogynistic and unworthy of being maintained. Religious freedom is simply a new way of framing dangerous or hateful practices in such a way that masks their true nature. Why are we so fucking gutless in the face of religion? The torture of any child is indefensible, and we have laws to protect them. Why do we chose instead to protect ideas whose time has long since passed?
NOTE [I originally said the prosecutors were Dutch, but was corrected. Thanks]