Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Christians for child abuse

Fundamentalist Christian group Family Integrity has produced a smacking how-to guide, which recommends that parents subject their children to prolonged (10 - 15 minute) beatings to drive out "sinful manifestations". This can only be described as child abuse, and if the current law allows it, then that would seem to be an excellent reason for repeal.


...or for "reasonable force" to be clearly defined, as its not at the moment.

Posted by Lewis Holden : 7/19/2006 03:16:00 PM

While this is a great example of scary Christian fundamentalist thinking, it does NOT describe the 10-15 minute beatings you claim.

It describes a process of setting aside 10-15 minutes to discuss the "crime" with the child etc, a process which may culminate in the smack, but certainly isn't 10-15 minutes of smacking.

Posted by Anonymous : 7/19/2006 03:36:00 PM

Smacking should only be allowed between consenting adults in the privacy of their own bedroom

Posted by Hans Versluys : 7/19/2006 04:00:00 PM

anon - it also states "smaking may be a 10 to 15 minute process"

admitedly i didnt read the whole pamphlet and your claim may indeed be true in a different section of said pamphlet


Posted by Anonymous : 7/19/2006 04:42:00 PM

These anonymous defenses of this pamphlet should be ignored.

The pamphlet clearly states " Smack when the child manifests the foolishness of sinful rebellion."

Never does it mention exercising restraint on the time involved or limits on the number of strikes. In fact, it also explicitly says "Be consistent: do not smack for an offense one day and ignore it the next."

It's quite easy to see how this could turn into abuse, but as a fundamentalist position, they have every right to believe that this is a valid way to raise children. However they should also be prepared when in the honest judgement of their peers this behaviour is considered to be sufficient to revoke their right to be a parent in contemporary society. Their only recourse may be non-violent resistence, or they are undermining their entire position.

Personally I agree with Isaac Asimov here; "violence is the last refuge of the incompetent".

ie, every time you have to smack, it's because you're too incompetent to be a good parent.

I will concede one situation where a smack is necessary, and that is when behaviour is actually physically dangerous, and the child does not understand that. IMHO there is a clear argument there - you're associating physical danger with a physical message.

Posted by Anonymous : 7/19/2006 05:13:00 PM

Helelujah brothers and sisters! Or could it be satire?

Posted by john : 7/19/2006 05:31:00 PM

Hmm. I guess once you print the thing off and fold it it's quite clear it's a joke.

When Jokes like this resonate with truth, they're both unfunny and seriously funny.

Posted by Anonymous : 7/19/2006 06:12:00 PM

i/s - the current law does not allow what Family First propose in that document. Have you read the docuiment at all?

Posted by Swimming : 7/19/2006 06:52:00 PM

one good thing about this law for an authoritarian such as myself is it gives the government a law it can guarantee every parent has broken. so if you want to question someone for theft you could throw them in jail for child abuse and then question them. the most dodgy people probably dont have a good relationship with their kids anyway.

Like "the sheild" on a nationwide scale.

I dont think that smacking is a good way to dicipline kids but at first I thought the first part was an argument against it.. but I'm warming to it.

Now all we have to do is convince the police to use it (only on nasty looking people of course).

Posted by Genius : 7/19/2006 07:30:00 PM

As to the current law - surely if 10-15 minute beatings are unreasonable (as they are) then that is illegal. Are juries really that eager to consider our laws to be liberal?

Posted by Genius : 7/19/2006 07:36:00 PM

Much though I hate to admit it, anon is correct, and fraser is reading the offending sentence in isolation. It's quite clear from context that "smacking" refers to the whole process. So this is a bum rap (ta dah!)

Having said that, this is superstition in a nutshell:

"I freely admit that I do not understand the connection between a physical smack on the bottom and a rebellious spiritual condition of the heart, nor how the first drives out the latter. But the Scripture declares it is so, therefore I am obliged to believe and practice it."

Posted by stephen : 7/19/2006 07:45:00 PM

Sam & John: I'd like to think it was just a stunning satire - but then you see them defending it as "traditional common sense smacking". No, unfortunately this is for real.

On the plus side, it should do wonders for support for repeal. As with the hatefests surrounding homosexual law reform and civil unions, there's nothing like a bunch of fundamentalist wackos to drive people towards liberalism...

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 7/19/2006 07:49:00 PM

Dave: Sadly, yes, and its five minutes of my life I will never get back.

But if the current law does not allow what they are advocating, then it would be useful to see some religious figures actually saying so, rather than leaving the field to the child abusers and hatemongers...

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 7/19/2006 07:52:00 PM

Yes, my thoughts entirely.
Do I count as a religious figure, nah probably not, but Ive said what they should have.

Posted by Swimming : 7/20/2006 12:11:00 AM

Oh Idiot, this is special, even for you. It's not advocating some prolonged beating, it's advocating discussing the reason for the smack with the child.

You just hate all that Baptist language... MAAANifistAAAtions of SINfulnessss!! I hear you Brother Jeremiah! May the Loooord STRIKE me down.

You don't even _have_ children, you're clueless to parenting. Go and have a nice cup of tea and read some of Dawkins' "bright" stuff and a lie down.

Posted by Muerk : 7/20/2006 12:32:00 AM

Yes I/S, it does seem as though you are wilfully misreading this.

Posted by stephen : 7/20/2006 07:39:00 AM

Sue Kedgley's bill isn't going to stop crap theology though is it? It's not going to stop dinky Protestant sects from thinking that little children are filled with culpable personal sin.

By the way, if anyone actually cares...

Posted by Muerk : 7/20/2006 10:10:00 AM

I wish people wouldn't refer to beating a child with a stick as "smacking". I would smack a child, but if I ever go near one with the intention of whacking it about with a stick I hope someone locks me up.

Posted by Chris : 7/20/2006 10:28:00 AM

A light smack on the bottom at 2 saves a lot of trouble at 22. As a parent of two wonderful children now in their 20s whose father and mother ocassionally administer the above when they were small children I find it offensive in the extreme to hear the hysterical ill informed bleatings on child abuse. This is not and never was child abuse. Get over it Get a life and Move on. Child abuse includes not disciplining a child in an appropriate manner so it grows up to be an obnoxious adult devoid of any social or life skills.Thrashing a child or belting it around the head with a lump of 4x2 is child abuse.This debate is really about a Socialist government wanting command and control over the good parents whilst they continue to ignore the bad parents. Reason Its not PC for them to get into the bad parents and deal to them.

Posted by Anonymous : 7/20/2006 11:43:00 AM

"10 or 15 minutes beating them"

Look, I don't agree with corporal punishment. I think the authors of this manual are wingnuts. But reading this document, it doesn't say to beat them for 10-15 minutes and it is dishonest to claim otherwise. It really bugs me that with so much genuine crap to criticise people keep focussing on something easily refuted. This doesn't put you in a strong rhetorical position.

Posted by stephen : 7/20/2006 12:05:00 PM

Maybe in fifty years we will look back on "reasonable force" in the same way we look back at the "rule of thumb" now, as a ridiculous justification for the unjustifiable that would be laughable if it wasn't so serious.

Posted by Anonymous : 7/20/2006 02:45:00 PM