Wednesday, February 24, 2010

I Would Be Remiss...

WARNING: What follows is pretty blunt and ugly.

... if I didn't at least briefly mention the horrible Schatz case, wherein a 7 year old Northern CA girl named Lydia (originally from Liberia, adopted by the Schatz family along with two other Liberian children) was beaten to death over the course of many hours by her adoptive parents. With a length of 1/4 inch "plumbers line."

For mispronouncing a word, according to her "parents," the ones who beat her until her spirit quite literally left her body.

Her eleven year old sister, also adopted and from Liberia, was beaten to the brink of death, but was hospitalized until her liver stopped trying to shut down. A biological child of the Schatz', a ten year old boy, was also discovered to have bruising on his body.

So, from what kind of freak-a-zoid source would this self-proclaimed "evangelical family" ever get the idea to use a length of plastic tubing, usually used inside of a toilet, for beating their children? Why, from Michael and Debi Pearl's fractured Bible Tales, of course! Michael and Debi Pearl, of the Sean Paddock infamy; Michael and Debi Pearl, who somehow believe that one can achieve sinlessness and perfection right here on earth; Michael and Debi Pearl, who believe that only the husband of the family is sanctified through Christ's death, and that his wife is only sanctified through him.

Well, okay then, some might say- only a few really uber-fundie Christian cult members would fall in line with this sort of thinking. Only a few quacks would really use this, right? Not so much, unfortunately. The Pearls offer a quick fix, guaranteed to make your children achieve salvation, and force your home into perfect harmony. Who can resist? Your house is calm and orderly, your children follow your every command (CHEERFULLY!), Mom's soft-spoken and CHEERFUL, and Dad- well, according to the Pearls, it doesn't matter which of the three entities of God he is (the "commanding" Father God, the "dreamy" Holy Spirit, or the "merciful" Christ), he is just plain God to that house. I'll let others do the citation from their Child and Wife Abuse Manuals, respectively, as I refuse to link them to my blog. For more links, if your stomach can handle it, especially to the Pearl's website, check out the website, "Why Not Train A Child?" I want to strongly caution Christian readers especially- when I first started reading into these people about two years ago (during the time that the Paddock trial was still going on, and North Carolina was attempting-unsuccessfully- to indict them for an aspect of his death), I came away feeling very spiritually violated. My interactions with others, even my own husband, was very negatively affected by the experience of reading chapters of their book, "To Train Up A Child," and I had a very visceral reaction to such severe blasphemy and heresy. To be perfectly honest, I was literally tainted by what I feel to be the work of two people who are being operated as tools by Satan himself. This is no ordinary demonic possession within these "two old country folks," this is the handwriting of the Old Scratch himself. If you are a Christian and you take on the task of reading this pile of lies, surround yourself with spiritual people who can pull you from the brink, if it comes down to that. And so there- I've laid it on the line that I may be a little overly "religious," or a little over-concerned with the spiritual realm, but there it is. Consider yourself warned.

So many others have blogged about the insidiousness of this "ministry's" message, and how parents have been swept away by this. Because God knows, (and I'm talking the real God, not the Freaky God that the Pearls seem to worship) that no parent in their right mind would decide that they want to go with a program that beats kids to within an inch of their lives (if they're "lucky." And I would argue that poor Lydia is far better off having not survived such a horrific experience.) And others have blogged about the extreme contrariness this "ministry's" message has toward actual Scripture and fundamental Christian belief. A fairly comprehensive list of all of those bloggers, from Tulip Girl to Beauty For Ashes, can be found at the blog Roscommon Acres. Whether you are a Christian or not, it's well worth checking these out, as it seems to be (oh I hope, I hope, I hope...) the beginnings of the Christian body as a whole deciding that it's time to quit calling this "the extreme," and to start taking a stand and saying that the whole thing is evil.

There is not a whole lot I can add to the outcry, aside from my own cries that this IS NOT CHRISTIANITY. I will share a little bit of my own "joy," that completely fills our home on a daily basis, without the application of any sort of physical implements or withholding of love or any sort of shaming or screaming. And a possible look at what Mr Clarateaches and I would completely miss out on, if we decided that we needed to physically harm our child to make her do whatever is convenient to the adults:

While shrieking, the other evening, in the midst of the angst of "the witching hour" (the hour or so before dinner when everyone from newborns to probably centurions tends to fall apart a little) while I was changing Gianna's diaper, I reminded her that I can only help her out if she tells me what she wants- otherwise, I have to make the very best decision for her- in this case, finishing with the diaper and going back downstairs. She responded with a shriek. I told her that I would help her out by finishing her diaper, to which she immediately responded, in a totally rational voice, "Mommy, I only want you to be happy!" (To which I replied, obviously, that I am happy no matter what she does! My adult emotions do not start and stop with her actions, and I want her to be well aware of that.) But ponder for a moment, if I would have applied the Pearl methods of going ahead and "switching" her until she was cheerful? For one thing, I would have switched my arm off, because I don't know anyone who responds to physical pain with "cheerfulness." For another- I would have missed what was arguably the cutest and silliest thing she said that day.

And I could probably go on and on, and describe many more adorable interactions with the little Gianna-bee, and describe how proactive, "Get Off (My) Butt Parenting," style responses have somehow managed to create a peaceful and happy and intelligent little girl. I have to wonder what Sean, Lydia, and possibly many other un-recognized Pearl victims would be like, had they not only lived, but had been parented consistently, gently, gracefully, and positively. Lydia may have mispronounced words, but she would have been reading. Joyfully, no doubt. God rest her sweet soul.


Dana said...

What really bothered me when I first began reading their materials was trying to not be overly harsh with people I talked to online who I knew followed their teachings.

Suddenly, references seemed everywhere. I had to remind myself that most people I know in real life have never heard of them, and would run away at the whole sinless perfection thing, anyway.

Clara said...

Isn't that the trick, the "how to approach Pearl followers...?" When it's so clearly seen that it's a gross bastardization of the Christian religion, but somehow it's been packaged in such a way that it really appeals to people who truly do have good intentions.

I read an excellent break-down of the "why's" yesterday, from a blog that no longer exists, so I will have to talk to this woman to see if I can re-post her words with proper citations. Essentially, it ties into a lot of "higher authority" stuff reminiscent of the "famous" Stanford University prison experiment, as well as some "otherization" of children (lots of mental re-ordering so that children are not necessarily regarded as human beings) and a few other things. So people who are, really, good people, end up doing tremendously horrific things.

mark8484 said...

This is where "heresy" comes from in the literal sense. Though it has been used as a critique of Christianity, (usually labeling the Church as murderous and intolerant,) this is why it exists, and shall continue to exist. From the Holy See, to the Ecumenical Patriarch, to Pastor Joe down the street, there are times when all Christians must make it a point to draw a line in the sand and be the first to cast stones (hard and fast.)

Hermana Linda said...

Hi Clara,
Thanks for linking to my site. I wanted to let you know that I now have a new and improved (I hope) version at in case you would like to update your link. :-)