Forgive my delinquency in keeping my blog up to date. I hear this is one of the no-no’s of blogging. I have had to focus on some exciting projects that have taken me away from the blog. As most of you know, I tend not to send out frequent, chatty posts but more in-depth ones, which tend to be time-consuming. I will continue to conduct my research and bring you comprehensive coverage of significant cases involving religious child maltreatment, however, to keep the flow of information going, I have decided to also send out shorter, news updates which take less time to put together. Thank you for caring about the issue of religious child maltreatment and for your support!
The Child-Friendly Faith Facebook group has been a wonderful experience! This closed group is comprised of more than 150 members who share their expertise and insights regarding issues of faith and kids. It is a great opportunity for people to express their thoughts and learn from others. Members understand that we do not condone or castigate any religion, faith group, or belief system. Rather, CFF is a forum for people to discuss how religion both helps and harms society’s youngest members.
My talks in New Orleans
On June 8, I spoke at the American Humanist Association Annual Conference and discussed religious child maltreatment and what we can do to stop it. The Q&A was a great opportunity to hear people’s concerns. On June 11, I will give a more informal talk at the New Orleans Healing Center. This more intimate forum will allow for more discussion. I hope those living in New Orleans will come! As you can see from the link, the discussion will begin at 7pm, but feel free to join us at 6pm at Fatoush, a restaurant that is in the center.
Pastor convicted: A Wisconsin pastor was convicted of conspiracy to commit child abuse for advocating the use of wooden rods to spank children as young as infants. Philip Caminiti of the Aleitheia Bible Church was sentenced to two years in prison. This finding could open the door to future convictions of others who preach and teach parents that God wants them to hit their children.
CDC report on infant deaths due to Jewish circumcision ritual: According to a recent report by the Centers for Disease Control, 11 infants in New York City have contracted herpes through the circumcision ritual known as metzitzah b’peh from 2000 to 2011. Of those 11 cases, 2 infants died, and others were left with brain damage and long-term neurologic disabilities. According to the CDC, it’s difficult to prevent the potentially deadly religious practice, because it usually occurs outside of healthcare facilities.
Parents of dead teen plead guilty: Facing a possible retrial for manslaughter, JaLea and Greg Swezey of Washington State accepted pleas in the faith healing-related death case of their son, 17-year-old Zachary Swezey, who died from a ruptured appendix in 2009. While the parents claimed to not believe that Zachary was dying, the couple was prosecuted for failing to provide the teen medical care. The Swezeys are members of the Church of the First Born, whose members believe that faith healing is superior to medical care. JaLea Swezey pleaded guilty third-degree criminal mistreatment, a gross misdemeanor. Greg Swezey will plead guilty to the same charge in two years, if he follows court orders. Both parents are required to contact Child Protective Services if their 4-year-old daughter or any other minor under their care gets hurt or sick for the next four years.
Upcoming article on FLDS investigation: One thing that has been keeping me busy is an investigative article I am writing about the 2008 Texas investigation of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The article will be out in August. Stay tuned…