Corporal Punishment and Religion
It is impossible to discuss the morality of corporal punishment on children without addressing the religious beliefs that perpetuate it.
I do not spank my child. Never have. It is unnecessary, abusive and counterproductive to raising a respectful child. How do I know this? I know this because in addition to being a Humanist, I am also an animal trainer. And no reputable animal trainer hits their animals. Why? Because it not only doesn’t work, it strengthens the behavior you don’t want!
If something doesn’t work then there is no good reason to do it. People might persist out of ignorance or superstition, but they aren’t doing it because it works. In the case of hitting and harming a child, because there is no good reason to do it, it’s considered abusive. The only reason that can be given to justify it is a religious one.
I bring this up because Adrian Peterson was recently reinstated by the Vikings! http://www.vikings.com/news/article-1/7-Ways-Petersons-Return-Instantly-Improves-the-Vikings-/db96909d-6ce3-4984-9570-331f92f7d135
Adrian Peterson was suspended by the Vikings when his 4 year old son had bruising to his legs and genitals as a result of a “whooping” he received from his father. Adrian Peterson has not denied hittin his child. He only regrets that he left marks. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/early-lead/wp/2014/09/12/the-details-of-adrian-petersons-arrest-are-disturbing/
So why is this religious issue? Because there is no rational reason to hit kids with a stick. It’s not a valid training technique. And because his justification for hitting little kids with sticks is partially religious. Check out this article from Religious Child Maltreatment – http://religiouschildmaltreatment.com/2014/09/a-closer-look-at-the-adrian-peterson-case-do-culture-and-religion-matter/
Whenever these situations come up where is kid is seriously injured or killed by a parent who is hitting them with a stick, they are religious. Also, because most modern advocates of hitting kids with sticks are fans of Michael Pearl who wrote the book, To Train Up a Child. This book is religious and claims that hitting kids with sticks is a biblical thing to do. (see: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism/2013/04/some-quotes-from-michael-pearl.html)
What you need to know is that Mr. Pearl advocates hitting kids who are only a few months old with sticks. A few months old, because apparently you have to break their will before they reach 6 months old!
He recommends you whip babies on their bare skin until they stop crying and that you should not be bullied by their crying into stopping! A non-verbal baby is not capable of bullying an adult male with a stick! The fact this guy thinks they are makes him crazy and abusive. He, the person who is hitting a baby for no good reason is the victim and he is hitting the babies to get them to obey his whims. And yet his religious arguments for spanking and not sparing the rod, is taken as truth by a lot of people.
“Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.” – Steven Weinberg