I guess I should say right off that I have always been interested in religion, practices, rituals, etc. I once thought of doing a graduate degree at Iliff School of Theology in Denver, and a few weekends back really wanted my family to attend the funeral of my friend with me, not just for support of the family but to act as a "cultural anthropologist" and experience the ritual.
That said the question in the title popped into my mind after reading two articles on the Duggar's this week.
The first was published May 27, 2015: Police Report Reveals the Duggar Discipline Method: "They Have a Rod"
Having been a homeschooler this didn't surprise me. Right wing Christian homeschoolers are big with "spare the rod, spoil the child." There was even an advertisement for a rod in the homeschool magazine "Home School Digest" around 2002/2003
''Spoons are for cooking, belts are for holding up pants, hands are for loving, and rods are for chastening," read the advertisement she saw nearly two years ago for the 22-inch nylon rod. It also cited a biblical passage, which instructs parents not to spare the ''rod of correction."
The ad shocked Lawrence, a Lutheran who home-schools her children and opposes corporal punishment. She began a national campaign to stop what she sees as the misuse of the Bible as a justification for striking children. She also asked the federal government to deem The Rod hazardous to children, and ban the sale of all products designed for spanking. Lawrence says striking children violates the Golden Rule from the Gospel of Matthew in the New Testament: ''In everything do to others as you would have them do to you."
(Thanks to annieli this is exactly the ad I saw )
Part of the police report that InTouch received (and has redacted the name of the child) states:
Inv. Taylor asked [redacted] about getting spanked. [redacted] said that when [redacted] is bad that [redacted] mother and dad spank [redacted]. Inv. Taylor asked what they use to spank. [redacted] said they have a rod. Inv. Taylor asked if they do this to all the kids and [redacted] said yes. Inv. Taylor asked if they leave any bruising [redacted] said no.Gawker's Defamer goes further:
Perhaps spanking children with a rod is what Jesus would do? It’s hard to say, because although Jim Bob and Michelle have been vocal about how they raise and homeschool their children, they’ve never publicly admitted to administering corporal punishment. When a fan asked Michelle directly in 2010, “Do or have you ever had to spank your children?” she wrote an evasive response on her TLC blog.Sounds good and positive except that the key word is "training." On the Duggar Family Blog FAQ It says the Michelle uses blanket training:
“We have people ask us that all the time,” Michelle began. “We’ve really chosen to focus on praising our kids for good character, for Godly character. And as we do that, we find that we have a lot less trouble with correction when we are constantly looking for ways to praise them.”
She then goes on to explain that “in training the little guys, day in and day out, if I see the little ones not being kind to each other, I will take them aside and I will deal with them and talk to them and have them work this out amongst themselves and learn to communicate and be kind to each other. And then when I see them being sweet and doing what’s right, I make a big deal!”
Q: What is blanket training?That explanation sounds innocuous until you read what it is (really) and where it came from.
A: Starting when her children are toddlers, Michelle teaches them to play quietly with a single toy for short periods of time, often while sitting on a blanket. Blanket training teaches small children to exercise self-control in any situation (with or without a blanket). As the kids grow older, Michelle begins training them to sit quietly without a toy. Click here to read more about the process Michelle uses to teach her 19 kids to be "quiet and still."
Blanket training came from the teaching of Michael and Debi Pearl who authored the book "To Train Up a Child" (there's that all important word "train")
Blanket training is a method adapted from the methods encouraged in To Train Up a Child, a controversial parenting book. The book teaches parents several methods of corporal punishment with instruments; using instruments to inflict pain as a form of discipline is explicitly denounced by the American Academy of Pediatrics. To Train Up a Child has been linked to the deaths of several children whose parents owned the book and used its methods.Those children would be 4-year-old Sean Paddock, in 2006, 7-year-old Lydia Schatz in 2010, and 13-year-old Hana Williams, 2011 (detailed here at DK by Nonpartisan). All three cases written about here at DK by Karen Hedwig Backman- Wikipedia
To blanket train a child, a caretaker places the infant or toddler on a blanket and inflicts pain on the child when he or she attempts to leave the blanket. Proponents of blanket training believe that eventually the child will stay on the blanket without adult intervention or enforcement because the child has come to associate leaving the blanket with pain. - wikipediaLibby Anne over at Patheos wrote (2012) in Carefully scripted lives: My concerns about the Duggars
The Duggars have stated that they use blanket training. What they do is place a baby on a blanket and tell the baby not to get off. If the baby crawls off, he or she is spanked on the leg, told “no,” and placed back on the blanket. If you do this for long enough, the baby will learn to stay on the blanket, and then you can safely leave the baby there while you cook lunch or school the older ones. This all seems counter to the nature of a naturally curious baby.Then also on May 27, 2015 another blog at Patheos in Welcome to the Duggar’s world of Independent Fundamental BaptistsJohn Shore write about the Duggar's church and their emphasis on the book of Proverbs.
Authoritarian discipline shuts off questions and leaves little room for children to explore. The emphasis on obedience overrides anything else, and as I’ve written before, this can be highly problematic.
Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell. (Pr 23:14)(embolden mine)
The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame. (Pr 29:15)
Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him. (Pr 22:15)
He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes [early on; speedily]. (Pr 13:24)
Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying. (Pr 19:18)
The blueness of a wound cleanseth away evil. (Pr 20:30)
He also touches on "To Train Up a Child" that advocates “consistently rewarding every transgression with a switching” excerpting several passages including this one:
She then administers [to a three-year-old] about ten slow, patient licks on his bare legs. He cries in pain. If he continues to show defiance by jerking around and defending himself, or by expressing anger, then she will wait a moment and again lecture him and again spank him. When it is obvious he is totally broken, she will hand him the rag and very calmly say, “Johnny, clean up your mess.”So I began to wonder. Did TLC in the 10 seasons it has had the Duggar's on air see abuse, bruises and ignore them for the sake of the profit this show was generating? It seems they ignored the reports of Josh Duggar's sexual assaults on his sisters - reports that Oprah did not ignore, prior to TLC giving them a show. Do no disclosure contracts with the crew keep them for talking about what they've seen?
It seems highly within the realm of possibilty and one that TLC/Discovery must also now answer.
And as the case of Josh Duggar's sexually assaulting his sisters and one other girl the more you dig, the more you find internet whispers, the worst it gets. I'm even beginning to see Derick Dillard (husband of Jill Duggar) running into a cat while on a sled in a different and even worse light than I did before.
TLC/Discovery (and their production company Figure 8 Films) needs to answer these questions about not only sexual abuse but also child abuse. They need to stop exploiting these kids.
Ask TLC to Stand Up for Child Sexual Abuse Victims! (Ms. Foundation)