Beating kids to death in the name of Jesus

Child-rearing book favored in evangelical circles may have inspired Christian parents to beat their kids to death. What’s also interesting is how popular the book is in Christian home-schooling circles.

Cover of To Train Up a ChildA child-raising book that advocates whipping with branches and belts has sold hundreds of thousands of copies to evangelical Christians. But the deaths of three children whose parents appear to have been influenced by the authors’ teachings have provoked a growing backlash.

The “training” is meant to start early and pre-empt the need for punishment. But if the child is already rebellious, parents are told to “use whatever force is necessary to bring him to bay”.

[…] It is produced by the Pearls’ organisation, No Greater Joy Ministries, which is attached to the church where Michael Pearl is a pastor in Pleasantville, Tennessee.

First published in 1994, the book soon became popular among fundamentalist, non-denominational groups outside mainstream Christian culture. Within these tight-knit communities, many families educate their children at home, viewing schools as having a harmful social environment and being insufficiently religious.