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 […]

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, […]

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

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, […]

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 […]

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 […]