Originally published December 18, 2013.
Revised and republished December 15, 2015 after a web host transfer.
Many pro-lifers protest the pain they believe aborted fetuses feel (despite scientific evidence that indicates otherwise) in order to control women. But “Spare the rod, spoil the child” pro-lifers inflict pain in order to control babies and toddlers. Pastor Philip Caminiti was leader of the Aleitheia Bible Church in Wisconsin. Caminiti taught parents to use pinching and wooden spoons to inflict pain on infants and toddlers. Pro-life parents who followed Caminiti’s advice left bruises on their children. Inflicted on a fetus, pain is inhumane. Inflicted on a one and a half month old baby, “pain is a good way to teach children.” Parents inflicted pain on their babies and toddlers “for things such as being emotional, grumpy or crying, not sitting quietly through church, crying when being handed from a mother to another person or for potty training mistakes”.
Author M. Dolon Hickmon grew up with parents who believed that “pained screaming and broken sobbing” were “desirable”. Christian parents who believe in the desirability of pain tell their children they love them. This expression of love is supposed to prove the parents are not abusive.
Three sets of parents have been found guilty of killing their children after following the advice in a parenting book written by Michael and Debi Pearl. The Pearls recommend beating children with 15-inch plastic tubes, starving children, and forcing them to sleep outside in cold weather, among other tortures. The purpose of the pain is to train children to obey. The Pearls recommend inflicting pain before children are disobedient to teach total obedience.
Yet according to Jill Stanek, unborn babies must be protected from pain. The purpose of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, passed by Congress, “is simply meant to protect the preborn child’s right to life.” Apparently, born children don’t have a right to life.
If pain is bad for the unborn or preborn, why is it good for the born? Obviously, pain is not the issue. Control is the issue, total control. Total control that justifies killing thoughts, killing feelings, and killing lives.
This need to control explains why “Spare the rod, spoil the child” pro-lifers ignore the pain children endure because they are unwanted, because their parents are too poor to satisfy physical needs (adequate food, health care, heat, shelter), or because their families face discrimination. People who need to inflict pain to maintain control have to protect their ability to inflict pain. Drawing attention to the detriments of pain would work against their need for total control.
People with this need to control seem to have a view of the world in which everyone has their place in a sacred world order ordained by God. Because they follow the “Spare the rod, spoil the child” Biblical belief, they place themselves at the top of the natural order, just beneath God. Many pro-life supporters do not believe in this religious natural order. I shall call the pro-life supporters who do believe in a religious natural order “pro-life place protectors”. The focus of pro-life place protectors is protecting their own place in what they believe is God’s natural order for the world. They will inflict pain on anyone who threatens their place in that order.
Pro-life place protectors believe God wants everyone to recognize and accept their place in the natural order God created. Pro-life place protectors believe they know what God wants for everyone, so everyone else should do what they say God wants them to do. Physical, mental, and emotional pain are tools for keeping everyone in their place. It is good for pregnant women to suffer the loss of choice, because then they will learn their place in the world. It is good for poor people to suffer lack of food, healthcare, heat, shelter, and education, because then they will learn place in the world. It is good for oppressed groups to suffer discrimination, because then they will learn their place in the world.
For pro-life place protectors the issue is control, not pain.
The next time a pro-life place protector makes claims about the pain of the unborn, ask them why pain is inhumane for unborn babies, but a learning experience for born babies. You can use the examples in this blog post to ask specific questions.
What Are The Future Consequences for Pain Inflicting Parents?
Pain-controlled children who survive childhood will eventually become middle-aged adults while their pain-inflicting parents will become elderly. As elderly people, pain-inflicting parents will have a different place in the world. Control will shift from physically weak elderly parents to physically strong adult children. The ability to inflict pain to maintain control will also shift. How will these adult survivors of pain react to elderly parents who are emotional, grumpy, crying, not sitting quietly, objecting to being cared for by strangers, or having potty accidents?
“10 Abortion Myths That Need To Be Busted”
The Huffington Post
January 26, 2015
“Another couple found guilty of murder for parenting by ‘To Train Up a Child'”
November 15, 2013
“Evangelicals’ obsession with ‘sexual purity’ has nothing to do with sex”
Sara J. Moslener, Religion Dispatches
July 8, 2015
“Fetal pain bills sweep across US: Pro-aborts afraid to challenge”
April 4, 2011
“Pastor offers contradictory testimony in child abuse trial”
Mar 20, 2012
“Pro-Lifer Admits Regulating Women’s Sexuality, Not Abortion, Drives Planned Parenthood Attacks”
October 14, 2015
“A Snapshot of Religion Related Child Abuse From June 2007 to June 2011”
Religion and Child Abuse News Blog
July 3, 2011
“A Survivor’s Conversation With Christianity”
M. Dolon Hickman
September 12, 2013
“Update: Lori Wick, Christian Author Involved in Child Abuse Probe”
May 26, 2012
“Wisconsin church members are accused of child abuse”
March 25, 2011
Paula M. Kramer
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