Proving Richard Dawkins wrong

I am a fan of Richard Dawkins. I admire him as a biologist, as a straight-talking atheist, and as an advocate for victims of religious child maltreatment. He devotes a chapter in The God Delusion to the religious abuse of children. In June, I had the honor to be introduced by him at the American Humanist […]

What Can Atheists Do about Religious Child Maltreatment?

I’ve been talking about religious child maltreatment for a while now. Our closed Facebook group has grown to more than 350 members and has become a supportive and safe place for survivors and others to share ideas and feelings. My book Breaking Their Will is still selling. All good stuff, right? That question deserves to be met […]

Justice for Hana and Immanuel

I usually don’t follow criminal trials very closely, but I did in the case of Hana and Immanuel Williams. In 2008, the two had been adopted from Ethiopia by Larry and Carri Williams. The couple brought the girl and boy to live with them and their seven biological children in their gated-community home in Sedro-Woolley, Washington. […]

More than she could bear

By now you’ve probably heard about the case of Nina Koistinen. The 36-year-old mother from Phoenix has been charged with first-degree murder, after she confessed to suffocating her 6-day-old baby, Maya. Koistinen reportedly told authorities that she killed the child, because she “had too many kids already” and was jealous of the attention her husband […]

A survivor of religious child maltreatment becomes an advocate for children who suffer today

Liz Heywood grew up in the Christian Science Church outside of Boston, the church’s headquarters. When she was a teenager, she developed a serious bone infection in her knee. Her family, members of the Christian Science Church, arranged for her to receive faith healing. No one took her to see a doctor, even as she […]

Reading between the lines of a bishop’s “apology”

Yesterday, one of the country’s most prominent Catholic bishops apologized for his role in clergy sexual abuse cases dating back to the 1980s. Except that his statement is not really an apology at all. Here’s what Bishop Thomas J. Curry of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles said: “I wish to acknowledge and apologize for those […]

The impact of our beliefs

As we approach the holidays, we are often reminded of just how much religion permeates our culture. Christmas trees, menorahs, Kwanzaa traditions, Santa at the mall (for children who believe), holiday music on every radio station. December also marks the beginning of the Islamic New Year. We can’t get away from it. During this time […]

A New Venture: The Child-Friendly Faith Project

As most of you know, I have devoted much of the last four years to researching and writing about religious child maltreatment. I intend to continue to learn all I can about this form of abuse and neglect. However, it’s time to begin a new path. In the fall of 2012, I and a small […]

Pious and bloodthirsty

This week, a 14-year-old Pakistani girl named Malala Yousufzai was nearly killed when a member of the Taliban shot her on a school bus. Her “crime”? Trying to seek an education for herself and other girls. Two of her classmates were also wounded. The assassination attempts exemplify how the very “holy” will stop at nothing to gain […]

A deadly ritual

If you want to understand just how religious authoritarianism harms children, look no further than the actions of a powerful group of rabbis in New York known as Agudath Israel. AI is a Jewish communal organization that represents the most conservative Jewish believers, Haredi or ultra-Orthodox Jews. These rabbis are seeking to sue the City […]