"Suffer," we mean the modern usage,
Here is hell in Fundamentalism, and if there were no other reason, that is, laying aside the damned "traditions of men" that Fundamentalists have added to the Word of God, THIS evil must make Fundamental Christianity obsolete and worthy of destruction.
Do you know a kid being thrashed by pious people in the church house?
The founder of a fundamentalist Christian community near Petersburg, Virginia, was convicted of manslaughter, along with the parents of a 2-year-old boy, after the boy died in 1982 as a result of two hours of paddling that she said was necessary to win a "test of wills" with the child. (News of the Weird, "Weird Clergy")
Ray Wyre, head of the UK young sexual offenders clinic at Gracewell, Birmingham, England, in an interview with "Men and Crime," issue 13, summer 1992: "I've worked with more born-again Christian abusers than any others. A lot of our child killers are evangelical born-again abusers."
Rev. William Einwechter, vice-moderator of the Association of Free Reformed Churches, is convinced that we as a nation are in danger of suffering the penalty of God's wrath unless we begin stoning to death "disobedient children" who are in their "middle teens or older." (Rev. William Einwechter, "Stoning Disobedient Children," Chalcedon Report, Jan. 1998)
Joan Grise, 70 years old and suffering from cancer, is making a valiant effort to have her grandson freed from the clutches of a private religious prison operated in Arcadia, Louisiana by the New Bethany Baptist Church. The boy's father, a member of the authoritarian sect, decided that his son Matthew is "evil" and must literally have sin driven out of him. So, he turned the youngster over to the clutches of Rev. Mack W. Ford, who is notorious for his brutal style of corporal punishment. Ford says that his treatment is designed "to reach the unwanted with the love of God," but even the local Deputy Sheriff of Bievnville Parish, where Ford's compound is located, refers to the place as a "private jail." It looks it too, surrounded by barbed-wire fencing and out of sight from observers.
Sheriff Stewart told the Rocky Mountain News that Ford gets kids "down here and works the heck out of them and spanks the heck out of them and does what he wants to do... " A 1984 report in the New York Times discussed a similar religious compound that Ford was operating in South Carolina. Along with the heavy regimen of corporal punishment and Bible-verse indoctrination, youngsters were divided into levels. At the bottom were boys described as "in bondage."
According to the newspaper reports, they were "marched into fields to work while tied together with rope," and prohibited from even talking or laughing. Above them, the "bonded servants" enjoyed the privilege of conversation, but still were in forced labor. At the top were the "sojourners." South Carolina authorities raided Ford's work camp, and the county prosecutor declared, "Most of the boys were brainwashed, just like Hitler did with kids." At his new compound in Louisiana "Ford repeatedly has rebuffed the attempts of state regulators to inspect the facility," notes The News. "Even the state fire marshal is not allowed on site to assure the safety of the approximately 50 children housed there... "
A raid on his South Carolina compound produced evidence of children being struck with a "rod of correction," and reports that children were confined in cells with ropes and handcuffs, and evidence of physical bruising. (Conrad Goeringer, "Theistwatch Short Shots," AANEWS (American Atheists' News), Nov. 3, 1998)
A police investigation into a Corpus Christi, Texas area Baptist group, the People's Baptist Church, has uncovered allegations of child abuse... Eighteen-year-old Justin Simons told police that a church employee punched him in the chest, and punished him and another young boy by tying their wrists together and forcing them to run through the woods and even dig a 15-foot-deep pit. "When I tried to jump the pit, I fell and sprained both ankles." The People's Baptist Church operates the Rebekah Home for Girls and the Anchor Home for Boys, and carries on a ministry founded by the late evangelist Lester Roloff.
Practices at Roloff's various "homes" and other ministerial operations attracted concern in the past from media and authorities over charges involving abuse, beatings and other forms of "Bible based discipline" which the evangelist unabashedly espoused. Roloff defended his punitive child-control techniques, declaring, "Better a pink bottom than a black soul." Then-Texas State Attorney General John Hill bluntly responded, "I don't mind pink bottoms. What I do object to is black, blue and bloody... " (American Atheists, Inc. "Probe of Abuse Charges at 'Bible Discipline' Home Leads to Bush, Raises Questions of Faith-State Partnership" Web Posted 4/12/00, hppt://www.atheists.org/flash.line/texas2.htm )
Forty years ago at a Catholic orphanage in Dublin run by the "Sisters of Mercy" the children were regularly, ritually beaten with the legs of chairs; in some cases eight-year-old children were whipped with rosary beads. Infants strapped to potties were beaten if they did not give quick results. Children who misbehaved -- or were "bold" -- were trussed up like chickens and hung upside down on high oak doors, so that every time the door opened their heads would bump on the floor... Those who wet their beds were made to carry the stained sheet around all day. Some who threw up the foul food were force-fed and made to eat the vomit...
For hours after school, each child was obliged to turn out 60 rosary beads a day. Working with sharp wire, pliers and beads, they were not allowed to stop, even when the wire bit into their bleeding fingers... Christine Howe was persuaded to let the sisters take care of her baby temporarily when she had to go to the hospital and her husband was working in England. Four days later her husband received a telegram telling of the child's death "from acute dysentery," and also saying he had no need to return, the convent would take care of the funeral arrangements.
The husband insisted on seeing the child prior to burial and discovered bandages on the child's legs; removing them, he found deep holes in the inside of both knees, the kind of wound that could be caused by a hot poker. The nuns admitted it had been an "accidental death" but refused to discuss the details with the parents... Reports of abuse are still coming in from other orphanages in southern Ireland. (Peter Lennon, "The Sisters of Evil," The Guardian Weekly, March 31, 1996 -- a discussion of the documentary, Dear Daughter by Louis Lentin, along with the deluge of corroborating reports that came in after the film was first aired on British TV)
Austin, Texas -- Twenty-three-year-old Joshua Thompson, pastor of the Spanish-language congregation at "independent fundamental" Capitol City Baptist church, and his twin brother and assistant at the church, Caleb Thompson, were convicted in the beating of a Bible student. They used an inch-thick tree branch to beat Louie Guerrero, an 11-year-old boy, for "goofing off" during Bible class because he was not taking preparations for a Scripture recital competition seriously. "The indication that we have is that (the boy) had been accused of cheating in memorizing Bible verses."
Court records allege the beating was to physically "break" the boy for lying. As punishment, Pastor Thompson took the boy from the church school to Caleb's home, snapped a branch off a tree, and beat the boy as Caleb held him facedown on a bed. They turned up the radio to cover the child's cries. The boy told his family the beating lasted about 90 minutes, and he was allowed to take a break in the restroom during the beating. Contra the boy's testimony, Pastor Thomson said "the beating lasted about 10 minutes." The boy and a doctor who treated him said he was hit at least 100 times. Jurors saw graphic photos of the boy's back with red and purple bruises and blood spots from scrapes or puncture wounds. Pastor Thompson and his brother took the boy home, where they met Louie's mother and stepfather and told them we have a "big problem."
The pastor told the boy's stepfather that he was unable to "break" the boy, and that the stepfather should "beat Louie for two more hours" to fix it. "Do it!" Thompson said three times, according to court papers. The pastor added that he would not allow their son to return to church because his bad example might affect the other children. After the pastor and his brother left, Louie's mother and stepfather discovered bruises and small cuts from his neck to his buttocks as a result of the beating. More bruising was found on his arms and the right side of his head. Police said the boy's back was a giant swath of red peppered with cuts and blood spots. The pastor said the boy's parents had given him permission to punish the boy and that he didn't intend to inflict serious injuries. The boy's parents deny telling the pastor that he could hit their child. The boy was admitted to intensive care at Brackenridge Children's Hospital. Broken blood vessels had caused his kidneys to fail. A nurse told investigators that he needed a blood transfusion to live.
The boy spent five days in intensive care after the beating. The boy told police that in the past he had been spanked or forced to maintain a push-up position for an extended period, and that he has seen other children physically disciplined. Others members of the church have called Bobby Taylor, the boy's attorney, alleging abuses, and he advised them to call the police.
Detective Douglas Havens of the child abuse unit said the boy reported seeing a church member spank another child at the church but that the child was not injured. "The indication of the family is that many church members approve of this kind of thing or at least have accepted the religious philosophy behind it." Havens added that the boy's family indicated harsh and severe discipline is often used in the Spanish-speaking segment of the church. Havens said the victim told police he had never before been hit with "the rod" as church members referred to the stick.
Pastor Thompson reportedly testified that at the time of the beating he thought he was doing the right thing, but that since the July 3 incident he has realized that his actions were "totally, totally, totally, totally, totally wrong." "When I lay my head on my pillow at night, I try to forgive myself," Caleb Thompson said. ("Texas Boy Nearly Beaten To Death by Pastor," July 9, 2002 (Reuters); The Houston Chronicle, "Accused Pastor, Brother Surrender, Austin Police Probe Possibility Other Youths Abused in Church," July 10, 2002; The Dallas Morning News, Newspaper, "Pastor, Brother Face Charges in Boys Beating," July 10, 2002; Fox News, "Pastor, Brother Charged With Beating Boy For Cheating In Bible Studies," July 10, 2002; AustinChronicle.com, Dec. 12, 2003: Politics: Naked City; Jim Vertuno, "Brothers Guilty in Beating at Bible Study" Associated Press/Dec. 10, 2003)
My parents often glowed from compliments on how well behaved we were, yet we kids agreed that we only behaved in public because we were terrified of catching hell in private. The rules for spankings changed with nearly every Bill Gothard seminar or other religious gathering my father/parents attended. They'd come home and announce that their three-stroke limit was unbiblical, that the proper way to spank was until the child *STOPPED* crying in demonstration of a surrendered spirit.
Maybe that worked for meek kids, but I had strong lungs. Another time they learned that nightmares were a child's way of punishing her/him-self, so when one of us screamed out at night, Dad would bring the paddle in and "free" us from guilt so we could go back to sleep. Waking up to the sound of a sibling being spanked is traumatic in its own right. Ah, and our father made many wooden paddles in his shop... with a handle cut in and a leather loop for hanging convenience. Our mom inscribed Bible verses on the surface and helped stain and shellac the little numbers. They gave a bunch of them away as presents, but we had plenty left for ourselves. Yet I remain conflicted about spanking.
I *know* it's not a good idea, but any other way of raising kids is still foreign to me. A few years ago I read Irwin Hyman's book, The Case Against Spanking/Discipline Without Hitting, and was astounded that someone actually thought a spanking-free childhood would be okay, even preferable. After reading it I had a discussion with my youngest brother, who was often spanked quite severely, yet who says it's the only way to raise "Godly kids."
"Mom and Dad spanked me so they could get their loving boy back." I'm 18 years older than he is, but not much further ahead of him in coming out of this mess. I still expect to be hit randomly without grounds. The better -- and safer -- my personal situation gets, the more I remember bizarre things like my father's consideration of stoning as an appropriate punishment for my rebellious nature, and his friend who spanked a three-month-old because he "saw rebellion in his son's eyes." Oh, and forced fastings to bring us into contact with the Holy Spirit, but that's another topic.
I still have a lot of nightmares, many of trying to escape from my father when he's coming after me to punish me. Sorry to spew so much personal history here... I have a feeling that others besides P. & R. have experience with this stuff and understand the Biblical twist on narcissistic parenting. I haven't yet found a therapist who can do more than stare at me with mouth gaping if I talk about this stuff. One was so helpful as to remark, "Wow, your family is really messed up." (Naomi at Exitfundyism, a yahoo group, Date: Mar. 25, 2001)
My daughter is five-years-old and, people say how inhumane, I let my daughter lay and cry herself to sleep for a week straight about the flames of Hell. See my daughter personally lay at night and say, "I don't want to go to Hell, I don't want to go to Hell," and she'd be laying there crying. I could have run right in there and gave her the Gospel and she could have made a profession of salvation, but I let it get deeper into her memory. Know that I mean? That there is a Hell. And that will affect her whole life. That's why she's an obedient child. (Barry Weaver, street preacher, quoted in Jim Naughton, "The Devil & Duffy Strode: In Marion, North Carolina, a Boy Preacher's Hellfire Gospel Alarms a Quiet Community," Liberty, Jan./Feb. 1989)
Philip Greven in Spare the Child, cites American Protestant authors who continue to promote violence against children.
Alice Miller in For Your Own Good, traces the roots of physical violence towards children in the western world to the influence of Christianity. To illustrate her point she includes many biographical accounts, including a look at the Christian training that Adolf Hitler received during childhood.
Annie Laurie Gaylor in Betrayal of Trust: Clergy Abuse of Children documents cases of child abuse by the clergy.
Mary Raftery and Eoin O'Sullivan's Suffer the Little Children: The Inside Story of Ireland's Industrial Schools, tells the tales of incredible cruelties on children perpetrated by minions of state and church.
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This compilation done by: From: DAVID RICE -- 2004-06-14 16:33:00