No Refuge

Texas Observer FLDS

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, […]

Imam: Shafia murders were “unbelievable.” Really?

sharia honor killing canada

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

Helen Ukpabio

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?

author of Breaking Their Will

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

michael pearl

Both TV and print media have pitted me against Michael Pearl, as I have been vocal about my concerns that his teachings about childrearing are dangerous. I have written extensively about Pearl in Breaking Their Will, and this is the second blog I have posted about him. The pro-spanking, Tennessee-based Christian preacher has become a highly controversial figure, […]

Religious patriarchy does not harm only women

ban islamic veil burqa

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 […]

The Last Victims: A letter to Zariah

Lydia Schatz

Below is an online letter to twelve-year-old Zariah Schatz, the older sister of Lydia Schatz. Four years ago, the girls were adopted from the Republic of Liberia by Kevin and Elizabeth Schatz of Paradise, California. On February 4 and 5, 2010, the couple “biblically” whipped their daughters for hours on end. The children’s “crimes”? Zariah, […]