Religion as child abuse: two vignettes

1 06 2008

In Baltimore, members of the Christian group One Mind Ministries slew an 18-month-old boy after he failed to comply with the cult’s rules:

Cult members concluded Javon Thompson was a “demon” after the baby wouldn’t say “amen” at mealtime and starved him to death, witnesses told homicide detectives, according to records obtained by The Examiner.

“The child was abused because Javon was noncompliant with the existing rules of the ‘cult,’ ” the records state. “The child was also viewed as a ‘demon.’ ”

Investigators believe 18-month-old Javon’s body was found last month in a suitcase in Philadelphia two years after his death. (Baltimore Examiner)

According to a witness, the boy was “beaten, physically abused [and] deprived of food and water, which led to the child’s death.” The boy had “grown so skinny he was a skeleton and that he died in December while his mother was holding him in her arms.” After his death, cult members placed his body on a mattress where they said “God would resurrect him from the dead.” They then took his body to Philadephia, packed it into a suitcase, and stored it in an acquaintance’s shed. HT: Dogma Free America.

In Pakistan, a child has been slain by his teacher for not learning the rules of his cult:

A blind seven-year-old student at an Islamic school in eastern Pakistan has died after his teacher punished him for not learning the Qu’ran, police said on Friday.

Muhammad Atif was hung upside down from a ceiling fan and severely beaten by his teacher, Qari Ziauddin, at the seminary or madrassa in Vihari, near Lahore on Thursday, they said.

[. . .]

“Qari Ziauddin, who teaches Qu’ran to boys in Qari Latif Islamic school, hanged Atif upside down on a ceiling fan in the school after beating him with sticks, which caused his death,” local police official Akram Niazi told AFP.

The teacher also failed to take the boy to hospital after he fell ill and his condition deteriorated, he said. (Richard Dawkins.net)

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17 responses

2 06 2008
Peggy Archer

Just. Wow.

I’m speechless.

Just when I think the human race can’t get any worse…

2 06 2008
A.Ho

religion is evil

2 06 2008
Nan

People are evil, first and foremost, regardless of what religion they subscribe to.

2 06 2008
AV

People are evil, first and foremost

Are they? What do you mean by “evil?” And what evidence do you have to support your claim?

2 06 2008
Nan

I’m not saying people are inherently evil, if that’s what you’re getting at. But if they choose to be evil, religion, rather than being a reprieve will be a tool to manifest their evil-ness.

In both cases you can’t blame their actions on mainstream religion.

2 06 2008
rambleicious

I have to agree with Nan.

Religion isn’t evil – but it can be the vehicle through which people do evil things and say it is “for their religion”. Justifying evil deeds through religion is pretty evil all by itself.

2 06 2008
photographerno1

Religion is different things to different people, it depends how you view it, your examples are uniqe and commendable you show west with its liberalism as backward as Pakistan ..where a child is abused for the Holy Koran.

Religion if it respects humanity is religion if it transcends over humanity than it is spiritual anarchy..

Now I give you an example we Shias cut our foreheads , flagellate , in the memory of Imam Hussain the grandson of the Holy Prophet..the children follow the footsteps of the adult since 1400 years..
the west may call it child abuse – but is it?
this is Ghame Hussain..an act condemning terrorism in the name of Islam-
this terrorism is called Yazidiyat..it lives alive and kicking till today.

Thanks
Your aticle is an eye -opener.

2 06 2008
AV

children follow the footsteps of the adult since 1400 years..
the west may call it child abuse – but is it?

Yes, especially if it is non-consensual, and in the case of children it is really unlikely to be anything but non-consensual.

But if they choose to be evil, religion, rather than being a reprieve will be a tool to manifest their evil-ness.

In both cases you can’t blame their actions on mainstream religion.

You seem to be reading too much into the title of this post. Nowhere does it say “Mainstream religion is child abuse.” It says “Religion as child abuse,” by which I refer to two manifestations of religion that clearly constitute child abuse.

2 06 2008
Virgilius Sade

Here is the problem. A child is a child, therefore, we are born into a religion without any choice in the matter until later in life. For the time being, we must endure being ruled by something that evidently chafes us and restrains the freedom we take for granted. Religion takes advantage of all that and a life, which, frankly, it shouldn’t.

3 06 2008
ozatheist

Virgilius,
That’s half the problem, isn’t it? The child has little say in what religion it is, it is imposed upon them by parents and authority figures. Children need to be free to remain agnostic until they are old enough to make their own decision.

What was done to the children in those two examples was despicable, that it was done in the name of religion, with the child probably having no say in which cult they were in, just makes it worse.

4 06 2008
Dana Dee McCormick » I luv teh internets.

[…] I learned of another disgustingly horrid “honor” killing of an Iraqi girl. When people ask why I care so much about religion I will point them to this story. I will point them to female circumcision and Ayaan Hirsi Ali. And I will point them to stories of religious child abuse. […]

19 06 2008
Britt

Javon…I hardly knew you…only got to see you twice when your mom brought you 2 visit b4 everything started happening. You were a beautiful and happy little baby…very handsome…sorry you had 2 go thru that but I see God had better plans for you and Im glad your in a better place. Kisses 2 you!!!!

19 06 2008
AV

I’m not quite sure what to make of that, Britt. If you’re saying that a coffin is a “better place” than the hell on earth he had to endure at the hands of his brutal and homicidal family, then I am inclined to agree . . . though it is a tragedy that alternative accommodation could not have been found for him before it was too late.

12 08 2008
Nikki

People are so sick these days. People who harm children should die the same way they harmed those little precious children. They have no idea what they are saying and why. By no means at all is that a reason to harm a helpless little child. You all should rot in hell for what you did. They are helpless kids who can not defend themselves from ass holes like you who harm little child. In my opinion you should all die for what you did to theses precious little angels. They did not deserve this.

12 08 2008
AV

Update: Javon’s mother, and three other members of the 1 Mind Ministries cult, have been charged with first-degree murder.

14 08 2008
Rafael D Martinez

Hope the DA there has more guts than the Cobb County, Georgia DA did in a similar case in 2007.

An equally dangerous cult called Remnant Fellowship found itself under scrutiny when two of its members were arrested, tried and convicted of murdering one of their children when they followed the child-rearing directions of the cult’s leadership, self-anointed “prophetess” Gwen Shamblin and her sycophant lieutenant Tedd Anger. When the members, Joseph and Sonya Smith went to trial, however, Remnant was able to cop a deal with the prosecutors and avoid getting dragged into the murder trial.

As the Church Lady would say “How conVEEEEnient.”

So that twisted woman Gwen Shamblin to this day strolls around from coterie to coterie in her little Southern cult hothouse, blindly followed by about 1100 or so people, many of whom are children who are just as vulnerable to the practical lifestyle excesses Shamblin advances as “God’s Way” .. and who likely have endured abuses that would make you swallow hard.

Sad that it’s only when children die in the horrific ways that cults set up for them that this issue EVER pierces the national conscience. After all, Britney Spears lack of underwear and the premiere of the next action flick installment at the metroplex are far more important.

Murderous ministries are afoot everywhere. They are as American and home grown as mom, apple pie and McDonalds. The problem is everyone forgets about them when they drop off the front page – except the victims of these cults and those very few activists and ministers who can’t let this evil be forgotten and who do what we can to get people out of these groups and aid them in getting a firm foundation on reality again.

http://spiritwatch.org
http://spiritwatch.org/courttvarticles.htm

14 08 2008
arthurvandelay

Thanks for the heads-up, but be careful how many links you include in your comments on WordPress blogs . . . I had to rescue yours from Akismet.

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