Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Consciousness Raising

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Categories : Richard Dawkins

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published: mardi 2 janvier 2007 19:23:15

Richard Dawkins has removed the link to the petition that would make it illegal to indoctrinate children from his Official Web Page. He is also hosting Nick Matzke’s blog on this issue.

When Matzke asked Dawkins if “it would be a good idea for a government to make it *illegal* for parents to teach their religion to their children?”, Dawkins clarifies his position as follows:

Of course I don’t think it would be a good idea. I am horrified by the thought. My entire campaign against the labelling of children (what the petition called ‘defining’ children) by the religion of their parents has been a campaign of CONSCIOUSNESS-RAISING. I want to educate people so that they flinch when they hear a phrase like ‘Catholic child’ or ‘Muslim child’ – just as feminists have taught us to wince when we hear ‘one man one vote’. But that is consciousness-raising, not legislation. No feminist that I would wish to know ever suggested a legal ban on masculine pronouns. And of course I don’t want to make it illegal to use religious labels for children. I want to raise consciousness, so that the phrase ‘Christian child’ sounds like a fingernail scraping on a blackboard. But if I dislike the use of religious words to label children, I dislike even more the idea that governments should police the words that anybody uses about anything. I don’t want a legal ban on the use of words like nigger and yid. I want people to feel ashamed of using them. Similarly, I want people to feel ashamed of using the phrase ‘Christian child’, but I don’t want to make it illegal to use it.

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