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"If You Aren't Bruising The Child You're Not Spanking The Child Enough"

By Monica Bielanko |

“If you aren’t bruising the child you’re not spanking the child enough.”

Would it surprise you to find out the above quote comes from a pastor as he preached to a congregation?

It does. The quote was just one of several played in shocking audiotapes featured on last night’s 20/20 on ABC. A woman who grew up in an Independent Fundamental Baptist Church – or IFB – claimed church leaders would tell members God wants them to beat children as young as two weeks old. Why? “Crying too much. That cry is a cry of the will and that will needs to be broken.” You can hear the pastor shout “How many whacks is irrelevant, you might need 100 strikes. That’s what the bible speaks about.”

There are thousands of IFB churches across the United States and hundreds of thousands of members. They’re ultra-conservative, interpreting the bible literally -  which is how they justify child abuse.

Pastors are deliberately distorting and misinterpreting scripture to promote the idea of physical punishment as the best means of child discipline. If you read the context surrounding the major verses used to promote spanking, you can see that there is a different theme to the passage than one of corporal punishment and that church leaders are taking scripture out of context.

“The nerves need to be affected without tearing down the tissue of the buttocks.” Does that sound like God’s will to you?

I’m appalled, but not surprised church sanctioned child abuse is yet another evil that religion has spawned.

I was spanked as a child. Not as a result of religious command but because I think my mom was beat as a child. Mom only had to rattle the “wooden spoon drawer” to scare me into submission. I will never spank my children. I don’t see the benefit. And how can I teach my children not to hit others if I hit my child? Hitting another human being is degrading, to both the perpetrator and the victim. I don’t care what the bible or any study says about spanking, I won’t do it, period. Strollerderby has previously explored the generational divide over spanking and you can read about it here.

What about you?  Were you spanked as a child?  Do you spank your children?  Do you believe bible scripture promotes spanking children or are people taking it too literally or out of context?

Watch the 20/20 Episode HERE

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About Monica Bielanko


Monica Bielanko

Monica Bielanko was raised on the wild frontier of late 1970's Utah. She is a recovering Mormon who married the guitar player of an unknown band. She's been married to her Babble Voices writing partner, Serge Bielanko, for the past nine years. Her personal blog, The Girl Who was in the top ten of last year's Top 50 list. Read bio and latest posts → Read Monica's latest posts →

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20 thoughts on “"If You Aren't Bruising The Child You're Not Spanking The Child Enough"

  1. Linda, the original one says:

    Nope. It doesn’t surprise me at all. Disgusting.

  2. jennifer says:

    It saddens me that people are so lost in this world that they would seek answers from a nut job like this…

  3. Wade Ditty says:

    Jesus Christ, healed the sick, feed the hungry, and comforted the hurting. He’s deemed the Prince of Peace. “Let the little children come unto me,” he said full of compassion. He would never lift his hand to a child.
    Rev. Wade Ditty

  4. Heather says:

    “If you read the context surrounding the major verses used to promote spanking, you can see that there is a different theme to the passage than one of corporal punishment and that church leaders are taking scripture out of context”

    Oh, puh-leez. “He that spareth the rod hateth his son” — how can that be taken “out of context.” It always bugs me when religious people insist that even crazier religious people are “taking the Bible out of context.” It’s a document from a more barbaric time – that IS the context.

  5. Hanni says:

    Wow – what could possibly make people follow a church/pastor who spouts off words like that? And break my child’s will? I don’t think so. That’s what I’d like keep INTACT and make stronger, thank you very much.

    I was spanked a few times as a child, and I remember not liking it but I don’t think it bothered me too much. But I don’t spank my daughter – she is a stubborn, opinionated little thing and all spanking would do is inflame the situation. She responds well to removing privileges and negotiations, and it’s always fun (and challenging) to try to out-negotiate her. My goal is to prepare her for the world that she’ll eventually face on her own, and I can’t see how spanking does that. Knowing that her actions have consequences in the real world, however, does the trick for her and it will help her tremendously in the long run.

  6. Kate says:

    “He that spareth the rod hateth his son”
    Is that Old TestamentÉ I`d assume so (although we know what happens when one assumes..)

  7. Kate says:

    Ugh, É is meant to be a question mark..

  8. Adele says:

    Be careful what you assume as fact from watching television…things are often taken out of context. Even if they are correct in this quote, please don’t assume all Christians are this way…the same way you probably don’t assume all Muslims are terrorists. Because it’s simply not true. There are always nut jobs out there and tv loves to sensationalize it.

  9. Simon says:

    I am a part of an indemental baptist church and I assure you that they don’t promote “”beating your children. If one mother kills her children, you cannot state that all mothers are murderers… Just as if one IFB church says something, you cannot state that all IFB churches are like that. I am offended.

  10. andrea says:

    These people are mentally ill. They are outright psychopaths who do not dare to victimize any but the smallest most helpless victims. This is why child assault should be illegal. Children are the only group in society we are free to hit, without fear of retribution. People who hit their children are just plain old crappy parents, but these religious nuts are over the line into serious mental illness. Their children should be taken from them until they have been deprogrammed. Now there’s a social program I would get behind.

  11. esthermaker says:

    So, where is law enforcement and social services when it comes to these people? This is simply child abuse. Are they not subject to the rule of law? These people need to be put away.

  12. Jeff Charles says:

    School paddling is legal in public schools in 20 states (19 next July since New Mexico just banned it and it will take effect then.) Bruising, often deep and lasting for weeks, is one of the least harmful common results. So this “pastor” has plenty of company in the US. There are Solomon’s Old Testament verses, and the legacy of slavery for which the paddle was invented to account for it. Over 90% of US paddling takes place in 10 of the 11 Antebellem slave states. (Virginia has banned, the only former confederate state to have done so).
    Girls have a much higher risk of being paddled in high school than they do in elementary or Jr. high in paddling schools, nearly always designated and administered by men, certainly sometimes and maybe nearly always in view of spy or “security” internet linked cameras. It is sadistically and sexually exploitive and likely a part of legalized child pornography. Alabama law even specifically excludes all child abuse laws, including the production of child pornography, whenever paddling is involved.
    Actually the New Testament does not contain one verse instructing any adult to hit any child for any reason. Hitting is nonchristian at best, and in light of Matthew 18, I think is antichristian as well.
    So, if the supposed educators of our country do this, with the blessing of politicians, police, and the court system at every level, including the Supreme Court, then it should not be a surprise that backward, ignorant, and/or exploitive and abusivefundamentalists led by wolves in sheep’s clothing should do the same.
    Jeff Charles

  13. Julie says:

    Corporal/Physical Pain as Punishment/Paddling of schoolchildren with wooden boards is legal and practiced in Schools in 19 U.S. States today, New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez signed Legislation Ending Corporal Punishment in Schools in the state of New Mexico in April 2011. Paddling injuries to schoolchildren put school districts at risk of lawsuits. Several “School Paddling States” have “Teacher Immunity Laws” to protect school employees from criminal/civil action. In stark contrast, Corporal Punishment is Illegal in Schools in 31 U.S. states, over half our nation, and Prohibited by Federal Law for use against convicted Felons in U.S. Prisons, qualifying it as Cruel and Unusual Punishment. Most “School Paddling States” Prohibit Corporal Punishment of Schoolchildren in their Capitol Cities, yet allow pain as punishment of children in rural/less populated, often low-income areas. Corporal Punishment of Schoolchildren is discriminatorily applied based on gender, race, disability and income. Some “School Paddling States” such as Tennessee and North Carolina do not require parental consent or notification for children to be physically punished at school. Some schools allow teachers/coaches/administrators to administer paddlings as a knee-jerk reaction to minor infractions such as not turning in homework or horsing around just outside class where classmates overhear the blows! Search Spanking News to see how heavily corporal punishment is associated with pornography! There are no nationally recognized safety standards required for school personnel to be trained, tested and certified regarding the deliberate infliction of pain as punishment of schoolchildren. Hitting children with wooden boards is not taught in teacher colleges.

    Keep in mind that if paddlings were administered in public to any person or animal, the paddle wielder, be it a policeman, lawmaker or U.S. Supreme Court Justice, would be arrested and imprisoned for criminal felony assault!

    The truth is that much physcal discipline is rooted in corporal punishment or fear-inducing experiences that made children appear to have respect and did indeed impact their behavior. But it’s no longer considered healthy or socially acceptable. Our nation’s most trusted Children’s Health and Education organizations are Opposed to Corporal Punishment of Children. Valuable parenting resources that provide non-violent discipline techniques is available at sparethekidsdotcom and dontbeatblackkidsdotcom.

    Please add your voice to defend schoolchildren’s constitutional rights to be free from assault by those paid tax-dollars to be entrusted with the care and education of our nation’s most precious children, our future, at Unlimited Justice dot com, a Nationwide Campaign to End School Paddling.

  14. Julie says:

    Get the facts about school “Discipline” in 21st Century U.S. Classrooms, search “A Violent Education” and “School Is Not Supposed To Hurt”.

  15. Manjari says:

    What I don’t understand is why parents would be stupid/mean enough to listen to this sick jerk. Does religion really make so many people completely lose their minds? It’s absolutely sickening to think of the children who have been hurt by this cruel practice.

  16. Almost3 says:

    Oh okay, since it was on 20/20 it must be true!!! Since we all know the media has no bias or agenda whatsoever to religion…

  17. Almost3 says:

    For those who want the whole truth, not just a sensationalized sob story, go to He has posted documents, letters, and statements to ABC. Any thinking person would know that a little honest research would prove what REALLY happened. And for the record, I don’t know the guy, never been to his church, but this case has fascinated me!

  18. Lili says:

    I am 14 and still get spanked cos my parents are extremely strict. They started when I was very very young (like age 2) with their hands and saw it working. But they needed to make it stronger to have the same impact on my behabiour. So now I get it really hard with the belt or the cane on my bare bottom. It hurts like hell and I have briuses on my bottom and thighs.

  19. sweetpea says:

    a spanking should never leave a bruise! However, I would prefer to spank my child once then have him hit by a car or horribly burned because I was too cowardly, or foolish to spank him the first time it happened. Seriously, anyone who thinks that a 2 year old understands why they are in time out after driving all the way home after running in the parking lot, or knows what the word “scalding means is an idiot.

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