Coyne writes (emphasis added):
Dawkins has taken flak for characterizing religious indoctrination of children as “child abuse.” Well, look at this picture and deny it. [The picture depicts a young child holding a sign that reads: Behead all those who insult the Prophet.] True, it’s not the same as beating or sexually molesting one’s child, but the brain of this boy is being warped and twisted by vicious Muslim ideology. What hope does he have when he grows up?
This also shows how crazy it is to characterize Islam as “the religion of peace.”
Somehow—and this will never happen, of course—it should be illegal to indoctrinate children with religious belief.
This is pretty feeble stuff for someone who supposedly can think. First of all, Coyne speaks of religious indoctrination and belief as such and in general, without qualification, making no distinctions among different religions or different beliefs within a given religion. Suppose a child is made to memorize the Ten Commandments and the Beatitudes. That surely counts as religious indoctrination. But is it child abuse? Obviously not.
A second point is that Coyne and his New Atheist ilk make no distinction between religious ideology and nonreligious ideology. Radical Islam, if not Islam itself, is a murderous religious ideology, and Coyne is quite right to protest its characterization as the "religion of peace." But Nazism and godless communism are also murderous ideologies whose doctrines justify mass murder. According to the Black Book of Communism, communists murdered approximately 100 million people in the 20th century.
Think of all the 'red diaper babies.' I wonder if Coyne and his ilk would protest their indoctrination as child abuse. If not, why not? Why is indoctrination in radical Islam worse than indoctrination in Naziism or communism? Why the selective outrage? If the genus extremist ideology is the problem, why attack only one of its species?
I admit that there is something unseemly about criticizing a man like Coyne. It's uncomfortably like rolling a drunk or beating up a cripple. Nasty work, but somebody has to do it. Here is further evidence of what a fool this man is.
But even worse than Coyne and Dawkins on the topic of religion as child abuse is the noxious A. C. Grayling.
We can be happy that the New Atheism has lost its mojo and is on the way out if not already dead.