Email to National Public Radio in response to a broadcast about spanking on January 26, 2000
Some Christians use the Bible to support the practice of spanking. Especially the "spare the rod" passage from Proverbs. However, this is an illegitimate use of scripture. Unless these folks are willing to use the same kind of selective prooftexting to support THE BUYING AND SELLING OF HUMAN BEINGS (Genesis 17:13), SLAVERY (Ephesians 6:5), THE BEATING OF FOOLS (Proverbs 10:13, 26:3), THE SUPPRESSION OF WOMEN (I Corinthians 14:34, Ephesians 5:22), SANCTIONS AGAINST MARRIAGE (I Corinthians 7:25-38), INCEST (Genesis 19:30-36), and INFANTICIDE (Psalm 137:9), they'll have a hard time explaining why they single out a passage from Proverbs in support of corporal punishment. It's hard to conceive of Jesus ever hitting a child. For any reason! The very suggestion is contradictory both to what he taught and the way he lived. When anxious adults wanted to shoo the children away, Jesus rebuked the adults and welcomed the children. "Of such," he said, "is the kingdom of heaven." A popular slogan these days is, "What would Jesus do?" This becomes the most reliable biblical authority for Christians when it comes to hitting children. Jesus just wouldn't do it. Why, then, should we?