The phenomenon of killing one’s own kids for Jesus … or trying to … is, unfortunately, not new. It’s something I’ve blogged about on several occasions. It’s my sad duty to relate the latest case of it. Sacramento TV station KOVR (CBS13) reports (WebCite cached article):

DA: Parents Killed Daughter With ‘Religious Whips’

Prosecutors say that Butte County parents used quarter inch plastic tubing to beat their seven-year-old adopted daughter to death. Apparently, they got the idea from a fundamentalist based Christian group, which promotes using this as a way of training children to be obedient.

Three years ago, Kevin Schatz and his wife Elizabeth did something so noble, a Chico television station featured them; the pair decided to adopt three children from Liberia. Now, they’re accused of killing one of them because prosecutors say she mispronounced a word.

Butte County District Attorney, Mike Ramsey, says for several hours, the seven-year-old was held down by Elizabeth and beaten dozens of times by Kevin on the back of her body which caused massive tissue damage.

“It was torture,” says Ramsey.

Another 11-year-old adopted child was critically beaten for “being a liar and a bad influence on the seven-year-old.”

Note the similarity here to the recent case of Southern Baptist missionaries from Idaho who recently tried to steal some children from earthquake-ravaged Haiti in order to raise them to be good obedient Southern Baptist Christians. I love how these people can’t seem to find any kids from their own country to forcibly convert to their own version of Christianity.

At any rate, authorities have been able to show how the Schatzs’ brutal form of discipline was religiously derived:

The District Attorney points to a book written by a Tennessee Evangelist named Michael Pearl, who the Schatz’s have told police they were following.

Pearl’s website,, suggests “A swift whack with the plastic tubing would sting but not bruise. Give ten licks at a time, more if the child resists.”

The really tragic part about this is that there are probably tons of good Christian parents in the US who have no problem with this sort of thing. “Spare the rod and spoil the child” is a common expression in the English language, and owes its origins — ultimately, if one goes far enough back in time — to a number of Bible passages, especially these:

He who withholds his rod hates his son,
But he who loves him disciplines him diligently. (Prv 13:24)

You shall strike him with the rod
And rescue his soul from Sheol. (Prv 23:14)

Isn’t religion grand?

Hat tip: The Friendly Atheist blog, as well as the Life Without Deities and Anti-Bible Project, both on Delphi Forums.

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