Yoder and FGM
SLevinson at MAIL.LAW.UTEXAS.EDU
Wed Jan 9 13:03:28 PST 2002
Rick Duncan writes:
>If the Amish practiced some kind of lobotomy on their
>children to prevent unAmish thoughts from being
>processed by the brain, you would have a similar case.
>And no doubt the Court would find a compelling
>interest in protecting children from the physical harm
>of Amish lobotomies!
Does the "no doubt" express merely a Holmesian prediction that that's what
a court would in fact do, i.e., "find a compelling interest," or is Rick
conceding that a court would be correct in overriding any free-exercise
claims that the hypothetical Amish parent might put forth. I don't recall
what Rick has written in the past about Christian Scientist parents, but I
must say I don't think the distinction between the CS parent or
Fundamentalist parent who refuses what is arguably life-saving medical care
in favor of prayer and the lobotomy, unless we emphasize the difference
between acts (the lobotomy) and omissions (life-saving medical care).
Moreover, some critics of the Amish, the Satmars, and similar groups
(think, e.g., of Jim Dwyer) might argue that there is less difference than
we'd like to admit between the lobotomy and the kind of "education" that
denies children knowledge of alternative possibilities. Let's switch the
hypothetical slightly: Instead of a lobotomy, assume a sophisticated
program of aversive conditioning, so that a youth is trained to feel nausea
whenever he/she thinks "sinful thoughts." And, finally, let's assume that
the youth is told that "you will roast in hell if you harbor sinful
thoughts." I assume that Rick (and most persons on this list) would want
to protect the last, while joining him in opposing lobotomies. So where
does aversive conditioning stand?
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