Christian doctrine doesn’t condone abuse

Hana Williams, a 13-year-old girl who lived in Washington state, recently passed away.

I wish I could say she died from something unavoidable, from a tragic accident or fatal illness. Unfortunately, though, this is not the case.

She died at the hands of her parents, Larry and Carri Williams. The Williams said it is God’s will for parents to beat their children.

The Williams are charged with homicide by abuse after their daughter Hana was “found naked and unconscious in the family’s yard and pronounced dead at the hospital,” The Huffington Post reported.

The Williams believe that the Bible condones corporal punishment, such as spanking, leaving children outdoors in the cold and withholding food. Furthermore, they believe that hitting children with objects like a wooden spoon or a piece of plumbing line is acceptable.

The Williams got a lot of their “Godly” inspiration from a book called “To Train Up A Child” written by Michael and Debi Pearl.

Michael Pearl, in an interview with CNN, condoned corporal punishment through Proverbs 13:24, which says “He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.”

I don’t know what’s worse — beating a child to death or beating a child to death and justifying that as Christian.

As far as I know, Jesus didn’t go around beating those who did something wrong. He used actions of kindness, love and the power of words to teach people right from wrong.

“Hitting kids is bad enough, but when people hide behind Scripture to justify it, it is especially grotesque,” wrote Washington Post columnist Brad Hirschfield.

Recently my best friend and I were reflecting on our childhood, and she said something that surprised me. Her parents never spanked her; in fact, they had never laid a hand on her.

Their reasoning, she told me, was that they didn’t believe they could hit their children if they expected their children not to hit them back. It’s a basic principle of self-respect.

For some reason, though, the concept still surprised me. My parents used spanking as a method of punishment occasionally (I have a smart mouth, hence why I’m a columnist), but the idea of spanking still seemed acceptable.

More people, though, should take heed of the basic principle of love and self-respect displayed by individuals like Jesus and my friend’s parents.

It’s a shame Pearl doesn’t see the allure of love over violence, especially in a religion that preaches love.

When asked how he would respond if a young boy hit his sister, Pearl said he would explain to the young boy that violence is not “acceptable” in the home. He would proceed to hit the boy 15 times with a belt or wooden spoon.

Violence isn’t acceptable in the home for children, he says, but violence is OK for parents — hypocritical much?

When it comes down to it, spanking cannot be compared to child abuse. Spanking is legal, while child abuse is not. But that doesn’t mean we should settle for either.

Why not settle for love?

 

Reach the columnist at eeeaton@asu.edu

 

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