In the secular community we are familiar with the idea that children of faith parents is a more respectful expression of a child’s right to come to terms with faith for themselves then to be identified as a catholic or muslim child. You would not call Paul Krugman’s children Keynesian children anymore than you would call them atheist children. The faith or none of a parent should not automatically make decisions for a child is the crucial point behind such a thought.
Yet perhaps one aspect which is overlooked is those who lack mental capacity – by which we mean a person who cannot communicate any such world view nor comprehend one. To what extent should carers or family members encourage someone to be a part of something that they cannot express a preference about?
The reason for mentioning this is that an assessment of mental capacity does cover spiritual and religious considerations. As such, the family background plays an important part in framing, while the best interest of the person must take precedence in any decision making made in UK law.
The example, based on my experience as a family carer, had my brother enjoying church graveyards under this section. There is no mystical cosmological reason for this. He loves nature, walking, peace and quiet. As such he might well enjoy a walk in a church yard.
This was more about having something to say for that section – which was not filled in by family. Cultural identity is important – it would be odd not to include someone in Christmas celebrations because they could not take a view whether Jesus was the messiah or not.
Be interested to hear what others think about this issue. The cultural/religious distinction is important here for those that cannot think for themselves. My own view is to seriously take a lack of compulsion in religion at face value, while recognising the cultural value of celebrations which go beyond the historic religious origin (pagan or otherwise).
Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog