October 26th, 2011
01:32 PM ET

Punishing kids in the name of religion

Gary Tuchman investigates adults who say they're following the word of God when beating children, sometimes to death.

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- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: TV-Anderson Cooper 360 • Violence

soundoff (430 Responses)
  1. Raven Foncell

    I stand corrected. It is a religouis blog...No, I don't blame Christians, or their relion. I blame the Williams!!! Who are using relion to justify what they did! they trtured and killed that kill! They're to blame, nothing no one else!

    November 4, 2011 at 2:40 pm |
  2. Freethinksman

    There will come a time when people who admit to believing in a god will be treated the same as those who claim to believe in trolls and fairies. It won't come soon enough for me, but stories like these, horrific as they are, can only speed up the process. That girl is an unwitting martyr who died without cause. We can only use her story to help educate and inform people. There is no greater affront to humanity than to claim someone or something else is responsible for our moral code. We have evolved as social creatures. How we treat one another either fosters that evolutionary progress or it impedes it. You don't need a god to show compassion. You do need a god to justify inhumanity.

    October 31, 2011 at 9:51 am |
    • Mike from CT

      That is a interesting future you put your hope in with great faith. Please take the opportunity to educate and inform us, what about this girls situation makes Jesus unbelievable.

      "We have evolved as social creatures. How we treat one another either fosters that evolutionary progress or it impedes it."
      So what you are arrogantly declaring is that we, right now, are the best, brightest, and most socially aware culture in all of history. The only problem with that is the fact that we are not. With technology, such as this message board, while we have got great connectivity we have become the most socially depress and loneliness generation in history.

      "You don't need a god to show compassion" Then how do you define your compassion and "progress". What makes your definition anymore right then those views held in Asia, the middle east and eastern europe. Please explain.

      November 1, 2011 at 8:26 am |
  3. withoutgod

    I cannot help but wonder if parents of this type would approve of them being excessively beaten for every little thing that someone didn't approve of about them. I'm guessing not. I'm guessing they are hypocrites. I love how that Pearl idiot says that violence is not acceptable and then proceeds to reinforce this lesson with violence. This is obviously a very sick and twisted individual, who perpetuates the abuse of children. The parents here are sick and twisted too, telling their kids that their sister will burn in the fires of hell. I can not believe the nerve of that mother calling 911 and saying the girl killed herself. What an utterly disgusting human being this woman is. People like this make a great case for not believing in God. After all, the Bible reports lots of children being killed at the will of God. Why people would worship such a cruel heartless monster is beyond me.

    October 30, 2011 at 5:37 pm |
  4. Paul Burnett

    Child abuse is not new to the Judeo-Christian mythos. Look at Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son; and Lot's daughters, and the prophet calling bears to eat the children who mocked him – the Bible condones child abuse. But the greatest child abuse is the brain-washing that all religion denends on for its future, turning innocent children into believers.

    Every child is born an innocent atheist – they know nothing about God or religion until their parents and other church-goers indoctrinate them. The current custom of home-schooling children so they will be as ignorant as their parents is troublesome – some fundagelicals hold scientific illiteracy to be a sacrament, and keep their children ignorant of evolution and biology and science. This is totally inappropriate for the 21st century.

    October 29, 2011 at 9:15 pm |
  5. WOT

    I see you take Gods' guidance off, when it comes to putting children in the right path! Comment that tells truth are taken off!

    October 29, 2011 at 9:02 pm |
    • lol u dumb

      lol. u dumb.

      October 29, 2011 at 9:04 pm |
  6. Raven Foncell

    To all over four hundred who've posted here. This isn't a debate about religion. Two beautiful young lives were tortured to death by the hands of people who happen to pratice the Christian religion. These people are monsters! Heartless, cold killers. That have twisted, and clouded the truth of there actions by saying the book made them do it! So, you all get caught up in their denail reason about religion, when that's just what they want you to do. Not focus on the horror they brought on to these children! Get the focus back onto to that please. We can debate beliefs somewhere else. We mist all, and i believe all you posted here will agree. Back to the fact, that these young lives were crushed, mudered by the hands of these people!

    October 29, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
    • JohnQuest

      Raven Foncell, you do realize this is the Belief Blog, We blog about the religious aspects of current and sometimes not so current events.

      October 29, 2011 at 7:09 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Raven Foncell

      You said: "To all over four hundred who've posted here. This isn't a debate about religion. Two beautiful young lives were tortured to death by the hands of people who happen to pratice the Christian religion. These people are monsters! Heartless, cold killers. That have twisted, and clouded the truth of there actions by saying the book made them do it! "

      The Christian god that these disgusting people pray to, did not save this child. He did not soften the hearts of these pigs. He did not nourish her body or protect her from the blows.

      He did not "cause" a policeman to stop by, looking for another address and see this emaciated girl.

      If you saw this baby being so badly treated, would you not do whatever you could, to stop the abuse?

      You idiot Christians pray to an all powerful god. By definition, there is nothing He cannot do. Yet, the child suffered and died.

      Children starve, suffer and die all over he world, by the thousands. What is good about a god that allows this to happen?

      Some will claim that god takes the babies to Heaven, where they are happy for all eternity. This does not excuse the pain they are enduring while alive.

      There is no evidence that an afterlife exists. No evidence that a soul exists.

      Your Christian god is vile. It is good He does not exist.

      October 30, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
    • rrgroovy

      Raven, I do understand your concern that many comments do not focus sharply on the deaths of two little girls, but as JohnQuest has pointed out to you, the purpose of this blog is to discuss belief. You cannot deny that the beliefs held by the parents, those monsters as you've called them, is what lies at the root of both murders. They all crudely believe that it is good christian doctrine to inflict painful punishment on their children, whereas nothing that their christ ever taught says such a thing.

      "Beating the sin" out of a child is not what most religions aspire to, not anymore, anyway. There was a time when the phrase, "spare the rod, spoil the child" was the common rule for most all parents in this nation; practically everyone whipped their kids and often if you were punished that way at school, you'd get another even worse beating once you got home. Corporal punishment of children has only just begun to be frowned upon here, but regrettably, it is still legal in the United States.

      As more cases, such as the torture of Hana and her little brother and the beating of Lydia and her little sister are discovered and reported on, maybe finally our government will take the steps needed to enact laws that prohibit any parent, regardless of whatever god myths or ragged ancient tomes they cling to, from inflicting the type of physical, emotional, and psychological damage that is part and parcel of all corporal punishment.

      I might add that there is also now a fomenting movement afoot, roiling amongst ultra-conservatives, to "take back the children", by applying that rule as dictated in the bible's old testament. Lydia and Hana are not the first, and surely will not be the last, to die at the hands of a delusional fundamentalist trying to cleanse a child of "ungodliness". Inflicting pain appears to be their motto. And it is all done in the name of a god.

      November 1, 2011 at 4:03 am |
  7. Reality

    From p. 3:

    More "red-neck" wackos!!! Time for the "bowers", kneelers" and "pew peasants" of Islam, Christianity and Judaism to converge these religions into some simple rules of life ( i.e. DO NO HARM). No koran, bible, clerics, nuns, monks, imams, evangelicals, ayatollahs, rabbis, professors of religion or priests needed or desired.

    Ditto for houses of "worthless worship" aka mosques, churches, basilicas, cathedrals, temples and synagogues.

    October 29, 2011 at 8:01 am |
  8. Darian Faust

    I really hate it when stuff like this happens. It makes sane, normal people who believe in God look really bad.

    October 28, 2011 at 10:00 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Darian Faust

      You said: "I really hate it when stuff like this happens. It makes sane, normal people who believe in God look really bad."

      I think sane, normal people who believe in god are like hen's teeth. Crazy, Evangelical, want to rule the world, type people are the norm. I long for the Christians of my youth, who were content to love their god and their fellow man.

      I think this is what 2000 + years of waiting for your Prince Charming can do to a people of low IQ.


      October 29, 2011 at 3:20 am |
    • JohnQuest

      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

      October 29, 2011 at 7:06 pm |
  9. rrgroovy

    I like what Anderson said at the beginning of this piece, that we have no idea exactly how many other children in this country have actually died at the hands of abusive parents who are following the Pearl Abuse Training Manual. Another question to be asked is how many innocent children are simply suffering daily abuse...what about all of the ones who haven't been abused to death, yet, but have parents who take that vile Pearl book as gospel? It chills me to think that treatment such as is advocated by the Pearls is going on right now, as we type. Carri and Larry Williams withheld food from Hana for days, and when she was fed, it was cold table scraps garnished with frozen veggies, served to her at a picnic table, outdoors. Not long after she was brought to that horror house, she was made to sleep on a shower room floor, as was another child who was also adopted from Ethiopia. When being interviewed after Hana's death, that little boy (who is a deaf mute) told the detective how happy he was to get to sleep in a bed at his new foster home. Just imagine the innocence of these two children! Eventually, poor Hana was forced to sleep outside in the barn in the cold, but that enabled her to come into the house at night to find food. Part of her "rebellious nature", as described by the other children, was "stealing" food...just try to imagine being cold and hungry, and then being "punished" for sneaking inside to get something to eat! The Williams' finally just kept her locked in a darkened closet, playing Christian music and tapes "for her". Hana wasn't allowed to use the bathroom in the house, instead they bought a porta-potty and stuck it behind behind the barn. Her showers were done with a garden hose, outdoors, thru all weather. In addition to all of that torture, Hana was struck regularly with that plumbing supply line, something that she most likely grew accustomed to, as the other kids said that tho they never really saw her much, they had been able to hear her crying as she was "chastised", but eventually she had stopped making any noise during her beatings. When she died, Hana weighed thirty pounds less than she had upon arriving here from Ethiopia...hypothermia was the official cause of death. She died freezing cold, starving, and alone outdoors, with that big family of fundamentalist christians "observing" her behavior from inside their warm house. Hana was stripped of both her dignity and self-worth by the methods of those cruel people, she was totally humiliated and broken by their brutal treatment, all in the name of a god. How many others are out there in our civilized USA, living in houses so full of hate?

    October 28, 2011 at 4:13 pm |
    • JohnQuest

      Thank you for putting a fine point on this, and it matter not what those people believed they belong in jail for several life times.

      October 28, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
    • RightTurnClyde

      Christians do not abuse children. It is not a common practice and it is not Christians. So this is simply a bald face lie intending to castigate Christians. I've bee around a LONG time and I know for certain this is just a sick lie with malicious intentions.

      October 28, 2011 at 8:22 pm |
    • *frank*

      I sincerely wish you twenty forms of cancer.

      October 28, 2011 at 8:53 pm |
    • rrgroovy

      frank, are you talking to me?

      October 28, 2011 at 9:26 pm |
    • *frank*

      No, kind sir.

      October 28, 2011 at 9:32 pm |
    • rrgroovy

      RightTurnClyde, what exactly are you calling a lie? The entire report of the torture and death of little Hana? The fact that the Williams' are, indeed, of a certain faith?

      After reading the charging papers in the arrest of Carri and Larry Williams, the only castigation or malicious intent I've found were in the hateful treatment that Hana received at the hands of her adoptive family.

      October 28, 2011 at 9:43 pm |
    • hippypoet

      you know whats really fuked up is that the girl from Ethiopia was properly more intelligent in the way of the bible than the murders who killed in the name of the bible!

      October 28, 2011 at 9:47 pm |
    • David Johnson


      You said: "Christians do not abuse children."

      I wouldn't trust Christians to care for my lawn. Especially Evangelicals.


      October 29, 2011 at 12:01 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Guess Clyde had at least enough sense to tuck his tail between his bowed legs and take off after making that moronic post.

      October 29, 2011 at 7:13 pm |
    • Izilnarve

      I think that RightTurnClyde was trying to say that the practice of child abuse is not a Christian belief. However, there is no one authority, such as the Pope, who determines what all Christians believe. Christians can, and do, interpret the Bible any way they want.

      October 29, 2011 at 8:20 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.