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Spare the rod and how to love a child to death
August 12, 2007 2:10 PM   Subscribe

A 15 year-old girl was dragged behind a van as punishment. Her crime was being unable to keep up on a forced run at an at-risk youths boot camp, Love Demonstrated Ministries. It's not the first time something like this has happened. These boot camps and reform schools are still in operation, so it will continue to happen.
posted by FunkyHelix (144 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
They were just demonstrating love, yo.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:12 PM on August 12, 2007


Blessed are the children, except those who can't keep up.
posted by brain_drain at 2:15 PM on August 12, 2007 [4 favorites]


I thought Texans only did that to black people.
posted by Mr_Zero at 2:16 PM on August 12, 2007 [7 favorites]


Didn't Charles Dickens expose these schools in Nicholas Nickleby (1839)
posted by stbalbach at 2:17 PM on August 12, 2007 [6 favorites]


Wow, if this thread doesn't get yanked it will be a surprise. And full of lovely testaments to positive humanism.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:17 PM on August 12, 2007


This is what they meant by No Child Left Behind. If they can't keep up, they'll just drag them along.
posted by IronLizard at 2:20 PM on August 12, 2007 [37 favorites]


It's only a matter of time until this tactic trickles down to the fitness boot camps as the ultimate motivational technique. You won't be ready for bathing suit season if you don't have any skin left.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 2:31 PM on August 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


"And lo, then it came to pass that Jesus said unto them: When thy daughter cannot runneth the race, ye shall tie her to an oxcart and draggeth her as punishment, as ye doeth with thy Africans, for yea, verily do I despiseth the children of the poor." (Texas Jesus 4:12)
posted by Avenger at 2:34 PM on August 12, 2007 [20 favorites]


I'm pretty sure "drag a teenager behind a van" is not on the "What Would Jesus Do?" list.
posted by tommasz at 2:35 PM on August 12, 2007 [2 favorites]


Poor girl, and yet another indictment of Christian methods of child-rearing.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:36 PM on August 12, 2007




Couldn't the Lord have personally commanded the dude to drag the kid? The Lord works in mysterious ways and you weren't there.

There's a precedent after all-- a God who drowns and displaces poor people in New Orleans and lets Iraqi civilians get exterminated like attic squirrels would totally pull shit like that. And we're powerless to stop him if I'm reading the Bible right. ANY ONE OF US COULD BE NEXT! The only solution is to keep yourself covered in grease in case one of Jesus's agents decides to take you for a ride. It will buy you a little time for Christ to get bored and call it off.
posted by Mayor Curley at 2:43 PM on August 12, 2007 [3 favorites]


The point is not lol!xtians, but why are these camps and schools still being allowed to operate?

How many alums speaking out, how many kids dying, how many kids surviving by the skin of their teeth before places like this are ended for good.
posted by FunkyHelix at 2:45 PM on August 12, 2007


What happened to: The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong?
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 2:46 PM on August 12, 2007


We americans sure do like hurting people.

Jesus fuck.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 2:47 PM on August 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


People shouldn't be surprised that true believing Jesus freaks abuse their children in the name of their religion. Even if we assume that they believe in a Jesus who represents serenity and forgiveness and the one true way to salvation, then it follows that their children with a defiant attitude may be broken until they are serene, begging to be forgiven, and following the one true way to salvation.
posted by Brian B. at 2:47 PM on August 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


christian love is so powerful. kinda like rotting fish.
posted by bruce at 2:49 PM on August 12, 2007 [2 favorites]


I'm guessing these people ought more be categorized as typifying crazy sadistic people than as typifying Christian child-rearers.

Maybe I'm wrong, but most folks I know who were raised by Christians, even hard-nosed Right-Wing Fundie Christians, have never been dragged behind a van.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:49 PM on August 12, 2007 [2 favorites]


i've said it before & i'll say it again: Islam is a backward, mysogynistic religion. the sooner we invade & overthrow the mullahs, the better. oh, hang on...
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:54 PM on August 12, 2007 [6 favorites]


aside from that, may all her dreams be wonderful.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:56 PM on August 12, 2007


I thought Texans only did that to black people.

Don't forget the gays.
posted by The White Hat at 2:57 PM on August 12, 2007


I'm guessing these people ought more be categorized as typifying crazy sadistic people than as typifying Christian child-rearers.

For what it's worth, "spare the rod, spoil the child" is not a philosophy often espoused in secular circles.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:57 PM on August 12, 2007 [3 favorites]


(she probably just wanted a pepsi)
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:59 PM on August 12, 2007 [5 favorites]


That these camps even exist is sickening.

I hope that something positive can come out of this tragic and senseless death.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 3:00 PM on August 12, 2007


Two years ago, here in Georgia.

A 13-year-old Douglas County boy who died after being restrained at a camp for troubled youngsters asked counselors for his asthma inhaler while he was held down, but no one gave it to him, state records show.*

From the same site: BOOT CAMP FOR KIDS: Torturing Teens for Fun and Profit
posted by grabbingsand at 3:00 PM on August 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


This is what they meant by No Child Left Behind. If they can't keep up, they'll just drag them along.

Ironically, this is exactly how TAAS worked out in Texas. (TAAS being the system that NCLB was supposedly inspired by or designed after). Kids were told to stay home or their teachers would cheat outright.

That these camps exist and have any business is a sign of the depravity our era. Civilized people know better.
posted by polyhedron at 3:04 PM on August 12, 2007


The issue here isn't with Christians, it's with Assholes. Christianity just happens to be one of the selling tools these sick fucks use to get desperate parents to send their kids to them.
posted by kyleg at 3:06 PM on August 12, 2007 [2 favorites]


The ISAC (anti-bootcamp organization) site lists a number of children who've died at these places including a girl who was, I shit you not, seven years old. (It's on the linked page; do a text search for "Angellika Arndt." The infraction that earned her her final punishment? Blowing bubbles in her milk.

Oh, and is anyone sponsoring legislation to shut these places down?
posted by Clay201 at 3:10 PM on August 12, 2007


Spare the horsepower, spoil the delinquent.

"I thought Texans only did that..."

Hey! They do that in Arkansas too! Don't just pick on us Texans!
posted by ZachsMind at 3:11 PM on August 12, 2007



I actually wrote the first book-length expose on this subject-- Help at Any Cost: How the Troubled-Teen Industry Cons Parents and Hurts Kids (I also wrote the reason article linked above).

There may finally actually be legislative action on this in the fall. Congressman George Miller (D-CA) has instructed the Government Accountability Office to investigate and their report is due then.

My feeling, having devoted much of the last five years to this issue is that several things are basically needed:

1) Ban on corporal punishment in residential facilities. It's near impossible to ban spanking by parents and very difficult to ban it in non-residential schools (much of the South allows it). However, I think it might be possible to ban it in facilities where children are away from their parents because of the difficulty of policing abuse in such situations.

2) Requirement that teens have access to a 24/7 abuse hotline and serious punishment of facilities that deny this-- ie, really really large fines.

3) Requirement of independent psychiatric evaluation on an ongoing basis for kids in any program that claims to treat any kind of disorder in any way (including drugs, depression, ADD. etc) Since psychiatric ethics requires treatment in least restrictive setting, this should shut a lot of it down.

4) Education of parents and general public that tough love does not work. No data supports it. None. The most replicated finding in therapy research is that therapist empathy and rapport is most linked with recovery-- you can't have this when you are humiliating and attacking people.

5) Anyone who has ever owned or been in high level management or who has been corroborated as direct perpetrator of abuse in any abusive facility should be banned from industry for life. Right now, no matter how many times they harm kids the regulators just say "don't do it again" and let them re-open. If one state shuts them down, they go to another. There are people who have been operating Christian and other types of tough-love facilities linked with abuse for decades.
posted by Maias at 3:14 PM on August 12, 2007 [46 favorites]


"Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones." Psalm 137:9
posted by edverb at 3:14 PM on August 12, 2007 [8 favorites]


See also: Charles "Chuck" Long, founder of the Buffalo Soldiers youth program, who was later convicted for the dehydration death of 14 year-old Anthony Haynes (scroll down).
posted by Smart Dalek at 3:20 PM on August 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


edverb, do you have any idea what 'context' means?
posted by shakespeherian at 3:21 PM on August 12, 2007


And yeah, in my last link, a 2 year-old was beaten to death at a day care facility (statistic only, SFW).
posted by Smart Dalek at 3:24 PM on August 12, 2007


i think we all know what "context" means, dude. edverb quoted a psalm in the bible which endorses child-murder.

we need to amend the social contract. religious types get a free pass on so much, and it's considered rude to make their faith an issue, while they freely slag gays, nonbelievers, democrats and anybody else they don't like. kyleg's comment above tries to create a false distinction between christians and assholes. we need to learn how to fight as dirty as our adversaries, otherwise we don't have a chance.
posted by bruce at 3:31 PM on August 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


Everybody loves a profit list !

1. find parents that can't or don't want to handle their kids and their more or less difficult problems

2. claim indoctrination, conditioning and negative reinforcing will do the trick and that all the suffering is for the kid's good ; claim sufferring is character forming, while sipping your Moet & Chandon ; remember that leading by example doesn't mean you should beat YOUR kids too !

3. defend your questionable practice by claiming the critics just hate and don't care about kids or are against G0d or whatever. With most people it will work, otherwise check in advance with a lawyer

4. try to keep your practices as far away from any curious eyes as possible ; claim that the kid is a failure , it was a failure and will remain a failure , so removing any responsability whatsoever.

5. ?

6. Try getting some tax exemption please ? We work for the kids good !

7. Profit !
posted by elpapacito at 3:33 PM on August 12, 2007


edverb quoted a passage in which a person longs for revenge against his enemies. Does that mean that if I quote Iago or Saturninus I can call anyone who reads Shakespeare an asshole?
posted by shakespeherian at 3:35 PM on August 12, 2007


Flowers and Bassitt remained jailed Saturday on $100,000 bond each on aggravated assault charges.

At least there's a small bit of good news here, unlike the Florida case where they were in so tight with law enforcement they killed a kid and have yet to even be brought up on charges.
posted by Devils Rancher at 3:38 PM on August 12, 2007


The point is not lol!xtians

this is metafilter ... the point is always lol!xtians
posted by pyramid termite at 3:39 PM on August 12, 2007


Does that mean that if I quote Iago or Saturninus I can call anyone who reads Shakespeare an asshole?

If you called someone an asshole, who uses the narratives of Shakespeare as a justification for hurting children, you probably wouldn't be too far off the mark, no.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:45 PM on August 12, 2007 [4 favorites]


reading shakespeare =/= devoting your life to following the ways of shakespeare
posted by tehloki at 3:46 PM on August 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


edverb quoted a passage in which a person longs for revenge against his enemies. Does that mean that if I quote Iago or Saturninus I can call anyone who reads Shakespeare an asshole?

Ever hear of context? The context is that most Christians take the bible literally as God's will and expectation, with the absurd passages downplayed as misunderstood.
posted by Brian B. at 3:47 PM on August 12, 2007 [2 favorites]


2) Requirement that teens have access to a 24/7 abuse hotline and serious punishment of facilities that deny this-- ie, really really large fines.

Where does this hotline go?
posted by Brian B. at 3:50 PM on August 12, 2007


false distinction between christians and assholes =/= most Christians take the bible literally as God's will and expectation
posted by shakespeherian at 3:50 PM on August 12, 2007


this is metafilter ... the point is always lol!xtians

That's not really a fair or accurate criticism, and it's unfortunate to hear it so often repeated as gospel. Metafilter is so much more about finding the best of the web, and that can sometimes intersect with the web's reporting of some very disturbing behavior.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:52 PM on August 12, 2007 [2 favorites]


So, Texas, you gonna use the death penalty in this case?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:52 PM on August 12, 2007


So, Texas, you gonna use the death penalty in this case?

No, that's just for the poor and unconnected.
posted by IronLizard at 3:53 PM on August 12, 2007 [3 favorites]


If you called someone an asshole, who uses the narratives of Shakespeare as a justification for hurting children, you probably wouldn't be too far off the mark, no.

Then it sounds like the problem is with those particular people rather than the narratives or structure on which they base their lives, no? Wouldn't that mean that the problem here is with assholes, rather than with Christianity?
posted by shakespeherian at 3:55 PM on August 12, 2007


false distinction between christians and assholes =/= most Christians take the bible literally as God's will and expectation

What does "=/=" refer to here? It confuses a non-sensical statement, if that is possible.
posted by Brian B. at 4:00 PM on August 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


Brian B., the hotline would have to go either to the local child welfare agency that does investigations of institutional abuse or to the local district attorney's office or some other local investigative agency with oversight over children (varies by state) that could immediately check the problem out.

There would have to be some mechanism in place to ensure that kids actually did have access-- surprise inspections might be one way to do this.

I am not an expert on the details but this is not a problem that is unique to these programs-- any institution with powerless, vulnerable people who are not free to leave and who are seen as likely to lie (ie, prisoners, kids, psychiatric patients, addicts, older people with dementia) presents a potential abuse problem and there are better and worse ways of regulating and overseeing them.
posted by Maias at 4:02 PM on August 12, 2007


this is metafilter ... the point is always lol!xtians

No. The point may be "disgusted with xtians", "amazed at the backwardness of xtians", "surprised by the hypocrisy of xtians", or some such. Very rarely it is simply lolxtians, for the suffering they inflict on themselves and others is not very funny.
posted by c13 at 4:04 PM on August 12, 2007 [6 favorites]


I hope that something positive can come out of this tragic and senseless death.

Well one positive aspect would be that she didn't die, although the title of this post is a tad misleading.

From the first link:
The girl was treated for scrapes and bruises on her stomach, legs and arms.

But still, wtf?
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 4:04 PM on August 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


What does "=/=" refer to here?

bruce posited that all Christians are assholes and believe in shit like this, and you appeared to defend his statement by positing that 'most' Christians are assholes and believe in shit like this, but your usage of the word 'most,' implying that not all Christians are insane, rather seemed a poor refutation of my argument that assholes misinterpreting a thing does not mean that one should discard everyone who likes that thing.
posted by shakespeherian at 4:07 PM on August 12, 2007


Wouldn't that mean that the problem here is with assholes, rather than with Christianity?

The problem with your example is that Christian views often beget Christian views through violent means, as displayed here, using edicts such as "spare the rod, spoil the child" as justification for child abuse.

These and many other unsavory ideals (misogyny, slavery, bigotry, etc.) are passed down through generations by inflicting physical and emotional violence on innocent young human beings. This, to me, points to a systemic problem with the subject matter. In my mind, that systemic problem is worth criticism.

Going back to your Shakespeare, it is usually passed down to kids through generally non-violent high school English classes or crappy Baz Luhrmann movies, and no one in a sane frame of mind uses quotations from Othello or Titus Andronicus as a justification for physically beating Shakespeare quotes, or even obedience to Shakespearean morals (whatever they are, if such a thing even exists) into a child's mind.

Basically, your counterargument doesn't follow from the premises.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:08 PM on August 12, 2007


For fuck's sake, nobody thinks that all christians are assholes and consult the bible for every single instance of moral decision-making. Stop acting all persecuted.
posted by tehloki at 4:08 PM on August 12, 2007


I think the whole point of this post is "These guys are assholes" with a side of "Warning: Christianity can be dangerous if handled improperly"
posted by tehloki at 4:09 PM on August 12, 2007 [2 favorites]


No, that's just for the poor and unconnected.

You forgot to add "...and in the case of capital crimes."
posted by Cyrano at 4:10 PM on August 12, 2007


So, Texas, you gonna use the death penalty in this case?

I'm pretty sure Texas does not give the death penalty for aggravated assault.
posted by Snyder at 4:11 PM on August 12, 2007


wouldn't that mean that the problem here is with assholes, rather than with christianity?

why does it have to be either/or? assholes come in all creeds and stripes, but christianity helps enable them two ways, 1) they're encouraged to proselytize their neighbors and discriminate against nonbelievers, and 2) the whole salvation thing, they can chew a cracker and sip cheap wine once a week and emerge with this maddening smug, smarmy faux innocence which only encourages them to do more assholery monday through saturday.
posted by bruce at 4:15 PM on August 12, 2007 [3 favorites]



Elpapacito, it gets even better if you are someone who wants to have sex with teenagers and if you want to run a program on the cheap. Just open a wilderness program or boot camp in an area where there is extremely high unemployment. With a wilderness program, you don't even need to own a facility!! You can starve the kids and call it "character building." Become the largest local employer. Give generously to politicians. Hire all the pedophiles you like, since you don't require background checks and pay minimum wage.

Talk constantly about how these kids are all liars and manipulators and can't be believed when they complain. Get off on sexually humiliating the kids, calling the girls sluts and whores, and the boys "fags." In fact, in your parents' manuals, stress how teens will lie and make up bizarre stories of abuse, but that parents shouldn't ever believe these as they will be being manipulated. All kids make up these fake stories to get out of doing the hard work of recovery-- don't fall for it.

Stress, as you said, that suffering is good for the soul.

Then get paid to do what you love-- abuse kids-- and don't worry about ever going to prison. If you do get caught, blame the lying kids and you will have grateful parent supporters who will back you up. If it goes bad in one state, just move to another. Or better yet, outside the U.S. Even if you do this repeatedly, you can still get away with it.

It does amaze me. But everything in this post has happened in programs I've written about. One WWASP worker actually testified in a court case that sex between employees and teenage inmates in the program wasn't necessarily abuse!!!!
posted by Maias at 4:15 PM on August 12, 2007 [10 favorites]


I'm pretty sure Texas does not give the death penalty for aggravated assault.

Not yet. They're still working on the details.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:16 PM on August 12, 2007


For fuck's sake, nobody thinks that all christians are assholes and consult the bible for every single instance of moral decision-making. Stop acting all persecuted.

I'm not acting persecuted-- I just think it's ridiculous the sort or lumping-together arguments people at MeFi tend to make regarding religions in general and Christianity in particular. And as for 'nobody thinks that all christians are assholes' I note, again, that I was responding specifically to the above comment:

kyleg's comment above tries to create a false distinction between christians and assholes.

If on the other hand it's impossible to argue that this sort of reasoning is incorrect without 'acting all persecuted,' then I guess I'm going to sound persecuted.
posted by shakespeherian at 4:16 PM on August 12, 2007


bruce posited that all Christians are assholes and believe in shit like this, and you appeared to defend his statement by positing that 'most' Christians are assholes and believe in shit like this, but your usage of the word 'most,' implying that not all Christians are insane, rather seemed a poor refutation of my argument that assholes misinterpreting a thing does not mean that one should discard everyone who likes that thing.

I defended edverb. Now show me where I "posited" that most Christians are assholes, and then explain how my using the word "most" in the phrase "most Christians take the bible literally as God's will and expectation" in anyway implies that not all Christians are insane?
posted by Brian B. at 4:18 PM on August 12, 2007


I think that anyone who's primary guiding force is superstition, is an asshole.
posted by Mr_Zero at 4:26 PM on August 12, 2007 [5 favorites]


The only solution is to keep yourself covered in grease in case one of Jesus's agents decides to take you for a ride. It will buy you a little time for Christ to get bored and call it off.

So THAT's what I've been preparing for all these years! I knew it was something.
posted by rokusan at 4:28 PM on August 12, 2007


thanks malas, for being an intelligent, reasonable and informative voice in this thread.
posted by lapolla at 4:36 PM on August 12, 2007


The discussion in this thread is sort of turning into a clusterfuck of discharging facts and rebuttals into the air, hoping they'll hit somebody. All the while, ideas explode quietly in the background.

I think I'll just watch.
posted by tehloki at 4:36 PM on August 12, 2007


reading shakespeare =/= devoting your life to following the ways of shakespeare

Speak for yourself. My first reaction to this post was to reflect that - in the words of the Immortal Bard - the world is grown so bad, that wrens make prey where eagles dare not perch (III Richard, 1:3)
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:40 PM on August 12, 2007 [4 favorites]


Then get paid to do what you love-- abuse kids-- and don't worry about ever going to prison. If you do get caught, blame the lying kids and you will have grateful parent supporters who will back you up. If it goes bad in one state, just move to another. Or better yet, outside the U.S. Even if you do this repeatedly, you can still get away with it.

I thought we were talking about boot camps, not Priests in the Catholic church.
posted by Mr_Zero at 4:41 PM on August 12, 2007


The discussion in this thread is sort of turning into a clusterfuck of discharging facts and rebuttals into the air, hoping they'll hit somebody.

One may smile, and smile, and be a villain. At least I'm sure it may be so in DenmarkTexas. (Hamlet, 1:V)
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:48 PM on August 12, 2007 [3 favorites]


It has been my experience that those people who call themselves Baptists or Catholics or Episcopalians, or any other major denomination are generally decent people. There are, of course, exceptions. But those who call themselves Christians are worth keeping at a safe distance.
posted by donfactor at 5:05 PM on August 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


Here are a couple of previous posts on the subject, from 2006 and 2001 respectively; the former includes a comment from Maias, appropriately enough.
posted by cortex at 5:07 PM on August 12, 2007


Brian B., the hotline would have to go either to the local child welfare agency that does investigations of institutional abuse or to the local district attorney's office or some other local investigative agency with oversight over children (varies by state) that could immediately check the problem out.

The problem is with the assumptions of innocence here and personal legal problems for the underpaid staff. That translates into a crap flood of resentful teenage complaints in order to get out or get even with the staff. The agency can't even stop taking a person seriously because they would get sued if he/she really had a problem, so they endure the process for the few legitimate calls, but the agency is burned out when it really happens.
posted by Brian B. at 5:14 PM on August 12, 2007


Brian B., your comment just serves to further outline the case against these violent boot camps existing in the first place. There's just no way to properly oversee them.
posted by tehloki at 5:21 PM on August 12, 2007


(Yeah...thanks for your articulate comments in this thread, Maias.)
posted by Ian A.T. at 5:22 PM on August 12, 2007


I'm reminded of that British TV show 'Brat Camp' which involved sending off troubled English youths to a ranch in Utah where they supposedly fix them (being on TV, they picked a program that was a little gentler). I remember one of the parents explaining what a terror their teenage daughter had become and then revealing that they didn't even live in the same country as she did. Leaving her in a boarding school back home as they went off to Malaysia or someplace similar, they seemed completely clueless as to how their daughter came to be as she was.

To me, the parents who are ignorant enough and as careless with their children as to send them off to a places as abusive as the one in the FPP is just unacceptable. It's no better than beating the child themselves.

When can we start brutal training programs for useless parents eh?
posted by Serial Killer Slumber Party at 5:23 PM on August 12, 2007


Brian B., your comment just serves to further outline the case against these violent boot camps existing in the first place. There's just no way to properly oversee them.

It's more than just boot camps. My comments include every treatment program or facility that exists. The way to oversee them is with certification, including people. Give them something to lose.
posted by Brian B. at 5:26 PM on August 12, 2007


I think the whole point of this post is "These guys are assholes" with a side of "Warning: Christianity can be dangerous if handled improperly"

Moreover: can be dangerous if handled improperly.
posted by mewithoutyou at 5:31 PM on August 12, 2007


Drat. I meant:

Moreover: [Insert Random Organized Religion] can be dangerous if handled improperly.
posted by mewithoutyou at 5:33 PM on August 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


edverb, do you have any idea what 'context' means?

You must think I blame the Bible, or Christianity, for these horrible crimes against kids. I do not.

Do those who ran these boot camps have any idea what context means? Do the gullible who ship their children off to pseudo-religious charlatans know what context means?

In either case, I find this "Christian" organized troubled teen industry to be what is wildly out of context. Applying a label of "Christian" to one's beliefs does not make it so.
posted by edverb at 6:00 PM on August 12, 2007


I think the indignation of my fellow Christians would be more profitably directed against the sort of vile, violent pretenders who would assault a child in the name of demonstrating God's love than in protesting the perceived anti-Christian bias on Metafilter.

The comments of individuals like Mr. Zero and Blazecock Pileon do me no harm and I don't feel offended. They are words: it's not important. Abusing and killing kids is important and when it's done in the name of God I take it personally. Where are the representatives of Christianity standing up and saying that this is not the way of Christ in these stories? Where are the Christians protesting the very existence of these camps? Christianity deserves every lump it gets in the discussion when this sort of profanity occurs in Christs name.

Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’ Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’ Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’
posted by nanojath at 6:05 PM on August 12, 2007 [9 favorites]


bruce: "i think we all know what "context" means, dude. edverb quoted a psalm in the bible which endorses child-murder."

You wouldn't know what "context" was if it dragged you behind a van on a rope. I don't imagine you have a conception of "metaphor" or "image" either. If that verse endorses child murder, then Moby Dick endorses animal abuse.

Fact is, everybody has a religion. Ignorance seems to be yours, bruce. When was the last time you heard a single damned Xian quote that verse from Psalms? Never? Yeah, me too. Now can you count the number of times you've heard some Xian mention the bit where Jesus says "whatever any one of you does to the least of these, you've done to me?" Yeah, me neither.

Pull your head out of your own ass. Or, rather, don't bother with this issue, as you're unlikely to do any good. Leave the job of convincing Xians not to believe these creeps when they say they're helping their kids up to people like me, people who can talk to Xians, and lots of others who are "different from us," without spewing bilious, irrational hatred.
posted by koeselitz at 6:05 PM on August 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


Why the hell does everyone say xtians? It really annoys me. Isn't xians the proper form? X being short for Christ and all. What's a Christtian?
posted by ODiV at 6:06 PM on August 12, 2007 [4 favorites]


Fact is, everybody has a religion.

What religion am I?
posted by Brian B. at 6:12 PM on August 12, 2007


What religion am I?

Like most people, probably the religion of "I-am-the-center-of-everything-and-my-thoughts-are-real". There hasn't been a good acronym for that one yet.
posted by Burhanistan at 6:14 PM on August 12, 2007


Burhanistan, what other category is there?
posted by Brian B. at 6:23 PM on August 12, 2007


Annihiliation in the Essence is the other category. Sorry, there is no grey area between.
posted by Burhanistan at 6:26 PM on August 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


Jesus Land is a fascinating and horrifying memoir about being sent to Escuela Caribe. I recommend it very highly.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 6:28 PM on August 12, 2007


Annihiliation in the Essence is the other category. Sorry, there is no grey area between.

Which one is Christian?
posted by Brian B. at 6:28 PM on August 12, 2007


Haha...It's up to the individual. A Christian, Muslim, Jew, Buddhist, Whateverian can be in either category.
posted by Burhanistan at 6:30 PM on August 12, 2007



Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire...


The answer to torture: more torture!

Nanojath, you may think this verse refutes the practices of these self-professed "christians". It doesn't. It's exactly on their level of thinking, or their level of consciousness if you like. That is, a big enough stick (in this case, hell) can right any wrong.

Anyway.
Maias, thanks for your comments.

I still don't know what the solution is for families who send their kids to these places, as a last resort, with good intentions.
posted by magic curl at 6:34 PM on August 12, 2007


Like most people, probably the religion of "I-am-the-center-of-everything-and-my-thoughts-are-real". There hasn't been a good acronym for that one yet.

One would think that the acronym would be IATCOEAMTAR, Burhanistan (although I think it's not pronounced phonetically).
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:35 PM on August 12, 2007


Torture is love. Freedom is submission to authority. Shitheads are wise.
posted by Twang at 6:35 PM on August 12, 2007 [2 favorites]


Cum-tar for short.

did I just say that?
posted by Burhanistan at 6:36 PM on August 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


A good friend of mine had to live through one of those horrible places. He let me in on a
webforum for survivors and interested parties and their wiki :
posted by pywacket at 6:42 PM on August 12, 2007


palmcorder_yajna - One of the links goes to the website of the author of Jesus Land, and another link goes to an alum group of the school she mentions.
posted by FunkyHelix at 6:43 PM on August 12, 2007


Haha...It's up to the individual. A Christian, Muslim, Jew, Buddhist, Whateverian can be in either category.

I thought so. Therefore I am in neither.
posted by Brian B. at 6:44 PM on August 12, 2007


Funkyhelix--

Crap. I am a dork.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 6:50 PM on August 12, 2007


leave the job of convincing xians not to believe these creeps when they say they're helping their kids up to people like me...

well koeselitz, since you've put your allegedly superior character and effectiveness at issue, i'm not out of line asking about it. what is your record (attempts/successes) at talking parents out of sending their kids to these camps? i'm guessing 0/0.
posted by bruce at 6:56 PM on August 12, 2007


Cum-tard for short

Fixed that for you.
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:07 PM on August 12, 2007


If they were trying to get her to be in better shape they should of set her pants on fire 100 yards away from a bucket of water. Short burst running is a very effective way to improve your cardio along with the over all leg muscle development plus you can shed some calories.

Fire can convince people to run at unheard of speeds- probably even faster than the van for at least a short time- even if you are 200 pounds over weight with a bad attitude towards authority.

This way she would of only had slight burn marks on her arse with no scraps or bruising. Plus, no one would of believed her if she tried to assert that the camp guards lit her ass on fire to get her to run.
posted by bkeene12 at 7:09 PM on August 12, 2007


Thanks for compliments, Ian, Cortex and Magic...

for those who were wondering what to do instead, the research is very clear: kids do better at home. Even the most messed up kids, most of the time, can be treated at home-- evidence supports Multisystemic Family Therapy, Functional Family Therapy, CRAAFT Family therapy (where drugs/alcohol are primary) and Cognitive Behavioral Family Therapy.

Sense a theme there? If your kid is in trouble, it tends to be a family problem. Many, many kids are sent in the midst or aftermath of a divorce. My feeling is that if you have gotten divorced and your kid starts acting up, you should consider sending yourself to boot camp first!!!

If your kid has serious psychiatric problems, inpatient may be required for brief periods of stabilization, but long term hospitalization is not the best environment for anyone. And, if your kid has serious psychiatric problems, you want professional psychiatric care, not treatment conducted by people without education, without background checks and with virtually no clue about what the research shows helps kids.

If your kid is injecting drugs or using daily (and believe it or not, most of the kids sent to addiction treatment meet neither of these criteria-- most kids sent do not meet criteria for DSM drug dependence (the medical term for addiction), then you might consider short-term residential ADDICTION TREATMENT. Not "tough love" or "troubled teen" treatment-- these don't actually deal with real addictions!!!

Or, they treat all addictions alike and don't deal with the 50% of the problem that has to do with co-existing psychiatric disorders. See above-- for psychiatric problems, you want doctors, not self-professed experts whose only expertise is "this worked for me and if it doesn't work for you, you are going to die so suck it up." Of course, lots of this tough love stuff still infests addiction treatment, but at least there is some oversight of the licensed facilities sometimes and there has been improvement.

The irony of the names of these programs always strikes me-- this was one called Love Demonstrated. Yup, I always demonstrate my love for my kids by dragging them behind a truck... that is a true way to demonstrate affection.
posted by Maias at 7:45 PM on August 12, 2007 [7 favorites]


I always thought X="cross"
posted by tehloki at 7:46 PM on August 12, 2007


The relgion of Cum-tard it is. We're all children of the cum, and we're tards. 'Cept Jesus (and Mithras, and Hercules). Now, we can start breaking down in to sects according to whose mothers had orgasms during our conception and whose mothers didn't. Test tube children can go wait in the limbo hall.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:50 PM on August 12, 2007


I always thought X="cross"

Crosstians just became my new favourite buzz-word.
posted by Serial Killer Slumber Party at 8:11 PM on August 12, 2007


I always thought X="cross"

Nope, X = the Greek letter Chi.
posted by Soulfather at 8:15 PM on August 12, 2007


Ack. I was wrong, twice!
posted by tehloki at 8:27 PM on August 12, 2007


nonojath, I'm not a Christian (or even religious), and there's nothing I can do to counter the fecked-up religious whackjobs that seem peculiarly native to the US of A.

I do, however, sometimes try to counter the juvenile "Look! Evil/stupid/funny/hypocritical Xtians!!!1!" crap that's all-too-common in amongst the supposedly "educated" attitude in places like MeFi.

I do it because that attitude is juvenile, ignorant, intolerant, and exactly the sort of thing which feeds the persecution complex of the whackjobs...
posted by Pinback at 8:37 PM on August 12, 2007


Burhanistan, I am a Roman Cumtard. According to our doctrine, orgasms do not exist - they are an illusion propagated by fakirs, trying to lead us astray from our missionary obligations.
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:39 PM on August 12, 2007


Which is odd, given one of the main obligations of the missionary in secular households.
posted by cortex at 8:40 PM on August 12, 2007


UbuRoivas, your church has blasphemed against the shuddering spasm for too long. Come into the light.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:42 PM on August 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


Oh. I see what you did there.
posted by tehloki at 8:46 PM on August 12, 2007


Burhanistan - I tried but it was too far to reach, so I settled for the water cooler instead. Is this OK with your doctrine, or does it make me an onabaptist?
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:16 PM on August 12, 2007


Hmm? I was too busy staring at the wall listening to Tower's of Dub from Orb Live 93 to notice that all this time had gone by.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:18 PM on August 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


Oh, sweet Jismus, B'stan, keep on topic, will you? You act as if you are the centre of everything!
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:26 PM on August 12, 2007


Alchemists know that there is a secret bridge between the CumTard and the Annihilation. It's hidden in plain sight.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:28 PM on August 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


I want what you're having.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:32 PM on August 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


Prosecute the assholes involved. Then prosecute their boss for allowing it to happen. Then sue the owners of the facility for running an attractive nuisance. Then prosecute the parents for negligence in not taking their kid home the moment they began to suspect something more than an open-handed spanking was involved.
posted by ilsa at 9:51 PM on August 12, 2007


Don't bother with the low level stuff. Sue the Devil for his criminal conspiracy to convince the Cum-Tards that they have already crossed the bridge to Annihiliation.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:53 PM on August 12, 2007


I love how mefi usually gets tripped out after around 100 comments. Perhaps it's exactly enough time for everybody to say "fuck it" and get wasted.
posted by tehloki at 9:55 PM on August 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


tehloki: a thread really does have a lifecycle like a party.

early on, there is some serious conversation & genuine wit.

in the middle, passions & tempers flare; people wander in & out; and nobody can really follow conversations heard only in snippets.

towards the end, the only punters left are the drug-addled, the crazies, antisocial crashers & two or three sober feminists and/or socialists huddled in a corner, who've been arguing heatedly but mostly ignored by everybody else for the duration of the party, not realising that the first cockroaches have already started to founder in the french onion dip, and that the only beer left is warm, distributed amongst a dozen or so half-finished bottles scattered about the place, many of which contain a cigarette butt or two.
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:29 PM on August 12, 2007 [2 favorites]


And there are those at the end of the conversation who are just getting back from vacation and getting ready for the work cycle and have scrolled down the many many comments looking in vain for the term "Buddhist Boot Camps."

Or even "Hindu Boot Camps," which no doubt exist in India.

OK, out to the back yard to look for shooting stars.
posted by kozad at 10:40 PM on August 12, 2007 [2 favorites]


What happened to Operation Rescue? Aren't these children as sacred as the fetuses they want to rescue from abortion? I'd think those meatheads that want to shoot doctors would have a much better time shooting child abusers/killers at these bootcamps, to rescue the abused kids from their hell.
posted by Goofyy at 10:54 PM on August 12, 2007


Having thought for a moment, and having gotten my smartass, barbed remark out of the way:

The depth of emotion I feel over this issue is unfathomable. My sympathy is off the scale for the simple reason that, had these places existed in my time, I'd likely have been one of the statistics. Almost certainly. I was incarcerated in my early teens, at behest of my father. And I understood already, at age 13, the power of saying 'no' (funny enough, learned from a book my dad gave me, him not knowing the nature of its content). Fortunately for me, they actually had limits on how they handled kids in those days.

Can we really pretend surprise that the same nation doing this to their own children is also torturing foreign prisoners? That the same people behind this kind of crap support a government which repeatedly violates the law of the land?
posted by Goofyy at 11:15 PM on August 12, 2007


Jesus Land is indeed a great book and it's also the saddest thing I read all year. Read it if you want to get really miserable.
posted by lemuria at 11:55 PM on August 12, 2007


tehloki - Perhaps it's exactly enough time for everybody to say "fuck it" and get wasted.

What, wait.

I get wasted before coming to metafilter.

oops, I promised myself that I'd stop doing that.

These egregrious events coming out of "Christian" camps keep being reported at fairly regular intervals. Is there any governmental oversight over these organizations?

I read a comment fuirther up saying that when an operation gets busted in one site, they just move on to the next. Isn't there a requirement to be certified in some way before one can operate? ie. - some sort of certification that the people running an operation dealing with taking care of minors, well, are qualified to take care of minors and be subject to review?

I, for one, if sent to such a camp (religious or not, but the vibe of conform or be humiliated/hurt/die), I'd fucking rebel on general principles. Fuck - I was sent here because I didn't conform because I thought that the general consensus of conformation was bullshit.

So I rebel against bullshit and am sent somewhere where you have to eat the bullshit or suffer.

Well, gee - am I going to eat bullshit or lash out?
posted by porpoise at 12:08 AM on August 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


kyleg's comment above tries to create a false distinction between christians and assholes.

I guess I just don't understand, and it makes me sad. It seems like religion, at its core, is supposed to teach love and understanding and peace. And yet in every religion (Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, etc) there seems to be some militant core that is much more interested in slavish adherence to strict observance than it is on being decent human beings.

This is not so difficult! As someone who considers himself religious, as someone who likes having a higher being in my life, and as someone who knows some incredibly wonderful and loving people in my life who are also religious, it pisses me off to no end that there are people (let's hope a vocal minority) who fuck it up for everyone else. Way to go, guys.

Honestly? I think these people don't deserve God.
posted by Deathalicious at 12:17 AM on August 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


I, for one, if sent to such a camp (religious or not, but the vibe of conform or be humiliated/hurt/die), I'd fucking rebel on general principles. Fuck - I was sent here because I didn't conform because I thought that the general consensus of conformation was bullshit.

Yeah, I was one of those dumb, bang-your-head-against-a-brick-wall kids as well. But I think what you're not getting is that these places are set up as machines whose very raison d'etre is to crush any spirit of resistance or rebellion out of kids.

Think Cool Hand Luke for teenagers. Pretty quickly, it gets down to either you eat the bullshit or you live in abject misery and deprivation until you become an adult.

Have you got your mind right, Luke?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:06 AM on August 13, 2007


@ilsa:

lol. Do you not get that these types of events are the inevitable product of a society that embodies the very attitudes you are espousing?
posted by lastobelus at 3:43 AM on August 13, 2007


I've been reading various links via posts in this thread. A repeated theme is death due to restraints.

Restraints? Excuse me, but how can anyone considered knowledgeable on these matters not cry bullshit on this? I spent most of a year in my teens in a county facility. NEVER EVER was anyone restrained! Nor was there EVER any NEED!

What is going on here? Have adolescents changed so much in 35 or so years? Even when fights broke out, once authority figures became involved, things cooled off quick. And so you understand, there was no threat of corporeal punishment involved. Punishment usually involved room confinement, typically for a maximum of 3 days. (meals were brought to you. The worse that happens in your room is you might get bored and miss showers).

Only thing I can think of, these programs are deliberately designed to register as life-threatening on the subconscious, making kids fight like lunatics. In turn, such behavior is used as justification for continued incarceration.
posted by Goofyy at 3:48 AM on August 13, 2007


A county facility uses people licensed by medical people, medical people care about "do no harm". A christian facility uses people who believe god is leading them.
posted by jeffburdges at 4:18 AM on August 13, 2007


jeffburdges: That could be true, but I don't know about the licensing involved, way back in 1970. The reports of which I speak talk about teens 'out of control'. I never witnessed any such behavior. Even when some fool used an especially nasty racial epitaph, the recipient's violence was very under control.
posted by Goofyy at 5:31 AM on August 13, 2007


Chinese Brat Camp
posted by Ritchie at 7:14 AM on August 13, 2007



The religious programs skirt the limited state licensing that exists, basically. Texas, for example, set up a program to deregulate so religious programs could operate under even fewer restrictions than they had during the last term of Gov. Bush-- basically, they set up something where the Christian programs "regulated" themselves. The abuse got so bad, they canned that regulatory scheme after he became president. I wrote about this for the American Prospect here.

Obviously, still not working so well. there are more regulations on dog kennels in many states than there are on these programs.

Many slip through the net by pretending to be "boarding schools" which aren't especially regulated since in the past, most were expensive prep schools. Since they claim to be "nontherapeutic"-- a truer claim than most they make-- they don't get regulated as psychiatric institutions or child care facilities.

Regarding restraint-- it's absolutely overused as a method to terrorize kids. Genuine addiction treatment programs-- which actually do deal with tough street kids-- don't use restraint, but these programs for upper middle class kids and the religious ones claim they need it. It's all about control: restraint and isolation are very effective means of exerting it.
posted by Maias at 7:17 AM on August 13, 2007


I'm not sure about the 1970s either but on the secular side medical, psychiatricm, educational, and correctional communities have had forever to get their acts together. Bad stuff has happened even since the 1970s but bad stuff often leads to fixes (external or internal).

Religion just doesn't work that way. You can be a saint by running around cleaning up other religious people's messes. But you won't see much regulation in between saints.

Ultimately westerners tolerate cruelty & idiocy based upon religioius groups which they'd know was wrong if based on secular grounds.
posted by jeffburdges at 7:46 AM on August 13, 2007


It appears that what some folks actually believe might not be Jesus.

“Ultimately westerners tolerate cruelty & idiocy based upon religioius groups which they'd know was wrong if based on secular grounds”

I don’t know that that is, strictly speaking, true. In a broad sense I mean. There are a number of secular ideologies that have lent themselves to abuses.
Off the cuff - eugenics comes to mind (as an example of abuse not of a kind but on the order of) on a smaller scale perhaps the Manson family thing.
This kind of group megalomania wears a number of masks. Not that your comment doesn’t have merit though. Many folks are gunshy about getting their hands on religion.
Of course, I think that’s precisely the sort of loophole these kinds of authoritarians are looking to exploit. So the nature of the thing might be reciprocal instead of initiatory.
But indeed, either way, when addle-pated belief (of whatever sort) turns into abusive action it’s time to step in, and it is often hard to overcome that self-righteousness. Perhaps because it’s couched in a familiar sounding “Christian” language.
And it’s too hard to fall into the trap of arguing religion or interpretation and sundry related issues rather than pointing out the manifest fact of the abuse.
Indeed, we often go off topic and argue pointless side issues or matters of taste on MeFi. Of course, that’s a luxury we can afford since the stakes are not real pain and physical scars from being dragged behind a van.
But I think you’re on to something in that it’s that overlay, the veneer of religious action that deflects a rational analysis that would otherwise be accepted without it.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:56 PM on August 13, 2007


It quite amazes me that people will come into a thread like this and raise a fuss because a couple anonymous people paint all Christians with a broad brush...

...yet do sweet fuck-all about dealing with the kinds of people who make it possible to think religion is a mental illness, as evidenced through their actions: priests raping children, power-mad asshats dragging little girls behind cars, six-person pile-ons on a not-really-even-misbehaving kid.

Way to go, Christians!
posted by five fresh fish at 6:52 PM on August 13, 2007


Fact is, everybody has a religion.

Where are you getting this definition of "religion" that's so broad that apparently "everybody" has one?

Seriously, let's see some citation.
posted by Many bubbles at 9:47 PM on August 13, 2007


I can't seriously believe that EVERYONE has an organized, carefully structured, superstitious, institutionalized delusion. Well, other than the three branches of government, but that's only the United States and hardly qualifies as EVERYONE.
posted by IronLizard at 12:22 AM on August 14, 2007


It quite amazes me that people will come into a thread like this and raise a fuss because a couple anonymous people paint all Christians with a broad brush...

...yet do sweet fuck-all about dealing with the kinds of people who make it possible to think religion is a mental illness, as evidenced through their actions: priests raping children, power-mad asshats dragging little girls behind cars, six-person pile-ons on a not-really-even-misbehaving kid.

Way to go, Christians!


What do you do?
posted by Snyder at 9:40 AM on August 14, 2007


What would you have me do? I'm not religious, and certainly not a Christian. If I'm ever offered an opportunity to assist in prosecuting a pedophiliac priest or granny-mugging televangelist, I'll gladly do so. Can't see as I can do much more than that, given I'm on the outside of the organization.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:40 PM on August 14, 2007


And given that Christians don't attend meetings with all other Christians to discuss and debate, I'm not sure why you assume that people who are saying Christians are being unfairly painted with a broad brush are in a position to do something about these beasts, not to mention assuming that they are Christian in the first place.
posted by Snyder at 6:43 PM on August 14, 2007


Ah, but y'see, as a congregation they could decide to petition their diocese/whatever to make some public statements about just what's what.

Or not. It's no skin off my ass: the more all Christians are thought to be scum of the Love Demonstrated ilk, the less likely they are to attain positions of political power.

And that, in my books, would be a good thing.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:39 PM on August 14, 2007


I still maintain that the point here isn't lol!Christians, but a question of why these camps and schools are allowed to continue when known abuses have occurred.
posted by FunkyHelix at 6:37 AM on August 31, 2007


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