PART IV: Christian Reconstruction, ATI, Abuse & Submission – Training Children

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Screen Shot 2014-05-31 at 11.00.08 PM“...“One of the reasons that God makes human babies small is so they won’t kill their parents in their sleep. They’re evil. Yes, this is true of children. ‘None is righteous; no, not one.’…Yes, that little, precious one—you better believe it. If you don’t, you miss the big picture and you don’t realize your desperate need to get the gospel to your child again and again and again and again.”  Voddie Bauchaum

Dr. John Piper thinks that children who are not taught to obey their parents end up being shot by the police.  There are some ministers, godly men all, who think that if a child is not taught to obey, he/she is going to lose their soul to the devil. Influenced by Michael Pearl, Voddie Baucham thinks that childhood shyness is a sin.  That parents allowing it are in a state of sin. He thinks that anyone allowing a child to get away with not obeying their parents is also sinning.   Bauchaum was once president of the now defunct Vision Forum. He wrote in his book Family Driven Faith:

“…What this means is the degree to which children properly respond to the authority of their parents is indicative of the degree to which they are filled with the Spirit. In other words, obedience is a spiritual issue…

You tell your two-year-old to do something in front of the pastor’s wife and she sticks out her tongue yells “no,” and takes off running in the other direction… Eventually you learn that everyone is willing to accept this behavior, or at least to make comments that suggest their acceptance.

The only problem with this scenario is that it clearly violates the principles laid out in God’s Word. It is not OK for our toddlers to be characterized by rank disobedience. Moreover, if we do not deal with this when they are toddlers, our children will grow up to be disobedient, disrespectful, obnoxious teens whom no one wants to be around. More importantly, they will have established a behavior pattern that mitigates against the Spirit-filled life. Remember, a young man or woman who is filled with the Spirit will be marked by obedience to his or her parents…”

Would you trust your child’s well being and base the way you raise a child on this man?  Tens of thousands of parents have.  The result has been a travesty of what Christian parenting and Christian love should be.  At least 3 innocent children are dead because of his rules for training children.  His rules are based on watching the Amish train mules.  Thousands of lives have been disrupted and ruined because of his abusive requirements, such as whipping small children with rubber hoses.  If an infant nurses too hard, pull their hair! Toddlers are to be whipped, repeatedly, until they learn how to obey.  Children are to be robbed of any individuality.  They are to conform.  They belong to their father, to be trained, at his will.  After all, the godly father is God’s representative on earth.  He even has the power to forgive sins and save souls – the godly father.

Michael Pearl believes that a child should be trained to obey, basically the way one trains an animal.  There is no love, no kindness, no understanding of the role of childhood, just cold, cruel, hatred of childhood.  It’s rather obvious he doesn’t like children.  Ironically, Pearl has stated that he uses the same principles on ‘training’ children that the Amish do in training mules. The exception being the Amish value their mules more than Pearl values children.

Patriarchal religious types aren’t exactly known for their love and milk of human kindness.  According to Bill Gothard, who pioneered the cult of far right patriarchal domination, children are not only born sinful, but the way to control them is to break their spirit.

“…The “unregistered birth” stuff becomes of particular importance when it is realised that Gothard is one of the more extreme, and one of the biggest-selling, promoters of religiously motivated child abuse in the United States (yes, the same sorts of child abuse that literally caused Matthew Murray to snap and suicide in a blaze of gunfire that also took six other lives).  In fact, Gothard is among the earliest documented promoters of “Bible-based baby beating”; some sources note this may go back to the 1960s.  More than one expert has noted the levels of coercion and recommended “discipline” practices in Gothard’s courses are a veritable recipe for not only spousal and child abuse but make for a great way to hide evidence.  (Rather disturbingly, there are indications that Huckabee may have explicitly used Gothard’s advice on religiously motivated child abuse and his own children may have been victims.)…”

That way, they won’t rebel and show any real individuality.  Corporal punishment is necessary to break children.

 “...This touches on some tension between the Dispensational “age of accountability” typically understood in Baptist circles, the Total Depravity of the Reformed faith, hints of innocence in covenant children by virtue of their election as found in the Westminster Confession, and for some more modern/aberrant patriocentrists, something akin to paedobaptismal regeneration. I’m unclear as to what exactly he means to communicate. Baucham seems to draw elements from a model of “Child Training” (versus child raising) akin to the Pearls and the Ezzos which actually argues a very Darwinian view of eliciting good behavior (like training mules according to Michael Pearl). Baucham seems to want to borrow from both Total Depravity and a divine manifestation of spiritual virtue at the same time without conflict. In so doing, Baucham argues a works-based and salvation evidenced by comparison and perfectionism. The question remains: How does one differentiate between good works in an elect two year old, deceitfully manipulative good behavior in a two year old who pretends to manifest the Holy Spirit, a well-trained two year old who is non-elect, a two year old with a delightful disposition, and a child who has been raised to be sensitive to the Lord thorough loving, “one-anothering” parenting (the true covenant child). A two year old knows well the difference between attrition and contrition, and all this apart from election. In fact, they may be more sensitive to it than an adult…”

World Magazine
World Magazine

“…On their website the Pearls encourage parents to use a one-fourth inch plumbing supply line (a thin, flexible piece of plastic) as an instrument to discipline their children: They say it will sting skin but not cause bruising. I spoke with Michael Pearl, who said, “I have never advocated—either in private, public speaking, or in writing—withholding food from a child, forcing children to sleep on the floor or outside, constraining them in blankets (or by any other means), spanking children on their feet, faces, or backs, locking them in small rooms or tight containers, or forcing them to stay outside in cold weather.” 

 

Michael Pearl thinks that a baby, at six-months-old, is not too young to be spanked, that he should be spanked earlier than six months.

“...A child with unacceptable habits becomes a rejected child, then a dejected child, and eventually a self-loathing kid who feels that he can never please anyone and that no one likes him. I am sorry the psychologists and secular child advocates don’t get it, but then if all parents practiced child training as I have suggested, there wouldn’t be any need for abnormal psychologists or child protection agencies. A lot of people would move on to more practical kinds of work, and there wouldn’t be any more crime or war.

Yes, we spank our little ones, but only as we define spanking, not as others might imagine it to be. We obey God in applying the rod of training, not because we are gullible and blind religious fools, but because the Word of God has made us wise beyond our secular peers. We know what is good for our children. We know it from experience, our own and the experience of our forefathers who walked in wisdom applying the rod of correction to our backsides. Some of us don’t remember any of the much-talked-about “cruel beatings” that are attributed to our “strong disciplinarian” forefathers. We remember loving parents who cared for our souls. They applied the rod with firmness and dignity. To us, they represented the law of God, and they stood for everything that was good and wholesome. They called us to the higher path and chastened us when they felt we needed a little reminder to walk by the rule of law rather than by our passions. Today, we thank them, just as our children now thank us. Since our Heavenly Father chastens us (Hebrews 12), could we do otherwise than to emulate his child-training methods?…”

The fact that the Christian Right is now teaching that children are born evil is something rather new.

“…And so the fourth characteristic of a Christian Right home is that children are born evil and can become good only through a Godly mixture of love and punishment. “One does not have to teach antisocial behavior to toddlers,” writes right-wing family psychologist John Rosemond in a 2006 column, syndicated in 225 newspapers. “They are by nature violent, deceitful, destructive, rebellious, and prone to sociopathic rages if they do not get their way.”

I wrote to Rosemond in an email and asked him to elaborate. “In my estimation,” he replied, “toddlerhood is a pathological condition that demands ‘cure,’ accomplished through a combination of powerful love and powerful discipline.…The toddler mindset and the sociopathic mind-set are one and the same: ‘What I want, I deserve to have; the ends justify the means; and no one has a right to stand in my way.’ This is a reflection of human nature.”

Rosemond invoked the DSM-IV, the diagnostic bible of mental health practitioners, to justify his views and give them the veneer of scientific authority, but later in his response he made it clear that there is only one Bible that guides his parenting advice. “In every passage of Scripture that refers to the discipline (disciple-ing) of children, the central theme is leadership,” he writes. “I am, first and foremost, a believer in and follower of Jesus, The Christ.”

Psychologists I interviewed were horrified by Rosemond’s use of the DSM-IV and his conception of children as mentally ill, which amounts to a translation of the doctrine of original sin, with its framework of damnation and salvation, into contemporary therapeutic terms. The difference is simple: A two-year-old human being is still learning how to deal with and express her feelings, but a true sociopath has no feelings. To treat a toddler like a sociopath is like studying snakes in order to understand koala bears – and then declaring that koala bears are cold-blooded.

In fact, contrary to Rosemond’s views, research has found that human beings exhibit empathic behavior from as early as 18 months. For example, Nancy L. Marshall at Wellesley College found that “when toddlers saw a teddy bear suffer an ‘accident,’ their faces showed distress and concern. They also responded by trying to help or comfort the bear”9 – a behavior I’ve seen my three-year-old son exhibit many times. There are literally hundreds of empirical studies that echo these results. Based on findings like these, evolutionary psychologists like Jonathan Haidt and Marc Hauser argue that moral behavior has evolved to keep selfishness in check and has deep biological roots.

None of the findings indicate that human beings are born saints, only that the capacities for empathy and cooperation are present from the very beginning and can be cultivated – or squashed. Rosemond’s views are, at best, one-sided. At worst, they suggest a deep fear and hatred of children. And among conservative evangelicals, Rosemond is hardly alone. “Your child came into the world with an insatiable faculty for evil,” writes Pastor John MacArthur in his 2000 book, What the Bible Says About Parenting. “Even before birth, your baby’s little heart was already programmed for sin and selfishness.”…”

It is a terrible situation.  Children, to these individuals are born evil.  Toddlers are pure evil.  If a child isn’t beaten into submission, they are going to the devil, literally. One study found that white evangelical men who were more likely to use corporal punishment on their children were less likely to do housework.  They also have more divorces than any other religious group.  According to Michael Pearl, even a six month old child should have been spanked, many times.  Pearl’s influence is so great, that one lawmaker in Kansas is calling for legal corporal punishment that leaves red marks on a child.  It would restore parental rights.

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