Saturday News Links August 3, 2013

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University of Manitoba links physical punishment of children to poor health outcomes – http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/localnews/ci_23662340/slapping-shoving-kids-tied-future-health-problems In the wake of the George Zimmerman trial Thorn Coyle writes that overcoming racism in our country is a spiritual battle – http://www.thorncoyle.com/blog/2013/07/14/confronting-racism-is-spiritual-work/ [Read more...]

Ken Ham Warns Atheists Out to Steal Children and Eat Them Too

world_hold_on_children

by Bruce Gerencser Eat them, metaphorically speaking. In a recent blog post,  young earth creationist, and snake oil salesman, Ken Ham wrote: … Christians today are hungry to be equipped with the resources to fight the battle before us in this increasingly secular culture, where God’s [Read more...]

How the Doctrine of Hell Justifies Quiverfull Authoritarian Parenting

by Libby Anne

From my experience, I would argue that hell is the worst Christian doctrine of all. I’m not even going to get into how there is no justice in punishing finite transgressions with eternal torture, or into all the other problems with the theological ins and outs of hell. Instead, I’m referring to the practical implications of the doctrine.

I am a mother. I look at my beautiful young daughter, so full of life and joy and excitement and curiosity, and I feel my love for her bubbling up in my heart. If I believed that there were any possibility that this sweet little thing could end up tortured in a lake of fire for eternity, I would leave no stone unturned in desperately working to keep her from this fate.

In my quest to keep my daughter from unimaginable pain, I would probably be highly susceptible to religious leaders offering various methods for raising good Christian children, and easily taken in by their promises to keep my daughter’s soul from destruction. I would do anything I had to do, buy any book, try any method, risk any hurt. What parent wouldn’t?

Fundamentalist preacher and author Michael Pearl promises parents that if they discipline their children just so, including an emphasis on absolute obedience and the use of hitting to back it up, they will not stray from God’s path, and if he warns that if children are allowed to grow up without such discipline, they will be set on the path to hell. Is it any wonder that so many parents follow Pearl’s highly problematic parenting methods?

Leading Christian patriarchy organization Vision Forum promises that if you raise your children according to their teachings, homeschooling in order to “shelter” from “evil influences” and “teach God’s truth” and emphasizing the hierarchical teachings of Christian patriarchy, your child will not stray from Christ’s side like all those willful pagan children in the public schools. Is it any surprise Vision Forum has such a draw?

Bill Gothard’s Institute for Basic Life Principles also promises a perfect godly family, with highly problematic consequences. Mercy Ministries and Hephzibah House promise to restore your rebellious teenage daughter’s faith, though both have been linked to abuse.Exodus International promises to “cure” your gay son or daughter, though actual science is nowhere on their side. And on and on and on it goes.

If I believed there was any chance my small daughter could go to hell, I would turn to any method I could to keep her from this unimaginably horrible fate.

Attend church three times a week? Check. Homeschool using only religious textbooks? Check. Control her every interaction with others to keep her away from “bad influences”? Check. Follow strict child training methods that involve enforced obedience and hitting her if she so much as has a bad attitude? Check. Employ emotional manipulation or even threaten to cut her off if she grows up to make wrong choices, hoping that tough love will bring her back? Check.

Simply put, I would do anything I had to to keep my daughter from eternal torture. I suspect any parent would, really.

Full post …

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Carefully Scripted Lives – The Real Reality of the Duggar Family "Blessings"

by Libby Anne

I can’t say how often I’ve heard ordinary Americans defend Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar and their popular TLC television show, 19 Kids and Counting. “I wouldn’t choose to have nineteen kids,” they say, “but if they can manage it, who am I to question their choice?” “The kids look happy and healthy,” they say, “look how polite and well mannered they are.” I hear these comments and I just have to sigh.

First of all, I want to pout out that I would have concerns about the Duggars even if they were your ordinary family plus seventeen extra children. For one thing, there is no way any two parents can give nineteen children the individual attention and time they need. It’s just not feasibly possible. The Duggars like to say that “love multiplies,” but the thing is, time doesn’t. And then, of course, there is the population issue.

But it’s not these things I’m going to discuss here. The fact is, the Duggars aren’t just your ordinary family plus seventeen extra children. There is a great deal of editing that goes into making TV, and one thing that gets edited out are the Duggars’ religious beliefs and their beliefs about child rearing. There is much, much more going on here than you see on TV.

I know this because I grew up in a family very much like the Duggars. We had a third fewer kids and we didn’t have a TV show, but otherwise it was about the same. Our beliefs were nearly identical to theirs, as was our way of living. When I look at the older Duggar girls, I see myself. I was them. With that in mind, I’m going to take a moment to outline nine specific concerns I have about the Duggars.

1. Isolation and Indoctrination

The Duggar childern are homeschooled in part in order to shelter them from bad influences, i.e. from other kids and teachers who hold different beliefs or live different sorts of lives. The Duggar kids don’t have friends who aren’t pre-approved by their parents. In fact, the Duggar kids aren’t even involved in church activities – their family participates in a “home church” where they and several other like-minded families get together on Sunday mornings and worship together.

Furthermore, even the older Duggar children are not allowed to go anywhere without having an “accountability partner,” i.e. another sibling, to keep tabs on them. When one of the older boys volunteered at the local fire department, one of his sisters always went with him to keep an eye on him and make sure he didn’t get in trouble.

Another reason the Duggar children are homeschooled is in order to teach them “God’s truth.” This means that they use religious textbooks, creationist science curriculum, etc. I understand that we have this thing called “freedom of religion” in our country, but I also believe that children have a right to an education, and teaching children one side of everything becomes indoctrination rather than education.

Not surprisingly, the Duggars’ computers have internet access limited to about seventy “approved” websites. To get unlimited internet access, the children – even the older ones – have to get a password from their mother and then have another sibling sitting by them watching the screen as they surf the web to make sure they stay out of trouble. The main reason for this is likely to keep the children from viewing internet pornography, but it also helps ensure that they don’t get subversive information or other viewpoints.

2. Children raising children

If you think Michelle is the one raising all of those kids, think again. Those older daughters, some of them already adults, are the ones who are actually doing the majority of the cooking, cleaning, and childcare. They are, in effect, raising their younger siblings.

Now I’m not saying Michelle sits back and watches soap operas while the kids work, but rather that with that many children there is simply too much for her to do on her own. She doesn’t have the time or energy to raise her children without her older daughters’ help. And fortunately, because the Duggars homeschool, those older daughters are available to help 24/7.

The Duggars have this thing called the “buddy system.” When each new child is born, that child is assigned to one of the older children. In this way, the older children are responsible for dressing, feeding, and even educating the younger children. Michelle hadthis to say about the buddy system:

This house would not work if we didn’t have the buddy system. The older children mentor the younger ones. They help them with their little phonics lessons and games during the day, help them practice their music lessons. They will play with them or help them pick out the color of their outfit that they want to wear that day, and just all of those types of things.

I’m all for siblings helping each other and playing together, but this goes way further than this. This is siblings raising each other. And as we’ll see, this means a lot of sacrifice for the older siblings doing the raising. [Read more...]

Preparing a Visionary Daughter to Do Hard Things ~ Part 6: Life. Liberty. And the Pursuit of Happiness.

by Kiery

When we arrived, my boyfriend’s family and pastor took me in and became my adopted family. They ministered to me and loved me, and generally instilled the confidence in myself, in God, and in family that I had lost.

When we announced the news of my engagement, my family started writing my pastor and generally trying to sabotage my wedding by not sending my dress or supporting me in any way. To give me my dress would the same as giving money to a homeless drunk in their eyes. My in-laws and my boyfriend paid for everything, and we used the church for free.

It was a (perfect) small wedding. My grandparents came and I walked the aisle alone. I liked this because, it was me, making a decision. My pastor asked me after the ceremony how I felt, and I answered “free.” I made it. I didn’t give up, and I did what I knew was right. It was worth the pain, the depression, and the sacrifice to be free.

I’ve left a lot behind, I think differently, I don’t view the world as I used to, and I’m enjoying having the liberty to learn and grow. My husband and I have been married over a year, are stronger than ever, and enjoy being able to make decisions without being worried about unneeded input. I am now confident and pleased with myself – no longer hating my own guts.
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