Monday, February 08, 2010

Goose and gander

ABC (US) World News asked today if self-help “gurus” should be regulated. It came in response to the highly-publicised case of James Arthur Ray, who presided over a “sweat lodge” ritual at his retreat in which three participants died.

Said ABC, these “gurus” use their position of authority to convince or cajole their followers into unproven, sometimes harmful treatment, despite being having no professional qualifications. Maybe it would be a good idea to regulate such people—but if they do, shouldn’t they also regulate churches? There are plenty of preachers who do the same things ABC described, so why should they get a free pass just because the majority endorses their spiritual beliefs? Seems to me harm is harm.

There’s no way churches will be regulated, of course, so the next best thing would be to toughen penalties for anyone offering “treatment” that ends up harming someone. After all, shouldn’t the goal be to prevent victims, regardless of whether the majority approves of the perpetrator or not?

No comments: