Divine Discipline
Lance West Reporting for NewsChannel 4, KFOR-TV-DT, April 28, 2006

OKLAHOMA CITY -- There is a new tool being sold with the specific intent to punish children. The "Rod of Discipline" is marketed as a biblical teaching tool, but some call it a form of child abuse.

NewsChannel 4's Lance West talks to both sides about this so-called "Divine Discipline."

"Discipline," The word provokes a potpourri of definitions. Here are some comments from people on the street.

  • “My dad used the belt on me and I'll never forget it.”
  • “I don't believe in hitting my child with anything.”
  • “The willow switch. It didn't have to be used very often.”
  • “I mainly got ‘the look.’”
  • “Spare the rod. Spoil the child.”
A national poll indicates two thirds of parents approve of spanking. Several internet companies say there is a faith-based way to discipline children and train them as Christians. It's called the “Rod of Discipline.” It’s a flexible spanking tool available for about $5.

“I see love and discipline as the two essential ingredients in child rearing,” says Waterloo Baptist Church Pastor, Tim Richardson.

Pastor Richardson advocates corporal punishment, based on bible scriptures like proverbs 13:24.

“He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who is careful to discipline loves him.”

Pastor Richardson emphasizes “careful discipline;" in love not anger.

“I say often to the men in my church that hands are not meant to hit a wife and child. God gave us these to love our wives and hug our children,” Richardson explains.

A magazine advertisement for the “Rod of Discipline” reads: Hands are for loving, belts are for holding up pants and the rod is for correction.

When shown the “Rod of Discipline” to people on the street, they had the following comments”

  • “No, I would never use this. It's cruel and unusual punishment.”
  • “It burns. It brings back bad memories.”
  • “I wouldn't spend $5 on it.”
Those sentiments are shared by hundreds of others who signed a petition to ban the "Rod". A Eufaula, Oklahoma company voluntarily removed its flexible nylon rod off the market.

There are plenty more available on the World Wide Web. It's outrageous to child advocacy groups.

“Objects should never be used as a form of discipline on a child,” says Dr. Thomas Lock a Pediatric Development and Behavior Specialist. “Because it is ineffective and there is a risk of injury.”

Is it potential child abuse or is it an effective teaching tool? Corporal punishment remains legal in all 50 states.

Oklahoma law allows parents to use "ordinary force" as a means of discipline, including spanking, switching or paddling.

Copyright 2006 KFOR-TV-DT. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

SEE RELATED: Ask Ten Spankers

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