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Beating Babies in the Name of Jesus? The Shady World of Right-Wing 'Discipline' Guides

There is a brutal movement in America that legitimizes child abuse in the name of God.

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And it is not just individuals who are abused. Whole "Christian" organizations are involved. According to a report by Channel 13 WTHR Indianapolis (and many other media sources over the years),

"At first glance, the Bill Gothard-founded and run Indianapolis Training Center looks like an ordinary conference hotel. But some say there are dark secrets inside. "They're not here to play," Mark Cavanaugh, an ITC staffer tells a mother on hidden-camera video. 'They're here because they've been disobedient, they've been disrespectful.'"

He's talking about young offenders who are sent to the center by the Marion County Juvenile Court. Critics of the program here, however, have another view. "This is sort of a shadow world where these kids almost disappear," said John Krull, executive director of the Indiana Civil Liberties Union. The pitch for the centers says that they were founded by Gothard because: "At the age of 15, Bill Gothard noticed some of his high school classmates making unwise decisions. Realizing that they would have to live with the consequences of these decisions, he was motivated to dedicate his life to helping young people make wise choices."

The WTHR report goes on to detail how they help these young people make "wise choices":

"But Eyewitness News has learned of disturbing allegations about the center, including routine corporal punishment -- sometimes without parental consent -- and solitary confinement that can last for months.

And just last week, Child Protective Services began investigating the center. That investigation involves Teresa Landis, whose 10-year-old daughter spent nearly a year at the center -- sent there, according to Judge Payne, after she attacked a teacher and a school bus driver. What happened next outrages her family and critics of the ITC. The girl allegedly was confined in a so-called "quiet room" for five days at a time; restrained by teenage "leaders" who would sit on her; and hit her with a wooden paddle 14 times. At least once, the family contends, she was prevented from going to the bathroom and then forced to sit in her own urine."

Dobson, the Pearls and Gothard both have a big followings in Rick Perry's hang-em'-high "Christian" Texas. And Texas is where evangelical leader Gary North is based as he writes and preaches his Reconstructionist/Dominionist theology about applying literal Old Testament law -- including the execution of "incorrigible youths" -- as mandated by the Bible. So even Dobson is "mild" by comparison to the Reconstructionists who did so much to influence the far-right "Christian" politics -- the likes of Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry.

Here is how evangelical "man of God" Dobson describes how to beat a child using his own life as a guide. He writes in  The New Dare To Discipline:

"The day I learned the importance of staying out of reach shines like a neon light in my mind. I made the costly mistake of sassing her when I was about four feet away. I knew I had crossed the line and wondered what she would do about it. It didn't take long to find out. Mom wheeled around to grab something with which to express her displeasure, and her hand landed on a girdle.

"Those were the days when a girdle was lined with rivets and mysterious panels. She drew back and swung the abominable garment in my direction, and I can still hear it whistling through the air. The intended blow caught me across the chest, followed by a multitude of straps and buckles, wrapping themselves around my midsection. She gave me an entire thrashing with one blow! But from that day forward, I measured my words carefully when addressing my mother. I never spoke disrespectfully to her again, even when she was seventy-five years old." 

 
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