Tag Archives: child abuse

Nothing About the Conservative Christian Hero Is Consistent With the Bible

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Religious texts are powerful rhetorical devices because they are subject to interpretation. America has no state religion, but the right wing has strongly endorsed what it preaches are a set of Christian values, making the movement more approachable to the seventy percent of Americans who identify as Christians.

You might think that for people who hold this set of values, Alabama’s Republican candidate for Senate, Roy Moore, would be stoned after five women came forward and made claims that Moore came on to them or worse when they were teenagers. The Christian right, however, seems to have taken a position of denial.

Moore’s not the only one setting a bad example for Christians in politics, either. There’s also our president.
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Group Starts Petition To Remove Ohio’s Religious Exemption For Child Abuse

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image of Bible and stethoscopeDid you know that many states, including Ohio, have religious exemptions for child abuse written into law? Short of killing the child, parents and people having custody of children can harm the health or safety of the child, by violating a duty of care, protection, or support – like refusing to get proper childhood vaccines or in the extreme, refusal of medical treatment for the child – as long as the abuse is due to the person’s religion. There is a new group collecting signatures on an online petition to get that exemption removed.
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Ohio Exempts Faith Healing from Child Abuse Laws

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image of kid getting ear tweakedRecently a Pennsylvania couple was convicted of allowing a second sick child to die. They tried to use their religion as a defense for refusing to take two of their children to medical professionals. Did you know that Ohio also exempts religious beliefs of the parents from laws meant to protect children? This is the worst kind of religious privilege since it can lead to the death of a child. We need to demand our legislatures remove religious exemptions for child abuse and neglect.
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Handling of Child abuse cases may have led to Ireland closing embassy at the Vatican

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image of a Celtic CrossIreland announced on Thursday that is was closing its embassy at the Vatican – headquarters of the Catholic Church – due to economic reasons. However some believe it was the result of strained relations between the majority Catholic Ireland and the Church over a bad report about the handling of child abuse cases involving the Church.
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RWNJ Ohio Teacher who burned cross in student’s arm settles lawsuit

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John Freshwater, the Mount Vernon, Ohio science teacher who was fired for burning a cross on a student’s arm and preaching his religion on school time, in 2008, settled a civil lawsuit with the parents of the victim for $450,000. He is still waiting on his appeal of his firing.

The money, to be paid by the school district’s insurance carrier, Ohio Casualty, will compensate Stephen and Jenifer Dennis for mental pain and suffering, and their son, Zachary, for physical pain and sickness.

Zachary Dennis alleges that John Freshwater pushed his Christian beliefs in science class two years ago and burned a cross on Zachary’s forearm with an electrical laboratory device.

Included in the $450,000 settlement is an annuity of $150,000, to be paid over 13years to Zachary, now enrolled in another school district. Jones Day, the law firm that represented the family, will get $25,000, which is apart from the $450,000 settlement.

Suit against science teacher settled for $450,000

Freshwater’s appeal of his firing is in the hands of a referee who has yet to rule.

Religion indoctrinates children

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Some years ago in an e-mail list about Humanism, I made the argument that religion indoctrinates children to carry on the faith to the next generation. At that time, some on the list took me to task for using the word “indoctrinate” as if the parents and religious leaders were doing something criminal. I think religious training is child abuse just like when parents try to maintain that Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny are real. The recent documentary “Jesus Camp” proves my point if in a more hyper way.

Jesus Camp is a documentary about the “Kids On Fire School of Ministry,” a charismatic Christian summer camp located just outside Devils Lake, North Dakota and run by Becky Fischer and her ministry, Kids in Ministry International. The camp was started in 2001. The film focuses on three children who attended the camp in the summer of 2005—Levi, Rachael, and Tory (Victoria). The film cuts between footage of the camp and a children’s prayer conference held just prior to the camp at Christ Triumphant Church, a large charismatic church in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, a suburb of Kansas City.

All three children are very devout Christians. Levi, who has ambitions of being a pastor, has already preached several sermons at his father’s church, Rock of Ages Church in St. Robert, Missouri. He is home schooled (as are many of the campers), and learns physical science from a book that reconciles young-earth creationism with “scientific” principles.[4] He is also taught that global warming is a fictional political speculation, and that the earth’s temperature has only risen by 0.6 °F. Levi preaches a sermon at the camp in which he declares that his generation is key to Jesus’s return. Rachael, who also attends Levi’s church (her father is assistant pastor), is seen praying over a bowling ball during a game early in the film, and frequently passes Christian tracts (including some by Jack Chick) to people she meets. She does not think highly of non-charismatic churches (or “dead churches,” as she calls them), feeling they aren’t “churches that God likes to go to.” Tory is a member of the children’s praise dance team at Christ Triumphant Church. She frequently dances to Christian heavy metal music, and feels uncomfortable about “dancing for the flesh.” She also does not think highly of Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan.

Jesus Camp

One of the points made during a later portion of the film is that Fischer admits the need to “teach” the children since “our enemies teach theirs”.

I also had a good chuckle when the mother of one of the kids in the film says to the child “See how science doesn’t prove anything?”

I said, “Really?”

The main issue with the adults in the film was equating their politics and faith. Getting children to cry out to Jesus to end abortion without going into the details of the debate is just wrong in my view.

The problem with this indoctrination is that it’s indoctrination. You can tell children anything and they will automatically believe you and as pointed out in the film by their teens those teachings will stay with them for the rest of their lives. That’s why some people still think Evolution is only a view point and not a scientific fact.

Then when they do find out not every thing they were told in their youth was true – they can become angry or rebellious.

Parents should be able to educate their children how they wish but not when that teaching makes them stupid or makes them a later burden on society. Don’t take sides. Give the children all the info out there and let them decide what they want when they get old enough to make those decisions.

If my kids come to me and ask me about religion, I’m not going to tell them they will die if they find out or they aren’t good kids if they are religious.