Spare the rod, save the child

“Train up a child in the way that he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.”

-Proverbs 22:6

This is a report of a Fundamentalist Christian couple who beat thier 7 year old child to death as part of the practice of corporal punishment to which they subscribed as per instructions given them by God. They were following the detailed methodology of child torture supplied in a book called To Train Up A Child. Which may or may not be related to a book called Train Up a Child: Successful Parenting for the Next Generation.

Nine children were subject to this abuse over several years. The child who died was adopted.

Some people should just not be allowed near other people.

In connection with this story, I’ve advanced one of “Evolution … not just a theory anymore”‘s archive revival posts to the front of the line, for your perusal: Child abuse in the name of god

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7 thoughts on “Spare the rod, save the child

  1. “Some people should just not be allowed near other people. “

    Some ideas should just not be allowed near weak minds.

  2. I’ve been familiar with the Pearls’ variety of child abuse promotion for years. (I ran across their materials via a parenting bulletin board when my older daughter was a toddler.) I looked at the Switzer book and the similarity seems to be limited to the title and the fondness for Bible verses. Switzer might condone spanking (a LOT of parenting writers do) but Pearl gives lengthy, detailed instructions involving plumbing lines, training toddlers to stay on a blanket as if it were a cage by whacking them every time they move off it, etc.

    A lot of parenting books give bad advice, but Pearl’s book is HORRIFYING.

  3. (I should clarify that I looked at that second book on, so there may have been horrifying stuff that wasn’t in the excerpted parts online. But, you don’t have to look hard for the horrifying parts of the Pearl book. They make it obvious and easy to find.)

  4. That’s the thing about spanking. At best, it gets the same effect as other kinds of corrective strategies. At worst, parents forget that their kids aren’t machinery and end up killing them.

    I know of so many cases where spanking was done on children with psychological disorders, and it’s a doom spiral. If kids turn out well with spanking, it’s probably the luck of the draw, not anything the parents did in particular.

    But, try and tell this to someone who’s pro-spanking. Ha!

  5. I just posted this on FB. But thought I’d say the same here. What I find interesting is that people pick-and-choose Biblical verses to highlight. Why not highlight verses from the more peaceful Jesus end of the Bible? For example: Gospel of Matthew, verse 26:52, where Jesus basically states, violence begets violence (“Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.”).

    Also, in terms of the whole spare the rod, spoil the child verse thing, there are issues with the translations (similar to the issues found with the verses allegedly condemning gay and lesbian people). Grace Thru Faith highlights this at They state that the quote probably comes from Proverbs 13:24 “Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.” The translated “rod” comes from a Hebrew word that translates to sceptre as a mark of authority. In other places in the Bible this same word is translated to tribe, club, rod, instruction, and correction – never punish. And, because Proverbs generally talks in terms of symbolism, they state that the verse should be translated into something like “Whoever fails to exercise his parental authority hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to instruct and correct him.”

  6. yeah but this report is blasting Christianity as usual with American reproving….. There are always freaks like this family but this is not in the name of God. But Americans are all MAD anyway – especially in the Bible belt – Tennessee

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