- or -
When Do We Protect Innocent Lives?
Barbara Rogers, author of "Screams from Childhood"
What is an innocent human life? When and why do people speak up for
innocent human beings? Dr. James Dobson, founder of the conservative
evangelical group Focus on the Family, has said that "the judges who
would not stop the removal of Ms. Schiavo's feeding tube were guilty
not only of judicial malfeasance -- but of the cold-blooded,
extermination of an innocent human life."
Yet, Dobson does not speak up for innocent children or advocate
treating them with careful, protective respect. He does not apply the
golden rule towards children. Being merciful has no validity for
children's lives if parents follow Dobson's monstrous parenting advice
and beliefs. Where did he learn them? "I learned very early that if I
was going to launch a flippant attack on her (Dobson's mother), I had
better be standing at least twelve feet away. This distance was
necessary to avoid an instantaneous response -- usually aimed at my
backside." His mother once whipped him with a girdle that had "a
multitude of straps and buckles." "Believe it or not, it made me feel
Dobson could never sell his destructive advice if he claimed that
brutal attacks against adults are "love". But children have no lobby,
no laws that protect their physical integrity and their human rights.
Dobson spreads the lie that if corporal punishment is prohibited by
law, "child abuse will increase." But this is not true -- countries
Sweden that ban corporal punishment have seen a decrease in child
abuse, as well as in youth crime, youth involvement in drugs, and
Raising a child is a power-battle for Dobson, and defiance is his red
flag. To win this battle, cruel and inhuman behavior is permissible
against vulnerable, defenseless children. He advises parents to not
pick up crying infants right away; to start whipping at the age of
15-18 months; and that "there is no magical time at the end of
childhood when spanking becomes ineffective." If a child cries more
than a few minutes after being spanked, he recommends to hit them
more. Dobson's wife whipped their 15 months old daughter for going
onto the patio in the rain. (You can find quotes about Dr. Dobson's
philosophy on child rearing at
about the dangerous consequences of physical violence towards children
at Project NoSpank.)
Physical abuse teaches children, through adult role models and their
behavior, that violence is an acceptable means to settle conflict if
the executor has all the power and is a strong, powerful adult. It
teaches them that having power means 'I may use violence' -- and that
being powerless means 'I may be attacked at any time, without mercy
and dignity, without a witness on my side, without protection and
Corporal punishment can cause irreversible harm to an innocent, tiny
human body or brain, which Dobson and others who recommend corporal
punishment fail to inform about. Instead, Dobson promotes teaching
children the behavioral language of violence, which should be
considered unacceptable for all human beings, but above all for the
most vulnerable and weakest human beings, our children.
What this kind of "upbringing", based on such horrible advice, by
completely inconceivable, unconscionable parenting, can lead to is
shown by the books of Jonathan Pincus, "Base Instincts", Dorothy Lewis
"Guilty by Reason of Insanity," and Alice Miller "For Your Own Good".
How can anyone in the 20th century ignore the immense vulnerability of
the growing human brain at the beginning of life? Dobson's advice
reads like a manual on how to practice inhumanity and cold-hearted,
cold-blooded, brutal disregard for the feelings, needs, and rights of
an innocent, growing, and developing human creature. One wonders, if
Dr. Dobson was raising Jesus, how he would treat him. Would he begin
discipline from the very first day? Would he use physical punishment?
How would any parent act if he truly thought he was raising the Son of
Published at Screams
from Childhood. Printed with the author's permission.