The Conversion Dilemma
The dilemma I'm referring to is the question of geir qatan in a "not-observant-enough" family. A Jewish family adopts a child, and they want to convert the child to Judaism. It's sort of silly for a Jewish family to have a Non-Jewish child — although it has been done (someone I know has a Non-Jewish foster child), but that means that a beit din has to agree to convert the child.
Generally, the way it works is that you are allowed to do something for someone without their consent if it's for their benefit. So this baby, who has no da‘at or sense of anything at all, can get converted if it's for their benefit.
But what if the family that will be raising the child is not observant? Instead of giving the child the opportunity to fulfill many mitzvot and rack up "mitzva points" — you'd be making them Jewish and putting them into a situation in which they'll be violating so many prohibitions that used to be completely permitted to them! It'd be for the exact opposite of benefit!
One way to solve this is to assume that there's some intrinsic benefit in being Jewish. If you hold by an ideology that claims that Jews are metaphysically better, purer, or superior in some other way to Non-Jews, it's easy to justify making this Non-Jewish child into a Jew. Even if they're going to violate many Torah prohibitions, at least they're Jewish!
But you can't do that if you hold that all humanity is created in the image of God, and that the only thing that separates us from the rest of the world is our Contract with God and the mitzvot that flow from it. In that case, simply "being Jewish" isn't a benefit without mitzvot, just as Jewish identity in general doesn't exist without a mitzva framework.
Which puts us in the dangerous position of people who are more so-called "liberal" having less justification to do what they naturally feel is the right thing and unite these families in Halakhic Jewish status. I wonder how we get around that. I think I'll ask them.