By Danni Moss
Copyright protected, all rights reserved
Updated: March 20, 2009
[I apologize in advance for the length of this piece, but there was really no way I could think of to do it justice more briefly.]
Daryl Bujak was found guilty today on two counts of battery against a child. He was found not guilty of failure to report the child’s sex abuse claims.
Bujak allegedly spanked a 12-year-old child repeatedly with a piece of crown molding. The child was brought to him for counseling after she reported sexual abuse. He, and her parents, insisted she was lying about allegations of sexual abuse, and he claims he had the permission of the child’s mother to administer corporal punishment.
There is much to say about this situation. First of all, I do not understand what legal loophole allowed him to get away with not reporting the abuse as a mandated reporter. That was some handy loophole, since he obviously knew of the allegation – that was the reason the girl was being “counseled” by him and for which he was beating her for lying. I’m sure there must have been a technical reason – but that doesn’t change the fact that he was clearly negligent of his legal duty to report alleged sexual abuse of which he knew.
Bujak’s attorney stated in closing arguments that the pastor was entitled to “spank” the child since the girl’s mother had given permission. Well, let’s just take that apart. First of all, this man’s behavior and the choices of the girl’s parents are very familiar to me; I have seen this repeatedly within fundamentalist circles. The website of First Missionary Baptist Church, Elgin, IL, where Bujak no longer pastors, identifies itself as “an Independent, Fundamental, Missions-minded church.” They also identify themselves as KJV only, which tends to be another signature characteristic of IFB churches.
In fundamentalist teaching on authority and parenting, spanking is the primary disciplinary tool for every situation, and pastors frequently have assumed authority to spank the children in the church. This child’s mother would not have dreamed of denying her pastor the authority to spank her daughter.
This means that the attorney’s argument attempting to pass off the responsibility for the beating onto the child’s mother is disingenuous, at best. While we could all hope that a parent would pause before such behavior, in fundamentalist Christianity these actions are often accepted and assumed.
Also, the way the “spankings” were described, they were anything but spankings. According to the article I posted yesterday, “Now 16, the girl told a Kane County judge that Rev. Daryl Bujak struck her on the buttocks and lower back between 15 and 25 times at each of eight weekly sessions in the spring of 2005 when she was 12.”
15-25 swats at each of eight weekly “counseling” sessions? And all because she dared to tell about being sexually abused? And her apparent cry for help was not only ignored but betrayed by eight beatings, sanctioned by her parents, her pastor, her church, and apparently (to a normal child’s mind) her God? These eight beatings were not spankings by any remote definition of the word!
This situation also expresses the standard disrespect of children, and especially female children, common in fundamentalist Christianity, and in a growing segment of evangelical Christianity. This girl was automatically assumed to be lying, instead of making the slightest effort to determine if, just maybe, she could be telling the truth. She couldn’t possibly be telling the truth – she was a child and a girl, and children are born wicked, while girls are wicked manipulators, susceptible to being deceived. Regular spanking is necessary to beat the devil out of them for the sake of their eternal souls.
The only thing missing would be to discover that the man alleged to have sexually abused this girl is a member of the church or someone “in authority” who couldn’t possible be considered. Nothing has been said about this in any news stories I have seen. But that would make her treatment even more expected in this environment – because the child must be lying then. After all if he’s a “godly Christian man” and she’s a wicked child there’s not even a question of considering her claims. That is the prevailing attitude in this circle. I have seen this happen many times.
And the longest sentence this man can receive for this crime is a year in prison – for beating a child, within his authority and office of a man of God – eight times. That is a travesty of our justice system.
But there is a possible backstory to this situation which gives it a far more sinister flavor. I have been informed by someone who knows the Bujak family that Daryl attended Hyles Anderson College. Hyles Anderson College was founded by now-deceased mega-church pastor Jack Hyles. Hyles pastored First Baptist Church in Hammond, IN, and established a dynasty as the reigning authority in Independent Fundamentalist Baptist churches. His word carried the weight of “God” – quite literally.
Within Hyles’ kingdom, and certainly among Hyles Anderson College alumni, there has been a persistent theme of sexual abuse and sexual misconduct. This was a pattern started by Hyles himself, who allegedly maintained a long-term relationship with his secretary. He also covered for and enabled his well-known pastor son, David Hyles, who has been involved in so many sexual misconduct situations I don’t think anyone has been able to keep count. A search on the internet will reveal a substantial list of convicted and accused sexual abusers who hail from Hyles Anderson and First Baptist Church in Hammond. One ongoing case of alleged pastoral sexual abuse involving a Hyles follower is the case of Chester Mulligan, being monitored on this blog.
There have also been a large number of accusations of physical abuse of children in churches and schools led by Hyles Anderson/First Baptist Hammond alumni. If you want to hear more about this issue, check out Bassenco’s Blog on the Lillypad 2, which has all five parts of WJBK’s “Preying from the Pulpit” 1993 news series available in MP3 audio.
Here are a few of Jack Hyles’ teachings about child discipline:
Let the child realize that you are simply representing God in the execution of the punishment. …
Sometimes spanking should leave stripes on the child. …
During the formative years, yea, the infant years, the child should be spanked. As soon as his is old enough to walk away from his parents he should be spanked if he does not walk where they say he should walk. … Parents should not have to remove vases and delicate glass ornaments from living room tables. A house need not become disorderly and full of riots because a baby has come. Start early in disciplining the child. …
The [spanking] ritual should be deliberate and last at least ten or fifteen minutes. … It should be a ritual dreaded by the child. He should not only dread the pain but the time consumed in the ordeal. …
The punishment should always be far in excess of the pleasure enjoyed by doing wrong. …
Never give a child that for which he cries. The baby who cries for attention and gets it will become a child who cries for a toy and gets it…
The spanking should be administered firmly. It should be painful and it should last until the child’s will is broken. It should last until the child is crying not tears of anger but tears of a broken will. As long as he is stiff, grits his teeth, holds on to his own will, the spanking should continue. …
After the spanking tell him why you did it. While he is still crying have him sit down. …
Happy is the child who feels the security of such punishment.
— Jack Hyles
How to Rear Children (1972)
And if that doesn’t give you chills, check out his perspective of female children:
[O]bedience is the most necessary ingredient to be required from the child. This is especially true in the life of a girl, for she must be obedient all of her life. The boy who is obedient to his mother and father will someday become the head of the home; not so for the girl. Whereas the boy is being trained to be a leader, the girl is being trained to be a follower. Hence, obedience is far more important to her, for she must someday transfer it from her parents to her husband.
This means that she should never be allowed to argue at all. She should become submissive and obedient. She must obey immediately, without question, and without argument. The parents who require this have done a big favor for their future son-in-law.
She should not be allowed to play alone with boys. … She should play only with toys that are uniquely for girls. … She should participate in sports enough to become coordinated but she should not excel in sports. If later she marries a man who is very athletic, she could become more proficient in some particular sport that he enjoys, but if she becomes an expert in a sport that is usually associated with men and boys, it could prove embarrassing to her future husband, and for that matter, it could entice her to become more masculine than she ought to be. …
Teach her to be an intelligent listener and an articulate conversationalist. She should read a variety of good books and magazines and have a wide variety of knowledge. It should be obvious to any male with whom she is conversing that she is an intelligent listener and that she can understand and respond to his conversation. She should never seem to know as much as he does (even though she may actually know more)…
The wise lady will never “take over” the conversation. She will add just enough to make a valuable contribution and to show her intelligence on the subject, but she will always make her man feel that he is the more knowledgeable. …
A young lady should not initiate a correspondence. … It certainly is not proper for a young lady to call a young man on the telephone for a social talk, If there is obvious business, it may be done with reluctance, but it should never be done when the call is strictly for social purposes.
Do not show off her talent to others. … Many children have been ruined because their parents were too proud of them and their performances. In such cases the child receives far too much attention and then wants it for the rest of her life. Hence, she becomes maladjusted. …
The girl should be taught that her lot in life is to be obedient and helpful to her husband. …
Teach her to pull for her dad. … In everything he does she should stand on the sidelines and root for her dad.
Teach her to plan for a profession but to hope that it will not be needed. … She should be taught that if possible, she should not follow this profession when married. …
Let her baby-sit. It should be remembered that someday she will no doubt be a mother. …
Allow her to do no loud shouting or hollering. … [T]he parent is to try in every way to make her quiet, meek, and feminine.
— Jack Hyles
How to Rear Children (1972)
Chapter 20: How To Make A Lady Out Of A Girl
Well, if that doesn’t sound about like a script for the way this child was treated, I can’t image a better one.
Just for good measure, take a look at what Jack Hyles taught all those good Hyles Anderson preacher boys about women like this girl’s mother:
God made woman to sit on the sidelines and cheer when a man succeeds. …
He made woman to cheer on the sidelines while her fellow made a touchdown. God made a woman to sit in the audience while her husband preaches and say, “That’s the best preacher in the world!” God made woman to stand on the side of the street and watch her little boyfriend ride the bicycle using no hands or standing up on the seat and say to him, “That’s the most amazing thing I ever saw in my life!” God made woman to see her man run the 100-yard dash and say, “That’s the greatest accomplishment I ever saw!” God made a woman to sit on the sidelines and watch her fellow throw a 100-pound stone 50 feet and say, “Nobody else could do it like that!” God made a woman to sit on the sidelines and watch a fellow climb a tree faster than anybody in the world and say, “That’s my man! He’s the best tree climber in the whole world!” That’s why God made woman. He made her to be man’s help meet. …
Complete him in his play. Complete him when he catches a fish. When he hits a ball, say, “Let me feel your arm!” I’m saying, spoil him rotten! That’s why God made you. …
Do you know what these women’s libbers are? They are a group of confused women trying to find happiness and failing because they are searching for it outside of God’s Word and God’s plan.
You say, “I have my rights too!”
No, you don’t.
— Jack Hyles
Women The Completer (1981)
If this is the background of this pastor, his actions must be understood within this context. While there may have been limits to the power of the law in this case, the situation was far more egregious than these brief news articles even begin to express. This type of behavior is an accepted norm and standard within fundamentalist circles. Of course, not every fundamentalist church would condone such actions, but this type of behavior is the direct fruit of the teachings of its leadership. And not every fundamentalist church is labelled an “Independant Fundamental Baptist” church. They come with multiple labels, and alumni of HAC pastor a variety of churches, not only IFB churches.
Unfortunately, that heritage has also spread into evangelical circles, heavily influencing organizations such as True Woman, which is itself strongly linked to the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. This is dangerous stuff, folks. And this news story is a representative pebble in the pond.
[Jack Hyles quotes above copied from Conservative Babylon, which has much more information about this particular subset of Christianity. The site is blatantly non-Christian, but they have assembled an impressive collection of documents about the side of fundamentalist Christianity the church doesn’t want to acknowledge. While I do not agree with their overriding philosophy, of course, the documentation is very useful.]
Filed under: abuse and the church, Abusive Leaders, child abuse, child sexual abuse, Fundamentalist Christianity, In the News - Abuse & the Church, Patriarchy, sex abuse, True Woman | Tagged: abuse and the church, child abuse, child sex abuse, Clergy Abuse, pastor abuse, sexual abuse, spiritual abuse |