Your law intrigues me

Japan is instituting some new guidelines for recognizing religious abuse. It would be nice to see something like this in the USA, but that’ll never happen.

New health ministry guidelines in Japan will classify as abuse any acts by members of religious groups who threaten or force their children to participate in religious activities, or that hinder a child’s career path based on religious doctrine.

A few details:

The law stipulates four types of abuse: physical, sexual, neglect and psychological.

Inciting fear by telling children they will go to hell if they do not participate in religious activities, or preventing them from making decisions about their career path, is regarded as psychological abuse and neglect in the guidelines.

Other acts that will constitute neglect include not having the financial resources to provide adequate food or housing for children as a result of making large donations, or blocking their interaction with friends due to a difference in religious beliefs and thereby undermining their social skills.

There go most of the churches in town, as well as the state of Utah.

I can imagine the arguments if this were even proposed here, although they’d be easily defeated by all atheists. “This is a law to protect the children, you love children, don’t you?” “Anyone who opposes this law is probably a groomer, trying to indoctrinate innocent kids.” “Are you in favor of child abuse?” It could be fun.


  1. robro says

    Does the new law actually say “Inciting fear by telling children they will go to hell”? Because I would guess that’s specific to Abrahamic religions.

    I think the arguments against such a law in the US would follow the lines of “parental rights”. In the US, children are essentially enslaved to their parents/owners, as we see with all the revisionist laws about child labor. Not everyone is going to see teaching children about “the wages of sin” as abuse.

    I think there are important questions about where and how any government should play a part in raising children. Imagine the theocratic minority taking full control of government in the US…and we’re almost there…then passing laws to “protect” children from atheist parents.

  2. raven says

    So what is the harm of religions anyway?

    One hundred and nine followers of the Good News International Church, based in the Shakahola Forest of eastern Kenya, are known to have died. Authorities have recovered 101 bodies from shallow graves since April 21 while eight cult members were found alive but died later. So far, 44 people have been rescued.1 day ago

    Autopsies begin on Kenyan cult members who starved to death
    Al Jazeera › news › autopsies-begin-on-k…
    Most victims of mass cult starvation in Kenya are children

    12 hours ago — As the death toll in what is becoming known as the “Shakahola starvation massacre” in Kenya hit 110, religious leaders in the region are …

    We’ve all heard about the xian starvation cult in Kenya by now.
    I haven’t followed it closely because I’ve seen too many atrocities these last few years and reached my limit.

    Most of the victims are…children because of the usual reasons; smaller, poorer, trapped, and don’t have good access to lawyers.
    There is no way in imaginary hell that they gave informed consent to starve to death. This was murder.
    It was also human child sacrifice to the fundie xian gods.

    Xian human child sacrifice by starvation should be covered by this Japanese law.

  3. birgerjohansson says

    A step in the right direction.

    Consider that Japanese schools do not recognise bullying/mobbing and instead think it is the individual who must adapt to the collective, thus blaming the victim.

    They also allow prisoners to be punished by being tied up for days, thus getting smeared by their own excrenent and urine.
    People who are arrested have no right to speak to a lawyer and are regarded as guilty until proven innocent. The intense pressure cause many prisoners to confess to crimes – including murders- they have not done.
    The feudal system of WWII still lives on in Japan.

  4. HidariMak says

    The anti-groomers keep opposing laws to end child marriage, while the pro-lifers defend the rights of mass murderers to make child corpses unrecognizable thanks to military-grade assault rifles. If Japan’s new law was introduced to the US, we’d just be tearing out larger clumps of hair as a result.

  5. birgerjohansson says

    Raven @ 2
    The cults who sacrificed single individual humans in “The Devil’s Eye” (Larry Niven is cool) and “The Wicker Man” (Christopher Lee does his thing) were relatively harmless by comparison.
    And we also have the breakaway mormon cults who let children die by disease and malnutrition.
    Let us not forget the religious child “correctional” institutions that exist in far too many states.

  6. raven says

    The anti-groomers keep opposing laws to end child marriage…

    Which is actually pretty sick and evil.

    Somewhere between 78% and 95% of those marriages are between an underage girl and adult male, with the male often being quite a bit older.

    Between 2000 and 2018, some 300,000 minors were legally married in the United States. The vast majority of child marriages (reliable sources vary between 78% and 95%) were between a minor girl and an adult man.

    The fundie xian right wingnuts are also bringing back child labor. I guess because it worked so well the first time around.

    New State Laws Are Rolling Back Regulations On Child …
    NPR › 2023/04/27 › new-state-laws-are-r…

    5 days ago — Lawmakers in Republican-led states are proposing and passing legislation to roll back child labor regulations.In states like Iowa, Missouri, …

  7. raven says

    Let us not forget the religious child “correctional” institutions that exist in far too many states.

    Which have killed quite a few kids.

    The fundie xian Gulags.
    The most notorious ones are the Mormon Gulags in Utah.

    The biggest xian death toll is the US are the faith healing cults which are scattered every where. There are at least two in the rural areas from where I live.
    It is estimated that around 100 children a year are killed by these cults, children who get sick from easily preventable and treatable diseases.
    I found one family in these cults that had lost 3 people to faith healing, two adults and one child. They know faith healing doesn’t work.

    This is nothing but human child sacrifice to their horrible fundie xian god.

  8. drsteve says


    That would be a bad guess. Coincidentally, immediately before I landed on this story, I was on Wikipedia looking up the etymology and origins of a Hindu deity named Nirriti. . .

    Sorry I don’t have an equivalent Shinto principle off the top of my head, but I would be very surprised if one couldn’t be found, especially since historically Japan was no less theocratic than any contemporary Hindu or Christian or Muslim state.

  9. robro says

    drsteve @ #8 — I’m familiar with some of the scary Hindi religious figures, so I realize that’s not unique to Abrahamic religions or even using them to induce fear in children (and their submission). I’m also aware that other religions have scary places after death…or very dull ones. But I was reacting specifically to the phrase “going to hell”, which seems very influenced by evangelical thinking. Obviously the Japanese law does use that specific phrase, so it’s a translation. Is it a more or less literal translation of the Japanese?

  10. StevoR says

    Nihon cést bon! Honto. Bon niu.

    To use the two other languages I have vague and rusty knowledge of here.

  11. redwood says

    It takes something really egregious for conservative Japan to make changes, especially to laws. One such example was the shooting of Shinzo Abe last year. The killer supposedly was angry about his mother donating all of his inheritance to the Unification Church and believed Abe had links to the church (many conservative Japanese politicians apparently do). In an attempt to show it was taking some kind of action, the government put religions in Japan under scrutiny. Well, not Shinto and Buddhism, of course, nor probably not the 1.5% of the population who are Christians, but the 6% of adherents to “other” religions, like the Unification Church or Aum Shinrikyo or any possible cult. I’m sure this new law is a result of such examination and shows that the government isn’t sitting on its hands but is actually “doing” something, you betcha. Whether this new law is actually enforced, however, will be a different matter.

  12. Reginald Selkirk says

    This is interesting because the basis is that the children have rights.
    Whereas what we see in U.S. “conservatives” is that the zygote has “rights of personhood” from the moment of conception, but actually born children are the property of their parents until they turn 18. Recently they have even used the phrase “parents rights” which stands in direct competition to the notion that the child itself has rights.

  13. stuffin says

    Fear is how religions control their sheep. The far-right have taken this to a new level.

  14. joel says

    Redwood (#11) nailed it. This law is a direct result of the killing of Shinzo Abe. A very rare example of an assassination leading to positive political change, since it put the Liberal Democratic Party (the conservative in Japan) under scrutiny for their ties to the Unification Church.

  15. says

    I’ve been saying for years that the conversion camps that “pray the gay away” are an obscene form of child abuse. That shit needs to be stopped. Children are literally dying because of this sort of thing.

  16. billseymour says

    stuffin @13:

    Fear is how religions control their sheep.  The far-right have taken this to a new level.

    I would say that the feudal lord wannabees have noticed how that works, and their minions now crank it up to eleven.

  17. birgerjohansson says

    The poor education system in many states coupled to echo-chamber media have been instrumental in turning your country into something dangerously near to being a failed state.
    You will have to try keeping the lid on until demographic changes deflate the power of fundies and extreme nationalists.

  18. wzrd1 says

    @17, you ignore the threats that are realistic of violence.
    That’s where such “PTSD types” come into play, suggesting violence in kind as a method of trade and such idiots concede the field.
    Or get met by artillery.

    My preference, getting the sill planter, planting my pepper, tomato and bean seeds, harvest the same.
    Previously, a larger garden.
    And our best warriors always were farmers at heart. Even Benedict Arnold.
    I fully concede the poor education system, et al.
    To my own despair.