Keynotes, Panel Moderation and Workshops

Janet Heimlish

Formerly a freelance reporter for National Public Radio and other national radio networks for ten years, Janet Heimlich is now an independent journalist. In addition to her radio work, she has published investigative journalistic articles, human-interest stories, and book reviews in the Austin American-Statesman, Texas Monthly, the Houston Chronicle, the Texas Observer, and other publications.

“Can religion justify the actions of mothers and fathers who mistreat their errant children?”  Investigative reporter Janet Heimlich says no in her new book Breaking Their Will, as she supports children’s rights in law and in parental practice. She cites a wealth of anecdotes, case studies, expert opinions, and research studies about a variety of sects, cults, and mainline religious groups. Such destructive groups approve psychological and physical abuse and even medical neglect of their young.

“Nobel Peace Prize recipient Elie Wiesel said, ‘Only the victims can speak for the victims.’ In her comprehensive treatise, Janet Heimlich shares the voices of the many victims of religious [child] maltreatment. What’s more, she tells the stories of those too young, too intimidated, too mutilated, too traumatized, or too dead to tell their own tales. . . . She makes a convincing case for the abolition of religious exemption laws and the education of public officials who in the past may have failed in their duties to protect children by allowing their judgments to be obscured by claims of religious freedom.  She draws a map for religious communities to follow when they need to confront offenders while retaining their commitment to their faiths.”

—Seth Asser, PhD, pediatrics consultant, Children’s Healthcare Is a Legal Duty