Veronica Roberts

Ungodly Discipline: when God is used as an excuse to abuse, control and murder children

She was only 7 years old, lying on a cold slab at the morgue, with welts, bruises, all over her tiny body, inside and out. She had been beaten to death on February 13. Not by a stranger, pedophile or serial killer who abducted her but by her parents. Disciplined to death--in the name of God.

“Don’t spare the rod and spoil the child,” is the phrase found in the Bible and used to beat, abuse, control, break children’s will-- all in the name of religious beliefs.

Seven-year old Lydia, along with her 11-year-old sister Zariah and a third child were adopted from the West African country of Liberia by Kevin and Elizabeth Schatz of Paradise, California. All the children were from an orphanage, so it sounds like a loving, selfless act by these American parents. Right?

I’m sure the girls thought so, at first. They thought they were being rescued by Good Samaritans, but it all turned into a nightmare that led to an unspeakably horrible death for little Lydia and near death for her 11-year-old sister.

You see, their "loving" parents were what I like to call "Christian fanatics" -- folks who believed that beating their children into docile submissiveness for any and every perceived "sin" was the will of God. So because Lydia, who was home-schooled along with her eight other siblings, mispronounced a word during class -- she was beaten for hours by daddy dearest Kevin while mommy Elizabeth held her down.

Beaten for hours for mis-pronouncing a word -- when English wasn’t even the child’s original language. Beaten severely with a hose, which caused such massive tissue and internal damage to her organs, that she died. This abuse sent shivers all the way down to my soul. Her sister was also beaten to within an inch of her life, literally. Her internal organs collapsed and she had to be hospitalized.

Both of the Schatzes were convicted of murder. A book called “To Train Up A Child” written by a Tennessee evangelist Michael Pearl and his wife, was believed to be the blueprint for parenting used by the Schatzes. This book teaches that using a “plastic tubing to give a child 10 whacks at a time, more if they resist” was the way to discipline children according to God and the Bible.

The Pearls wrote on their website nogreaterjoy-org, that Fundamentalists Christians like themselves and other like-minded 'good' folks like the Schatzes ran the risks of bringing "sexual perversion and deviance into their homes" by adopting children from African and other countries. He warns parents to be ever vigilant. They not only advocated beating children but breaking their will, and should be held culpable for the abuse meted out by his cult followers.

The Schatzes certainly used that "tubing" to discipline Lydia to death. But there may be more to this horrific murder. The children from Liberia seem to have been beaten more than the Schatz biological Caucasian children. An element of racism may be lurking under the already dark devilish parenting that took place in the name of God.

Another child died at the hands of her adoptive fundamentalist parents recently. 13 year old Hana Williams was found unconscious outside her home in Sedro-Woolley, just outside Seattle, Washington, on May 12. She later died and cause of death was hypothermia and starvation. Her 'loving, Godly' parents Larry and Carri Williams locked Hana outside in below 40 degree temperature to die. She was already underweight because she was denied food and the combination of no body fat and the cold killed her. The Williams adopted Hana from the African country of Ethiopia in 2008. Like the Schatzes, they home-schooled all 8 or their children so not many people got to see what condition these children were in.

On September 29, the Williams were reportedly arrested and charged with homicide by abuse in the death of Hana and an additional charge of first degree child assault of Hana's 10 year old brother, who was also adopted. Reports say these parents systematically abused Hana and her brother and kept Hana in a closet most of the time without food.

The Bible and God have been used to start wars and commit genocide over the centuries and is still being used today to cause pain and destruction. Why do people continue to misread, abuse and use the Bible as an excuse to commit atrocities? The Bible and religion are used by some politicians to justify bigotry, discrimination and marginalize entire groups of people. The Bible and God are used by some religions to justify hate, and indoctrinate their children to hate, which is another form of this cycle of abuse.

It is time to stop this perversion of violence. To beat children repeatedly is not “God’s will” -- it is abuse. For those who believe that God wants you to hurt, maim or murder your children--hear me--your direct line to God got crossed with another entity. Evil.

There is nothing "godly" in corporal punishment. There is nothing godly in breaking a child’s will or spirit, beating them into docile submission. There isn’t anything godly about an innocent child’s murder.

Check out the attached video above to see CNN's Anderson Cooper's documentary on the horrors of Fundamentalist Christians's discipline of children.