From an article by Frank Schaeffer:
There is a brutal movement in America that legitimizes child abuse in the name of God. Two stories recently converged to make us pay attention.
Last week, a video went viral of a Texas judge brutally whipping his disabled daughter.
And on Monday, the New York Times published a story about child deaths in homes that have embraced the teachings of To Train Up a Child, a book by Christian preacher Michael Pearl that advocates using a switch on children
as young as six months old.
What many people may not realize is that in the evangelical alternative universe of the home school movement, tightly knit church communities and the following of a number of big-time leaders and authors, physical punishment of children has been glorified for years.
As the Times illustrates — “Preaching Virtue of Spanking, Even as Deaths Fuel Debate” — the books of Michael Pearl and his wife Debi have been found in the homes where several children were killed.
They’re not the only right-wing Christians who advocate these methods. Some of the most respected evangelical discipline gurus have made beating children not just “respectable” in conservative religious circles, but even turned it into a godly activity.
In 1977 James Dobson founder of the “Focus on the Family” religious empire and radio program, wrote a book called Dare To Discipline, whose purpose was, essentially, to get parents
to beat their children.
In his book Dobson glorified a sadomasochistic/spiritual ritual of “discipline.” He said he wanted to stop a “liberal” trend in America that was moving away from the godly thrashing of infants.
He wanted to help “restore” America to God and the good old days of child hitting. This fit in well with the notion of God as retribution-in-chief that evangelicals endorse.
Dobson isn’t alone. There’s also the work of evangelical “family values” guru Bill Gothard, with a following of millions.
As reported by the C inc
innati Beacon, Matthew Murray, the young shooter who killed a bunch of churchgoers in 2007, had been raised according to the teachings of evangelist Bill Gothard.