Weekend Herald

Re­li­gious author­ity

- Society · Discrimination · Human Rights · National Human Rights Commission (Mexico)

It is a “shame­ful his­tory laid bare” as your edi­to­rial ( Week­end Her­ald, Oc­to­ber 3) sug­gests, and one many were be­gin­ning to be aware of in the 1970s, so it’s pleas­ing to see the Hu­man Rights Com­mis­sion and the UN call­ing for an in­quiry.

What will be dif­fi­cult to ex­am­ine though, are the strong ties at the time to re­li­gious doc­trine and its ef­fects on those who gov­erned. This right­eous­ness placed a lot of power into the hands of those charged to run in­sti­tu­tions. Part of the doc­trine taught as ac­cept­able be­hav­iour was to con­strain one’s emo­tions, women to obey men ( par­tic­u­larly their hus­bands) and, sadly, chil­dren to re­spect their elders, with no ac­knowl­edge­ment of vi­o­lent par­ents and abu­sive teach­ers. It paved the way for harm­ful and de­grad­ing treat­ment of those who did not fit in, or showed vul­ner­a­bil­ity.

It is pleas­ing so many peo­ple to­day are now feel­ing safe to come out and talk about their past. To­day’s cli­mate of care, kind­ness and concern al­lows us to sup­port those speak­ing out and hope­fully, make smarter and com­pas­sion­ate changes be­cause of them.

Emma Mack­in­tosh, Birken­head.

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