Bryan Fischer Supports Corporal Punishment to Fix Our Public School

On Christian Right leader Bryan Fischer‘s radio show yesterday, he spent plenty of time explaining how spanking kids was a good idea (“the bottom is just designed by God for that. It’s designed to receive the ‘board of education’”)…

Which was just the prelude to him telling his public school teacher listeners — oh, I’m sure there are tons — that he empathized with them. He knows how hard it is to maintain order in the classroom. He knows the struggles we have to deal with. Which is why he supports bringing back corporal punishment:

“I want to tell you we are not gonna have a functional education system where kids are actually learning — you’re not going to have an environment conducive to learning — until we bring corporal discipline back into our elementary schools, into our public schools. That is the only way you’re going to be able to maintain the kind of environment in a classroom where kids can actually learn something.”

Yep, that’s what we need: The threat of systematic abuse hovering over their little heads. Because no matter how much shit is going on at home, they can sleep soundly knowing their teachers have a weapon and they’re not afraid to use it.

As a teacher (albeit of high school students), I’ve had my share of chaotic classes. I’ve also had amazingly disciplined ones. The differences had nothing to do with the students’ ages or skill levels — it was all about how I reacted to the things outside of my control. If a student makes an off-topic comment or distracts the class, is my first reaction to punish him or to find a way to roll with it? Punishment, for me, always made things worse. Letting small things slide and talking to the student privately, after class, was always a better option. That may not be the case for everyone, but it’s worked for me so far.

In any case, at no point did I ever think, if I could just hit you, things would be so much better. What awful person thinks that way? Who really thinks corporal punishment would solve more problems than it would create?

I’m not expecting Fischer to really think through this. Or listen to what the experts have to say. He is, after all, the same guy who said our schools would be safer with “God and a loaded gun.”

(via Right Wing Watch)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • Artor

    You mean Bryan Fischer is a regressive, violent, abusive piece of shit? Who knew?

  • KMR

    His belief is hardly uncommon. I hear these kind of things all the time from my conservative family who also happens to have their share of educators. I do feel for teachers. Misbehavior in a classroom can derail the whole day and I don’t know what the answer is considering how many people are choosing other occupations after teaching for only a few years. But I do know it’s not “spanking”. My husband remembers being physically abused by one teacher and mentally abused by a few more. Although educators have my highest respect I am glad tenure is gone in my state. They need to replace it with much more pay but I’m guessing that will never happen.

  • chance4321

    Maybe he would be amendable to me beating him up to make him act like a rational human being.

    • David Kopp

      Came here to say that. Of people that need beatings, I don’t think kids are the ones. What would really fix the schools, especially at a younger age, is more recess time and free play, a bit less structure and requiring wiggly butts to sit still.

      • KMR

        It would definitely help. But these new stringent, common core requirements (at least stringent for the south) is going to require a lot of hard work by both teachers and at least some kids since in places where systematic poverty is high you aren’t going to get a lot of parental involvement.

      • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

        Agreed. When I was in 1st and 2nd grade we had two short recesses (morning and afternoon) plus after lunch recess AND PE. 15 minutes to run and swing and see-saw is very useful for children. Let them burn off some of that energy and THEN sit them down to learn some math or history. We expect children to sit still for hours on end. It’s as if the people who set these policies have never met a 7 year old child or ever been one themselves.

        Also, smaller class sizes would help as well. Children need more attention. You can put high school history students in a larger class. (Math should probably be kept smaller.) I wonder how many children fall behind and never catch up because there is just not enough individualized attention from their teacher (and none at all at home). We know what to do. There’s no excuse for not doing it. The cost of doing this is miniscule compared to what we pay for having so many adults who are functionally illiterate.

    • The Other Weirdo

      Wouldn’t work. You can beat knowledge into people, but you can’t beat stupid out of people.

    • WallofSleep

      Not that I endorse this sort of thing, but if you can actually achieve that, then you truly have some magic fists my friend, like Midas fists or something. If it works, could you come over to my place afterwards and punch me a bigger wang?

      • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

        It would just give him more ammunition to play the victim among his supporters. he’d appear in fundraising material with his black eye or whatever and rake in the donations. Not only would it not change his mind but you’d be abetting him.

      • busterggi

        There’s only one way to test that…

      • badgerchild

        That’s the wrong way to use the fists for that purpose. Just saying.

    • Eve

      Can we take turns trying?

      • busterggi

        I think it would only be fair to ourselves to do so. A fella gets tired after a few good whacks.

        • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

          Mind if I use a cricket bat?

          • Dave The Sandman

            Only if I can hammer a six inch nail in the end a well – and you make sure you crack his melon with the “spine” back not the smooth front surface.

            screw it…… lets do a ThunderDome on him. There would be no shortage of people wanting to pay good money to see it.

            • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

              Fuck it, it’s time to mod the wheelychair.

              Call the blacksmith!

  • Anna

    Bring back corporal punishment? It never went anywhere! Corporal punishment is still legal in public schools in 19 states. 48 states allow corporal punishment in private schools.

    http://www.corpun.com/counuss.htm

    I’m always surprised that more Americans aren’t aware of this.

    • Gus

      I live in a state where corporal punishment in public schools was fairly recently, but before my kids started school, banned. We occasionally have talked about moving to Florida, but one major reason we don’t consider it too seriously is that corporal punishment is allowed in schools, and there are recent cases of it having been applied to students without parental consent and there are no repercussions for it.

      My problem with that is that if you hit my child, I intend to file assault charges. If the legal system says that you’re insulated from that in spite of a confession that you did it and an open and shut case, I’m going to be confronted with a strong challenge to two other principles of mine, that violence is not an acceptable solution and that one should not take the law into their own hands. But I’m not going to tolerate an adult hitting my child.

      • Eve

        If you’re willing to get in a discussion about this (I realize this is somewhat off topic, but if you’re willing to indulge me I’d appreciate that), why do you not agree with taking the law into your own hands? To an extent I agree with you – if the law is correctly being followed and justice is sufficiently meted out, I see no reason to take the law into my own hands. But, let’s say in a murder case, where the facts were clear to just about everyone, but there is a legal loophole that allows the criminal to escape justice. Should we simply ignore it, knowing that it is very likely they will commit murder again? What if by ignoring this criminal, they then go on to kill twenty more people? And if those people were children, then what?

        I firmly believe that if the legal system fails in its duties, the people have the duty to make up for its failures. Doing otherwise would compromise the safety of our society. Now, I realize the possible failings of my view, and most notably that misinformation is all too frequent within the general populace, but I can’t help but feel that we should be able to do something when the government, in whatever capacity, fails in its obligations due to loopholes or laws that are ethically reprehensible.

        • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

          If the law is inadequate or being unfairly applied, there are legal remedies for that. First, the legislative system can be pressured into fixing laws. Second, the courts which have often fixed unfair and unjust laws. vigilante justice is a poor opinion. It might seem justified in particular cases but imagine a society where everyone takes it upon themselves to exact revenge for every perceived injustice. I don’t want to live in that society and I think most people, even those who think it sounds like a good idea, would like the reality of such a system.

          • Eve

            The legislative system can be pressured into fixing laws, and the courts have indeed fixed unjust laws before. The problem is that not only does this require a vast majority of supporters from the public, even if the law is grossly unjust, it often takes decades for the courts to respond to the public. Take, for example, the civil rights movement. The only reason anything was done within the courts about the issue is because people were basically rioting, and were definitely on the edge of completely revolting against the system. Imagine what would’ve happened if the courts hadn’t gotten into that situation. Note that it took the civil rights movement several decades to reach the levels it did. It took protests and civil disobedience to get the courts to realize the gravity of the situation, not politely worded letters. If I quote MLK Jr. during his “I have a dream” speech, “The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.”

            The legal system is slow, and it frequently simply doesn’t perform to the standards it should. Often, it is ethically reprehensible and flies directly in the face of other laws. An example of this would be that in the Constitution, it mandates that no person shall be required to undergo a religious test to hold a political position. However, in some southern states and counties, it is within their laws that no atheist is allowed to run for any office. It’s an illegal law, but it is still enforced. The federal courts have not been brought in to look at the issue, and so it still exists.

            This being said, you are correct in that what I wish for, in reality, would be an awful idea. I realize this, and the reason I brought up the discussion was more to the point of gathering other perspectives on the issue.

        • Gus

          The very purpose of the law is that we give up our right to extract individual retribution and agree that the courts will be the final arbiters and administrators of justice, such as it is. This is the foundation of society, all the way back to Hammurabi. If we say that we don’t accept the courts as the final arbiter, then we essentially are saying that we don’t accept the rules of civilization and that the courts are meaningless. We’d be like House Republicans.

          • Eve

            Perish the thought of being like the Republicans.

            That’s an interesting point of view. I’d counter by saying that, we don’t really believe that they are the final arbiter in it. As a society, when the find something wrong, ethically or otherwise, within the legal system we challenge them. Whether it’s by official means or civil disobedience, we challenge the courts when we decide they are wrong. It is infrequent that the courts judge themselves to be wrong on anything, and when they do it is often a slow process to change the system to how they believe it should be. Sometimes the rules must be broken the encourage progress, and if we develop the mindset that the courts are where everything begins and ends, we give our rights and freedoms into the hands of people and systems that are flawed. While as a collective we are frequently not much better, that doesn’t excuse the courts from being adequately judged and checked by the people. It is through disobedience and opposition to legal issues that change has been made for thousands of years. Submission does not bring change, particularly when it is needed.

            • Gus

              We’re talking about two very different things here. There is a difference between an unjust law that hurts a large portion of society where there is a collective benefit to society to challenging that law and a large number of people coming together to break that law in order to bring about pressure to change it. I think there are cases where that is acceptable. But I also think that as part of that protest, those people should expect to face legal consequences for their actions, and that the very fact of those legal consequences becomes part of the effort to convince others the law in unjust and ought to be changed.

              But I don’t think anything I’ve said so far is actually contradicted by that or has anything to do with. I’m talking about an individual decision that a particular case has resulted in someone not being punished that should have been and taking it upon themselves to exact retribution. That is something that we cannot have in a lawful society. If I choose to go beat up a teacher who spanked my kid I am doing nothing to change the law or collectively better society, I’m just trying to get my personal version of justice in my case, and doing that is a fundamental violation of the social contract that allows us to live as a civilized society.

              • Eve

                Thinking on it, I suppose I was combining the two. That’s my fault for not thinking on it more clearly. Objectively speaking, you’re right. Emotionally, though, I’d probably think you’d be justified. Ah, well. Seeing as I’ve apparently been arguing for an entirely different issue, I’m just going to go yell at myself for responding to things that I don’t take the time to fully understand. Sorry about that.

    • Eve

      That’s horrifying. That’s something I’ll have to keep in mind, though, so thanks for sharing this.

    • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

      Here’s the thing. If you asked most children if they’d rather be spanked or not be able to play on their X-box (or whatever is the thing these days), they will pick the spanking almost every time. So which of those is a more effective punishment?

    • kaydenpat

      I wasn’t aware. My assumption was given how litigious Americans are, they would sue if someone touched their children.

  • The Other Weirdo

    I had a teacher throw a table at me in class. And we didn’t cotton to all plastic stuff. It was real wood and steel. Now that was corporal punishment.

    • Tainda

      Holy crap! Crazy!

      We just had a teacher who would throw blackboard erasers at you lol

      • David Kopp

        Man, I got off light. Mine would just throw pieces of chalk at kids that were talking. He was also the best math teacher I ever had, and that was in middle school, when learning pretty much takes a hiatus for a lot of kids.

        • rtanen

          My German teacher throws a marker or a stuffed toy at us, but she always yells “Achtung!” first and expects us to catch and use them, not to be hit by them.

  • Baby_Raptor

    Anyone who hits kids should have said kids taken away from them. Civilized people don’t Fucking beat up someone smaller, weaker and unable to defend themselves.

    • Anna

      The San Francisco Bay Area (of all places) just had a case in which a judge ruled that a mother who hit her 12-year-old daughter with a wooden spoon hard enough to leave bruises was not guilty of child abuse. American society has a long way to go before we join the ranks of countries that have actually outlawed corporal punishment.

      http://www.sfgate.com/crime/article/Court-Spanking-improperly-labeled-child-abuse-4879392.php

      • WallofSleep

        Sometimes a spanking is necessary to keep a little one from harming themselves terribly. Using a weapon to do the spanking, however, is never necessary.

        • Baby_Raptor

          Hitting a child is *never* necessary. Never. There are plenty of parents out there who raise fully functional, completely whole children without ever laying a hand on them.

          If you think it is, you need to learn how to communicate better.

          • WallofSleep

            Again, I wasn’t being very clear. Sorry about that.

          • Paula M Smolik

            I’ve spanked my kid three or four times. I also lightly smacked him on the face when he was a teenager and called me a b. Are you going to immediately rule me out as a worthy human?

            • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

              Where was there anything in there about being unworthy as a human being?

            • Gus

              No. Did anyone say that? But I am going to say that what you did was wrong. We all make mistakes. If you recognize that it was a mistake and correct your own behavior, I’m not going to rule you out. On the other hand, I’m not going to leave my kids under your supervision, either.

            • John O’Brien

              No I won’t rule you out a a worthy human but will say in those instances you failed, at least momentarily, as a mother. Hopefully you know what you did was wrong and hopefully you apologized to your child.

        • Anna

          Actually, it is never necessary, but I don’t want to go off on a tangent. American culture isn’t even at the point where it’s willing to say using an implement is not okay (like Canada has). I thought bruising was the standard for abuse, but this judge has ruled that as long as you don’t intend to cause bruising, it’s perfectly okay. That’s a horribly dangerous precedent.

          There was a terrible case in Ohio in the 1990s about a teacher who caused deep bruises when he “paddled” a middle school student with a wooden board, and the judge there let him off the hook, too, calling it reasonable discipline. The entire community supported the teacher and attacked the family who brought the case forward. At least Ohio has banned corporal punishment in public schools since then (2009), but children in private schools there are still at risk.

          • WallofSleep

            I wasn’t very clear. I don’t mean corporal punishment administered by teachers, etc., but a light pat on the butt from a parent.

            • Gus

              What does a light pat on the butt accomplish? What dangerous behavior does it prevent? How?

              • WallofSleep

                I was thinking of a toddler whose ability to reason hasn’t fully developed yet, and for some damned reason keeps running out into traffic or something like that.

                Guh. Never mind. This is not the hill I’m willing to die on. I am not at all wedded to the idea of spanking. Just thinking out loud. I’ll shut up now.

                • Tainda

                  I know what you’re saying and I agree with you. There’s a difference between swatting and beating.

                  I was spanked as a child and it didn’t hurt me one bit (Here come the nuts who say I’m victim blaming. I’m talking about MY experience). Having said that, I didn’t spank my child because I didn’t need to. She knew when to stop whatever she was doing just by my voice or a look.

                  We need to find a way to teach parents how to react to things and spankings will go away. Unfortunately there are parents who just don’t care.

                • KMR

                  I was spanked too. Not hurt a bit from it although I certainly don’t think it was necessary.
                  I tried spanking with my oldest child when I was still relatively fundamental (used Dobson’s strong-willed child book as my guide). It’s actually part of the reason why I started drastically parting with my upbringing. The asswipe apparently never came across a child like mine where spanking literally was gas on fire. I would have had to kill her to make her stop. Since I love her, I chose to disregard the book’s advice instead ;) It took me (and her) awhile but we have learned to communicate effectively and I find pointed conversation is normally all that is needed to modify behavior. Of course she hasn’t reached puberty yet so we’ll see how it goes then. But right now we’re A-Okay.

                • Tainda

                  Eeek, hasn’t hit puberty yet! I feel for ya lol Girls and puberty are usually a nightmare :) My daughter is going on 21 now so I’m finally over the hump!

                • KMR

                  I was a complete shit mouthwise and my oldest is just like me so I expect it be an awful experience. We do have way more open communication though than my mom and I did and she will have a two parent household as her support (also unlike me). I’m hoping that makes a different. If not, there’s Prozac ;)

                • WallofSleep

                  When I was a toddler, I took a huge set of apt. manager keys to the back. Mom pitched ‘em at me. Floored me, knocked the wind out of me, and is the likely cause of my chipped vertebrae. I know there are better options than spanking, but I personally would have much preferred a spanking to what I did get.

            • Anna

              I don’t think that’s okay either, but I think my original point was that Americans aren’t even willing to go halfway on this issue. People would scream bloody murder if you made it illegal to use an implement. If you read the comments at the SF Gate article, they’re almost all in support of the mother, saying the daughter deserved to be hit and that she should have been hit even more.

            • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

              Still not necessary. There are other much more effective ways of keeping small kids from doing dangerous things. A light pat on the butt is completely illogical to a small child. It might be all the parent can think of, and the long term harm to the child may be minuscule, but there are better ways of doing it, so why bother?

        • Gus

          Explain to me how hitting a child is necessary to prevent them harming themselves, ever? As a parent I can honestly say I was never in a situation or could even conceive of one where hitting the child would prevent them coming to harm. Sometimes it’s necessary to grab them and physically stop them from doing something. Sometimes you even have to hold on to them harder than you feel entirely comfortable with to physically prevent dangerous behavior, but at no point would hitting the help. In fact, the moment you put part of your attention and physical strength into striking them is the moment they squirm out of your other hand and run out into traffic. And spanking? I don’t even understand how you get your hand to their bottom while trying to prevent dangerous behavior. Is it supposed to prevent the dangerous behavior in the future? I’m pretty sure that doesn’t work as a general rule. Go ahead, spank them. Two hours later they’ll be doing it again.

        • kaydenpat

          Yes, don’t use a gun to spank. Otherwise, go for it.

      • KMR

        Did you read what the mother was trying to prevent her child from doing? Don’t get me wrong, I don’t like spanking and certainly have a problem with those who leave marks while utilizing a object to do so. But my heart goes out to a parent of limited means and limited resources who doesn’t feel she possesses a lot of options at her disposal to discourage her child from making extremely self-destructive decisions.

        • Anna

          “Limited means and limited resources” don’t excuse beating a child. It’s a problem of education, certainly. The parents may have been doing it out of religious conviction. They were almost certainly doing it out of frustration, Perhaps they did not know a better way to handle the situation, but hitting a child with a wooden spoon should never be acceptable. Instead of criminal charges, perhaps mandatory counseling for both the parents and the child would be in order. That’s how they handle it in other countries (like Sweden) where corporal punishment is against the law.

          • Paula M Smolik

            I only went to college for one year, got terrible grades, have never had any job over menial or service, and never left bruises on my kid with a wooden spoon.

          • KMR

            Mandatory counseling/education would most certainly be the answer. Not prosecution since I believe overwhelmingly the disadvantaged in our country would be targeted.

            Here’s an article on corporate punishment and it’s link to poverty http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/booster_shots/2009/09/spanking-toddlers-poverty-punishment-and-preparation-for-life.html.

            • Anna

              It’s difficult enough to prosecute as it is, and there would be little to gain from throwing otherwise competent parents in jail over this issue. It would be more effective to teach them better skills for relating to their children.

              Unfortunately, you ran smack up against deeply-entrenched cultural attitudes. The African American community has the highest rate of corporal punishment, and it seems to be so accepted that it’s often used as fodder for humor.

              Bill Cosby did a horrible comedy routine about beating his children. I saw it when I was growing up and was utterly horrified. People are laughing as he describes the beatings his children received. It still makes me shudder when I think about it.

              http://inamerica.blogs.cnn.com/2011/11/10/researchers-african-americans-most-likely-to-use-physical-punishment/

              • KMR

                It’s unfortunate but yes cultural attitudes are quite a problem in remedying social ills. As far as Bill Cosby goes he comes from a different time. And since he is a comedian he hopefully exaggerated somewhat. Either way his surviving children seemed to be well functioning adults which does show that one can spank without severe detrimental effects. But it is an easily abused discipline method and there are so many others that achieve better results that I see no reason to have that in one’s arsenal.

              • Gus

                But he kept it clean, right?

              • Matt D

                My parents started off spanking me as punishment, before they realized it was ineffective (the few times they did, it was a hand, or “spatula”, but they always felt so guilty I’d get milk afterwards).

                And it was because they had several records of Bill Cosby, his advice and comedy routines, so I was subject to his parenting techniques when it came to punishment (at first, anyway, they actually learned quickly that it wasn’t working, and moved to taking away my free time, and making me do chores instead…to be honest, I’d have rather had a spanking than spending all day cleaning!).

            • Gus

              Of course, that turns out to be true about most of our laws, including the ones that most people think deserve the most stringent punishments. It’s a real crime, with a real victim. Most muggers are disadvantaged. Most murderers are disadvantaged. Very few people would argue that they should receive mandatory counseling and education instead of prosecution. None of this is to say that you aren’t possibly right, but the issue is one of what our justice system is supposed to do and how that can best be accomplished, and that’s a very complex discussion and requires discussing all kinds of crime. I would also argue, and this may be pure semantics, that even if the sentence is mandatory counseling, she must still be prosecuted to reach that sentence.

              • KMR

                I have no argument with anything you state. Thanks for the pushback.

        • Gus

          The court said Gonzalez and her husband were concerned in April 2010 about their daughter’s failure to attend many of her classes or do her schoolwork, the friends she hung out with and the lies she told to her parents.

          A spanking is supposed to fix that? That’s definitely problematic behavior. It’s definitely hard to find a solution to. But they hit her because grounding her hadn’t worked, and they though hitting her would? With or without an object? On whatever body part? Yes, they clearly need help with parenting skills, but I don’t think that absolves them.

        • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

          Yeah, lying and not doing schoolwork. Typical teenager stuff, really, and no justification for assault and battery.

  • WallofSleep

    Holy shit, I must be a truly exceptional human being, then. I managed to learn how to read, write, and solve complicated math problems without a single spanking from a teacher. I just knew I was some kind of genius.

    At any rate, I totally agree with Bryan here. Let’s bring back corporal punishment, and add to it what is sure to be one of Bryan’s favorite concepts: Trickle Down Economics. Instead of starting at the bottom by beating our society’s most vulnerable people (children), we start at the top, by applying corporal punishment to the clerics in their temples. Eventually the lesson with trickle down to the children and they will learn not to grow up to be stupid assholes.

  • eric

    Reminds me of anecdotal stories about street gang initiations. The current members ensure loyalty by making new members commit the same crimes they’ve committed. Its not enough for Fischer that his type of christian may hit their own kids at home. No, for him to feel good, he’s got to make sure everyone else does it too.

  • beatonfam

    Discipline–from the word disciple which means “one who follows a teacher”. It has never meant one who is abused or punished.

    • Ann Onymous

      Google tells me that “discipline” meant “mortification by scourging oneself” in Middle English. Sounds an awful lot like punishment, doesn’t it?

      • Mario Strada

        Like many words, this one came from latin via the french language.

        Looks like you are both right. The latin root is what beatonfam wrote and Mrs. Onymous is correct as far as its meaning in french.

        Funny how for the Romans the word had positive connotation while for the french it became so twisted.

        discipline (n.) early 13c., “penitential chastisement; punishment,” from Old French descepline (11c.) “discipline, physical punishment; teaching; suffering; martyrdom,” and directly from Latin disciplina “instruction given, teaching, learning, knowledge,” also “object of instruction, knowledge, science, military discipline,” from discipulus (see disciple (n.)).

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    Using punishment to modify behavior is not sustainable. You can only maintain the behavior as long as you can maintain the threat of punishment.

    • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

      During my brief tenure as a substitute teacher, I found the promise of reward far more effective than the threat of punishment. For some reason the kids loved to play Hangman. I would tell them what the teacher had set for them to do. when they successfully completed the lesson plan they could play Hangman. Not only did they cooperate but peer pressure was applied to those who weren’t. I read several books on classroom management that said this exact thing. Again, we know what to do. Award privileges for good behavior. It works with adults as well. The only difference is that with kids the rewards have to be more immediate.

  • C Peterson

    Christianity is obsessed with punishment- an obsession seen in its scripture and in the history of its sects. Indeed, punishment is perhaps the most central idea of Christianity. So in that light, believing that God created butts for paddling seems positively reasonable.

    • ZenDruid

      No other religion, to my knowledge, is as preoccupied with the notion of sin and suffering as are the Abrahamic types. In my mind, that reveals a god with arrested emotional development, putting him in the same category as a selfish snot-nosed brat.

      • The Other Weirdo

        Or, put more precisely, every god is a merely a reflection of the very worst of its creators.

    • the moother

      But, isn’t punishment meant to be meted out by god himself? Why are these imbeciles so fixated on doing his work for him?

      • C Peterson

        They always have been. Presumably, because it is quite apparent that God isn’t punishing people for their actions in this life (nasty people have always tended to rise to the top), and most Abrahamic religionists simply don’t have enough faith in the existence of their god to take a chance on letting those they wish to punish get away with things during life.

  • newavocation

    When all you have is the bible, you tend to see all problems needing to be crucified.

  • Ann Onymous

    Because we all function best when people in power support physically attacking us for often-murky reasons! Really, when you know you could be beaten at any time, it’s so much easier to focus! It’s not like our prefrontal lobes (the part of the brain which processes consequences) aren’t fully formed yet!

    • guest

      NO, but maybe the threat of an actual punishment, not a “time out”, would keep some of these entitled, rude little brats in line because their parents sure as hell aren’t doing their jobs. I see way too many little shits running around acting like idiots while their parents do nothing about it. Nothing! Teachers can’t do anything about it either. Kids were much more well behaved when I was in school 20-30 years ago and corporal punishment was an option.

      I’m not agreeing with Fisher and I think he’s a complete ass hat, but kids are getting away with all kinds of bad behavior these days due to a lack of parental supervision or the threat of punishment for their behavior. Coincidence?

      • Gus

        Kids were much more well behaved when I was in school 20-30 years ago and corporal punishment was an option.

        According to your fallible and malleable memory formed in the brain of and from the viewpoint of a child/adolescent.

        kids are getting away with all kinds of bad behavior these days due to a lack of parental supervision or the threat of punishment for their behavior. Coincidence?

        I think you’re begging the question on a staggering level here. Your sentence outright states that it’s not a coincidence before you ask if it is. I would say that it is a coincidence, that there’s scant evidence that there is a generalized pandemic of bad behavior that is directly caused by a lack of supervision or threat of punishment. Do you have a citation with real, statistically significant evidence of this, or do you just want them off your damn lawn?

        • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

          Sounds like selective memory to me. I’m not that much younger than this guy and my peers were brats and as bad as any of the kids he’s describing and there were plenty of spankings.

        • Mario Strada

          Generally, things were always better in the “old days”. Kids were more respectful, taxes were lower, some people knew their place and so on.

          I remember reading an account of daily roman life in the 1st century where the writer complained about the latest fashion, the newfangled haircuts, the behaviour of the younger generation and so on.

          In our own society, many things have been getting better and better, from crime onward. One of the few things that’s been getting worse is the earning potential of the middle class Vs the very rich. But in general many things are so much better than in the “old days”.

          The fact that kids are not beaten into a pulp anymore the way society considered “just” is progress.

          There are many other ways to discipline kids beside b eating them. It’s usually the sign of a weak educator.

          • Gus

            Slightly different subject matter, but i think this is a great example of the “things were better back when…” mindset: http://xkcd.com/1227/

      • smrnda

        I dunno, I think kids are a bit better these days.

        “I see way too many little shits running around acting like idiots while their parents do nothing about it.”

        Totally subjective assessment. Kids are going to act like kids. Running around and ‘acting like idiots’ is something kids DO (whereas adults, I guess, all sit still and work in cubicles.) I mean, what’s the gold standard, kids should sit totally still and nobody should laugh or talk loudly? Sorry, but the rest of the world isn’t required to clamp down on their kids just since *you think* kids should be seen and not heard (or preferably not even seen.)

        The other issue is I think kids are better these days. We no longer think bullying is just normal and kids should ‘learn to stick up for themselves,’ last I checked it’s a bit better to be gay, and ‘nerds’ are no longer so picked on now that technology is so ubiquitous that you can’t tell the ‘nerds’ apart from anyone else. People were more prejudiced and a whole lot nastier 20 – 30 years ago, and I think getting rid of ‘do what I say because I can hit you’ had a lot to do with that.

      • Ann Onymous

        There’s a middle ground of vast possibility between “time-out” and “beatings”. Off the top of my head:
        Withhold recess privileges.
        Extra home- or classwork.
        Harry Potter-style detention, where you do something gruesome like clean up frog guts (without gloves if your teacher’s mean).
        Make them “janitor’s helper”.
        Require that they wear all neon green for a week.
        Require that they eat something vile for lunch that day.
        Require that they carry a brick in their backpack for a day. Confiscate their phones for a week.
        And so on.
        None of these involve corporal punishment, as you may notice, and none are simple time-outs.

        • kaydenpat

          Hitting is easier than all that.

          /snark

      • Mark W.

        Those kids today…GET OFF MY LAWN!!! Yep, back in the good ole days, you could buy an ice cream cone for a nickel.

      • Noelle

        The only school I attended where spanking was used as a punishment had some pretty unruly kids. That was in magic the 20-30 years ago range of yours. The school spankings weren’t an effective deterrent then. I don’t see why they would be now. Children are no different today than when you and I were kids. Psychologists have known for a long time that punishment is not as effective for behavior modification as is positive reinforcement. Developmental psychology is not a new field. There is no scientific evidence that one can beat good behavior into a child. But what do those sciency types know with their fancy research when you have your good old days/what the matter with kids today bias to stand on? Dick VanDyke already covered that song and dance.

        On a not unrelated note, my son has had many behavior issues in his life. He’s done a lot of disruptive and destructive stuff at school. Kid has autism. Ya gonna beat the autism out of my kid? It ain’t gonna work, and what kinda asshole would do that? You know what does work? Positive reinforcement, flexibility, social stories, finding ways to meet his sensory needs, listening to him, communication, etc. Do we only beat the neurotypical kids? How about the kids who are acting up because they’re grieving a dead parent? Do we let them slide, or do we beat them too? How about the kid who didn’t get enough to eat yesterday? ADHD? Depression? It is a cruel, unreasonable, and irresponsible adult who assumes everyone is healthy and has a perfect home life, and whose every problem can be solved by applying paddle to buttocks.

      • Heidi McClure

        Yeah, no things weren’t better 20-30 years ago. And corporal punishment doesn’t make things better. Back in 1977 when I was in 3rd grade, we moved from California (corporal punishment) to Massachusetts (no corporal punishment). The behavior problems at my first elementary school were orders of magnitude worse than the problems at the second one.

        Now that’s just one, specific anecdote, but so is yours.

      • Matt Ranson

        “I see way too many little shits running around acting like idiots while their parents do nothing about it”
        This is some very profound thinking. You see small pieces of fecal matter running around? To top it off the pieces of fecal matter are running about as if they had limited thinking capacity. I certainly wouldn’t take action either if I saw feces running around.
        In a seriousness, hasn’t anyone figured out that spanking a person’s buttocks is a sexual act? Do a Google search for “BDSM spanking” and you will find page after page of pornographic websites. We know that these religious types tend to be prone to pedophilia. I wonder could this man in the article be a pedophile with a spanking fetish?

      • kaydenpat

        Why not whip them the way slaves were whipped? You could argue that kids/Blacks were better behaved back then too.

        I don’t get why it’s okay to beat children. Is it okay to physically punish/beat adults too when they behave badly?

  • Michael

    Can we just redefine spanking as a sex act and have done with it?

    • islandbrewer

      Well, then there’d be a lot more work for the Child Protective Service organizations going around to all those fundagelicals who loudly proclaim that they “spank their children.”

      • Eve

        The problem with this being…?

        • islandbrewer

          Well, they’re kind of overworked to begin with, and states need to hire more counselors.

          • Eve

            That’s true, and a valid concern. But I feel like it”d stop a lot of the ridiculous behavior, or at least encourage them to stop it. It’s more of a benefits vs. liabilities, and to me the benefits would be much greater.

    • Eve

      Yes. :3

    • Tainda

      That’s where it belongs!

    • http://nomadwarriormonk.blogspot.com/ Cyrus Palmer

      So what would that make baseball players? Swingers?

    • jimlouvier

      So the church members would have to leave it to the priests to “punish” their boys?

  • M.S.

    Sure, let’s bring corporal punishment back to schools. No risk that a teacher could abuse that power….

    • Carmelita Spats

      The half drunk lunch lady would be more likely to abuse that power than a teacher…She’d hog feed them sloppy joes until they exploded…Have you ever seen the lunch lady’s arms? After taking classes on classroom management, effective discipline, educational psychology, differentiating instruction, etc., and endless professional development hours on “Love and Logic” discipline, I’d be highly OFFENDED as a professional if my creep-ass supervisor told me to “spank” a child…It would go against EVERYTHING that I’ve been taught. If I had wanted to abuse children as a professional perk, I would have undergone a sex change and become a Jesus-addled maladjusted virgin, a priest, in the Catholic Church. As a Catholic priest you can molest children, get away with it, and continue to be adored by wide-eyed devotees only because they BELIEVE that you can turn a cookie into the body of Christ…and they want to swallow Jesus.

      • ShoeUnited

        To be fair, you could always be a dominatrix with a strap-on and no sex change would be necessary. Add some vestments and you’re set.

  • Jasper

    I thought creationists were oh so offended at the idea that we’re animals? If so, what’s with the beatings for discipline?

    • David Kopp

      What makes it even more absurd is that it doesn’t work great for animals, either.

  • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

    I went to elementary school in a decent size town in in East Texas (pop. about 60,000 at the time). We had corporal punishment. It didn’t work. I don’t remember girls ever being spanked (we called it “getting licks” which in hindsight sounds dirty but it wasn’t at least for most of us). I was a good kid and avoided this through school, but there was definitely a “cred” given to boys who got spanked. The more “licks” the more cred. It gave them status. It certainly wasn’t a deterrent to rule breaking. That is anecdotal and perhaps my experience was far from universal. I’d like to hear from other people about the social structures in pre-adolscent boys concerning this kind of punishment.

    • Gus

      Pretty much exactly the same in my school. There was also usually a choice between “3 licks or 3 days” (detention, or suspension, I forget). Whenever a boy came back from the office it was a point of pride to be able to say, “I took the licks”. You’d hear about it around school, “so and so got sent up for fighting. Did he take the licks? Yeah.” That, I guess, made you “cool”, though I, like you, never got in that kind of trouble, making me profoundly uncool.

      • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

        Who wouldn’t take three licks over three afternoons in detention? That alone should tell you which was considered a harsher punishment.

        At the school where I was a sub, they had something the kids called “the hole”. It was in school detention. (This was a high school.) The third time you got into serious trouble, you were sent there. You sat in a cubicle all day and did assigned work. If you ran out of work you got more. They ate together, etc. It went from 8 am to 5 pm. The HATED it and you could tell because the kids who already had 2 strikes were terrified of this punishment. I’m sure all of them would have preferred licks if that had been an option.

        I think they went to this because a lot of kids wanted to be expelled. They didn’t care if they graduated or not and if they got home suspension they could just sit on the couch and play video games all day long. Not much of a punishment for them obviously.

        • Gus

          I think you meant in school suspension. I think that’s probably one of the best approaches to punishment in school. Suspension and expulsion never made much sense to me. They may protect other students at the school from a violent classmate, and I can see using them for that, but I think keeping them in an educational environment but removing them from the social aspects of school is a way better approach in most cases.

          • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

            I apologize for not being clear. in school suspension and being suspended from being in school are two very different things which unfortunately have similar terms.

            Most of us are social by nature and being cut off from socializing is a rather severe (and highly effective) form of punishment.

            I just watched Orange is the New Black and have to admit that before seeing that I never realized just how bad solitary confinement was. (In fact considering the violent sociopaths they lock you up with, I would have thought that it would be a better thing. I now know that I was very wrong.)

    • Tainda

      I actually got “paddled” in school once. They had a HUGE board they would bring out to do it. I was one of the few girls ever to get “paddled” lol

      Then again, I was the only grand kid my grandma ever spanked too. Hmmm, there’s a trend there ;)

  • Jeffery Nelson

    I’m all for beating bigoted religious leaders with two by fours, when we gonna start that?

    • busterggi

      Use a baseball bat instead – you can get splinters from a two by four.

  • Sweetredtele

    As far as I can tell, most orifices in the human body seem to be designed for receiving fingers and thumbs.

  • smrnda

    The only thing more sick and twisted than hitting kids is *wanting to hit kids and wanting others to do likewise.* It’s not my main job, but I’ve worked with children, birth through six on and off for the last 5 or 6 years. NEVER have I had a situation where I thought ‘wow, if we could just hit this kid everything would work.’ No, never happened, and the disciple failures observed later are the same way, caused by factors that can’t be fixed by hitting kids.

    I mean, who wants to hit kids? I don’t think pulling a gun on a kid to make them behave is OK.

  • busterggi

    Well he is a fundie who wants to reinstate biblical punishments so it very progressive of him not to demand stoning children to death.

    • Spuddie

      Not for lack of trying. If he had the chance, he would definitely take it.

  • momtarkle

    Allow me to annoy you with some old philosopher crap: I helped raise seven children to way into adulthood. When I evaluate my parenting skills and successes, the first thing I think of is the two times I slapped, quite forcibly, two of them. They may have forgotten those, my moments of shame. I never will.

    Please don’t hit kids.

  • Mick

    I’m rich. I’m getting a whipping boy to take the punishment for my children.

    • The Other Weirdo

      Just like God had done.

  • Rain

    “the bottom is just designed by God for that. It’s designed to receive the ‘board of education’”

    I don’t see the other animals in the animal kingdom implementing this design. I thought we weren’t supposed to do unnatural things. How convenient, lol.

    • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

      Ya well, let’s not emulate the lions on child rearing.

    • Sue Blue

      Well, I guess I could perform a manual rhinoplasty on Bryan Fischer, maybe rearrange his dental work…and finish off by saying, “Hey, isn’t it amazing how God designed your face to receive my knuckles.”

  • antfaber

    If you want to read about growing up in such an environment, there’s “I Fired God” by Jocelyn R. Zichterman. Scary stuff.
    http://www.amazon.com/Fired-God-Inside-Independent/dp/1250026261

  • C.L. Honeycutt

    I took spankings and other punishments in school for no other reason than they didn’t diagnose anyone with autism/Aspergers back then unless they were sure that they couldn’t function. I had no idea what was going on around me most of the time. Fischer needs to eat a paddle.

  • http://lotharlorraine.wordpress.com/ Lothar Lorraine

    And what conclusion should we draw from that example?

    That all religions, including moderate and liberal ones ought to be combated even tough many progressive Christians such as professor Randal Rauser http://randalrauser.com/2012/12/beat-your-children-well-a-review-of-corporal-punishment-in-the-bible-by-william-webb/ expose the cruelty and injustice of corporal punishment?

    • C.L. Honeycutt

      Your persecution complex, strawmanning by insinuation, and poor attempt to change the subject are noted.

  • baal

    I’m usually against violence but if Bryan Fischer is so happy with it, I suggest we have a right to hit him everytime we find his comments morally repugnant or otherwise not a fitting thing for an adult to say in public. I’m sure he’ll see the error of his ways before he winds up hospitalized….

  • Ron

    “For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.” – H. L. Mencken

  • http://retroremixes.wordpress.com/ Retro Remixes

    So let’s beat his ass and call it a day. Because it’s his behavior that’s unacceptable.

  • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw/ m6wg4bxw

    Jesus was spanked so that your children might be forgiven.

  • Timothy McLean

    I agree with everything except one:
    A loaded gun in the right place is extremely good at improving school security.

    When I was in elementary school, the local high school had a student that took a machete to school the last day before Thanksgiving and started to attack people. He was subdued by a teacher. Now, imagine for a moment that the kid brought a gun instead; the (unarmed) teacher couldn’t have done that.
    And this isn’t an isolated incident, either. These famous school shootings have one thing in common (well, many things, but one thing that I’m going to mention here): Because none of the faculty were allowed to carry firearms, the only response possible was to lock down, hope the shooter didn’t shoot them through a window or something, and wait for the police.

    I’m not saying that guns should be unrestricted on school grounds, but how much danger is there in letting some faculty be armed in case of a shooter?

    • David Kopp

      Much more dangerous because it’s much more likely that a kid would get ahold of the gun there than bring their own.

      • Timothy McLean

        If the kid wants to go psycho, it’s going to be easier to get some sort of weapon from home than to figure out who has a gun and then take it.

        If someone can’t notice some kid trying to take his gun, he shouldn’t be allowed to own one.

        If the kid tries to take it by force, he’s busy struggling with the teacher, giving others time to intervene.

        If the kid is capable of taking the gun instantly, he is big, strong, and probably fast enough that a gun isn’t going to make a lot of difference to his ability to hurt people in the same way that while a bear would be dangerous, if you already had a pack of wolves you wouldn’t be significantly more dangerous if you could use a bear instead.

        Overall, the number of kids who successfully steal guns from teachers or staff and shoot a bunch of people would be lower than the number of kids who were stopped by a teacher with a gun.

        • David Kopp

          So… you’re saying that if hundreds of thousands of guns are in classrooms, it’s still more likely that our current “once every few years” incidence of school attacks will happen than some teacher will make a mistake with their gun, or some kid will be devious? Because every teacher will perfectly handle and store their weapon every time, never leave it on their desk or unlocked or be distracted?

          You didn’t do well in your statistics class, did you? Hell, you don’t even read the news about how many kids get guns in private homes and hurt themselves? Now let’s magnify the number of kids around guns… that’s a great idea.

          • Timothy McLean

            1. Where are you getting the “hundreds of thousands of guns” idea? I would think that 2-3 would be sufficient for a school about the size of my hometown one (two floors, ~2,000 students); more than one gun per 500 students would be completely unneeded if we take the reasonable assumption that communication through the school is possible.

            2. If you don’t know how to store a gun safely, you don’t understand proper gun safety. If you don’t understand proper gun safety, you shouldn’t be allowed to own a gun in the first place.

            3. The guns would typically be on the teacher’s person in my Hypothetical Scenario of What Others See as Doom. After all, a gun in your desk can’t stop a student. And, again, if you get a freaking pistol pickpocketed, you usually shouldn’t be handling anything more dangerous than a butter knife. (And I’m not sure if I’d trust your grading of tests and homework, for that matter.)

            4. Mistakes will always happen. However, if the people with the guns take common-sense gun safety precautions, they will stop or dissuade more accidents than they cause.

            5. How the heck would the kids hurt themselves with their teacher’s gun?

            • David Kopp

              1) There are 98,000 public schools in the US. Using your 2-3 guns per school, that’s hundreds of thousands of guns.

              2) That’s a big “if” that very often doesn’t happen. You wishing really hard doesn’t change that.

              3) So each teacher is packing? Gun safety instructors shoot themselves regularly. Why are teachers immune to that? Secondly, concealed guns are often uncomfortable, and they also get in the way when you’re, say, wearing short sleeves.

              4) That’s a very big statement with absolutely no evidence corroborating it. School resource officers have even made mistakes, and they’re even better trained than your hypothetical teachers ( http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/06/sean-mccutcheon-gun-school-highland_n_2819273.html )

              5) See above.

              You’ve got a TON of wishful thinking, and cowboy “good guy with a gun solves everything!” issues without seeming to understand that the vast majority of gun injuries are accidental, and the more we have people carrying them around, the more likely those accidents are. School shootings are VERY rare. They’re in the news for a reason. Just like shootings in general are very rare. We have school resource officers already, we have good guys with guns. Teachers don’t need them, it creates more of a hazard than a solution, that’s just simple logic based on available statistics.

              • Timothy McLean

                1. Ah. Somehow, I hadn’t realized there were that many schools.

                2. We’re discussing my ideal world. If I had control over gun control laws, no one could own a gun without knowing at least basic gun safety. And, to put it bluntly, if I’m saying that I’d like schools to allow teachers to carry guns, I don’t think that requiring a gun safety test as well is such a stretch.

                3. I’ll divide this into parts.

                “So each teacher is packing?”What makes you say that? Or am I thinking of a definition of “each” and/or “packing” other than your and you are trying to say something other than “All the teachers would be carrying firearms”?

                “Gun safety instructors shoot themselves regularly. Why are teachers immune to that?”
                For starters, the guns in question would not be used during class. Generally, there’s not much chance of being shot if you aren’t handling the gun. There’s some chance, but I’d say that worrying about getting struck by lightning would be a better waste of time.

                “Secondly, concealed guns are often uncomfortable, and they also get in the way when you’re, say, wearing short sleeves.”

                If this bugs the teacher in question, s/he doesn’t have to carry a gun.

                4, 5. I’m not sure if we can really state “Shootings would be reduced by X%!” or “Y guns would accidentally discharge each month!” But when we consider that places like Colombia where these infamous school shootings happened tended to have these all-encompassing bans on firearms, we start to wonder if dissuading potential shooters might be a significant factor.

                Also, consider what your cited article said:
                “No students or staff were in the area when the weapon discharged, and no one was injured as a result of this accidental discharge,”

                If we had to endure one of those accidental shots per month to stop a single school shooting, it would be worth it.

    • ShoeUnited

      Considering the amount of errant bullets even police fire miss with an unusual high frequency, then you add the fact that these are not police trained in using guns under pressure in a panic situation stuffed with students, I’d rather just keep the weapons ban.

      (https://www.google.com/search?hl=en&gl=us&tbm=nws&authuser=0&q=police+misfire+shots&oq=police+misfire+shots&gs_l=news-cc.3..43j43i53.1379.6617.0.6703.20.7.0.13.13.0.150.660.2j5.7.0…0.0…1ac.1.xASBcIse24M#authuser=0&gl=us&hl=en&q=police+miss+hit+bystander&safe=off&tbm=nws)

      • Timothy McLean

        Personally, I feel safer with imperfect but good-intentioned weapon users in case of emergency than no weapon users whatsoever.

  • Kevin_Of_Bangor

    A friend of mine moved from Maryland to Tennessee this year. She had to sign this before her kids started school.

    • Gus

      Nice. Let us beat your child or risk losing your job by dropping everything to run over and pick them up when we decide they need to be beaten. Because whatever offense we’re beating them for can only be remedied either with a beating or with you immediately taking them out of school. There’s clearly no other way to handle unruly children. Put down Tennessee as another state to which I will not be moving.

    • kaydenpat

      Wow. Hard to believe that corporal punishment is still allowed in the US in 2013!

  • Itarion

    Corporal punishment totally changes behavior. Just look at all of the people who listen to the most punishmenty country in the world. The US has absolutely no dissent at all.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    Yeah, because hitting children totally teaches them obedience and respect… *rolleyes*

    All spanking does is teach and reinforce the idea that might makes right.

  • Dave The Sandman

    sort of makes me wonder what his hands are up to under the desk there as he salivates about spanking young kids…… the devils work perhaps?

    Id offer good money for a copy of his keys….. Id love to see what he has hidden in the basement of his mansion.

    Meanwhile….I defer to my rival bad priest Father Fintan Stack
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2wuqE9YJL4


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