With all the talk about the constitutional protection of religion, perhaps we should be reminded of the human right to remain unmolested by religious zealots regardless of how friendly and sincere they might be. 

I am not speaking about the Mormons on a mission, the Jehovah's Witnesses with their bible tracts, the orthodox Jewish Lubavitchers, the Scientologists with their “personality tests,” or even the malignant Islamicists who want you to convert or die. Not even the idiots who risk their lives to infiltrate places like North Korea to spread “The Word.”

I am speaking of those who believe it is their “duty” to enter “forbidden” primitive areas to bring their brand of religion to the indigenous people.

In particular, John Allen Chau, a 26-year-old “missionary” from Vancouver, Washington State, paid a group of local fisherman to take him and his Bible to India’s North Sentinel Island to “share the gospel” with islanders are openly hostile to visitors and live in the manner of their ancestors. It is no wonder that Chau was killed by a flight of arrows from an angered, and possibly afraid, culture.

It annoys me that many faith-based organizations regard Chau as a “martyr” for the cause. Perhaps, he should be viewed in the context of a potential “existential” threat to a people and culture who do not seek contact with the outside work and want to be left alone.

There are historical references to a number of Islanders who were forcibly kidnapped from the Island where the adults died in captivity – perhaps from unknown diseases introduced by the captors – and the children were returned to the Island. Since this happened in the late 19th century, maybe it became the foundation for fearing outside contact?

Perhaps this was expressed best in a Science Magazine article, “How Europeans brought sickness to the New World” with the opening paragraph, “In the Americas, the arrival of Europeans brought disease, war, and slavery to many indigenous peoples. Can some of the world’s last isolated groups avoid those fates as they make contact in the 21st century?”

Bottom line…

Perhaps the best advice comes from the fictional United Federation of Planets  and is known as the Prime Directive or Starfleet General Order 1 – “As the right of each sentient species to live in accordance with its normal cultural evolution is considered sacred, no Starfleet personnel may interfere with the normal and healthy development of alien life and culture. Such interference includes introducing superior knowledge, strength, or technology to a world whose society is incapable of handling such advantages wisely. Starfleet personnel may not violate this Prime Directive, even to save their lives and/or their ship, unless they are acting to right an earlier violation or an accidental contamination of said culture. This directive takes precedence over any and all other considerations and carries with it the highest moral obligation.

As might be expected, there are many moral and ethical lessons that may be learned from speculative/science fiction where ideas can be expressed within the non-judgmental, non-political context of other worlds and other peoples.

-- steve

“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell