Should Governments Ban Cults?

Posted by Snoogoo 4 years, 5 months ago to Politics
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I pose this question to the Gulch as there is a widespread debate in another online I currently belong to. I will clarify, what I mean by Cult is a religious movement that has a great deal of influence and power over their members, often to the detriment of the member's mental and physical well being. Members will refuse certain medical treatments for themselves and their children which could lead to unnecessary death for example. There are laws against murder, but what about cults that drive people to suicide by manipulation? I'm curious as to what Gulch members have to say about this...


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  • Posted by $ AJAshinoff 4 years, 5 months ago
    No. first amendment. However, criminal acts or harm resulting from doctrine should be punished and fined.
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    • Posted by RTM2301 4 years, 5 months ago
      Agreed Freedom of association MUST be upheld. BUT... cults must also be required to allow their members to quit at any time with impunity, reveal all malevolent practices to the public without reprisal, and refuse recruitment without inconvenience.
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    • Posted by 4 years, 5 months ago
      Should the individuals be prosecuted or the cult's leadership? What if the member who follows doctrine enforces a shunning policy that results in a child's suicide? They would claim religious freedom in court and there is a good chance they would go free. Same thing if they coerce someone out of accepting life saving medical treatment.
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      • Posted by $ AJAshinoff 4 years, 5 months ago
        The individual foremost, the leadership if action is doctrine.

        Life saving is a BS excuse. If the individual wants to die its his/her choice. If a person has the responsibility of making choices for another, its that person choice on how to proceed (eg. a minor, someone on life support). It 's not anyone's place to make that choice for another.
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        • Posted by 4 years, 5 months ago
          So allowing a minor child to die for the parent's belief when the child may not hold the same beliefs is acceptable?
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          • Posted by $ AJAshinoff 4 years, 5 months ago
            Question:
            Is it your right to tell a parent what they must do for their own child? On what basis to you validate your intrusion?

            That is the entirety of the issue at hand. The individual is paramount. A dependent child (below 18) is the parents responsibility. The parent has the sole responsibility to do what in the best interest of their child as they see fit. If the parent exercises their right as a parent and the child comes to harm they are negligent and can be brought up on charges. That's the role of society in the relationship.

            Society has no legitimate place in the discussion, but it does anyway.
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            • Posted by 4 years, 5 months ago
              "If the child comes to harm they are negligent and can be brought up on charges."

              Unfortunately, this is currently not the case in the examples I have found, but I agree that it should be.
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  • Posted by $ Olduglycarl 4 years, 5 months ago
    We must be careful of the definition of what the lame stream means by life saving medical treatments, example: remove or freeze the appendix?, broken leg, bad cut? Why would anyone refuse those treatments or on the other hand...chemo, vaccines, drugs...the latter, usually means death/ or sickness at one point or another - now these "treatments", I would call occultist.

    Case in point, a Minnesota family was told that their son was too rambunctious and should take prescription drugs for ADHD... he was an A student and otherwise well behaved...they refused and the child was taken away.
    Now it will cost them millions to fight the deep state to get him back.

    I'm sure the state deems the parents members of an anti science/medicine/ADHD cult.
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    • Posted by 4 years, 5 months ago
      The example I'm thinking of is far more straightforward than this. Let's say a teenager has a serious accident and loses a catastrophic amount of blood. The parents refuse the child to receive a blood transfusion. Would you call that a lame stream definition of life saving? Massive hemorrhage after child birth is another example in which doctrine can lead to death.
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      • Posted by $ Olduglycarl 4 years, 5 months ago
        Haven't heard of anyone making that kind of decision...but I'm sure there are some...however...As I posed elsewhere here, I'm not sure we can call it an occult.
        You know how some can take things toooooo far with an enormous amount of stupidity on both sides of this issue; so there must be clear guidelines. Blood for the bleeding...you betcha, chemo for cancer? No.
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        • Posted by 4 years, 5 months ago
          Occult and cult to me are two different things. To me occult is just a belief system. A cult is a group that rams a belief system down your throat and threatens you if you step outside the norms.
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          • Posted by $ Olduglycarl 4 years, 5 months ago
            Cult: a religion regarded as unorthodox...everything humanoids do is unorthodox.

            By definition, Freemasonry, the Illuminati, Skull and Bones, The Bohemian club, Global Warming advocates, The Deep State or Shadow Governments would be examples of cults that are occulted.
            Just to confuse things some more...laughing.
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          • Posted by $ Dobrien 4 years, 5 months ago
            Define: The occult (from the Latin word occultus "clandestine, hidden, secret") is "knowledge of the hidden." In common English usage, occult refers to "knowledge of the paranormal," as opposed to "knowledge of the measurable," usually referred to as science.

            or a different view

            the terms “occult” and “cult” refer to completely different things—although there can be crossover in some specific instances. That is, some cults have occultic practices.

            The following practices are considered to be occultic:
            (partial list, in alphabetical order)
            ◾Alchemy
            ◾Animism
            ◾Astrology
            ◾Automatic speaking (through spirits)
            ◾Automatic writing (spirit-guided)
            ◾Cabalistic knowledge
            ◾Calling up the dead
            ◾Candomble
            ◾Celtics (the religion, not the Celtic “race”)
            ◾Channeling
            ◾Chaos Magic
            ◾Chiromancy
            ◾Clairaudience
            ◾Clairvoyance
            ◾Crystalmancy
            ◾Demon worship and consultation
            ◾Discordianism
            ◾Divination
            ◾Eckankar
            ◾Enchantments
            ◾Fetishism
            ◾Fortune telling
            ◾Freemasonry
            ◾Glass looking
            ◾Gnostic wisdom
            ◾Hermetic Traditions
            ◾Horoscopes
            ◾Hydromancy
            ◾I Ching
            ◾Illuminated organizations
            ◾Illuminati
            ◾Incantations
            ◾Kabbalah
            ◾Knights Templar
            ◾La Regla Lucumi
            ◾Lukumi
            ◾Lycanthropy
            ◾Macumba
            ◾Magic, magick (magical arts)
            ◾Mediums
            ◾Mirror gazing
            ◾Necromancy/necromancer
            ◾Neo-paganism
            ◾Omens
            ◾Oracles
            ◾Ordo Templi Orientis
            ◾Ouija boards
            ◾Paganism
            ◾Palmistry
            ◾Prognostication
            ◾Psychometry
            ◾Qabalah
            ◾Quimbanda
            ◾Radiestesia
            ◾Rosicrucianism
            ◾Runes
            ◾Santeria
            ◾Satanism
            ◾Scrying
            ◾Secret societies
            ◾Sevi Lwa
            ◾Shamanism
            ◾Soothsaying
            ◾Sorcery
            ◾Spells (casting, conjuring)
            ◾Spirit-guides
            ◾Spiritists
            ◾Spiritualism
            ◾Tarot cards
            ◾Tea cup reading
            ◾Thelemite
            ◾Umbanda
            ◾Vedic astrology
            ◾Vodun (Voodoo)
            ◾White witchcraft
            ◾Wicca
            ◾Witchcraft
            ◾Wizardy
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      • Posted by CircuitGuy 4 years, 5 months ago
        "hemorrhage after child birth"
        Our first baby had tachypnea when he was born. He wasn't breathing right, resulting in very low oxygen in his blood. They put him in incubator with increased O2 levels and slowly reduced the O2 levels to normal air over a period of hours. It worked. He has no health problems now except he needs an inhaler when gets a cold. Given the evidence we have, it would have been a crime to deny my baby that simple O2 treatment.
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  • Posted by $ jdg 4 years, 5 months ago
    If such a law were enacted, I would expect groups like ourselves to be among the first targets -- while really dangerous cults such as Scientology would be left untouched because they are well connected politically.

    The way to put a stop to harm by cults (such as holding people prisoner) is to enforce existing laws against those specific harmful acts.

    On issues of accidental harm "caused" without initiating force (such as the examples someone posted of medical neglect by parents, or a child's suicide after being shunned) I believe it would do much more harm than good to allow government to prosecute anybody. But a lawsuit might very well be called for. If there is legal liability in such cases, each individual should be held responsible for his own actions. No blaming the cult or its leadership for your own behavior unless they threatened you with serious consequences (let the courts determine exactly what that phrase means).

    As far as the broader question of the law limiting how a parent may treat his children -- I lean toward non-intervention up to the point where visible injury (severe bruising or loss of blood) takes place. However, if a teenager insists on running away from home and is willing to work to support himself, I would have the law allow it and not compel him to go back.
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    • Posted by CircuitGuy 4 years, 5 months ago
      "really dangerous cults such as Scientology would be left untouched because they are well connected politically."
      "enforce existing laws"
      "No blaming the cult or its leadership for your own behavior"
      "if a teenager insists on running away from home and is willing to work to support himself, I would have the law allow it and not compel him to go back."
      I agree wholeheartedly with all of this, not just the parts I quoted.
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  • Posted by ycandrea 4 years, 5 months ago
    And who makes the determination of what is a cult and what isn't? I think it is ludicrous to give gov't this kind of power because they ALWAYS misuse any power given to them. So my vote is not No, but Hell No! If some voluntarily gives themselves up to a cult mentality, that is their choice.
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  • Posted by davidmcnab 4 years, 5 months ago
    This is where some discussion is needed regarding limitations to free will.

    There are laws covering situations where someone is sexually exploited after their free will being attacked chemically, by drugs covertly added to their drinks. However, there seem to be no laws covering situations where people's free will is attacked psychologically through various manipulations.

    I can't see any progress getting made on this front, because it would open a can of worms for action against marketers using psychological manipulations to get people to buy their products.
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  • Posted by DrZarkov99 4 years, 5 months ago
    I hate to use the "slippery slope" argument, but there are folk eager to eliminate all religion who would attempt to classify any theological belief as harmful. I'm personally uninterested in organized religion, but many are comforted by the sense of community in religious society. The 1st amendment holds that people have a right to follow religious belief of their choosing, but a belief system that demonstrates it causes harm to believers can be brought up on criminal charges, with legal recognition withdrawn.
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    • Posted by $ Olduglycarl 4 years, 5 months ago
      The left, having no belief in life or existence at all is a belief system itself...and it's loosely organized so we could call it a religion. A belief of not believing, not appreciating, making up science, history and rhetoric as they go.
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    • Posted by CircuitGuy 4 years, 5 months ago
      Ideally shouldn't religions not have legal recognition? Certainly a belief system cannot be brought up on criminal charges. It seems to me all that matters is individuals committing crimes, e.g. incitement to riot, fraud, conspiracy to murder, battery, and so on. Maybe I would learn my view is simplistic if I worked in criminal justice, but it seems to me motive does not matter, except to the police solving the crime. We don't need separate laws for battery motivated by relationship issues, weird cult beliefs, political issues, bigotry, incidental to robbery, etc. It's all just battery. I'm open to learning other views of this.
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      • Posted by DrZarkov99 4 years, 5 months ago
        Organized religion requires funds to operate, and under the U.S. business system, it has to register as a 501c non-profit in order to legally receive money from its followers. Inevitably it's all about power, in the form of cash. As a corporation, organized religion, and its leadership, can be brought up on civil and criminal charges. When the white supremacist group, Aryan Nation, tried to dodge rules by declaring itself a Christian sect, that gave the FBI the means to shut it down through the courts.

        Followers of a belief system that demands no funds certainly avoid the restrictions of a corporate body, but I don't think you'll find any organized religion that doesn't squeeze money out of its followers, directly or indirectly. Of course the individuals of such a religion could still be held legally accountable for criminal acts.
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  • Posted by Eyecu2 4 years, 5 months ago
    The very basic founding tenants of America are grounded in religious freedom; therefore, the only answer possible here is a resounding NO. With that said our Government's most important responsibility is to protect The People. Adults should be allowed as much freedom as possible even unto them harming themselves through bad choices but not unto harming others. This obviously brings into question as to what about the children of these adults and here I don't have as clear cut an answer. I do not want the Government stepping in and managing anything that we can possibly avoid them messing up. Then again I do not believe anyone wants to see children harmed.

    I believe that an example is in order. There is a Fundamentalist Christian group in some rural parts of America that practice snake handling. As moronic as I find this, if an adult wishes to give this a try, have at it. I would think that this would be a good place for the Government to say that No one under the age of majority is allow to give this a try, as I certainly believe it is reasonable to protect children from snake bite.
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  • Posted by $ blarman 4 years, 5 months ago
    There are means and there are ends. Inevitably, there are many policies which are created with honorably intentions as to the ends, but which go about attempting to achieve these ends through means which trample on the rights and freedom of individuals. But often times the attempt to control action is a greater harm than dealing with the results of the action.

    The hypothetical is very similar to another I saw in the news recently: that of a straight college student who committed suicide because a gay college student (in league with an administrator) got the student banned from class and threatened his impending graduation. Should the gay student (and the administrative accomplice) be charged with any responsibility?
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  • Posted by 4 years, 5 months ago
    The ban proposed is actually coming from the Russian government. I am against the ban, because logically and morally it doesn't make sense to outlaw a belief system, and as you say, it opens up the door for government oppression. On top of that, any type of ban coming from a government like authoritarian Russia is immediately suspect. Many in my community have expressed opinions favoring the ban, the main argument seems to be "This group didn't respect my rights, why should we respect theirs?". I think this is a highly emotional response from people, which I completely sympathize with. If a cult ruined your life and lied to you for years, you might have a chip on your shoulder. Bringing it back home, I am part of a campaign to get the tax exempt status revoked for this and other groups like Scientology. It's a small step, but I hope we are successful.
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  • Posted by Herb7734 4 years, 5 months ago
    Were they forced to join the Cult or did they join of their own volition? Were they active within the cult? Did they love it until they got in trouble? It is a matter of free choice. And, so is suicide. Passing a law against cults will cause a situation that bleeds over into other organizations such a fraternity/sorority clubs, service clubs religious clubs part of mainstream religions, the Masons, the Odd Fellows both of which have cult-like rituals. Just more muck and mire for the government to use for control.
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    • Posted by 4 years, 5 months ago
      The majority for the ban have been children who were indoctrinated since birth. Some leave eventually, some don't. Some are "mentally out, but physically in" to avoid losing contact with their close family members. Therefore the argument seems to be, "They didn't respect my freedom or rights, so why should I respect theirs?" However in this case, two wrongs simply do not make a right.
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  • Posted by ProfChuck 4 years, 5 months ago
    The devil is in the details. For example, who gets to define "Cult". As I recall back in the 50's there were those that wanted to identify followers of Ayn Rand as members of a cult because objectivism was a secular religion with a "Highly antisocial belief structure". Be careful.
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    • Posted by lrshultis 4 years, 5 months ago
      Jeff Walker's "The Ayn Rand Cult", (1999) is one of the better works. Seems well documented. It is not an anti-Objectivism work but comes from those who were in the original "Collective".
      I learned of Rand's and other Objectivists' works in the mid 1960s, but have never been a joiner, so I never sought out fellow travelers. Despite the actions of Rand's group, I still like many of their ideas, but do not like the ARI's closed Objectivism because that would make it something like a religion.
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  • Posted by mia767ca 4 years, 5 months ago
    as an individual in a free country, you can belong to any organization you want to...but you will always be responsible for your actions...no "devil made me do it" excuses...govt is there to adjudicate disputes, not "minority report" prevent "possible" disputes from occurring...but then there are "religious" organizations that are fronts for terrorist groups...sticky wicket...
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  • Posted by $ Abaco 4 years, 5 months ago
    You're assuming the government would both know and act on the truth.

    What "medical treatments" for children are you talking about? I know a great deal about such things. Dedicated over a decade to study it in great depth and am still working in it. When you mix government, children and "medical treatments" in a statement my ears perk up. I no longer publicly discuss what I know on this...
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    • Posted by 4 years, 5 months ago
      The example I'm thinking of is a group that bans blood transfusions, as in white and red blood cells and derivatives made from these parts for treatment of massive blood loss, leukemia, and other blood disorders. No red blood cells, no oxygen to other cells usually leads to death.
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      • Posted by minesayn 4 years, 5 months ago
        One particular religious group will use plasma extenders instead of blood. It has to do with following Biblical principles of not 'eating blood' as blood is life. They trust in God and wish to not offend so they follow tenets from the Torah.
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      • Posted by $ Abaco 4 years, 5 months ago
        The science in some areas is better than in others. The problem here is that if we allow the government to tell us where the science is sound people will be killed and maimed. Thanks for your response. I get it, now.
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  • Posted by ChuckyBob 4 years, 5 months ago
    I belong to a religion that fell out of favor with the federal government back in the 1800s. Eventually the feds sent the largest military expedition prior to the civil war in order to get us under control. It backfired as far as the feds are concerned, but in the interim there was quite a bit of sanctioned and nonsanctioned persecution. So I'm a bit sensitive to banning "a cult". Who defines what a cult is? Ban the deleterious behavior, but the belief is constitutionally protected.
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  • Posted by freedomforall 4 years, 5 months ago
    Using what definition of evidence?
    20 years ago the FBI and BATF decided a group in WACO was a "cult" (which is a biased weasel word connotation of the word "culture." )
    Then the FBI burned about 90 of them to death with no evidence against them, which simultaneously destroyed evidence, if any existed, that could have proven them innocent (and possibly sent the BATF and FBI agents involved to the electric chair for murder.)

    Federal government should keep its meddling, murdering nose out of the homes of people, and has zero authority under the constitution to do anything whatsoever about so-called "cults."

    Could Galt's Gulch online considered a cult?
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    • Posted by $ Abaco 4 years, 5 months ago
      You bet it could. And, your example is a very good one.

      I know several other families who like an idea I've been kicking around for a while now. We'd buy some acreage, build several homes on it around our own little school building. We'd homeschool our kids on our property, raise some chickens, have a pool, etc. But, it'd be close enough to town that we could still keep our jobs. Great idea, right? Until somebody says it's a cult or some other damned thing. There'd be zero religion, just the love of having better control of how our kids are educated. The possible gov power being discussed here is not good juju...
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    • Posted by 4 years, 5 months ago
      To clarify where I am coming from, I am premising this question based on the following definition of a "cult": A small group or individual that use methods to create a group by means of behavior control, thought control, emotional control, and information control. In essence, extreme mind control. I am on the side of No ban. To ban something doesn't really fix the underlying problem which is a mind that is not free.
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  • Posted by CircuitGuy 4 years, 5 months ago
    My first thought is if the cult is telling lies that result in suicide or refusing vital medical treatment for kids too young to decide for themselves, the cult member doing it is probably already breaking existing laws. Making a law aimed just at cults feels too narrow. I'm interested in what people more knowledgeable about cults think.

    If the gov't did pass a law just aimed at cults, it would most likely grant some special new powers to the gov't, supposedly specially geared toward this problem. Within 10 years, probably way less, those powers would be used in all types of cases having nothing to do with cults.
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    • Posted by $ AJAshinoff 4 years, 5 months ago
      Slippery slope CG. Who defines a cult? Why should you or government have more say than a child's patent? So much for limited government. So much for the first amendment.
      Could loose interpretation eventually made objectivism a crime? " Taxation is theft' making refusal to pay the responsibility of the group?
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      • Posted by CircuitGuy 4 years, 5 months ago
        "Who defines a cult?"
        I agree with AJ, Snoogoo, and Olduglycarl that cults are not clearly definable and there should not be laws focused on cults. That's why I said people could be prosecuted under existing laws.
        Even if a "cult" were a clearly definable problem, anti-cult powers would quickly expand beyond their original purpose, like the PATRIOT Act and RICO Act.
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      • Posted by 4 years, 5 months ago
        This is the tricky part, what is the difference between a religion and a cult? Granted many mainstream religions don't shun you for leaving or having debate with those on the outside, they still use guilt and promises of an afterlife to exert some control over people.
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    • Posted by $ Olduglycarl 4 years, 5 months ago
      By your definition, which is not wrong, the government decides what is dangerous, harmful, full of lies...do we want to go down that road?

      Occultation in astrophysics is likened to an eclipse. Blocking the view between two objects could be considered hiding or blocking the truth.

      What we consider an occult and what others consider an occult could be quite different.

      Meaning: secret, obtuse, hidden, mysterious, concealed.
      By that definition, Freemasonry, the Illuminati, Skull and Bones, The Bohemian club, Global Warming advocates, The Deep State or Shadow Governments would be examples of an Occult.
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    • Posted by 4 years, 5 months ago
      Most cults capitalize on a persecution complex using opposition as "proof" they are special, think first century Christian martyrs. Furthermore, a ban on beliefs, however strange they may be, is immoral. Fighting mind control with more attempted mind control doesn't seem like a logical solution.
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      • Posted by CircuitGuy 4 years, 5 months ago
        "cults capitalize on a persecution complex"
        That's maybe the strongest point among all these good reasons not to have special laws against cults. If you prosecute them under the same laws we all live by, e.g. child abuse, conspiracy to commit murder, it's harder for them to present themselves as persecuted victims.
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    • Posted by $ Abaco 4 years, 5 months ago
      This reminds me of SB-18 here in California. It will remove all medical decisions from the parents and place government in the role. Sure - there will be screaming and howling when they tear kids from the homes in the middle of the night. But, the government will be deciding what constitutes "vital medical treatment for kids too young to decide". Yeay!

      What if I told you that there are children out there who have been diagnosed with cancer but don't have it? You may not want to believe that. But, think about it in context of your point. I personally know a family that almost had their 2-year old daughter taken over chemo for a cancer she didn't have. It was a misdiagnosis. But...I'm sure they are the only people who've had an incorrect diagnosis...
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      • Posted by CircuitGuy 4 years, 5 months ago
        " It will remove all medical decisions from the parents and place government in the role."
        There's a continuum between a flu vaccine for kids and some well-tolerated treatment for fetal disease. In the case of parents who deny their kids a proven treatment for a proven fetal disease, I think someone should use force to save those kids. There must be a way to do that without going down the slippery slope toward gov't forcing kids to get things like vaccines or vitamins.

        It reminds me of when I had appendicitis at age 9. The doctors believed my life was in danger. My father hired a surgeon with a long history of doing appendectomies successfully who charged more than the insurance company guidelines. I recovered with no complications. I knew those facts, but I didn't really understand until I got older that I was lucky my parents got me high-quality care. If they had just taken no action when the evidence said my life was in danger, I would consider that criminal. Even if it turns out the doctors were wrong, to the best of our knowledge at the time, my life was in immediate danger from something easily treatable. To me this is on the spectrum of neglect, like denying children food.
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        • Posted by $ Abaco 4 years, 5 months ago
          But, you understand that your story is an argument away from government involvement in medical decisions, right?

          You argue for force. I argue for not using force. Simple enough.
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