Once again a child is dead and the bizarre parenting advice of Michael Pearl has been implicated. My friend Rebecca posted this far more eloquently on her blog than I can even find words for at the moment and she gave permission both to link to her and to republish here in its entirety. So without further ado I'm going to turn the blog over to my friend
This made me cry today…
Posted by Rebecca Diamond on Monday, February 15, 2010
and not in a good way. I don’t know how many people have been following the story of Kevin and Elizabeth Schatz, who are accused of murdering their 7 year old, torturing their 11 year old, and more charges pending.
Oh yes…they murdered the 7 year old because she couldn’t pronounce the word “pulled”. That’s right – this self-professed Christian, homeschooling, adoptive parent family BEAT A GIRL TO DEATH.
Want to know what’s worse?
They did it to her in the name of Jesus and Micheal Pearl. Just in case any of my readers are confused, let me explain. You may not know who Mr. Pearl is – I’ll get to that – but I’m pretty sure you don’t know who their Jesus is either. Because that Jesus isn’t the same Jesus I serve, the one who clearly stated “Let the children come to me, and forbid them not” and “the kingdom of Heaven is of such as these” and “what you did unto the least of these my brethren, you did to me” and “unless you become as a little child, you shall in no wise enter the kingdom”.
This other Jesus? He’s not the one who was bruised for our iniquities, wounded for our transgressions, the one who bore the punishment for our peace. Nope, this one demands that the most childish of mistakes be punished with 1/4 inch plumbing line, bruising, slapping, tripping children into the lake, encouraging them to burn their hands on stoves, offering them their most favorite toy and then hitting them for reaching for it, pulling the hair of a nursing infant, placing them outdoors in cold weather and hosing them down full force with cold water for potty accidents, and other sadistic rituals. Of course, this is to be done while the parent smiles and explains that “Jesus” wants this. If you do it just right, you get the satisfaction of watching your 4 year old daughter “train” her dolls, of watching older children “train” siblings…that just gives you warm fuzzies all over. You can write a letter to Jesus’ henchman, Michael Pearl, and it may even get included in his website or child abuse manuals biblical parenting guides. If you’re REALLY successful…you wind up suffocating your adopted 4 year old son (RIP, Sean Paddock) or killing your adopted 7 year old daughter (Read about it here). Then we all get to read about it and watch it on the news.
Now, this spokeperson for Psycho-Psuedo-Jesus? Michael Pearl? I really, really, really don’t get why this ….person…. is so accepted in otherwise Christian circles. Especially homeschooling Christian circles. If I had to hazard a guess, I’d say it’s because he’s so very insidious and skilled at playing on fear. After all, many of us Christians who homeschool want to raise healthy, happy, productive members of society who love Jesus more than anything. Pearl offers a manual for how to do so, wrapped up in personal anecdotes and alternative medication suggestions and newsy, brag-ish, old man of the mountain style. I’ve read all of his books. I grew up in a home that um…well…let’s just say that my no-corporal-punishment stance as an adult and parent isn’t well accepted by my family of origin :-? – and I found myself nodding at some of the rhetoric he used, and applauding his stance on other things (yes, I believe babies deserve mama’s milk…I believe that children have a right to be loved…I even like his ideas about chilling out about boy’s classroom education and letting them get some real-world experience.) But what those kernels of truth are embedded in…it’s like one of my friends so eloquently described it. Sure, I could dig through my cat’s litter box looking for Tootsie Rolls…but I’d have to paw through a lot of excrement to do so. And I sure wouldn’t want to eat the candy once I found it!
And since this guy is repping for a different master, of course, his ‘Christian’ theology is interesting, to say the least. I had to check and make sure it wasn’t April 1 when I read his diatribe on how God reveres the KJV Bible above Jesus. (I mean, I AGREED with him…I’m quite sure God does revere any version of the Bible above Psycho-Psuedo-Jesus. But I’m also pretty sure that wasn’t Mr. Pearl’s point.) Let’s just say there’s plenty of heretical points this guy makes in his theology. He even goes so far as to teach that he is above sin, and lives without ever sinning. Of course, rational humans also shudder at his exhortations to women…such as the one where he instructs a woman to welcome back the husband who molested their kids, because God hates divorce. (Yeah, maybe it’s just me. But I’m fairly certain that God hates child abuse a heckuva lot more than He does a woman fleeing to safety.)
I know that God can bring good out of the ashes of any sort of evil. I’m praying that the good that arises out of the torture and murder of this child is that people will finally realize the devastation and wrongness and anti-Christness of the Pearl’s “ministry”. And I’m hoping that maybe, this will be the case that forces them to stand trial along with the parents who espoused their “training” methods all the way to the point of murder.