Fruit from the Tree of Church Abuse

I received an e-mail early this morning which reveals in glowing colors some of the fruit from the poisonous tree of churches that teach abusive discipline and family roles that are out of godly order.

Since this e-mail includes no identifying information, I am copying it in its entirety.

~~~

I went to a Christian school in the 1970s. The paddle for the high school boys was 30 inches long and the man who swung it was about 6’5″ tall. Even the boys on the football team cried after getting hit with that board. It sounds cruel but the punishment is over in seconds. the girls also got it, but I’m sure the paddle was of normal size and it was usually a woman who administered it, though not always.

What happened to the girls at HH [Hephzibah House] is different. This was every day, with no hope. They also didn’t feed the girls much, at least in 1980s. I hope you see the difference between a normal Christian school and one of these ultra abusive homes.

You will hate me for saying this, but I can actually see an occasion when a husband might spank his wife. Occasionally in every marriage, there is an argument in which one of the mates just sees white. That happened to me. I was talking to my wife and she was nagging me. I tried to be calm, but she just kept hitting the same nerve, so I remember I thought “that’s it” and I grabbed her and spanked her good and hard about 5 times with the palm of my hand through her skirt while she was standing. She did try to run away, but I caught her and administered discipline. What was funny, was she was just speechless afterwards. I don’t think I hurt her, but she was so surprised that almost nothing came out for a few minutes and then she said quietly “that is physical abuse”. I did feel bad, but I didn’t have much control. Later on it seemed funny to her that I reacted the way that I did.

No[t] all spanking is abusive.

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3 Responses

  1. Same old scenerio. Couple is an arguing, but he is calm. He’s talking but she’s nagging during this argument. He feels justified in smaking his wife she is stunned speechless. That was the goal right, to get her to ‘shut up?’ She then recognizes the attack for what it was, physical abuse. He said, “he did feel bad, but he did’nt have much control’. She laughs about it later.

    Maybe, the spanking term sounds sexy to some men, mabye,it is some sort of foreplay, who knows. He does’nt use the world ‘slap but “spank”. That puts the wife in the position of a child that deserved what she got. He does admit to feeling bad but he never says what he done was wrong. And the e-mail does not indicate that thier was an apology either (“not all spanking is abusive”, he says.) Actually, he seems to feel pretty confident about his part in the spanking/abuse.

  2. Personally, I think the paddle defination in the first paragraph was going overboard. I went to school in the 1970’s as well, and we had a couple of Christian schools in our area. I knew children that went there, but I don’t remember them speaking of that type of situation. They spoke of others! That’s a great example of someone taking scripture out of context. i.e. rod, etc.

    Even my father admitted before passed away that some of things he did to me when I was a child would be considered child abuse today – he may have gone to jail. He said to me, “and rightly so!” We learn from generations past by the mistakes they have made. What the poster described in school isn’t spanking – its beating. Don’t tell me those children didn’t go home with bruises. So they didn’t get it has often as HH, and for the same sick reasons…doesn’t mean it was better.

    The poster described a perfect example of what can happen when people rationalize things in the past. He rationalized spanking his wife – when he lost it – as pretty much, ‘its not that bad!” I didn’t hurt her like those monsters that hurt their wifes. I’m not like HH caretakers, or the principal at my school. I mean we GIGGLE about it now.

    At times I wonder if people fear being humble like Christ, and geniunely repenting over things like this. I felt bad is all well and good, but in some ways he broke a bond between he and wife that he may never get back. The sad part is he may never see it. She was correct it was physical abuse, and its sad that he can’t see the reality of that. “Its not that bad!” is rampant. He has to ask himself would Christ agree with him? Is it within the role that the bible asks of him to even go that far? I doubt God felt it was funny, and I don’t think God would be giggling about it later either. Its sad that others aren’t going to look that far into it.

    The letter writer needs to think about if he feels it will be worth giggling over if it happens again, and if his wife thinks it won’t be as funny….and he lands in jail. Just because we had ignorance of such things in the past doesn’t justify it now. I don’t hate him, but I feel sorry for him. Soceity in alot of ways has the education, but now we make choice of staying in denial. I have to wonder what is worse? Ignorance or just never acknowledging the existance esplly when we feel its small. We tend to mininize things now – where as in the past we rationalized them.

    Seems to me we haven’t taken as many steps forward as we felt.

  3. What is the definition of “nagging”? People never feel they have to define that word. If you use that label, well it MUST have been wrong on the part of the wife (notice how husbands never seem to be labelled as naggers?).
    I think that if we could know the full facts of most cases of ‘nagging’, we might well find that the wife was bringing a grievance that she had brought to her husband many times before and the husband had been many times ignoring this grievance. If he had listened and responded to the grievance the first or second time, she would not have had to continue to raise it. She would have dropped the matter because either he convinced her that her grievance was unfair or unfounded, or he fixed things / fixed his behavior so she no longer wanted to complain about the matter.

    Men often want to make the wife shut up rather than face their conscience and address the problem.

    I can, on the other hand, imagine a situation where a brief (single, non-injurious) physical intervention (slap, restraint, etc) might be appropriate if a wife was doggedly determined to embark on an action that could put her or the family in great danger. For example, if the family had moved to Israel and the wife stated she was intending to go out regularly for a walk in the streets at night on her own, when it was common knowledge that there had been many instances of terrorist activity and muggings in the streets recently. If she was not listening to her husband when he tried to forbid her to walk the streets alone, he might have to use a modicum of physical force to galvanise her to be sensible in her actions.

    I have heard a man describe how he did this once. I did not judge him. He knew the situation in Israel more closely than his foreign wife did. She was naive and was not listening to reason. He was trying to protect her, not trying to control her for his own selfish ends.

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