Religious Child Abuse

Religious abuse is abuse administered under the guise of religion, including harassment or humiliation, which may result in psychological trauma. Religious abuse may also include misuse of religion for selfish, secular, or ideological ends such as the abuse of a clerical position.

The idea of religion being abusive is relatively new but the evidence for it existing goes back deep into our history.

Religious abuse can affect anyone but is the primary victims of this are children. In the U.S. there are 34 states that exempt child abuse if they are based on religious grounds. These exemptions gained attention in 2013 where 5 children needlessly died in Idaho where the parents refused medical treatment for their children for religious reasons. After there was an investigation into the deaths, their parents were exempted entirely.

Although the tragic cases as above occur, they do not occur as the everyday abuse some children feel. Many parents indoctrinate their child when they’re young and cannot form their own opinions. Once the child begins to grow and form their own beliefs, the parents retaliate and begint to attempt to force the minor to obey. This excessive tyranny can cause psychological trauma.

Richard Dawkins said this:”Would you ever speak of a four-year-old’s political beliefs? Hannah is a socialist four-year-old, Mark a conservative. Who would ever dream of saying such a thing? What would you say if you read a demographic article which said something like this: “One in every three children born today is a Kantian Neo-platonist child. If the birth rate trends continue, Existentialist Positivists will be outnumbered by 2030.” Never mind the nonsensical names of philosophical schools of thought I just invented. I deliberately chose surreal names so as not to distract from the real point. Religion is the one exception we all make to the rule: don’t label children with the opinions of their parents.”

Perhaps the worst part of this is, is that there are no studies on this subject. No statistics, no studies to show how many teens become depressed or suicidal due to religious abuse. The only papers you will find on this subject will be by Richard Dawkins. We will never minimize this issue without looking into it.

Austin Atnip is a first year journalism student at Farmington High School. Interested in politics, psychology, swimming, and current events.

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