No Refuge

In Breaking Their Will, I write about the polygamous, religious sect known as the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or FLDS. Around 2003, the group’s leader, Warren Jeffs, moved hundreds of followers from Utah and Arizona to West Texas, hoping to set up what he called a “place of refuge.” Five years later, […]

Keeping you up to date

Dear Friends, 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 […]

The Politics of Big Religion

I recently read that the attorney for Bishop Robert Finn is trying to get his client’s case thrown out, by convincing a judge that Finn was not responsible for reporting cases of child sexual abuse. Finn, who heads the Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese of Kansas City, Missouri, is the highest ranking member of the Catholic Church […]

Imam: Shafia murders were “unbelievable.” Really?

Last week in Montreal, three Muslims from Afghanistan were convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison for killing four family members, including three teenage girls. According to prosecutors, Hamed Shafia killed his three sisters—Zainab, 19, Sahar, 17, and Geeti, 13—upon orders by his father, Mohammad. Hamed’s mother, Tooba Yahya, was also convicted […]

A Dangerous Evangelist Threatens to Come to America

I don’t care to criticize others for their religious beliefs. It’s not my business whether one worships Allah, Yahweh, Jesus, the pope, Mohammad, or Warren Jeffs. But when I see religious leaders spouting beliefs that directly, or indirectly, harm children, I speak up. Whether it is indicted Bishop Robert Finn or pro-spanking fundamentalist Christian preacher Michael […]

Are you raising your child in a religious authoritarian culture?

As I stress in my book, Breaking Their Will, children are at most risk for being religiously abused or neglected when they are raised in religious authoritarian cultures. These cultures are homes and communities in which members strongly identify themselves by their faith. And, as in any authoritarian community, people care more about meeting the needs […]

The Real Michael Pearl

The media has pitted me against Michael Pearl on more than one occasion. The controversial, pro-spanking, Tennessee-based Christian preacher says children should not be disciplined but “trained” by hitting them with instruments such as tree branches or quarter-inch plumbing line. I have been vocal about my concerns that Pearl’s childrearing teachings are dangerous and have […]

Is Bishop Finn above the law? Some Catholics say yes.

Why is it when religious leaders are accused, or even convicted, of abusing or neglecting children, the devout rush to defend them? Take the case of Bishop Robert Finn of the Kansas City-St. Joseph Catholic Diocese in Missouri. On October 14, Finn and the diocese were indicted for failing to report a priest who allegedly […]

People are talking about religious child maltreatment

I have just returned from Seattle, a trip that was fun, inspiring, and also sad. Initially, I had planned to celebrate the release of Breaking Their Will with friends and others at a dinner party and then hold a talk and booksigning at a church. Those two events went off without a hitch, and I’ll tell you […]

Religious patriarchy does not harm only women

It’s hard to believe that women in a family would not do all they could to come to the aid of a dying infant. But that is what happened in the case of David Hickman. The infant was born two months premature and died nearly nine hours after birth in 2009. The cause of death […]