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Saturday, June 09, 2012

Now Here's a Story

The headline reads "Black Earth pastor gets 2 years in prison in child abuse case". (For reference, Black Earth is the name of the town in Wisconsin in which the pastor served.)

Oh, that's bad! A pastor convicted of child abuse. Not good at all. But wait!

"Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi said the sentence, in part, was intended ... to prevent Caminiti from once again teaching members of his church to spank their children with wooden objects to cure them of selfishness."

Oh, now, hold on! Is the "child abuse" of which he was convicted simply teaching (in the words of the article) "a literal interpretation of discipline prescribed by the Bible"? Well, apparently!

Oh, that's bad! I mean, does anyone recall "the separation of Church and State", the First Amendment, the prohibition of limiting the free exercise of religion, you know, the Constitution? It's bad enough with the mayor of New York decides to control what the people of his city can eat, but now a judge can determine what a pastor can teach? Oh, that's not good at all. But wait!

"The children were beaten for, of all things, doing what children do, and that is crying."

Oh, hold it! That's not right! Come on, pastor, teaching your congregation to "discipline" children against crying? How does that make sense? Come on, man, think! We're supposed to train up our children, not beat them for crying! Not good. Not good at all! But wait!

"Sumi ordered that he not have any contact with the Aleitheia Bible Church and have no leadership role in any church."

Choke! What??!! The judge gets to determine what the local church can and cannot do in its leadership or whether or not any church can employ this man as a pastor because the judge is opposed to "a literal interpretation of discipline prescribed by the Bible"???!!! So now he is barred from his church, barred from any church, and even barred "from having contact with members of his extended family." Not good! Not good at all! Really bad!

Well, folks, fasten your seatbelts. It's going to be a bumpy ride. Mayor Bloomberg will determine what you can and cannot consume at your local theater. Judge Sumi will determine what you can and cannot teach at your local church. President Obama will determine what you can and cannot believe and practice in regards to contraception or abortion. Popular opinion has decided that you cannot mix religion with politics despite the fundamental contradiction that this causes (as if "religion" can be segmented in a person's life). And pretty soon public opinion will decide what you can and cannot believe in regards to moral values. There may not be some grand conspiracy at work here, but it sure looks like there is, and it isn't going to go well for freedom-loving people in general and Bible-loving Christians in particular.


David said...

Well, the Church has a cushy run for long enough in western civilization. We've grown soft and cuddly. We are but a dim light, barely visible in this dark world. Only when those shading the light with their false professions are removed will the light shine brightly again.

Sometimes we need to remind ourselves that being godly in an ungodly world is supposed to be hard. Not sometimes unpleasant, but hard. Lo! Trials come.

Dan Trabue said...

The right to practice one's religion does not include the right to cause physical harm.

The right to practice one's religion does not include a "right" to lynch black people, it does not include the "right" to kill abortion doctors, it does not include the "right" to cut off the hands of thieves.

Our rights have limits and at least one of those limits is physical harm.

Rationally so.

If a Christian thinks God wants him to beat a child with wooden objects to teach them lessons, or to kidnap the "enemy's" orphaned girls and make them their wives or any other form of abuse, then IF that Christian practices that belief, they will rightly stopped and punished.

Our rights have limits.

Having said that, merely teaching such abusive behavior would probably rightly fall under a freedom of speech and the judge (jury?) was overstepping her bounds. A preacher or teacher can TEACH that Christians should kidnap the orphaned virgin girls of the enemy and make them their wives, but as long as it is only a theoretical teaching, that is probably protected (if distasteful) speech.

I'm not sure where the line is/ought to be on encouraging such behavior, though.

Dan said...

But wait again!!? Doesn't a prominent ethics professor contend that children are not people until, what, their second birthday? So what's Sumi's problem? Perhaps if the pastor had taught his congregation to pull their arms out of socket, drill holes in their sculls and suck their brains out, and other wise dismembered them the judge would have turned a blind eye.

Stan said...

Dan Trabue: "The right to practice one's religion does not include the right to cause physical harm."

And we're back to definitions again, aren't we? Define "physical harm". If by "harm" you mean "pain", then every parent who takes their baby in for inoculations needs to be locked up because everyone knows that sticking a needle in the arm of an infant is painful. On the other hand, we're already in the midst of the "harm" caused by parents who have failed to teach their children respect and self-control as per the biblical commands for disciplining children.

So once again we run into the wall of communication problems. Your version of "harm" or "abusive behavior" is as unfathomable to me as your version of "marriage", "love", or so many other terms we can't seem to agree upon. Yes, indeed, there are limitations on religious freedom. And, indeed, I thought the pastor was going too far in instructing discipline for simple crying. But it will always be true by God's Word that God's ways will not coincide with the world's ways and trying to make it so is not godly.

Marshall Art said...

"We've grown soft and cuddly."

...because some, like Dan T. insist that we must view God as soft and cuddly lest He be unworthy of worship and reverence. Because "a loving God" wouldn't discipline, allow evil, command His Chosen to annihilate entire populations, send floods, devastation, Angels of Death, etc. No. God is simply bunnies and rainbows, hugs and kisses.

Stan said...

I suppose this is one of the reasons I don't care to keep allowing Dan T's comments. I can imagine a host of better examples of a "fluffy god" type than Dan. Somehow he becomes the archetype of all sorts of errors.

Dan Trabue said...

My fluffy God damns your support of injustice and pride and arrogance oppression.

You're right that there is a communication problem. "Fluffy" ain't the word to describe God as I describe God.

I highly encourage a dictionary, fellas. Stick to actual words and actual meanings and you'll be better off.

Stan said...

You're right, Dan. You speak with kindness and grace while the rest of us are cruel and unkind. Thank you so much for reminding me why I wasn't letting your comments through. I'm sure that you'll define that as "friendly dialog" and "speaking the truth". I don't.

(And in case you were unclear, I was suggesting that Marshall leave you out of this. Now I will, too.)

Dan said...

If anyone advocates a different doctrine and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, he is conceited and understands nothing; but he has a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words, out of which arise envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions, and constant friction between men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain.

Craig said...

"My fluffy God damns your support of injustice and pride and arrogance oppression"

Not sure what exactly "arrogance oppression" is.

But wouldn't you love to know exactly what Dan's idea of God damning someone or something is.

Perhaps a strongly worded note? Maybe a nasty rebuke? Hell? Probably not.

Maybe it's just a hyperbolic damning. Or a mythical one.

It certainly can't be something that causes physical harm.

Because heaven forbid parents would be denied the right to discipline their children in a way that seems appropriate to them.

I'll say this even though it won't stop Dan from taking me out of context, and it shouldn't have to be said, but here goes.

While corporal punishment has been and can be a part of parental discipline, that does not give parents license to engage in any behavior that will cause actual harm to a child (as opposed to pain or discomfort). There is certainly a line between appropriate physical discipline and abuse. To be redundantly clear, I DO NOT in any way shape or form condone parents physically abusing their children.

Stan said...

It shouldn't have to be said. It does.

Craig said...


Your right it shouldn't, but I'll still get taken out of context.