The general Christian community today holds conflicting opinions about God's will for the discipline of children. Many people still advocate harsh, degrading practices such as physical chastening, commonly called "Biblical spanking" or "Biblical discipline." These terms imply that hitting children is the way Christ would have us discipline the smallest and weakest among us.
We acknowledge that in Old Testament days, religious people followed harsh Mosaic Law and cultural traditions including stoning adulterers and rebellious children, and forcing children to marry according to the parents' wishes. We Christians for Non-Violent Parenting seek to follow Jesus' teachings to practice the higher law that He instituted in his new covenant of love, mercy and forgiveness.
Within the teachings of our Savior, Jesus Christ, we are admonished to be kind, gentle, and respectful toward others, including children. We believe that today's best parenting techniques, which are nonviolent, work hand in hand with the teachings of Jesus. Children are a precious stewardship, entrusted to the care of adults. The responsibility to lead, guide and teach them with kindness and respect is God given, for of such is the kingdom of God. (Mark 10:13-14)
With these thoughts in mind, we invite you to read the following statement and add the name of your church or ministry to our list of supporters. This is an affirmation of your commitment to protect and nurture all of God's children, and does not obligate your church community in any other way.
Because we are members of a faith community that preaches Christ-like love and mercy, because we view all human beings as part of God's creation, because we wish to ensure the safety and dignity of the most vulnerable and least protected among us, we affirm the following statement concerning the treatment of children.
Children are entitled to care, security, and wise spiritual and moral guidance. Children are to be treated with respect for their person and individuality and may not be subjected to physical punishment or other injurious or humiliating treatment. Discipline and respect for others shall be encouraged in children by teaching and guiding them without resorting to verbal or physical violence such as shaming or spanking.
Since many Christians continue to threaten and strike children due to an assumption that this is what Christian parents should do, it seems important that we who are committed to following Jesus' teachings and example for shepherding others clearly state our opposition to these practices. Also, since religious pressure to ensure human rights has a noble history, it is time for us to add our voices to those of others who endeavor to secure one of the basic human rights, that of freedom from assault, to the least of our brethren, our children.