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Debate on Child Abuse

Debate Between Punkerslut and Christian Life Advisor

From RadicalGraphics.org
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Start Date: January 13, 2009
Finish Date: January 15, 2009

          Letter 1: Punkerslut to Christian-Life-Advisor

Date Sent: January 13, 2009
To: christian-life-advisor.com


     Through searching online, I discovered your article about "Christian Family Values," and I thought there were more than one or two points that deserved a comment. In particular, I was struck by your support of corporal punishment -- that is to say, physical pain as a means of coercing certain behavior.

"Some common misconceptions…
• Spanking is harmful to children and should not be practiced

"These are only a few areas that society is attempting to blur for the Christian family."

     How is abolishing domestic abuse an attempt to blur things for 'the Christian family'? Does that mean that the inherent 'Christian Family' is one where violence is the common rule? Scripturally, this certainly seems to be the case. Of all the things present in this world -- the slavery of third world nations, the impending environmental crisis, the exploitation of the workers, the endless wars -- it seems out-of-place that opposition to corporal punishment is considered among the threats attempting to "blur the Christian Family."

"Scripture is very clear about spanking. It’s not going to kill your children. In fact, it’s going to help them. The key is to spank in love and not in anger.

"If you want your Christian family to thrive then you really need to consider spanking your children for direct disobedience. It will bring peace into your home and will show your children that you love them enough to discipline them. They will probably even thank you for the spankings some day."

     It won't kill your children? According to the National Criminal Justice Reference Service, 2,000 children are murdered by their parents or caretakers every year -- "the majority" of these cases show a trend of the guardian using the 'not sparing the rod' policy. [*1] How many more have physical scars and traumatic memories; how many millions suffering from severe, psychological pains can trace back the source of their illness to an abusive situation? How many still can't sleep, how many still can't bare to wake up? According to PsychologyToday, "Paranoid personality disorder can result from negative childhood experiences fostered by a threatening domestic atmosphere." [*2] Borderline Personality Disorder, as well, has a strong correlation to early childhood victimization, usually from a caretaker or guardian. [*3] Childhood violence is also a risk factor for developing Schizophrenia later in life. [*4] In one study, a third to a half of those with Bipolar Disorder reported traumatic, abusive, or violent childhood memories. [*5] A variety of other personality and mental disorders have neglectful or abusive parental figures as a pattern.

     It is indisputable that physical abuse to children predisposes them to a host of psychological problems. Where such abuse does not incur a traumatized personality, it significantly debilitates the individual socially and culturally. Homeless and imprisonment are the new resting place for these "throw away" children. According to one study, "...the group with histories of both physical and sexual abuse exhibited the most severe symptomatology and was at greatest risk for revictimization." [*6] In another study, poverty is strongly associated with childhood maltreatment. [*7] More than half of school-aged, homeless children have witnessed physical abuse. [*8] Domestic violence also effects more than half of homeless families. [*9] The U.S. Department of Justice just put out a report last year on the effect of physical abuse against children: "Being abused or neglected as a child increases the likelihood of arrest as a juvenile by 59 percent, as an adult by 28 percent, and for a violent crime by 30 percent..." [*10]

     Of any of these cases, if we went to the abuser and said, "They will probably even thank you for the spankings some day," it would certainly show a callous disregard for all that is good about humanity. The line from Henry Fonda's "Twelve Angry Men" fits so perfectly here: "When he was nine, he ran away from a fight. I saw him. I was so ashamed I almost threw up. So I told him right out. I'm gonna make a man outa you or I'm gonna bust you in half trying. Well I made a man outa him all right. When he was sixteen we had a battle. He hit me in the face! He's big, y'know.... I haven't seen him in two years."

"'He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.' (Proverb 13:24)"

     The Bible has never been the friend to any woman, or to any child, or to any slave. It has been our burden, the terrible misery which we've been forced to carry for centuries. Why should we regard the quote by Proverbs at all? Leviticus 20:9 commands that we murder children if they curse their parents. In the verses of 2 Kings 2:23-24, we find a story about god who sent two bears to earth to maul forty-two children to death for laughing at a prophet. Should we truly honor these passages? If we create laws that legitimize and allow the physical abuse of children, then should we not also create a death penalty against children who curse their parents? It is, in fact, just as scripturally sound an idea as "he who spares the rod hates his son." I'm hoping you can change your opinion on this subject. I'm hopeful for a response. Thank you...

Andy Carloff


1. "Addressing Youth Victimization," by Joy D. Osofsky, Section 2: Recent Data on Juvenile Victimization, Original Source: Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, 1996:75. http://www.ncjrs.gov/html/ojjdp/action_plan_update_2001_10/page1.html
2. PsychologyToday, the Diagnosis Dictionary: Paranoid Personality Disorder. http://www.psychologytoday.com/conditions/paranoid.html#Causes
3. Brown GR, Anderson B (Jan 1991). "Psychiatric morbidity in adult inpatients with childhood histories of sexual and physical abuse". Am J Psychiatry 148 (1): 55–61. PMID 1984707. http://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/cgi/pmidlookup?view=long&pmid=1984707. Kluft, Richard P. (1990). Incest-Related Syndromes of Adult Psychopathology. American Psychiatric Pub, Inc.. pp. 83,89. ISBN 0880481609. Zanarini MC, Gunderson JG, Marino MF, Schwartz EO, Frankenburg FR (Jan–Feb 1989). "Childhood experiences of borderline patients". Comprehensive Psychiatry 30 (1): 18–25. doi:10.1016/0010-440X(89)90114-4. PMID 2924564. Herman, Judith Lewis; Judith Herman MD (1992). Trauma and recovery. New York: BasicBooks. ISBN 0-465-08730-2. Quadrio, C. (December 2005). "Axis One/Axis Two: A disordered borderline". Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry 39 (Suppl. 1): 141-156.
4. Schenkel LS; Spaulding WD, Dilillo D, Silverstein SM (2005). "Histories of childhood maltreatment in schizophrenia: Relationships with premorbid functioning, symptomatology, and cognitive deficits". Schizophrenia Research 76 (2-3): 273–286. doi:10.1016/j.schres.2005.03.003. PMID 15949659. Janssen; Krabbendam L, Bak M, Hanssen M, Vollebergh W, de Graaf R, van Os J (2004). "Childhood abuse as a risk factor for psychotic experiences". Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica 109: 38–45. doi:10.1046/j.0001-690X.2003.00217.x. PMID 14674957.
5. Gabriele S Leverich a, Robert M Post Course of bipolar illness after history of childhood trauma The Lancet, Volume 367, Issue 9516, Pages 1040 - 1042, 1 April 2006 doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(06)68450-XCite
6. "Psychological consequences of child maltreatment in homeless adolescents: untangling the unique effects of maltreatment and family environment," by Kimberly D Ryana, Ryan P Kilmerb, Ana Mari Caucec, Haruko Watanabec and Danny R Hoy; Child Abuse & Neglect, Volume 24, Issue 3, March 2000, Pages 333-352.
7. Drake, D. & Pandey, S. (1996). Understanding the relationship between neighborhood poverty and specific types of child maltreatment. Child Abuse and Neglect, 20 (11), 1003-1018.
8. Stern, L. & Nunez, R. (1999). Homeless in America: A children's story, part one. New York: The Institute for Children and Poverty.
9. Ibid.
10. Widom, C.S., and M.G. Maxfield. An Update on the "Cycle of Violence." Research in Brief. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice, February 2001, NCJ 184894. Quoted from: http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/nij/topics/crime/child-abuse/longterm-issues.htm

          Letter 2: Christian-Life-Advisor to Punkerslut

From: Steve Farrell (christian-life-advisor.com)
To: Punkerslut
Date: Tue, Jan 13, 2009 at 7:28 PM
Subject: Reply from Christian-Life-Advisor.com

Hi Andy,

Thanks for visiting http://www.christian-life-advisor.com and for your comments. This is an old argument that I am sure we will not settle here. There is a big difference between a spanking done in love and a beating done in anger. A spanking can help set boundaries while a beating can injure or kill. Please don't take what was written out of context or as the only solution. It is a Biblical principle that worked well in our family and we have a very well adjusted adult son as a result. We saw dramatic behavioral changes once a loving spanking was administered. They were never severe and not meant to harm, only to redirect. If you choose to follow a different rule in your family that is your choice. We by no means are advocates for child abuse but we do believe a parent should be able to administer loving discipline to their children according to Biblical teaching.

I know my words will not change your views and that is fine with me. I respect your beliefs and I ask that you respect ours as well. God bless you brother. I look forward to meeting you at the feet of Jesus.


          Letter 3: Punkerslut to Christian-Life-Advisor

Date: Thursday, January 15, 2009
To: Steve Farrell (christian-life-advisor.com)
Subject: RE: Reply from Christian-Life-Advisor.com


     Thank you for the response. I certainly do appreciate your willingness to address the issues I'm bringing up.

"There is a big difference between a spanking done in love and a beating done in anger. A spanking can help set boundaries while a beating can injure or kill."

     Of those who survive, the most common injury of physical coercion is the mental and emotional damage. It is the abused child's psychology that is inhibited and underdeveloped; they are less curious, less sympathetic, much more likely to become a sociopath or develop other personality disorders. It is the presence of a threatening atmosphere that most greatly contributes to the development of such diseases. These illnesses take root in the brain by the atrophy of certain glands and lobes. [*1] There is a permanent effect on their ability to socialize, to comprehend and understand, and to feel empathy and sympathy. The most noble parts of the human character are widdled down. Unless the parent is a trained neurologist and psychologist, I'm certain that they will be unable to determine what a threatening environment is, or at what point it creates irreversible, brain damage.

     Children, in the purest of human nature, will react to violence with violence. When these young kids are met with cruelty and a willingness to inflict pain on those nearest, their conscience will become morbid and warped; there is something particularly inhuman about corporal punishment. The act of pacifying someone physically, only to create pain, is morally revolting. Its effect on the child, naturally, is disastrous, even for "spanking in love."

     According to one study, at the University of New Hampshire, by Murray Strauss, the amount of spanking a child receives directly relates to sexual dysfunction later in life. This was a study with over 12,000 participants, and men who said they were spanked when they were young were also dramatically more likely to verbally coerce women into sexual relations. [*2] In another study, published in USA today, it was found that children who were slapped or spanked had "a greater chance of physically or verbally coercing a sexual partner, engaging in risky sexual behavior or engaging in masochistic sex, including sexual arousal by spanking." [*3]

     CNN published another study that concluded, "The more spanking a child received at the beginning of the study, the higher level of antisocial behavior at the end..." [*4] In one study published by CBS, "Researchers interviewed mothers and their children in six countries with varying cultural norms regarding physical discipline. They found that spanking seemed to be associated with more aggressive behavior and increased anxiety in all of the countries." [*5] In a study in 2002, published by the Washington Post, we find that spanking results in "raising the risk that children will become aggressive, antisocial and chronically defiant..." [*6] Finally, in one study published by the American Medical Association, "We are now able to show that when parents attempt to correct their child's behavior by spanking, it backfires. In the study, the more they spanked, the worse a child behaved two years and four years later.'' [*7] The more we investigate, the more it becomes conclusive that there is a wide variety of social, cultural, and psychological difficulties that arise with corporal punishment.

"We by no means are advocates for child abuse but we do believe a parent should be able to administer loving discipline to their children according to Biblical teaching."

     According to the Bible, in fact, according to the very verses you are quoting, we ought to not "spare the rod." You've spoken of loving spankings, but are you also suggesting that we should allow loving canings? This is the direct and most accurate interpretation of "spare the rod," implying the use of blunt instruments in disciplining the youth. This is clearly a vicious form of child abuse, but the most Biblical. Would you allow it? Such a type of punishment certainly raises a great deal of questions in the pathology of the parent. I could not fathom that there is anything "loving" about it. And if you're going to use the "spare the rod" scripture to defend your right to spank your children, then what's to stop other Christians who want to execute their children for cursing their parents?

     Today, thousands of children are murdered daily, but how many were murdered by the ancient followers of the Bible? How many took the scripture seriously? Stone children to death, according to Leviticus 20:9. The entire book of the Bible is full of hate, violence, and murder -- it ideas create terrifying social environments, between man and woman, propertied and unpropertied, and ultimately, been child and adult.

     If the Bible tells us to murder children when they curse their parents, then maybe we should put it down when looking for a method to raise our children. I look forward to your response. Thank you...

Andy Carloff


1. "Scars that Won't Heal: The Neurobiology of Child Abuse," Scientific American, March 2002.
2. "Study: Spanking children affects their sex lives as adults," February 29, 2008, boston.com (Home / News / Local / N.H.), Information from: Concord Monitor, http://www.cmonitor.com. http://www.boston.com/news/local/new _hampshire/articles/2008/02/29/studyspanking _children_affects_their_sex_lives_as_adults/
3. "Study: Spanking may lead to sexual problems later," Updated 2/28/2008 8:49 AM, By Sharon Jayson, USA TODAY. http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2008-02-27-spanking_N.htm
4. "Study: Spanking kids leads to long-term bad behavior", August 14, 1997, Web posted at: 9:37 p.m. EDT (0137 GMT). Correspondent Pat Etheridge and Reuters contributed to this report. http://www.cnn.com/HEALTH/9708/14/nfm.spanking/
5. "Can Spanking Cause Aggression?" Nov. 14, 2005, by Melissa McNamara; http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/11/14/health/webmd/main1042550.shtml . http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/11/14/health/webmd/main1042550.shtml
6. "Study: Harm Outweighs Benefits of Spanking," washingtonpost.com, June 26, 2002, Study: Harm Outweighs Benefits of Spanking. http://www.nospank.net/n-j15.htm
7. "Spanking Spurs Misbehavior, Study Claims," by Brigid Schulte Knight-Ridder, Tribune News Wire, 1997.

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