While I didn’t have a glorious and candy-coated childhood, I did have it pretty good. And I’ll confess to being pretty lucky — lucky enough to have two parents who never beat me. Beating your child is morally wrong, but sadly, corporal punishment — “the deliberate infliction of pain as retribution for an offence, or for the purpose of disciplining or reforming a wrongdoer, or to deter attitudes or behaviour deemed unacceptable” — is apparently legal in America, at least when done by a parent in their home.
(Note: We’re not legal experts, and are not delivering legal advice. All the more reason to never beat your children. If it’s not illegal, it should be.)
Despite that, a 2006 American Psylogical Association study found “adolescents who were more likely to engage in fighting, bullying, and victimization of others reported that their parents engaged in corporal punishment as a disciplining method.”
In other words, parents who are beating their children are raising children who are more likely to be violent. Good job, parents!
And let’s be honest, spanking is beating. And it’s unacceptable.
That said, regular readers of The New Civil Rights Movement remember all too well Evangelical Christian pastor Michael Pearl and his wife Debi.
The Pearls advocate using a “switch” and rubber plumber’s tubing as whips, and withholding food from young children as biblically-approved discipline methods, calling their tactics, “the same principles the Amish use to train their stubborn mules.” Their book, “To Train Up A Child,” has sold over 670,000 copies. It likens training children to training dogs, has been praised by some of the very people who followed it and later caused the death of their young children, in some cases by extensive tissue damage, malnutrition, or hypothermia.
In this video, Michael and Debi Pearl demonstrate their discipline and child-rearing methods.
They should be in prison. And anyone who bought and followed their book should be too. And anyone who dares to call this “religious freedom” deserves to have their head examined.
After all, some followers of the Pearls’ methods have murdered their children.
The New York Times last month reported:
Larry and Carri Williams of Sedro-Woolley, Wash., were home-schooling their six children when they adopted a girl and a boy, ages 11 and 7, from Ethiopia in 2008. The two were seen by their new parents as rebellious, according to friends.
Late one night in May this year, the adopted girl, Hana, was found face down, naked and emaciated in the backyard; her death was caused by hypothermia and malnutrition, officials determined. According to the sheriff’s report, the parents had deprived her of food for days at a time and had made her sleep in a cold barn or a closet and shower outside with a hose. And they often whipped her, leaving marks on her legs. The mother had praised the Pearls’ book and given a copy to a friend, the sheriff’s report said. Hana had been beaten the day of her death, the report said, with the 15-inch plastic tube recommended by Mr. Pearl.
The same kind of plumbing tube was reported to have been used to beat Lydia Schatz, 7, who was adopted at age 4 from Liberia and died in Paradise, Calif., in 2010. Her parents, Kevin and Elizabeth Schatz, had the Pearl book but ignored its admonition against extended lashing or harm; they whipped Lydia for hours, with pauses for prayer. She died from severe tissue damage, and her older sister had to be hospitalized, officials said.
Joe.My.God. posted this video of the Pearls today:
If that’s not enough to raise your eyebrows, and concerns, consider this, via The Huffington Post a few days ago:
An Irvine couple who suspected their 15-year-old son of smoking turned to a man believed to be relied on in their church to violently discipline children, authorities said.
The parents asked Paul Kim, 39, to discipline their son after finding a lighter in his possession, dropping the boy off at Kim’s Chino Hills home with permission for the beating, San Bernardino County sheriff’s spokesperson Cindy Bachmann said Saturday.
Kim hit the child with a metal pole about a dozen times, causing severe bruising on his legs, according to Bachmann. The pole was about an inch in diameter, investigators said.
An adult at the boy’s school saw the bruises and called Irvine police, who in turn informed San Bernardino County officials, she said.
Kim was arrested Tuesday at his home and released Thursday after posting bail. He faces a felony charge of willful cruelty to a child. No court date has been set, according to jail records.
Enough is enough.
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