July 30, 2007

Police Stop Religion Overdose In Progress

Fatal Ending to Ariz. Exorcism Response

Law enforcement prevented a man from killing his granddaughter (religiously) and the old man died once the girl was safely in the hands of an ostensibly-less-devout relative.

A bloody, naked 19-year-old woman who police later determined to be Marquez’s daughter and the girl’s mother was in the room, chanting “something that was religious in nature,” Tranter said.

Translation: she was babbling something incomprehensible and mentioned god. Someone had apparently convinced the lot of them of the existence of powerful yet invisible forces against which they felt they had to use extreme measures.

In this country, you have the right to believe in any goofy crap you want to. It’s a freedom. Freedoms are important.

If this were, say, someone trying to force feed a child drugs… if the mother and grandfather had been high, we’d probably be hearing at least some people advocating for tougher drug laws. The reason there is no talk of “finding this family’s suppliers” is because it isn’t against the law (for the most part) to delude people. And even many forms of fraud, couched the right way, are legal if they involve you believing something bizarre.

I’m no fan of illegal drugs. Friends will attest that I have been “a square” about mind altering substances throughout my life. But I have to wonder why we are more willing to regulate what people put into their own bodies than what they put into their minds.

I don’t think the government has any business regulating what beliefs you put in your brain. I think the known dangers of wacky beliefs don’t1 outweigh the freedom we need to think what we want. The horrible track record of government attempts to the regulate what you put into your body should dissuade anyone from considering a thought police. (Ask Walter Cronkite) Heck, I even think the government needs to stand aside when parents put wacky ideas into their children’s heads (marginally). And those kids are defenseless!

The bizarre truth is that the amount of respect for certain thoughts is skewed, considering the lack of respect to your individual choices elsewhere. Why not just give people the right to choose what they put into their bodies AND minds?

Are drugs just plain too dangerous? Even disregarding the dangers of religion, you see this reality twisting come to a head in cases where illegal drug use was allowed for reasons of religious belief. So, if you’ve got one sort of delusion it’s OK to experiment with your brain chemistry.

On the other hand, at that point what do you have to lose?

Let’s put an end to the war on drugs and spend that money elsewhere. Isn’t there some country we could invade?

Government oversteps when it tries to regulate what you as an individual choose to put into your body and mind. Its role is better relegated to helping you avoid putting something into you don’t want. I think it’s up to people, to influence each other regarding what is good to put into your body and mind, and then let the individual decide.

1 Oops, I left out the word “don’t” and needed to edit this for meaning after the fact.

Posted by James at July 30, 2007 9:12 AM
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When you open a can of worms, it's never a small one, is it? The short answer is that I agree. While I rarely partake of mind altering substances, (alcohol being the rare exception) I do find government regulations uneven.

It seems to me that it is more about attempting to regulate morality than to safeguard the people. Drug users have very stiff mandatory penalties. Multiple offense drunken drivers, even those on suspended licenses, are treated more leniently. And religion, as you pointed out, is nigh untouchable. So, you can incite violence against an abortion clinic as free speech but get arrested for antireligious comments as hate speech.

Posted by: briwei at July 30, 2007 11:52 AM

When I shop for worm cans, I always get the Economy Size.

But I need to note a change -- I meant to say I *don't* think the dangers outweigh the freedoms.

Posted by: James at July 30, 2007 1:23 PM

So he's dead. Oh, well. No great loss. Guess he should've prayed harder.

Maybe his god "called him home" (or maybe it was Satan who called him home).

Posted by: Patti M. at July 31, 2007 5:34 PM

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