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Sheffield Humanist Society meeting: "Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment"

Tue 5 Mar 2013, 8pm, The Showroom, Paternoster Row S1 2BX

High-profile cases such as the child sexual abuse scandals in the Catholic Church and "faith healing" child deaths in certain fundamentalist Christian congregations have made the public aware that religion can sometimes mask deviant and harmful behaviour. But the extent of the problem is far greater than most people realize. Author and journalist Janet Heimlich will look at the subject of her recent book on the many forms of child maltreatment found in religious contexts, including biblically-prescribed corporal punishment and beliefs about the necessity of "breaking the wills" of children; scaring kids into faith and other types of emotional maltreatment such as spurning, isolating, and withholding love; paedophilic abuse by religious authorities and the failure of religious organizations to support the victims and punish the perpetrators; and religiously-motivated medical neglect in cases of serious health problems.While fully acknowledging that religion can be a source of comfort, strength, and inspiration to many young people, Ms. Heimlich makes a compelling case that, regardless of one's religious or secular orientation, maltreatment of children under the cloak of religion can never be justified and should not be tolerated.Sheffield Humanist Society

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