Trinidad and Tobago Humanist Association

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"Witness? Or eyes wide shut!"

Shane Collens • 18 December 2005 • 235 words
Published in Trinidad Express Letter of the day • Trinidad GuardianTNT Mirror • Newsday

The disbelief of Jehovah's Witnesses in blood transfusions is based on their belief that the Bible is "God's" words. But, since a baby's life was involved in this particular matter, there are some fundamental questions that citizens and our leaders should ask about the relationship between religion and the state. I have six:

  1. Why did we need to go to court to save a child? Given that time is a factor in saving the baby's life, shouldn't there be a standard procedure in such cases?

  2. Was it a breakdown of "law" or of "culture" that led to one baby dying and another being put at risk greater than the risks that come with premature birth?

  3. Do parent's rights override a child's?

Now, they were easy. Other questions follow from these three. If we assume that secularism and only evidence and reason is appropriate in the discussion that shapes law and policy then we must ask the following:

  1. Does a parent/guardian have the right to impart their unsupported belief on their child/charge?

  2. Are religious schools ethical?

  3. Are the religious bodies who encourage parents to such criminal negligence culpable in any way?

If anyone has any answers, I would love to be enlightened. If you have more questions, I may not have the answers either. But I guarantee debate of the highest quality, something lacking in our culture where prejudice, not enquiry, appears the pattern.

Shane Collens, Humanist, Cascade

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