Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Catch 22 of saving children from emotional abuse

This is the text of my recent post to's Parenting Discussion Forum:

The catch 22 of religiously inspired child abuse
Today at 4:15am | Edit Note | Delete
An Amazon Parents forum participant writes:

I think everyone should just chill. The fact of the matter is, parents will teach their children whatever they want and as long as it doesn't fall under abuse as defined by the Dept. of Social Services, there is nothing anyone else can do about it.


Richard replies:

No, the case is far from closed, as you put it. This discussion is about parents subjecting children to harm through actions they control, and indeed are complicit in. The harm is to their child's mental health and emotional well being, leaving aside the gross violation of their personhood. Can you find a state in the country that does not have laws against inflicting emotional abuse on another person? Such laws do exist, but....

No minor child can walk into child protective services and seek help to escape the mind control program they are subjected to. The damage to their intellectual development and emotional health occurs over many years. In the best of circumstances, the crime of inflicting emotional abuse on another person is extremely difficult to prosecute -- even when the abuse is blatant and has no religious overtones. The only persons legally able to speak for a child are the same persons complicit in the abuse. That is the nub of the problem. That is the catch 22.

For anyone reading this that may suspect they know of a child that is being abused, here are the behavioral indications (quoted from the non-profit web page

"Behavioral signs. Since emotional child abuse does not leave concrete marks, the effects may be harder to detect. Is the child excessively shy, fearful or afraid of doing something wrong? Behavioral extremes may also be a clue. A child may be constantly trying to parent other children for example, or on the opposite side exhibit antisocial behavior such as uncontrolled aggression. Look for inappropriate age behaviors as well, such as an older child exhibiting behaviors more commonly found in younger children.

Caregiver signs. Does a caregiver seem unusually harsh and critical of a child, belittling and shaming him or her in front of others? Has the caregiver shown anger or issues with control in other areas? A caregiver may also seem strangely unconcerned with a child's welfare or performance. Keep in mind that there might not be immediate caregiver signs. Tragically, many emotionally abusive caregivers can present a kind outside face to the world, making the abuse of the child all the more confusing and scary."

Children have rights that are trampled in the United States by a legal doctrine that favors parents religious free exercise rights over consideration of children's welfare interests. Experts assert this legal doctrine is on weak moral ground because it is based solely on patriarchal tradition, which of course is male privilige written large.

If you examine the history of human rights progress you can see a clear pattern. The starting point is a widespread harmful cultural practice and a legal system that shelters the rights abuses. Slavery was legal because rich white landowners controlled the legal apparatus and they had a financial stake in having slaves. In the South they pointed to their bibles as justification for the practice. The abolition movement started in the mercantile North where the financial stake in agriculture did not exist.

Drunk driving, spousal abuse, miscegenation; and segregation in housing, education and public life, all follow the pattern. Women were denied the right to vote in the USA until 1920. Blacks were subject to Jim Crow. A white male power structure and public indifference fostered these injustices. Recall that most judges were white males until very recently and spousal rape could not be prosecuted. Likewise, the hierarchy of most organized religions is in the hands of white males. Coincidence?

Until women achieve full and complete equality with men imbalances and injustices will continue. Protecting children and advancing women's rights are key to solving many of our problems.

We see the legal system now fosters and protects religious mind control programs. In state legislatures around the country, Christian fascist leaders such as Tony Perkins, Michael Ferris and James Dobson (all are dominionists that would replace our democracy with a theonomy and all are part of the Council for National Policy cabal) were able to bulldoze state legislatures into revoking and revising truancy laws to enable sham homeschools to mushroom. Estimates are that as many as 1.5 million children are sequestered in their own homes and subject to brain washing 24/7. I have posted extensively on this topic.

Adherents, clerics and anyone who gets a paycheck from a church has a financial stake in maintaining the membership of their congregations. All congregations, without exception, must maintain a constant flow of new adherents in the front door as the old members fade away and can no longer chip in the collection plate. Religion is a vast multi-billion dollar enterprise. What business do you know that could allow their customers to die away and not replace them?

Organized religion has adapted the most sophisticated public relations tools known to modern man. According to their PR, society would collapse from moral rot if people were not sitting in the pews listening to and absorbing ancient fables and myths. They trumpet their charitable works, yet some recent studies show that only about five percent of tax exempt donations actually go to charity. The rest is spent maintaining property and I suppose on coffee and cake for the members. Essentially what you have is a social club operated for the benefit of the members at the expense of the tax paying public.

A new facebook group, Abolish tax breaks for faith-based groups, is devoted to countering unfair tax laws that favor groups just because they believe in mythology :