God's Will, Cruelty, and Murdering Children

Back a few months ago, Karen and Elizabeth Shatz were found guilty of their child's murder (they pleaded guilty). The adopted child was beaten to death by following the instructions in a fundamentalist Christian child-rearing book. Another mother, Lynn Paddock, was found guilty of first-degree murder for killing her 4 year old son, Sean, because he wouldn't stay in bed. Well, it has happened again.

Larry and Carri Williams are charged with homocide resulting from torturing, beating, and starving their child, then leaving her outside to die of exposure (and, presumably, her various wounds).

The parents, in both cases, essentially (over time) beat their child to death by following the teachings of a book called "To Train Up A Child" by Tennesse pastor Michael Pearl and his wife, Debi Pearl. It's a good Christian's guide to abusing your children in order to bring them up right. The authors advocate corporeal punishment for children from infants on up, with appropriate Bible citations and instructions as well as the sorts of implements you'll be needing to do the job. You can buy this torturer's guidebook on Amazon where it's a best seller. Yes, it's a best seller . . .meaning there are plenty of good Christian parents who adhere to this method of child-rearing.

Before I continue with my part of the story, take a moment to watch the video below. If you can.


Go to Jail or go to Church

If that title sounds like a joke, let me assure you that it's deadly serious. It's also outrageous and just plain wrong.


Max Out Your Credit Cards. The End Is Nearly Here!

If you're waiting for December 21, 2012 to usher in the Apocalypse, you may be late for the party. And your last chance to max out your credit cards and have one hell of a party. It's that close. You now have less than a week.


Canadian Muslims Oppose Ground Zero Mosque

Unless you have been off-planet recently, you know that there are plans afoot to build a mosque in New York City, two blocks from Ground Zero. This would be no simple place of prayer but a $100 million, 13 storey structure that would be nothing short of impressive. Many Americans have, understandably, voiced their outrage. Much of it is reasoned if emotional in nature, but there are also predictable rants coming from the hard right and, of course, FOX News. Other Americans, meanwhile, have voiced tolerance and even support. U.S.


We will restore science to its rightful place . . .

Allow me to once more use that word, historic. Yesterday was indeed an historic day as Barack Obama became the 44th President of the United States of America. Watching from Canada, where there was never much love for Dubya and his policies, there is much hope for the future under the new President. And a great deal more cautious optimism. During the noontime celebrations, I was busy feeding my son his lunch, so I caught the show later that evening. Even distanced by the sound bites and analysis of the nightly news, it was still powerful to watch.


Satan In The Mirror

This is a story about the devil. You know. Satan. The guy with the pitchfork, horns, bad breath, and the red underwear. Oh, and it's about me, too. When I was just a small child, my parents, good Catholics that they were, did what all good parents of religious upbringing did. They did their best to instill the fear of God into me. After all, hard to worship the big guy if there's no fire and brimstone to tip your kids back in the other direction when they transgress. Right? My parents, like every other set of parents, were brought up with a collection of stories taught to them by their God-fearing parents. Remember kids. You can love God, but you must also fear him. Now, I don't remember exactly how old I was, but it was before my great revelation which happened when I was seven years old, so it had to be a couple of years before.

I had been bad that day. Sure, what kid isn't bad at some point? I hadn't killed anyone or help up a bank, but I might have taken a cookie, not come in immediately when called, or talked back to my Mom or Dad. Whatever the crime, it was a one of those petty crimes of childhood, the kind every 4 or 5 year old kid commits on a regular basis. Whatever the transgression, I remember my mother telling me that bad boys would be punished by God in this way; when looking into a mirror at night, in the dark, that boy (or girl) would see Satan staring back at them from the mirror.

Well, it worked. I was terrified. For months, anytime I did anything remotely bad, I would go to bed avoiding my reflection in the mirror, should Satan be standing there staring back at me. Getting up to go to the bathroom, I carefully averted my eyes from the mirror. Once I had finished my business, I jumped back into bed being careful to avoid the mirror in my bedroom. In the winter, when it was dark early, I was careful to avoid dark or dimly-lit rooms that might have a mirror.

Then, one night, after I had been bad . . . again, I decided to face the devil once and for all. I have no idea what made me so brave or cocky that night, but I was ready to face old Nick and take what was coming to me. I crept up to the mirror, slowly looked toward the shadowy reflection, and saw only myself. There was no Satan. No devil with a pitchfork waiting to skewer my bottom. Just me. Standing alone in the dark.

My mother, I realized, had lied to me. I wasn't sure why exactly, but I chalked it up to just one of the many veiled threats parents make. "I brought you into this world. I can take you out!" That sort of thing.

More importantly, from that night on, I was pretty sure there was no devil. Not a hundred percent sure mind you, but awfully close.

Finding out there was no God would take considerably longer.


Avril Lavigne is too sexy . . . for Malaysia

Commenting on this story in the Globe and Mail, I feel like it's just too easy to make fun of some people. You know, fish-in-a-barrel easy. Apparently, the Canadian pop superstar was to perform in a concert in Malaysia later this month, but the concert was canceled amid complaints. What kind of complaints? Well, it seems that Avril Lavigne is just too darn sexy for Malaysia. Say what? Could these people, the ones complaining, possibly even remotely be Islamic Fundamentalists? Let's check the Globe for clues.

The Arts, Culture and Heritage Ministry said it had decided not to permit Lavigne's planned Aug. 29 performance because it is unsuitable for Malaysian culture. The decision came after complaints by the youth wing of a fundamentalist opposition party, the Pan-Malaysian Islamic party.

Odd, how fundamentalists are never any fun. In the end, you must judge for yourself.

Decide for yourself. Maybe they're right. Maybe Avril Lavigne is just too sexy . . . for Malaysia.



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