Reviews

Breaking Their Will, A Book Review

Published by Bruce Gerenscer.net on June 11, 2014

Janet Heimlich’s book, Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment, is a cogent investigation of religious child abuse. Breaking Their Will covers a broad array of religious sects and Heimlich does a good job at documenting the child abuse within these sects. Read more

International Cultic Studies Association

ICSA, Posted on March 15, 2014, Marcia Rudin

At the beginning of her book, Janet Heimlich tells us she has chosen to use the term maltreatment instead of abuse because the word maltreatment includes both abuse and neglect. She explains that in “crafting child abuse laws, most states break down child maltreatment into at least four categories: physical abuse, psychological (emotional) maltreatment, sexual abuse, and neglect”[1] (p. 28).

She follows this breakdown in her presentation, explaining how each category is manifested in a religious context. Although she claims there are no statistics kept under her terminology of religious child maltreatment, Heimlich provides convincing evidence for its extensive existence in mainstream religions as well as what we term cults and other extremist religious ideologies. Read more

Bible Madness

Bible Madness, Posted on March 5, 2013, DWALKER25

“The problem is not Christianity versus Reason.” David Alexander, the late author of Star Trek Creator and editor of The Humanist once told me. “It’s rational thinking versus magical thinking.”

I thought of that while reading Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment by Janet Heimlich (yes, daughter of the inventor of the famous maneuver), published by Prometheus Press in 2011. This is simply the best book on religious abuse and the total fundamentalist mindset since Father Leo Booth’s When God Becomes A Drug and Alan Peshkin’s God’s Choice: the total world of a fundamentalist Christian schoolRead more

The Humanist

The Humanist, Posted on March/April, 2013, Lucille Cormier

A long time ago I used to be a Roman Catholic, and in those days we talked a lot about tests of faith. They happened when you were confronted with facts that clearly challenged the creed you professed. Humanists can have tests of faith too, as when faced with the stories and study data reported in Janet Heimlich’s Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment. Reading this book will certainly challenge your belief in human dignity. Read more

Families in Society

Posted on October 1, 2012, by Jonathan Singer

A few weeks after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, the satirical newspaper, The Onion, ran a story entitled, “God Angrily Clarifies ‘Don’t Kill’ Rule” (2001, Sept. 26). In the article, God holds a press conference during which he tells the world, “‘I don’t care how holy somebody claims to be. If a person tells you it’s My will that they kill someone, they’re wrong. Got it? I don’t care what religion you are, or who you think your enemy is, here it is one more time: No killing, in My name or anyone else’s, ever again.’” The serious message behind this very satirical article is that anyone who would use religion to justify harming or killing someone has clearly misunderstood one of God’s most basic rules. Yet, according to Janet Heimlich in her 2011 book, Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment, religion has been, and continues to be, used to justify the physical, sexual, emotional abuse and medical neglect of children. The purpose of Breaking Their Will is to “expose child abuse and neglect enabled by certain kinds of religious belief. By raising awareness of this issue, the book aims to initiate a discussion about religious child maltreatment in hopes of someday eradicating it” (Heimlich, 2011, p. 19). Read the full article here

The New Humanist

The New Humanist, Posted on March 24, 2012, Richard Wilson

When US police found the body of 16-month-old Javon Thompson in early 2007, he was so badly decomposed that identification was near-impossible. It subsequently emerged that the toddler had been starved to death by a small Christian sect who denied him food and water as punishment for his failure to say “Amen” at mealtimes. This story was one of a litany of cases that inspired Janet Heimlich to write Breaking Their Will, a harrowing account of religiously motivated child abuse and neglect. Read more

Secular Humanist

Secular Humanist, Posted on March 23, 2012 by Edd Doerr

Journalist Janet Heimlich’s book is one of the most powerful and important to appear in the last year. . . . Breaking Their Will. . . should set off all the alarm bells at the increasing penetration of hard core religious fundamentalism into our public schools and politics. Read more

Religious Authoritarian Environment

Prairie Nymph, Posted on February 11, 2012

I am reading the book Breaking Their Will; Shedding Light on Relgious Child Maltreatment. This well-researched book frequently points out that religion can be beneficial for children and talks about the various studies showing benefit.  The author Janet Heimlich differentiates between beneficial religion and harmful religion. Read more

Youtube Review by MEAnders

MEAndersFit, Posted on January 7, 2012 by MEAnders

The information that I gleamed from [the book] was a lot of validating of my past emotional abuse, religious abuse, and even some physical abuse that I experienced as a young person. . . . A must-read for those who have escaped their childhood religion and struggle with the consequences. Watch the video

Book Nook: How religion can be manipulated to abuse children

Book Nook, Posted on November 13, 2011 by Agostino Bono

Any book detailing child abuse by religious authorities or in the name of religion is a hard read for people of faith. Believers are faced with a harsh reality: Many of their cherished values and concepts have been manipulated, distorted or misunderstood for perverse or violent ends.

“Breaking Their Will” is no different. It narrates stark cases of children who were abused sexually, physically, emotionally and through medical neglect, all in the name of religion. Read more

Books: How religion can be manipulated to abuse children

Catholic Sentinel, Posted on November 7, 2011 by Agostino Bono

Any book detailing child abuse by religious authorities or in the name of religion is a hard read for people of faith. Believers are faced with a harsh reality: Many of their cherished values and concepts have been manipulated, distorted or misunderstood for perverse or violent ends.

“Breaking Their Will” is no different. It narrates stark cases of children who were abused sexually, physically, emotionally and through medical neglect, all in the name of religion. Read more

Barbara Quirk: An insightful look at maltreatment of children

Madison.com, Posted on September 25, 2011 by Barbara Quirk

My recent column on abuses that are done in the name of God elicited an email response from Janet Heimlich, an author whose book, “Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment,” was just published. Read more

What I’ve Been Reading

Elizabethesther.com, Posted on May 10, 2011 by Elizabeth Esther

Janet Heimlich’s book, “Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment” is a deeply researched, devastatingly accurate portrayal of the abuse happening to children living inside authoritarian religious environments. Read More

New Book Shines Light on Religious Child Maltreatment

CHILD Newsletter, Issue 1, 2011 by Rita Swan

Award-winning jour­nalist Janet Heimlich analyzes religion-related child abuse and neglect in her book Breaking their Will:  Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreat­ment. She describes both Christian and non-Christian abuses in her chapters on physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, ritual abuse, and medical neglect. Read more

Breaking Their Will, A Book Review

Fallen from Grace, Posted on June 28, 2011 by Bruce Gerenscer

Janet Heimlich’s new book Breaking Their Will, Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment, is a cogent investigation into religious child abuse. Breaking Their Will covers a broad array of religious sects and Heimlich does a good job at documenting the child abuse within these sects. Read more

Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment

Friendly Atheist, Posted on June 18, 2011 by Hemant Mehta

We know all too well how children have been sexually abused in the Catholic Church and how kids have been killed (or nearly killed) because their Christian Science parents refused to take them to a doctor. That’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to how children have been harmed by their religious families and communities. Janet Heimlich, a former freelance reporter for National Public Radio, has documented this awful epidemic in her new book Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child MaltreatmentRead more