Pastor advocates hitting children to instill respect for his god

I don’t get it. Fear looks like fear.

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The old woman across the way
is whipping the boy again
and shouting to the neighborhood
her goodness and his wrongs.

-from The Whipping by Robert Hayden

A friend of mine who taught college English was surprised and saddened by the number of his students who’d read that poem and ask, “What’s the big deal?” Like the woman in the poem they saw nothing wrong with passing on the same violence they’d experienced.


Looks like the longer video of pastor Eric Dammann of Bible Baptist Church in Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey has been removed in the last few hours. Internet, assemble! Find Ben in Calgary. Get the evidence to the Canadian police. Show him what happens when you play games with god.


There’s definitely a north vs. south cultural divide on this subject, and it is still a widely held opinion in the south that parents (whites and blacks)must beat the living shit out of their kids on a fairly regular basis, the sort of beatings that leave plenty of bruises and welts, but it’s OK because they all agree it’s a good thing. I think the only nod to modern living is that it’s no longer acceptable to have your wife running up the street looking for shelter with a bloody lip and a black eye. Which football player was beating his preschooler with a stick, including lashing him across the scrotum? Jesus, that’s the sort of thing that gets soldiers tried for war crimes.

It’s not that people didn;t do that up north, but even in the 1960’s people who did such things were considered hopeless drunks or mentally ill. However, enthusiasm for this type of routine beatings is still quite strong in the south, and criticism of this practice is indeed considered a direct attack on their culture and religion. But there are also plenty of southern women that would jump at the chance to ditch southern men, because they know Yankees are a whole lot less likely to beat them.

And I said it before, where you find habitual and unprovoked beating of children that is also where you are going to find high rates of rape and incest.


I am reminded of a Raymond Pettibon comic, with a kid holding a gun to an adult, and the caption “break the chain of child abuse.”


I grew up in Western Washington in the 90s. My folks would make me cut a bamboo switch when I pissed them off, and I’d be spanked until they felt they’ve dealt enough damage.

I still know of families in my parents’ church that practice corporal punishment, and it’s not exactly appalling or shocking to me, but it is very sad, and really disgusting, and I know I can’t convince them to stop.


I’ve also seen that kind of offense taken in various devlopmental and child psych classes.

One of my favorite teachers had also raised several children without spanking, so other parents couldn’t get away with acusing her of being all theory and no practical experience.


What say someone whacks this bozo a few times so that he learns some respect for children.


Another problem with the child beating parents is that generally these families have lots of favoritism, which becomes painfully (literally) obvious when it’s mainly one kid catching most of the beatings. And often the kid’s crime is being too attractive or too smart or being conceived by accident.

I constantly thank God my head is not full of trauma and poison. My father died last month, but I knew it would be manageable because we did not have any unresolved issues. It’s people who have resentments against their parents that can’t process grief smoothly. We got dad’s ashes in the ocean with less fuss that most children’s birthday parties. I can compare that to families that featured a lot of corporal punishment where the death of a parent triggers a megavolcano eruption of ancient hatreds involving the entire family and lasting for years.


You’re probably not as dumb as this guy then.

Oh my GOD you’re crazy and clearly not suitable to be around children… why is it ok to hit children? Since when “bright” is dangerous when talking about a kid? Stay away!


I was hit with a hand or wooden spoon most days for as long as I can remember, probably until I was about 9 or 10. At about 4-5 I remember telling my mother how pleased I was that I hadn’t been spanked so far that day. Still, I believe them when they say that they did it because they really cared for me and they genuinely thought it would be good for me. Interestingly, a few years ago I was talking with my mother about raising our own children and I mentioned that I don’t use corporal punishment. She said that it was something they struggled with when I was younger (apparently I was what James Dobson would call a “strong-willed child”). The Bible and their parenting books told them that they should use corporal punishment, but in my case they didn’t really see much of a positive effect. In their eyes, the punishment should be short, proportional, never in anger, never because we had embarrassed or annoyed them and always with a discussion of the values that they wanted me to learn (there were other parents we knew who would do nothing for a while and then arbitrarily lash out without warning).

They may have believed in Proverbs 13:24, but this was seen in the sense of Ephesians 6:1-4 - the idea was that we would have a better life if we were taught respect for right and wrong at an early age. Verse 1 says “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right”, which they interpreted as saying that we shouldn’t obey them if they asked us to do something that was not right (and we could question them or ask for a delay in punishment if we didn’t trust their judgement at that point). One of the reasons that they avoided other strategies such as sending us to our room was that they wanted to restore a sense of normality as soon as possible - they felt that many of the other strategies people used amounted to psychological abuse and were unclear about the purpose.

I have plenty of issues with my parents’ approach (including a Bible-based morality), but I didn’t experience the trauma that other people did and I still have a good relationship with them (it obviously had a big effect on them when I left the faith, but they have been very open-minded about it and say that they’re glad I’m thinking and hope I don’t resent them or the church - which I don’t). I like the idea that if the circumstances had been different, well-meaning people like my own parents and a number of others I knew/know would have chosen more positive and effective strategies.


You and I had very similar experiences, James Dobson and all. I think that the reason why you say what you say is you’ve been able to distance yourself from your parents and that type of disciplinary protocol. I’d probably say what you’ve said here myself, except that I’m still living with my parents, well into my 20s because I didn’t have any friends graduating who could have took me on, and I wasn’t willing to live on the streets. While previous generations could afford to live in an apartment with a room mate and pay half the rent, if I’d gone into any work that’d hire me, I 1.) had no credit, and 2.) wouldn’t have been able to pay for food and rent simultaneously. So here I am with a job, working helpdesk, and living with my parents who I still love and am on solid terms with, but everything they say to me has an implication that I’ve “gone astray” and that they’re waiting till “god softens my heart and I’ll accept his perfect plan” while I’m stuck in a position where I make money, but nowhere near enough to finance an apartment within 100 miles, and not knowing any peers anymore (depression and various other issues have cause a terrible social isolation) I have a hard time finding people who’d be okay living with me and splitting the bill.

All the people I used to know are doing their own thing for the last five years, so I’m stuck living with avowed religious fundamentalists who refuse to believe anything about me that runs counter to their religion, and my successful younger brother who makes 3x my salary refuses to move out either, both making me look like a failure, while not doing anything with his own success.

I try to be a kind person, and I try not to be resentful, but I’ve been stuck in a cycle of dependency for so long that resentment is the only option I have anymore.


Corporal punishment isn’t the issue, mocking those of the faith he ‘follows’ isn’t helpful, though some of the cracks in this thread were amusing.
Two things struck me instead. One he’s lying, this is a ‘that one time at band camp, I did this awesome thing to this dude who thought he was awesome, but then everyone saw how much more awesomer I am dudes, totes!’ story. Either made up from whole cloth or out of his desire to impress his audience before he’s passed the collection plate.
Also, what an incredible douchebag this guy is, even as alleged youth leaders go he seems particularly awful.

Cruelly stereotyping all the members of ‘evangelical’ churches is as wrong as… Cruelly stereotyping any other group based on the sins you’ve decided to assign to that group, this one shouldn’t be any more acceptable than gay bashing or burning atheists for firewood. My family attended one, and almost without exception I found it’s membership to be well… Actual human beings, who were on the whole at least as decent and kind as any other group, and quite likely quite a bit more so.
I had some experience with the members of another such church and they were indeed quite a bit nicer than nearly any other collection of folks I have encountered. Liberals progressives and advocates for tolerance love to attack Mormons yet every single one I’ve ever met has been extremely polite and genuinely friendly.

And because it’s my day to ramble, sorry. Spanking isn’t abuse, every child/parent combination is an experiment that can never be duplicated, what works wonderfully for one combination might fail completely with another. Abuse is abuse, and if anyone reads this whole thing don’t accuse me of apologizing for it, because I’m not.

The counterexamples to my point are myriad, the above video is a very good such example, we are surely aware of enough I don’t need to give equal time in this already tl:dr post.
Anyone who adopts a fake southern accent or speaks in king James English when they are waxing religious is almost certainly an asshole.
Though I have a southern Indiana accent, which sounds like a fake southern accent, and drop a thee/thou/dost fairly often, I’m either a counterexample or an asshole, not sure which. My beliefs certainly don’t fall into line with what we all imagine the folks above are preaching.


The Trinity hadn’t been invented yet - you have to wait until Nicea before invoking that.


What do you mean corporal punishment isn’t the issue?? The man is inciting people to commit child abuse. In the UK at least, that is grounds for arrest. Were you to follow his advice with your children, you would be arrested and your children would be taken from you and placed in a safer environment. I assume this is more or less the case in the US as the rest of the civilised world. Corporal punishment of children is child abuse. Spanking (depending on definition) is borderline child abuse.


A bit OT, but…

Matthew’s gospel has a large focus on the fulfilment of prophesy and showing Jesus to be the true messiah. Here he’s just quoting the first verse of Psalm 22 and trying to imply that David was a model for Jesus. In the same psalm, David talks about being surrounded by the congregation of the wicked who divided his clothes among them and pierced his hands and his feet*. The psalm as a whole is fairly typical of one genre of psalms and seems to be about faith in times of doubt and when under attack, but its referencing in Matthew is to reinforce the claim that Jesus was the true Jewish messiah, that the Jewish religious leaders were a “congregation of the wicked” acting against God but that God was ultimately in control and that everything was part of a big plan - Christianity was supposed to be understood as a continuation and expansion of Jewish theology, not a complete break from it.

I guess the zombies entering Jerusalem, darkness, an earthquake and destruction of the temple curtain are supposed to really drum in this idea that Jesus had fulfilled the covenant (specifically witnessed by the heavens, earth, death, the holy city and the religious leaders) and now people from all nations could worship God (also referenced in Psalm 22). Sometimes Matthew was as subtle as a sledgehammer, if you know what he (or whoever wrote Matthew) was referring to.

  • Or at least, Matthew puts those words in David’s mouth.


Poorly phrased on my part. Probably due to ignorance.
Corporal punishment in the world I grew up in meant ‘appropriate’ spanking.

I meant that what he’s advocating isn’t anywhere close to the sort of spanking that is advocated by sane, non abusive parents. And that one can certainly advocate spanking some children in some contexts while condemning this asshole for his bragging about assaulting a child. (Though I suspect he’s lying, either the kid made him look like a fool, or kicked his ass probably, and this story is a revenge fantasy.)

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What is this, the teenage atheists sub on Reddit?


“Hold still, Ah’m gunna punch the luuuuuve of Jebus inta yaw head, boy!”