Monthly Archives September 2014

Is It Ever Right to Hit a Child?

In the 21st century, should we be hitting children as just another form of parental discipline?

And what do we mean exactly by “hit?” A pat on the backside to extra-emphasize to a 3-year-old not to run into the street in front of cars? Or the methodical creation and application of a “switch” with which to raise welts on a 4-year-old who apparently was overly aggressive with one of his siblings?

Minnesota Viking running back Adrian Peterson had the latter in mind, apparently, in disciplining his son over the summer, injuriously enough that it came to the attention of law enforcement (and now, resoundingly, the media). He actually sounded unapologetic about it in his early responses, and found plentiful support from among the majority of the American population that still believes corporal punishment is at least sometimes appropriate in disciplining children.

Later, Peterson offered this official...

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The Problem of ISIS and Religious Fanaticism

Demilitarization would be nice, of course. Blow up all those munitions in far-flung deserts, toss the rifles into the sea, put the B-52s and Hornets and Raptors on display at the military museums, noting them all as relics of the bygone, violent infancy of human history.

But on the way to that rather starry-eyed but ultimately necessary development, it may be even more important that we engage in a process of deliteralization. Meaning that we learn to take all sacred texts and their often contradictory guidelines for human behavior with the proverbial grains of salt they require if we are to finally quell the fanaticism of religious zealots like ISIS, now that they’ve figured out how to organize armies and deploy big guns and use social media to spread their toxic message of hate around the world.

These thoughts occur as I grapple with the most recent essay (Sleepwalking Toward Armageddon, available here

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