Tuesday, 16 June 2009

No chance in hell

A year ago in Winnipeg a seven year old girl showed up for school with magic marker tattoos of a swastika and the well known white supremacist symbol 14/88 drawn on her body. The number 14 refers to a maxim containing 14 words "We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children" while 88 represents the letters HH (the eighth letter in the alphabet) meaning Heil Hitler.

According to the news story, a teacher tried to scrub the marker off and sent the child home where her mother re-drew the symbols and sent her back to school.

Child and Family Services were sent to the family's apartment where they found neo-Nazi symbols and flags. The children were taken in custody and placed with extended family.

According to the Winnipeg Free Press the seven year old girl spoke matter-of-factly to a social worker about Adolph Hitler, white supremacy and the god-given right for whites to kill blacks.

This case is back in the news this month because the trial has been ongoing. The stepfather claims that the seizure of his children violates his freedom of conscience, belief and religion.

Some of the arguments being thrown around are:

  • Are we deciding that one set of taught beliefs is more offensive than another? Where is the line drawn - what about devout Christians, or Muslims or Jews?
  • Is this child abuse - since the children were well fed, clothed, had a relatively strong circle of family support?
  • Does the state have the right to protect children from their parents' beliefs?

I'd be interested to hear your thoughts.


  1. That story sickens me. My heart breaks for those children being raised to hate. My heart breaks for ANY child who is brought up that way.

    I am not up on my Canadian law/constitution. As much as I detest those horrible parents and I personally don't think they'd be fit to raise a pig, they have a right to their beliefs.

    My position is that your freedom of speech extends right up until you physically touch me.

    I pondered a similar thing a few months ago:
    and then

    What is the brightline for this? I'm a trained debater and I generally don't buy into a slippery slope argument, but in this case I think it works.

  2. I saw this in the news as well. It is disgusting....I think they are in the right to remove the child from the home...hatred breeds violence..children are not safe being exposed to that. That is NOT religion..

  3. Wow! I cannot believe it. So sad.

    I have heard of some radical Muslims doing similar things - they seem to be the vocal ones right now with their anti-western feelings. True Muslims do not believe in such things but there are radical groups out there. Just like the radical group those folks belong to.

    I know when I was in high school we were not allowed to wear anything, including tattoos, that advertised drugs or alcohol. I remember a girl coming to school wearing a t-shirt with a beer bottle on it and she was sent home to change. I would assume it would extend to Nazi symbols too.

    I'm not sure how things work in Canada but I don't think this would fly in the States.

  4. Wow. I hadn't heard that story. It sure does raise some interesting questions. It is all right to teach your children to hate others as long as you take care of their basic needs (food, shelter, etc.)? My first instinct would be to take the children away and save them from such hate. But on the other hand, who am I to say what they can and can't teach their children as much as it pains me?

    All we can really do is bring our own children up to respect others and their beliefs no matter what.

  5. Horrific. When will we ever learn?

  6. Really thought provoking questions...the key one being "does the state have the right to protect children from their parents' beliefs".

    My mind says - no way, because how/where do they draw the line. But my heart says - YES, no child should be brought up in such an environment of hate.

  7. Kim- I'm torn on this one. Of course the hate poured over this child like boiling pitch is disgusting, but I'm so very weary of governments getting involved with families and beliefs. Balance is always needed. I'm afraid there is no simple answer. Or cure. This is why we cry. ~rick

  8. The story really scared me.The generation which had to go through WWII had to bear the scars for all of their life's.And would want none of the future gens to face same horrors.

    The child has been rightly taken away from its parent.When children are taught things that go against the peace in the society it would be for better they are removed from such an influence.As you definately know Kids have such delicate minds

    I was thinking of all the violence faced by blacks and in recent times Indians in Australia because some people think they are inferior because of their skin color!

    We need to be careful in the way we bring up kids.

  9. that is wrong on so many levels, i just dont get it. people are so ignorant. i just cant even imagine those poor kids growing up in an environment that promotes hatred to certain people. aaaaahhhh! it really makes my angry!

  10. I have the same reaction as Kari...my heart goes out to those kids...they depend on their parents to raise them, and they are really getting the worst kind of role models. But should the government be allowed to take the children away? I don't think so. I wish the government could find something illegal in the parents home though...and hope that there are other family members who could raise these children. At some point, they should be able to think for themselves and then we just have to hope and pray they'll see how wrong their parents were.

  11. This story breaks my heart. I can't imagine being raised in a family that breeds hatred so openly. And I don't think those "beliefs" are anywhere near the same as religious beliefs. It's racism and it's wrong. I feel sorry for the child, who probably doesn't understand why all of this is happening. She's been raised to believe that what her parents tell her is true...

  12. Sadly, all three of the "big religions" have their radical element who totally miss the point of Lev. 19:18.

  13. No one has the right to teach their children hate and murder. PERIOD!!!

  14. I think a line has obviously been crossed sending the kids to public school wearing offensive symbols, but I think the parents do have the right to teach whatever beliefs they want to their children, as sad and scary as that is. I feel awful for these kids, but it's the kind of situation where you think they will probably end up in prison, and unable to pass along their genes and their hatred. Survival of the fittest, I guess?

  15. I think that hate mongering is a form of child abuse. I think it was the correct decision to remove those children from the home. It's inhumane to advocate that anyone has the RIGHT to hate. Hatred demeans the human spirit and destroys human dignity. That is a poison that should never be administered to any child.


    years and years ago i went out to dinner once with my sister and her boss at the time. the boss asked us to stop by her house for a second. when we went inside she had a huge picture of hitler in her dining room. it was UNFATHOMABLE to me, but clearly the problem still exists. i am mortified.

  17. I agree that hate mongering is child abuse. Does anyone remember Reena Virk, the teen that was murdered in Victoria BC in 1997?

    She was taunted and/or ostracized by girls whose subculture was influenced by Los Angeles street gangs.

    Hate and violence shouldn't be considered freedom of conscience, belief and religion.


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