Breaking Tradition Instead of Breaking Bones

Dallas--A Dallas woman who kicked and beat her 2-year-old daughter and superglued her hands to a wall of their apartment recently received a 99-year prison sentence. This one thing prompted me to post the following:


Raising Children: Abuse

(Excerpt from the 80% Solution by Donald R Barbera)

"A disturbing fact continues to surface in sex abuse research. The first best predictor of abuse is alcohol or drug addiction in the father. But the second best predictor is conservative religiosity, accompanied by parental belief in traditional male-female roles. This means that if you want to know which children are most likely to be sexually abused by their father, the second most significant clue is whether or not the parents belong to a conservative religious group with traditional role beliefs and rigid sexual attitudes.”[1]

In the Community

When it comes to child discipline, the black community is a strong believer in corporal punishment as a method of child control. In most cases, it is a case of methods passed along by previous generations. The same scenario plays out in the Latino community where physical punishment often surfaces as the proper way to discipline a child. There are many in the country that objects to this type of discipline, but there are just as many that agree with it.

As mentioned, much of corporal punishment is communities around the country is driven by tradition, lack of knowledge and religion. Most are familiar with the Bible verse stating that, “He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes."[2] Unfortunately, many that “chasteneth” their child often do irreparable harm to their children and in some cases cripple or kill them.

Abuse Epidemic

Expectations of Christians are a bit higher than the rest of society because of their supposed connection to God, the Bible and other religious standards that allegedly set them apart from the remaining 24% of society. Yet, each year nearly 900,000 children around the nation are victims of abuse or neglect in good Christian homes, according to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.[3] Statistics shows 12 of every 1,000 children are victims of abuse or neglect.

Information collected by the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System, show that child protective service agencies received almost 5.8 million reports of possible abuse.[4] More than 1,700 children died of abuse or neglect in 2007, a rate of 2.35 children per 100,000.[5] Despite such startling statistics, the significance of religion’s role in abuse escapes scrutiny. Religious beliefs can foster, encourage, and justify child abuse; yet religious motivations for child abuse and neglect go virtually ignored in social science research.[6] Each year more than 2 million children are beaten by a family member.[7]

A 2007 economic impact study estimates the yearly cost associated with abused and neglected children to be nearly $104 billion.[8]

Child Abuse

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—as "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.

Dobson is mild compared to the popular evangelical authors Michael and Debi Pearl. In their book To Train Up a Child (1994) they advocate beating babies. In the book they recommend “switching” a 7-month-old on the bare bottom or leg seven to eight times as a punishment for getting angry. If the baby is still angry, they urge parents t o repeat the punishment until the child gives in to the pain. The "switch” they recommend for an under 1-year-old is from a willow tree and/or a 12-inch ruler.

In the Pearls' case, actual criminal complaints have been brought against some parents who have killed their children and who have been following the "methods" in To Train Up a Child. This book can be nevertheless be found in thousands of "respectable" evangelical bookstores.

A California couple has been charged with murder and torture after their discipline methods caused the death of one of their children and critical injuries for another. Kevin and Elizabeth Schatz of Paradise, California, are accused of murdering their 7-year-old adopted daughter during a "discipline session." The couple is also charged with the torture of their 11year-old adopted daughter and cruelty to a child for signs of bruising discovered on their 10-year-old biological son.

The parents allegedly used a 1 -inch length of plastic tubing used for plumbing to beat the children, a practice recommended in the book "To Train Up a Child" by Michael and Debi Pearl of "No Greater Joy Ministries." The same plumbing supply tools were linked to a North Carolina child's death in 2006, when a devotee of the Pearls accidentally killed her -year-old son by suffocating him in tightly wrapped blankets.[9]

Enter the Bible

As demonstrated in the previous chapter on intimate partner abuse and domestic violence, the connection between religion and child abuse frequently stems from a literal and fundamental approach to ancient scriptures.[10] The Bible contains many verses that, if taken literally, support severe physical punishment of children, such as:

Proverbs 23:13-14: "Withhold no correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell."

Proverbs 20:30: "The blueness of a wound cleanseth away evil: so do stripes the inward parts of the belly." Moreover, Proverbs 13:24 seems to advise a quick resort to such punishments: "He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes."[11]

Many fundamentalists advocating corporal punishment read Proverbs as a literal injunction to hit children with implements. These verses often lead to excessive use of force resulting in severe injuries and even death for children on the receiving end of such punishment. Too often Biblical literalist reject advice from secular parenting books because the Bible has the correct advice on all matters leading to religion playing a significant role in cases of child abuse as literal beliefs foster, encourage and even justify child abuse.[12] The Bible even promotes the stoning death of disobedient child in Deuteronomy 21.

James Dobson just has to be responsible for many psychopaths in America[13]

Dr. Dobsons advice books have sold millions of copies and even though his prescriptions have been refuted over and over, he contines to reap millions of dollars from sales of his books. This can only be occurring because his buyers are Idiot Americans who have been raised by other Idiot Americans to follow dogma and superstition and avoid reason at all costs.

Advice of violence-prevention professionals compared to advice of James Dobson

A critical look at the evangelical right’s leading proponent of violent authoritarianism in the family, Dr. James Dobson, through quotes from his best-selling publications. In the following material, Dobson’s admonitions (shown here in green when viewed with Netscape) are juxtaposed for easy comparison to the advice of experts in the fields of domestic violence and child-sexual-abuse prevention. (shown in italics for this post)

Psychologists Ronald Slaby and Wendy Roedell: “(O)ne of the most reliable predictors of children’s level of aggression is the heavy use by parents of harsh, punitive discipline and physical punishment… Parental punitiveness has been found to be positively correlated with children’s aggression in over 25 studies…(P)arental punishment is one important aspect of a general pattern of intercorrelated parental behaviors that influence the child’s aggression.”[14]

James Dobson: “Contrary to what it might seem, (a child) is more likely to be a violent person if his parent fails to (spank him), because he learns too late about the painful consequences of acting selfishly, rebelliously, and aggressively.”[15]

Protect Your Child by Laura Hutton: “Every child should be taught that he has personal rights that should be respected by all adults…’I have the right to say no if someone touches or wants to touch the private parts of my body.’ ”[16]

James Dobson: “A spanking is to be reserved for use in response to willful defiance, whenever it occurs. Period!”[17]

Victims Information Bureau of Suffolk County: “The pain a woman feels cannot be measured by how many bruises she has on her body… Most women report that even if the physical abuse is not severe, the emotional trauma from being abused by someone they love has long-lasting effects.”[18]

James Dobson: “When a youngster tries this kind of stiff-necked rebellion, you had better take it out of him, and pain is a marvelous purifier.”[19] “…It is not necessary to beat the child into submission; a little bit of pain goes a long way for a young child. However, the spanking should be of sufficient magnitude to cause the child to cry genuinely.”[20]

Victims Information Bureau of Suffolk County: “Many men make statements such as, ‘My partner makes me hit her.’ Blaming the victim is an easy way of denying responsibility for your own behavior…. No matter what your partner does, you don’t have the right to hurt her.”[21]

James Dobson: “Some strong-willed children absolutely demand to be spanked, and their wishes should be granted.”[22]

Protect Your Child: ” I have a right to scream for help even if I am told by a molester to be quiet and obey….l don’t have to obey someone who hurts me or wants to hurt me.”[23]

James Dobson: “Two or three stinging strokes on the legs or buttocks with a switch are usually sufficient to emphasize the point, ‘You must obey me.’ ”[24]

Suffolk County Women’s Services: “You cannot end the violence by trying to be ‘better’ or by trying harder to please your abuser.”[25]

James Dobson: “You can explain (to your child) why he has been punished and how he can avoid the difficulty next time.”[26]

The Safe Child Book by Sherryl Kerns Kraizer: “We need to look at the ways in which we teach our children to be blindly obedient to adults and authority figures. Most children do not know they can say no to a police officer, a teacher, a principal, a counselor, a minister, a baby-sitter, or a parent when an inappropriate request is made.”[27]

James Dobson: “By learning to yield to the loving authority…of his parents, a child learns to submit to other forms of authority which will confront him later in his life — his teachers, school principal, police, neighbors and employers.”[28]

Suffolk County Women’s Services: “You have a right to a life free from abuse.”[29]

James Dobson: “Most (children) need to be spanked now and then.”[30]

The Safe Child Book: “Young children tell me that some of the ways they don’t like to be touched are: kisses on the mouth, getting their shirts tucked in by grown-ups, being picked up, having their hair stroked, having to kiss Grandma and Grandpa or Mom and Dad’s friends…They can be unwanted touch, just as sexual abuse is unwanted touch… It is important to respect children’s preferences. By learning to say no to one type of touching, children learn to say no to the other.”[31]

James Dobson: “Minor pain can…provide excellent motivation for the child… There is a muscle, lying snugly against the base of the neck… When firmly squeezed, it sends little messengers to the brain saying, ‘This hurts; avoid recurrence at all costs’.”[32]

Victims Information Bureau of Suffolk County: “Men who abuse do so in order to maintain power and control over their partners.”[33]

James Dobson: “A child wants to be controlled.”[34] “… The need to be controlled and governed is almost universal in childhood… It is through loving control that parents express personal worth to a child.”[35]

The Safe Child Book: “Private parts include the genital area, the buttocks, and the breasts. It is sometimes easier for parents to say something like ‘The parts of your body that your bathing suit and underwear cover up are special parts of your body. You can touch yourself there, but other people shouldn’t. except if you’re sick or at the doctor. Those same parts of the body are special for other people and it’s not okay for someone older than you to touch you…’ ”[36]

James Dobson: “If a parent responds appropriately, on the backside, he has taught the child a valuable lesson…”[37]

Victims Information Bureau of Suffolk County: If your partner has to change her behavior in order to keep herself free from your physical or verbal assaults… then she is being abused.”[38]

James Dobson: “Corporal punishment in the hands of a loving parent is a teaching tool by which harmful behavior is inhibited.”[39]

Child Sexual Abuse Prevention: Tips to Parents: “Children who may be too frightened to talk about sexual molestation may exhibit a variety of physical and behavioral signals. …Symptoms (include):..excessive crying…”[40]

James Dobson: “Real crying usually lasts two minutes or less, but may continue for five. After that point, the child is merely complaining… I would require him to stop the protest crying, usually by offering him a little more of whatever caused the original tears.”[41]

Victims Information Bureau of Suffolk County: “Batterers over-personalize their partner’s behavior, perceiving any disagreements as attacks against him.”[42]

James Dobson: “When a child has lowered his head and clenched his fist, he is daring the parent to take him on.”[43]

Child Sexual Abuse Prevention: Tips to Parents: “Other behavioral signals (that indicate a child may have been sexually molested include)…aggressive or disruptive behavior…”[44]

James Dobson: “An appropriate spanking from a loving parent in a moment of defiance provides (a) service. It tells (the child)…he must steer clear of certain social traps… selfishness, dishonesty, unprovoked aggression, etc.”[45]

Victims Information Bureau of Suffolk County: “When trying to resolve a conflict, look for ‘WINWIN’ solutions, where both of you feel that the resolution is acceptable. Don’t make your partner into your opponent. Remember that the goal is to solve a problem, not have the ‘upper hand’.”[46]

James Dobson: “When you are defiantly challenged, win decisively.”[47],[48]

What the Research Says

A study sponsored by the University of Texas, found that those who believe the Bible inerrant are more likely to spank or slap their toddlers and preschool children—almost 50 times more a year than other parents. The same study also revealed that fundamentalists are 50% more likely to spank or slap their grade school children.[49] As far back as the 1970s, researchers recognized the problem and named religious affiliation as the best indicator of whether parents will apply corporal punishment.[50]

An article in the American Sociological Review said, “A Baptist membership is a strong predictor of the use of corporal punishment, better than age, race, ethnicity, gender, economic status or any other sociological factor.”[51]  Researchers at Texas Tech University said, “We propose that authoritarian and patriarchal norms emerging from a fundamentalist faith ultimately makes violence more likely.”[52] Religion is often a significant factor in child-abuse cases. The connection between religion and child abuse frequently stems from a literalistic, fundamentalist approach to ancient scriptures.[53]

A 2008 paper published in the Southern Medical Journal concludes that conservative Protestants, particularly those who believe in biblical literalism or inerrancy, spank and/or physically abuse their children more than other Christian denominations.[54]

Original Sin and Abuse

Several scholars indicate that conservative Protestants’ approval of corporal punishment comes from their beliefs the Bible is inerrant and has the answers to all human concerns. One belief of particular unease is the concept that all children enter the world with original sin, a stain on the soul because of the sin of Adam and Eve breaking God’s law in the Garden of Eden. In her book, Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment, “As far as children are concerned, viewing all humankind as inherently sinful is one of the worst ideas to come along since Abraham and Isaac set off for Mount Moriah.[55] Under God’s punishment, the sins of the father transfer directly on the descendants of the infamous couple.

Their determination the Bible is the literal, absolute word of God often leads to authoritarian relationships and with disastrous results. They fear that sensuality and libertarianism in popular culture threaten their ability to pass on religious values to their children. They do not see the government as supporting their parenting ideals, but rather as interfering with them. They believe that babies born to sin and naturally inclined to rebel against God and their parents. Reflecting the divine order, men should be in control of their wives and children.[56]

In researching Religion-related Child Physical Abuse, Bette Bottoms, found abuse statistics about child abuse in fringe Christian cults. Although the numbers contain a mixture of extremes, it is informative to consider a profile of their cases. In particular, 43% of the cases involved fundamentalist or fringe Christian religions, 38% involved other Protestants, and 16% involved Catholics. In 85% of the cases, the abuse came at the hands of the parents. On average, victims of abuse ranged between the ages of 5 and 11 years of age.[57] Unfortunately, only now are researchers uncovering the damage done by such treatment with a major concern being the affect it has on a child’s intelligence.

Negative Affects

A recent study involving hundreds of U.S. children, showed the more spanking a child received, the lower his or her IQ compared with others.[58] Researchers tested the kids' IQs initially and then four years later. Both groups of kids got smarter after four years, but spanked 2- to 4-year-olds scored 5 points lower on the IQ test than those not spanked.[59] If nothing else, the new study suggests that corporal punishment may have a lasting effect that is not beneficial to children. The survey studied more than 30 countries comparing sites where corporal punishment was rare to those where it was an accepted way of life and researchers found the same results in IQ difference. The study also found that corporal punishment in the United States is most common among African-American families, Southern families, parents spanked as children themselves and those who identify themselves as conservative Christians.[60] Most of the approximately twenty states that have laws permitting corporal punishment in schools are in the southern United States, an area commonly called the Bible Belt. [61]

Overly aggressive children may have its roots in spankings, according to a study led by Tulane University’s Catherine Taylor. Among the mothers studied, nearly half (45.6%) reported no spanking in the previous month, 27.9% reported spanking once or twice and 26.5% reported spanking more than twice. Compared with unspanked children, those who spanked were more likely to be defiant, demand immediate satisfaction of their wants and needs, frustrated easily, have temper tantrums, and lash out physically against others.[62]

Researchers said the reason for such behavior might be that spanking instills fear rather than understanding. Even if a child were to stop his screaming tantrum when spanked, that does not mean he understands why he should not act up in the first place. In addition, spanking models aggressive behavior as a solution to problems.[63]

Religious overtones add an additional layer of complexity and harm to child abuse experiences. Victims of religion-related abuse must deal with the trauma associated not only with parental betrayal but also perhaps the additional despair related to perceived betrayal by God. [64]Family values is a large part of the Christian mantra, but a large study of the Christian Reformed Church, a member of the NAE, discovered that the frequency of physical and sexual abuse in this evangelical denomination was about the same as in the general population.[65]

The Rap Sheet

Fugitive Preacher Arrested—Philadelphia—A missing West Philadelphia pastor who was wanted for questioning in the beating death of a 4-year-old boy who died while in the pastor’s custody has been found in Georgia, Montgomery County officials announced. The Reverend Dr. Javan McBurrows was arrested near Decatur, Ga., and charged with being a fugitive, said prison officials in DeKalb County, Ga. Reverend McBurrows has since been charged in Pennsylvania with endangering the welfare of children and recklessly endangering another person.[66]

Pastor: I was Asleep During Boy’s Fatal Beating—Philadelphia—Share

A Philadelphia pastor accused of beating a 4-year-old boy to death used a Rip Van Winkle defense at his murder trial: he swore he had slept through the whole thing. In the nonjury trial’s final day, Rev. Javan McBurrows, 52, former pastor of Third Christian Church in Overbrook, told Montgomery County Judge William J. Furber Jr. that he had been napping in the bedroom, 10 feet away from the bathroom where Michael Davis, a parishioner’s child placed in his care, was fatally beaten. Jane McBurrows described seeing her husband repeatedly beat Michael with a metal-edged carpenter’s level. She said her husband also had clapped his hands together hard three times on either side of the little boy’s head. He died hours later at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Dr. Ian Hood, a Philadelphia medical examiner who did the autopsy, said injuries to the boy’s brain alone could have caused death. He said that repeated beating of Michael’s arms, legs, back, and buttocks had traumatized the child’s soft tissue and crushed his fat into what Hood described as bloody peanut butter.[67]

Clergyman Convicted of Boy's Murder—Philadelphia—Five years after beating a small boy to death with a metal-edged carpenter's level, the Rev. Javan McBurrows was convicted of third-degree murder. Montgomery County Court Judge William J. Furber Jr. cleared McBurrows, 52, of the more serious charge of first-degree murder, for which he could have faced the death penalty. Third-degree murder carries a penalty of 20 to 40 years. McBurrows is to be sentenced within 90 days. Deputy District Attorney Christopher Maloney said he was satisfied with the verdict.[68]

"Diabolical and Truly Wicked" Minster Sentenced in Death of Child—Norristown, PA—County Court Judge William Furber called the Rev. Javan M. McBurrows "diabolical and truly wicked" in sentencing him to 20 to 40 years in prison for the murder of 4-year-old Michael Davis. McBurrows beat the 3 feet, 7 inches tall, 52 pound, Michael Davis to death with a metal masonry level, the district attorney said. After sentencing, Judge Furber admonished McBurrows saying, “I believe you are cruel and cunning," adding. "I believe, with the facade portrayed by a man of the cloth, you are extremely dangerous." [69]

According to police, McBurrows beat Michael Davis across the back of his legs as many as 10 times with a two-foot metal mason's level, and then forced the child to march the length of the family's squalid suburban home until he dropped. McBurrows and his wife, Jane, took the boy to the hospital, telling doctors he had fallen in the bathtub. The family then fled to Georgia with seven children, five of their own and Michael's two siblings. Georgia authorities picked up the couple after police received a tip from one of Mrs. McBurrows' relatives.[70]

Before McBurrows was apprehended, the 4-year-old died shortly after doctors transferred him to another hospital. An autopsy showed Michael had suffered a sustained beating, possibly with a blunt object. The cause of death was listed as blunt force trauma to the head, chest, back and buttocks. Investigators said McBurrows swung the metal-edged level “like a baseball bat.” [71]

Mrs. McBurrows originally backed her husband's story but recanted two days after his arrest, saying she had not been truthful because she feared retribution from her husband and she was uncomfortable talking in front of his attorney, Harry Rubin. Rubin represented her husband when he was charged with beating her in 1992 and 1995. [72] Jane McBurrows testified she never resisted his attempt to flee the state or his plan to ditch the masonry level, nor did she report any of his other beatings, because she was afraid he would kill her. He threatened to "hunt me down like a dog" if she left him, she testified. Mrs. McBurrows has not been charged with any crime. In 1992, Mrs. McBurrows alleged her husband attacked her in Philadelphia with a baseball bat and broke her wrist and ankle. The charges were dropped, however, because she had left the area and was not available to testify. He was convicted of assaulting her again in 1995 and was sentenced to probation.[73]

The judge also sentenced McBurrows to 30 to 60 months, to be served after the longer term, on a conviction of endangering the welfare of other children in the home, including the boy's two sisters and five of the defendant's own children. Prosecutors said McBurrows routinely beat the children. Authorities said the boy, who had been left in the McBurrows' care by a destitute parishioner.[74]

Before McBurrows was charged with beating to death a 4-year-old boy, he had been found guilty of two counts of cruelty to animals for mistreating two dogs and convicted of choking his wife, who testified that McBurrows had beaten all eight children living in their house. While McBurrows acted like the "shepherd of a flock" in public, he was "the devil's minister in private," the judge said. "It had to be a living nightmare for these children to endure this sadistic behavior," said Furber, citing testimony that McBurrows beat the children with cord, leather belts, PVC piping, a two-by-four board and, in the case of Davis' death, a metal-edged carpenter's level at a home. The judge said McBurrows turned into a "house of terror."[75]

Pastor Charged with Neglect—Gary—Carlton Franklin Davis, the former pastor of New Hope Missionary Baptist Church in Gary, Indiana, was charged with "neglect after a son he fathered with a parishioner was hospitalized with burns across his lower body," reported the Indianapolis Star. "Samuel Kendrick [the baby] arrived at Community Hospital in Munster on with deep burns across his legs, feet, groin, and buttocks, apparently after having been immersed in very hot water, according to court records." Davis had been fired by the New Hope church board in September "after the baby's mother went public with allegations that he had fathered her child. It was the second time the married pastor had been publicly confronted with impregnating a parishioner. In 2002, a woman told church members during a Sunday service that Davis had impregnated her 16-year-old daughter."[76]

South Georgia Preacher arrested for child cruelty—Albany, GA—An Albany minister and the mother of a two-year-old boy are accused of scalding the child in a bathtub. Police charged both with first-degree child cruelty. 26-year old Justice McClendon, a traveling minister who preaches in South Georgia churches and 21-year old Christy Davis of Geneva, Alabama. The child's grandparents in Early County reported the injuries.[77]

We now have a clearer understanding of what we have accomplished and what more needs to be done to strengthen both our child protection programs and our outreach to those who have been harmed as a result of clergy sexual abuse.” —Cardinal O’Malley

[1] Brown and Bohn, 1989; Finkelhor, 1986; Fortune, 1983; Goldstein et al, 1973; Van Leeuwen, 1990. (emphasis in original)

[2] Fundamentalist Fervor Increases Child Abuse, The Columbus Dispatch,

[3] US Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families,

[4] HHS Releases 2002 National Statistics on Child Abuse and Neglect, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services,, April 1, 2004,

[5] Child Maltreatment 2007: Summary of Key Findings, How many children died from abuse or neglect?, April, 2009,

[6] In the Name of God: A Profile of Religion-Related Child Abuse, Bette L. Bottoms, Phillip R. Shaver, Gail S. Goodman and Jianjian Qin, Journal of Social Issues, Vol. 51, No. 2, 1995, pp. 85-111

[7] Battered Women's Shelter, Peace Begins at Home, Battered Women's Statistics for the United States,

[8] Ching-Tung Wang and John Holton, “The Total Estimated Cost of Child Abuse and Neglect in the United States,” Prevent Child Abuse America, September 2007,

[9] Schaeffer, Frank, Beating Babies in the Name of Jesus? The Shady World of Right-Wing 'Discipline' Guides, Alternet, November 8, 2011,

[11] Fundamentalist Fervor Increases Child Abuse, The Columbus Dispatch,

[12] In the Name of God: A Profile of Religion-Related Child Abuse, Bette L. Bottoms, Phillip R. Shaver, Gail S. Goodman, and Jianjian Qin,

[13] Collins, Richard, James Dobson just has to be responsible for many psychopaths in America, End Hereditary Religion.Com, October 22, 2009,

[14] Roedell and Slaby, “The Development and Regulation of Aggression in Young Children,” in Judith Worell, ed., Psychological Development in the Elementary Years (New York: Academic Press, 1982), pp. 98, 106, 107.

[15] Dobson, James, Dare to Discipline, Tyndale House and Bantam Books, p. 41.

[16] Huchton, Laura M., Protect Your Child, Prentice-Hall, Inc., p. 71.

[17] Dobson, James, The Strong-Willed Child, Tyndale House and Bantam Books, p. 37.

[18] Domestic Partner Education Program, Victims’ Information Education Bureau of Suffolk, p. 10

[19] Dare to Discipline, p. 16.

[20] Dare to Discipline, p. 23.

[21] Domestic Partner Education Program, p. 7.

[22] The Strong-Willed Child, p. 73.

[23] Protect Your Child, p. 71.

[24] The Strong-Willed Child, pp. 53-4.

[25] Confronting Family Violence, Suffolk County Women’s Services, p. 3.

[26] Dare to Discipline, p. 23.

[27] Krazier, Sherryl Kerns, The Safe Child Book, Dell Publishing Company, lnc., p. 98.

[28] The Strong-Willed Child, p. 235.

[29] Confronting Family Violence p. 3.

[30] The Strong-Willed Child, p. 63.

[31] The Safe Child Book, p. 47.

[32] Dare to Discipline, p. 26.

[33] Domestic Partner Education Program, p. 4.

[34] Dare to Discipline, p. 16.

[35] Dare to Discipline, p. 39.

[36] The Safe Child Book, p. 48.

[37] Dare to Discipline, p. 40

[38] Domestic Partner Education Program, p. 5

[39] The Strong-Willed Child, p.35.

[40] Child Sexual Abuse Prevention: Tips to Parents, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Human Development Services, Administration for Children, Youth and Families, National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect.

[41] Dare to Discipline, p.38.

[42] Domestic Partner Education Program, p. 9.

[43] Dare to Discipline, p. 40.

[44] Child Sexual Abuse Prevention: Tips to Parents

[45] The Strong-Willed Child, p. 36.

[46] Domestic Partner Education Program, p. 17.

[47] Dare to Discipline, p. 36.

[48] See Eric Perlin vs. Stephen B.

[50] Southern Baptist Scholar Links Spouse Abuse to Wives' Refusal to Submit to Their Husbands, Bob Allen,, June 27, 2008,

[51] Southern Baptist Scholar Links Spouse Abuse to Wives' Refusal to Submit to Their Husbands, Bob Allen,, June 27, 2008,

[52] Jerome R. Koch and Ignacio Luis Ramirez, Religiosity, Christian Fundamentalism, and Intimate Partner Violence, Pg 3-7

[54] Rebecca Socolar, Elaine Cabinum-Foeller and Sara Sinal,  “Is Religiosity Associated with Corporal Punishment or Child Abuse?” Southern Medical Journal 101 no. 7 (July 2008): 707,

[55] Janet Heimlich, Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment, Prometheus Books, 2011, pg. 99

[56] Religious Attitudes on Corporal Punishment, Rita Swan, CHILD, Inc.,

[57] Religion-related Child Physical Abuse: Characteristics and Psychological Outcomes, Bette L. Bottoms, Michael Nielsen, Rebecca Murray, and Henrietta Filipas, Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment, and Trauma, June, 2003

[58] Physical Punishment Slows Kids' Intellectual Growth, Researcher Says, MSNBC,, September 25, 2009,

[59] Physical Punishment Slows Kids' Intellectual Growth, Researcher Says, MSNBC,, September 25, 2009,

[60] Why Kids Who Get Spanked Have Lower IQs, John Cloud, Time Magazine, September 26, 2009,

[61] Center for Effective Discipline, “U.S. : Corporal Punishment and Paddling Statistics by State and Race,” Center for Effective Discipline,

[62] Study Shows Strongest Evidence yet that Spanking Kids does more Harm than Good, Alice Park, TIME , April 12, 2010,,8599,1981019,00.html

[63] Study Shows Strongest Evidence yet that Spanking Kids does more Harm than Good, Alice Park, TIME , April 12, 2010,,8599,1981019,00.html

[64] Religion-related Child Physical Abuse: Characteristics and Psychological Outcomes, Bette L. Bottoms, Michael Nielsen, Rebecca Murray, and Henrietta Filipas, Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment, and Trauma, June, 2003

[65] The Evangelical Scandal, Stan Guthrie, Christianity Today Magazine, 4/13/2005

[66] Fugitive preacher arrested, Nate House, Tribune Staff January 12, 1999,

[67] Pastor: I was asleep during boy’s fatal beating,  Dan Geringer, Philadelphia Daily News, May 5, 2004,|DN|&p_product=PHNP&p_theme=phnp&p_action=search&p_maxdocs=200&s_trackval=PHNP&s_dispstring=Javan%20McBurrows%20AND%20date(all)&p_field_advanced-0=&p_text_advanced-0=(Javan%20McBurrows)&xcal_numdocs=20&p_perpage=10&p_sort=YMD_date:D&xcal_useweights=no

[68] Clergyman convicted of boy's murder, Larry Fish, Philadelphia INQUIRER, May 8, 2004,


[70] Reverend sentenced to 22 1/2 to 45 years in prison , Margaret Gibbons, Times Herald, August 28, 2004, site/news.cfm?newsid= 12799664&BRD=1672 &PAG=461&dept_id= 33380&rfi=6

[71] Clergy Child Molesters, References/Chronology,

[72] Fugitive preacher arrested, Nate House, Tribune, 2/5/2008

[73] Information for Prosecutors, Judges and Law-Enforcement Officers, Animal Abuse &Human Abuse:http://Petaliterature.Com/Wel143.Pdf

[74] Reuters 1/15/99,

[75] Pastor sentenced in beating death of boy, 4, Philadelphia Daily News,, Associated Press, August. 28, 2004

[76] Pastor Charged with Neglect, The Indianapolis Star, August 28, 2005,

[77] South Georgia Preacher arrested for child cruelty, Mar 19, 2009, Jim Wallace,

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Comment by Luara on April 13, 2014 at 3:11pm

That seems to be a reply to Loren, not me. Anyway -

free will. Is it an illusion? A delusional pipe dream? Can experience override a genetic reality if there is such a thing or will a genetically connected killer always be a killer?

The philosophical question of free will isn't connected to questions about the genetics of behavior, etc. - because people make choices anyway, regardless of whether one considers those choices "free" in some sense. 

But the philosophical question of free will IS connected to one's ethics about punishment.  Because if you think that that someone who "makes the wrong choice" is being bad in a transcendent way, like they could have chosen otherwise - that can justify hurting them for it. 

They probably justified burning witches that way. 

Comment by Donald R Barbera on April 13, 2014 at 2:51pm
Luara--I don't know where they are headed. I know they've found markers in serial killers, schizophrenics and others during brain scans, but they've found nothing genetically speaking. Interesting, you hit upon an interesting topic that is worthy of discussion and that is the concept of free will. Is it an illusion? A delusional pipe dream? Can experience override a genetic reality if there is such a thing or will a genetically connected killer always be a killer? Sam Harris believes we have no free will and many agree with him. Are child abusers hard wired for such behavior.
Comment by Donald R Barbera on April 13, 2014 at 2:34pm
Michael--I'm in agreement. I call that getting their attention. However, I am against lip whippings to a certain extent. Make your point and move on before exasperation sets in because I eventually learned to tune hot and filter. I learned filtering so I could say yes or no at the proper times. However, I had no defense against restrictions, which included anything I liked doing. Anything! Agh! Today, the list is extensive. We didn't have cell phones, televisions, computers, handheld games, Internet, cars, etc. If we got "to big for our britches" we were invited to leave--for good. In fact, that was standard policy in our neighborhood. You consider yourself grown, then it was time for you to leave. It meant you were literally on your own. Relatives that tried to intervene could wreck family relations if they didn't tread lightly.
Comment by Donald R Barbera on April 13, 2014 at 2:14pm
Actually, I look back on those days as humorous because of how little they accomplished. However, they provided great entertainment. We used to run across the street when the Bradley boys got in trouble. We'd look in the window (which weren't supposed to do) and laugh. Of course, it wasn't funny when the tables were turned. On the other hand, I knew if no one who receive stings or were slapped. Either was a no-no. It could draw a crowd of protective adults to that person's. I mention this only to say abuse of children was not tolerated. Being swatted or spa ked on the ass was regular discipline. And, as I said it was considered humorous and I effective. My reason writing about was to spotlight the serious abuse generated by Bible beaters who take the Bible seriously when it comes to corporal punishment. I think if I had received that kind of mistreatment I'd be in jail because I think I might have done what the Nazi kid did to his father.
Comment by Luara on April 13, 2014 at 12:39pm


Reason I asked about your family, is that there seemed to be personal anger in your long initial post. 

One reason people become abusers is that sometimes an abused child copes by becoming abusive or violent themselves. 

When a child is the favorite of an abusive parent, they are liable to turn on other children who are being more abused.  This gives them a feeling of power and safety - which they need because abusive parents are traumatic to live with, even for their favorite child.  Also, the favorite child is more likely to identify with the abusive parent.  So they imitate how the abusive parent acts. 

Comment by Michael Penn on April 13, 2014 at 11:11am

While I cannot say I am against swats, I can say very much of this is horrible. The little girl pictured here is dead from beatings. What the hell is wrong with people? You super glue a child's hands to the wall. Let me drive a nail through yours. You knock a child around and break thier bones. This makes me so angry that I want to break your bones, and I do not know any of the children. You pick a child up by one arm. You are a moron.

When children are beaten, fractured, broken, and even killed in this manner it is a shame that the abuser does not recieve the same exact punishment--even if it kills them!

Comment by Donald R Barbera on April 13, 2014 at 10:50am

It is hard to believe some of the horrible thing people do to children. The ones that are especially appalling happen to infants. What could an infant possible do to deserve such a fate? That said, let me list a few horrible things that happened in Dallas. Scalding--three month-old, beaten with a wrench--4 months old, put in a refrigerator--two-months-old, acid--two-year-old, beaten to death--multiple ages up to five, burned with cigarettes and lighters, strangled, crushed bones and worse if you can imagine it. Obviously, people that do these kind of things are less than rabid dogs, but even worse are the mothers who stand by while their live-in boyfriends abuse their children.

Comment by Donald R Barbera on April 13, 2014 at 10:41am

Luara--I grew up in family that didn't believe in sparing the rod. Interestingly, I think my parents figured out that it contributed to a great deal of lying and play-acting. If we knew we were going to be punished, we came up with lies only a religionist could believe. It worked--sometimes. When the fear wore off, we resorted to play-acting. We were good! I mean falling on the floor, screaming things like, "you're killing me" or "I won''t do it any more," all the while winking at my brother who was smiling. He knew the deal. However, my parents figured and in their own diabolical way made me wish for an old-fashioned butt whipping. They came up with the lip-whipping. Holy mackerel! To sit and listen to what I had done wrong, how I needed to improve my behavior, etc without heavy sighing or rolling my eyes was torture. To add insult to injury, restrictions and grounding made me almost beg for a whipping. Please. To listen to your parents drone on and on made me wish for the good old days of corporal punishment.  I must mention that when I was five and under the most I got were swats on the ass.

Comment by Loren Miller on April 13, 2014 at 10:41am

I guess the question at this point, Donald, is what gives rise to those indicators?  If not a single gene, then a combination or different combinations which correlates to the same result?  In an age of computers, we may one day trace that down, but in the meantime, we have a clear cause-and-effect in evidence regarding how children are treated and what results from that treatment.

We'd be fools not to act on that.

Comment by Donald R Barbera on April 13, 2014 at 10:25am

There are many things that need to be taken off the resuscitator, but I tend to stick with with limiting a known evil than opening the door for a new one. On the other hand, religion seems to be doing a great job of shooting itself in the head.



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