Skip to main content

The Associated Press reported June 28th that the Texas State Supreme Court, in a 6 to 3 decision, overturned a lower court's ruling regarding the suffering caused by the Pleasant Glade Assembly of God church in Colleyville, Texas to Laura Schubert in 1996 when she was 17 years of age. As I read the story, I was gob-smacked. I've never heard of such practices in a church by church members in modern times (no, I didn't grow up in Texas and I've never lived there either).

In a nutshell (pun intended because that church is a shell full of nuts), a Tarrant County jury found the church and its members liable for "abusing and falsely imprisoning" the teenaged girl.  Ms. Schubert testified she was pinned to the floor for hours and received carpet burns during an "exorcism" performed on her by her then church (go ahead cue up the haunting David Byrne/Brian Eno song with a purported actual exorcism, "The Jezebel Spirit").  Ms. Schubert said she experienced hallucinations afterwards, and that the "exorcism" caused her so much mental angst that she mutilated herself and attempted suicide. What kind of church does this sort of thing?

In its wisdom, the Texas Supreme Court ruled that the church was not liable, because courts cannot intrude on religious behaviors.  You know, the way the other branches of the goverment can't allow religion and politics to mingle (that's why there's no such thing as government-funded faith-based initiatives of any kind). Per the AP story, here's the Texas' high court's majority opinion author:  

Justice David Medina wrote that finding the church liable "would have an unconstitutional 'chilling effect' by compelling the church to abandon core principles of its religious beliefs."

God forbid the courts try to stop child abuse by holding those accountable for perpetrating it.  

Although expanding churches' power over the lives of others triumped over rationality (and the U.S. Constitution) in this case, there was some sanity in the Texas Supreme Court (again, per the AP story, with my brackets added):

Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson, in a dissenting opinion, stated that the "sweeping immunity" [given by the court in this case] is inconsistent with U.S. Supreme Court precedent and extends far beyond the Constitution's protections for religious conduct.  "The First Amendment guards religious liberty; it does not sanction intentional abuse in religion's name," Jefferson wrote.

I ask you:

Originally posted to BoxerDave on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 05:08 AM PDT.

Poll

Did your childhood house of worship cause you mental distress?

20%28 votes
26%36 votes
18%25 votes
21%30 votes
13%19 votes

| 138 votes | Vote | Results

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site