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Let the little children come

“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”  –Jesus  (Luke 18:16, NIV)

A well-known pastor in my very small town was arrested.  I’m sure many folks in our conservative southern town are up in arms about his arrest.  I’m sure they feel he was justified in his actions.  In fact, I’m surprised he was arrested.  Here is what he is accused of doing:

His church has a Christian school.  One of the children was misbehaving.  Someone at the school called the child’s mother and told her she must come to the school to spank her child or give permission for a school official to spank him.

Now let’s stop here for a moment.  Seriously?  These educators and administrators couldn’t come up with anything other than spanking?  These adults who claim to have the mind of Christ could not tap into the incredible creativity of the Creator and come up with anything else?  Wow.  It had to be violence.  It had to be hitting.  That was the best they could come up with.

Ok, back to the story.  It isn’t clear whether the mother gave permission or not.  Regardless, the 45 year old pastor of the church spanked the child leaving (according to the arrest warrant) “revoltingly egregious bruising to his buttocks” with four bruises measuring more than three inches by one inch in size. 

Mr. Pastor is now charged with assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature.  I very much hope it sticks. 

What has this child learned about Jesus from one of his supposed “shepherds?”  What has he learned about love and grace?

Does your church have a stance on corporal punishment against children?  Are they involved in something like this?

ETA:  Just heard from a reliable source that the child was four years old.

11 responses »

  1. Pingback: Christian Quill » Let the little children come

  2. How ridiculous that something like that could happen in the year 2008. If I’d gotten that call I would’ve picked up my child, paid what I owed, and said see ya. Of all the liberation/rights movements, I am waiting and praying for the one that will happen for children. Until then many people think it is okay to treat them like animals. No, I take that back–WORSE than animals.

  3. I have to be honest – I was spanked as a child, and while it sure sucked being on the receiving end, it taught me many a valuable lesson. However, I do believe that parents should be the only one administering a spank.
    That being said, there is a definite line between a spank and corporal abuse. However, gracious discipline doesn’t mean never delivering a sound slap across the rear-end.
    I also realize that my opinion may not hold as much merit, having no children of my own [yet]. Just some thoughts.

  4. I don’t think I’ve said parental spanking is wrong. It is every parent’s personal choice to make.

    I have said I think it is dumb. And doesn’t always shape long-term character. And sometimes backfires. And I’ve probably said I think it isn’t well-thought out or creative. And I definately don’t believe there is a Biblical mandate to spank. Oh, and I also don’t believe in rewards or punishments.

    I guess that sums it up. Please note, while I’m not a punitive parent, I am not a permissive one either. I just handle things without hitting, gold star charting, or time-outing.

    Rachel–your opinion totally holds merit! I always want to hear what you have to say! Particularly I’m interested in how you manage a classroom of multiple kiddos…that is super-parenting.

  5. I think it would be wonderful to not have to do any form of time-out, but Suzi is really testing us. She’s a biter and a pincher. Tonight she bit her daddy several times and each time we told her, in a serious voice, that it was wrong and she said she was sorry… with a big, silly grin on her face. It’s like she thought we were playing. After the last time, I made her get off the couch for a few minutes (though I didn’t send her away and we were right there with her). She started crying and after a little while came back and, I think, really understood she did something wrong. She didn’t try it again after that. I don’t want to be a you-hurt-me-I-hurt-you-back type of parent, but how do you get a child to understand that what they’ve done is unacceptable?

  6. I think it’s so interesting to read everyone’s comments and see thought processes about this issue of spanking. I was spanked as a child (as a last resort…I was really bad) and I am not scarred from it. I actually got to the point where I respected my parents for their consistency. Granted they didn’t spank me over everything but they spanked me when nothing else worked and when I was willfully defiant. It was a very well thought out thing and when it was all over, many hugs and kisses were exchanged. As a result of all that, I believe that spanking can be a beneficial thing. As long as it’s not a thoughtless thing but it’s done with prayer and when nothing else can be done. I also believe that there are other methods of discipline that are effective too. It’s completely up to the parents and it’s their responsibility. When God disciplines us it’s not fun and it hurts, yet it’s something we as His children learn from and remember. Growth can take place. He disciplines in different ways. I believe the same is for our children. Whether it’s with appropriate spanking, letting them find out the hard way (within reason), time out, or whatever. I believe that if we unconditionally love our kids through the discipline, and practically teach them, growth can be a result. Thanks Julie for posting your comments. Very thought provoking, as usual. ;0)

  7. Jenny, somehow it is hard to picture Suzi biting! Did she pick that up from one of our wild ones (including Norah) at a group? 🙂

    It was really helpful for me to join an online forum specific to gentle discipline when Norah was Suzi’s age. I didn’t have a whole lot of real life examples then. A few that I recommend: (there is a forum called “gentle discipline”)

  8. I didn’t mean to imply that you were permissive – I hope it didn’t come across that way.

    Classroom management? Ideally, I like to be proactive & “communicate high expectations” from the get-go. Then I just make threats of calling parents, detentions, jumping jacks in front of the class… and I even threatened to make one 15-yr old boy sit in the corner. 🙂

  9. And don’t forget rewarding them with apple pie!

    No, you didn’t come across that way at all.

    By the way–everyone: I broke quite a few of my parenting rules today in trying to get Norah to take some really gross medicine. I bribed. I made empty threats. I made impossible promises. I challenged a spirited child head-to-head (high needs child no-no number 1). I removed privileges. In the end, the chocolate covered medicine spoon did not work. Time was the only answer. I mixed it with her OJ and eventually she drank it up. (though she remembered I had promised a honey stick if she drank it).

  10. Ha! I don’t think she learned it from any other kids–I don’t even think she does it maliciously. It’s like she’s resting her teeth on her daddy’s arm, and oops, it hurts him. She thinks it’s a game until we don’t let her sit with us. Actually she hasn’t bitten since I kicked her off the couch the other night. She NEVER bites when I’m breastfeeding her; I think she realizes I’d wean her pretty quickly.

    I remember having to take gross medicine and hating it. When I was old enough to take pills already, a friend came over with her little girl who was a few years younger than me and they had this awesome medicine dropper thing. She would put the medicine in and stick the dropper all the way in the back of her daughter’s mouth before squirting. She hardly tasted it at all, so she didn’t mind taking it.

  11. wow, that is so crazy! i went to a Christian school that spanked. i never got one, but i was older too. but, their other form of punishment, which i did receive many, many times, was writing scripture! i never got that, all it did was make me hate reading my bible…

    i still can’t believe he left bruises on a 4 yo…..


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