Those who don't share my religious beliefs pretty much might want to look away now, because this is entirely a Religious Rant, with Bible quotations and the whole nine yards. You have been warned.
David Polreis, two years old, beaten to death in 1996
Christopher Forder, 8 years old, beaten to death in 2002
Louie Guerrero, 11 years old, beaten into renal failure and hospitalization in 2002
Sean Paddock, 4 years old, beaten and then wrapped in a blanket;suffocated, 2006
Lydia Schatz, 7 years old, beaten to death in 2010
Zariah Schatz, 11 years old, beaten into renal failure and hospitalization in 2010
All these children were beaten by people who believe the "rod verses" in Proverbs command parents and authorities to "spank with the rod." Every Christian Parenting Guru I have read refers parents to Proverbs 23:13 ("Do not withhold correction from a child, For if you beat him with a rod, he will not die.") in encouraging spanking, but of course the word used for "beat" in that passage is also translated "slay", "kill" and "slaughter". There's something goofy about taking a word that God uses to refer to killing everyone but those in the Ark (Genesis 8:21) and saying it means "a few gentle swats to the tush," as the average Christian Parenting Guru does.
Maybe Christian Parenting Gurus should stop taking the book of Proverbs quite so literally, or *at least* start taking the books of Law equally literally -- like, fer instance, when God limits beatings to forty stripes? (Deuteronomy 25:3) Of course, sticking with the Law books makes it tough to "win, even if it takes a repeated [spanking]" (James Dobson) or to accomplish the "unconditional surrender" Richard Fugate recommends, or to get the "total submission" Michael Pearl says is necessary. Fishing around in one of the books of Wisdom, the one which regularly and deliberately contradicts itself (Proverbs 26:4&5, for the most obvious example), and treating said Proverbs as Law, makes it a lot easier to find verses that support what you already believe.
The Bible may call on Christian leaders to be gentle (Galatians 6:1, 1 Thessalonians 2:7, 2 Timothy 2:24, Titus 3:2), and on Christians as a whole to be merciful and full of forgiveness, but for some reason all those ideas just go out the window when it comes to Christian Parenting Gurus. God may say children are holy just by the fact of having a Christian parent (1 Corinthians 7:14), but the Gurus warn that if you don't discipline them just right, they'll be lost. The guys who really kill me straight out say, on a regular basis, "punish your kids or God will punish them" -- as if a sinner like me is better equipped to rightly punish my kids than the perfect God is!
Yeah, that makes sense. Sure.
The Bible tells me to discipline and teach my kids, true, but that's a whole 'nother thing from "get in between your kids and that scary God who'll really hurt them if you don't straighten them out first!" In my experience, following Deuteronomy 6:7 by reminding the kids of God's Word at the appropriate times, and then stepping aside, allows God to work on my child's heart direct. It is, after all, God who holds my child's heart in His hand (Proverbs 21:1), not me, and God who will enable my child to truly obey (Galatians 5:22 & 23, Ephesians 5:9).
IMHO, whether parents spank or not is their own business as a rule. But when someone teaches that God *orders* parents to strike their children, and that corporal punishment is *necessary* to bring children happiness and salvation, they have crossed a line that should not be crossed. And they can claim Biblical support until the cows come home, but that doesn't make it so.( What Set Me OffCollapse )