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The Child Preachers - Comments

Serdan's Avatar Comment 1 by Serdan


I hate humans.

Fri, 18 Apr 2008 14:21:00 UTC | #155512

Prankster's Avatar Comment 2 by Prankster

Woeful and pitiful-this subject is a special bugbear of mine. Using children this way is despicable-makes me sick to be part of the same speices sometimes.....

These parents are total pondlife. First posting tonight on here and now I'm bummed out

Nighty night all

Fri, 18 Apr 2008 14:27:00 UTC | #155514

lucascantor's Avatar Comment 3 by lucascantor

Ugh. Sad...

Fri, 18 Apr 2008 14:41:00 UTC | #155519

Styrer-'s Avatar Comment 4 by Styrer-

Richard's repeated condemnation of the religious indoctrination of children as child abuse is sometimes itself condemned as being too strong, too intolerant and too strident. I defy any thinking human to listen to this piece and not conclude that Richard can never go too far in his condemnation of the absolute cunts claiming to be parents who are destroying their children's lives in this way.

When will the fucking law step in, in cases like this, and take the children into care?

As for 'Bob Pull' (?) - on what possible ground can this faithhead really stake his claim that this kind of child abuse is wrong? Can he not see that he, as much as he may care for a child preacher's safety on the streets, is, like every other lily-livered, moderately pious faithnut, precisely part of the fucking problem from the outset?

And I certainly wonder what kind of 'devout atheist' the here-in mother must have been to hear the media-encouraged utterings about 'god' of her 4-year old daughter and to then stomp around hill and dale, from religion to religion, before being 'born again' as an atheist.

With parents like this, the poor little fuckers never stood a chance anyway.

This despicable shit cannot be permitted to continue.


Fri, 18 Apr 2008 16:04:00 UTC | #155552

black wolf's Avatar Comment 5 by black wolf

I'm so glad that we have laws in Germany against this kind of child abuse, and I'm even more glad that church authorities agree with the law to prevent and to stop such parents.

Fri, 18 Apr 2008 16:22:00 UTC | #155559

HourglassMemory's Avatar Comment 6 by HourglassMemory

I wonder if these kids, one day, will feel extremely threatned due to criticism and will begin to take insane action towards it.

All you need is to provoke. The seed is there, as you can sadly hear.
Then all they have to do is be passionate and do something stupid and inane.

Why do religious people look insane when they're passionate?

One thing you don't want to see "adapting" in evolutionary terms, is religion, to changing cultures. It just spreads the virus further.

Fri, 18 Apr 2008 16:35:00 UTC | #155562

JackR's Avatar Comment 7 by JackR

See, this would work on me because whenever I need insight into the important issues of life, experience, reality and existence, an eight-year old child is definitely my first port of call.

Fri, 18 Apr 2008 16:56:00 UTC | #155567

Santi Tafarella's Avatar Comment 8 by Santi Tafarella


I am at a computer without a speaker, so I cannot (at this moment) hear the audio. I'll listen later tonight. But while I'm waiting, what rights do you think parents should have? What constitutes indoctrination, in your view? Can parents teach their children about hell--or is that abuse?

I think teaching a child about hell is abusive, but I wouldn't take children from parents who teach their children about hell--or threaten them with hell.

Would you?

Also, I may be jumping the gun on the audio before I've heard it, but I surmise that there are some parents turning their eight year olds into little fire-breathing preachers. Is that the gist? And if so, would you also prevent parents from putting their little girls in beauty contests ala "Little Miss Sunshine?"

Fri, 18 Apr 2008 17:15:00 UTC | #155573

Son.of.God's Avatar Comment 9 by Son.of.God

I want to be a preacher.

Fri, 18 Apr 2008 17:17:00 UTC | #155574

akado's Avatar Comment 10 by akado

around here in the south stuff like this isn't exactly abnormal,
it's actually common to have kids come u- and preach for an indivisual church and they believe pretty much everything the child says as uyoung as age 6 as far as I have seen. =P

getting to the kids with religion is one of the sickest, twisted, and pure idiotic move by any community or parent in this world.........

Fri, 18 Apr 2008 17:19:00 UTC | #155575

Styrer-'s Avatar Comment 11 by Styrer-

Comment #163661 by Santi Tafarella on April 18, 2008 at 6:15 pm


I am at a computer without a speaker, so I cannot (at this moment) hear the audio. I'll listen later tonight. But while I'm waiting, what rights do you think parents should have? What constitutes indoctrination, in your view? Can parents teach their children about hell--or is that abuse?

I think teaching a child about hell is abusive, but I wouldn't take children from parents who teach their children about hell--or threaten them with hell.

Would you?

Also, I may be jumping the gun on the audio before I've heard it, but I surmise that there are some parents turning their eight year olds into little fire-breathing preachers. Is that the gist? And if so, would you also prevent parents from putting their little girls in beauty contests ala "Little Miss Sunshine?"


Please confirm to me that you understand the huge difference between teaching a child about the concept of hell - which is not abuse - and teaching same child that s/he will suffer eternal agony in hell if certain codes are not followed, which certainly is.

The former is education, the latter indoctrination, and abuse.

Have a listen, when you can, to this piece and then decide for yourself.


Fri, 18 Apr 2008 17:36:00 UTC | #155581

Caracus's Avatar Comment 12 by Caracus

Santi why bother posting if you haven't listened to the clip? Please listen to the audio. The contents of this report go far further than just scaring children with hell. The poor kids in this clip are right up there with the four year old Muslims shouting death to Jews (much like the Hitler youth in the 30's and 40s also indoctrinated by there parents). Basically these immature human beings have been convinced by the evil parents that they should take up the role of a firebrand preacher only shortly after they are able to read and write. I doing so the parents expose the children to actual physical danger (by picketing abortion clinics) and of course untold metal abuses in not letting them develop normally. Children should be allowed to be children. If you listen to the clip and still think the parents are fit to bring up children then I think you will find many people that would question your judgement should you be anywhere near children! Maybe calling them the 'c' word is a bit strong for your taste and it is a bit vulgar but these parents are truly wicked and it is only right to state that.

Fri, 18 Apr 2008 17:40:00 UTC | #155584

Karlsson's Avatar Comment 13 by Karlsson

Who listens to a child preacher? God himself waited until he was 30 according to the bible...

Fri, 18 Apr 2008 17:58:00 UTC | #155590

Styrer-'s Avatar Comment 14 by Styrer-

Comment #163679 by Karlsson on April 18, 2008 at 6:58 pm

He was metaphorically 30, you goon.

Fuck's sake.


Fri, 18 Apr 2008 18:13:00 UTC | #155595

Russell Blackford's Avatar Comment 15 by Russell Blackford

Unfortunately, not all actions that I consider child abuse are amenable to criminalisation in a liberal society. In some cases, the state can't take a stance on whether I'm right or wrong without breaching the wall of separation between church and state. In those cases, we are left with consciousness raising.

But for the record, I do consider terrifying children with threats of hellfire to be abusive. I don't think Dawkins is being at all too strong or strident in saying this, or that he's being intolerant in any bad sense.

He quite explicitly is not asking that such actions be stopped by means of the coercive power of the state, so he's conforming with basic liberal tolerance. I see no reason to tolerate such abuse in any more generous sense than that. I think we should go on saying that it is serious child abuse, even it's not a form of abuse that's apt for legal prohibition.

To tolerate something something doesn't mean liking it; it means putting up with it even though you don't like it (and may even think it morally wrong). Liberal tolerance requires that the state put up with many things in the sense of not actually banning them, but that's not a reason for individual citizens to back off condemning those things in strong terms.

Fri, 18 Apr 2008 18:22:00 UTC | #155597

markg's Avatar Comment 16 by markg


I want to be a preacher.

As I recall, you were a preacher, about 2008 years ago. Edit: Is old age getting the better of your memory?

Fri, 18 Apr 2008 18:24:00 UTC | #155599

EvidenceOnly's Avatar Comment 17 by EvidenceOnly

Child Abuse #1: All religions know that they need to steal the mind of people before they develop the skills of critical thinking that would prevent such indoctrination. We have evolved over millions of years to the point that we have the ability to think. It is ironic that religions who believe that a supernatural being created us that way do everything they can to prevent people from using these skills.

Child Abuse #2: What Christopher Hitchens calls the "No child's behind left" doctrine of the Catholic Church. The Pope is really the CEO of a world-wide day care center (where they keep young and old away from critical thinking). He and his organization have protected thousands and thousands of pedophile priests to protect the "assets" of the organization. If a school principal did this, he/she would get life without parole. This week, our "No Child Left Behind" leader welcomed the "No Child's Behind Left" leader with open arms. Despicable! A hypocritical apology is not sufficient.

We cannot be harsh enough against all forms of child abuse. Religion is not off limits in this.

Fri, 18 Apr 2008 19:13:00 UTC | #155611

Quine's Avatar Comment 18 by Quine

Too sad for words.

Fri, 18 Apr 2008 19:15:00 UTC | #155612

Styrer-'s Avatar Comment 19 by Styrer-

Comment #163688 by Russell Blackford on April 18, 2008 at 7:22 pm


While I see your point, the US Child Protective Services body does have some legal recourse when it comes to 'psychological abuse' of children, though its range is limited (state-wise).

To include religion-invoked child abuse under its 'psychological abuse' remit may be a leap for such a body to make legally, but such leaps are the stuff of precedents.

We should, as you say, continue to condemn as much as possible as individual citizens, but I think the law may provide for rather more than you assume, if the issue were pushed by sufficiently adventurous counsel, prepared to argue that the establishment clause is in no way at odds with protecting children from religiously-invoked 'psychological abuse'.

The floodgates could, as they should, open.


Fri, 18 Apr 2008 19:18:00 UTC | #155613

Santi Tafarella's Avatar Comment 20 by Santi Tafarella

Okay. I listened. My initial position on this--it's weird, but it ain't abuse. Their childhood is not being stolen from them. Maybe some of the things that the rest of you say in response will change my mind, but for the moment, hear me out.

First, the kids are probably engaging in this behavior no more than a couple of times a week--and what they are getting is actually quite extraordinary. They are learning the cadences of oral speech, and how to make rhythm with language, and to structure rhetorical arguments, and tell good stories. They're also cultivating their intuitions about how to persuade audiences. This is no worse than a set of skills you might learn from doing another childhood activity, such as learning to play a guitar.

And think of how much better their reading skills are than the average adult, and how their cultural literacy is enhanced by knowing the Bible so well at a young age. The Bible, afterall, is one of the great texts of Western Civilization, and they've absorbed it. When they're adults their views will mature, and they'll decide what to do with their childhood experiences (become a novelist, a preacher, a politician, a saleman, a rhetorician, an English professor).

The kids are also learning how to project a persona--the great innovation of Western culture.

Anyway, this is my initial position.
Rip away.

Fri, 18 Apr 2008 20:09:00 UTC | #155623

Styrer-'s Avatar Comment 21 by Styrer-

Comment #163714 by Santi Tafarella on April 18, 2008 at 9:09 pm


No confirmation that you understand the difference, then, despite the kind request to reply one way or the other?

Never mind.

As for your latest post:


Thank you for playing.

(You may wish to re-think 'oral speech' as a human faculty, for future references.)


Fri, 18 Apr 2008 20:41:00 UTC | #155629

discipline's Avatar Comment 22 by discipline

Despicable indeed. I'm (once again) embarrassed to be an American... and a human being.

This psychological abuse is likely enforced with physical abuse. After all, US evangelicals like James Dobson advocate beating children into obedience (see his book "Dare to Discipline"). A perfect summation of the Christian worldview.

Fri, 18 Apr 2008 20:53:00 UTC | #155633

Santi Tafarella's Avatar Comment 23 by Santi Tafarella


Sorry for not responding directly to your question. I'll do so now. I do think it is yucky and abusive to scare children with damnation. It's a very ugly trip to put on anyone, young or old.

BUT I am of two minds as to whether the state should ever intervene on this level. I think we should exercise extreme caution with regard to interfering with the way parents raise their children--even if they raise them in ways that we surmise to be psychologically harmful.

I also think that children are more resilient than we tend to give them credit for, and that adolescents need foils to wrestle against to come to maturity. If one is raised in a strict fundamentalist home one has a very interesting language to wrestle with as an adult, and to work oneself out of. That process of struggle with one's parents will not go away when the state becomes the parent. Then young people will wrestle against the state. You've read Dostoevsky's Notes from Underground, I presume. Dostoevsky's underground man wrestles his way to freedom. It is the old Oedipal overcoming of one's parents, and nobody escapes this process unscathed. Jacob has to wrestle the angel.

Fri, 18 Apr 2008 21:13:00 UTC | #155635

Styrer-'s Avatar Comment 24 by Styrer-

Comment #163727 by Santi Tafarella on April 18, 2008 at 10:13 pm

Well, I thank you for finally supplying a reply.

I think you underestimate, in your view of things, the power the state already has to keep you from doing others harm, especially children. I think you also underestimate the enormous psychological damage that can result from pernicious doctrines being imposed on children, affecting the rest of their lives. I think you are entirely wrong to posit that they are 'more resilient than we tend to give them credit for'. They are not, and you have no right to grant them a strength which you wish them to have but which is entirely hope-based on your part.

You are completely underestimating the damage that 'faith', inculcated into children as something desirable, can have in deforming the rest of their lives. Your bizarre last post, citing all of the advantages you can see in being a 'child preacher', might as well have presented a list of orthopaedic and 'getting to know yourself' advantages happily resulting from being stretched, gradually and alone, on the fucking rack.

I urge you to think on, rapidly, before you completely marginalise yourself here.


Fri, 18 Apr 2008 21:57:00 UTC | #155640

robotaholic's Avatar Comment 25 by robotaholic

i think these kids and their parents are full of shit & they need to be deprogrammed

Fri, 18 Apr 2008 22:05:00 UTC | #155641

irate_atheist's Avatar Comment 26 by irate_atheist

I tuned into this whilst driving to see a client yesterday. Damn near drove the car into a wall to escape the lunacy.

The best thing we can hope for, is that the children suddenly realise what's been done to them. Oh boy, I'd hate to be the parents when that happens. But I'd love to see the explosion of pure rage.

23. Comment #163727 by Santi Tafarella - You are, effectively, advocating child abuse as a method of upbringing. You are in danger of a 'tarding from me. Believe me - I'd hate to be on the receiving end of one of those. Before you descend any further into the pit, may I point out that Dostoevsky wrote fiction. I hope this trivial fact has not escaped your attention.

Sat, 19 Apr 2008 00:01:00 UTC | #155655

action1976's Avatar Comment 27 by action1976

This is just like story of Marjoe Gortner a former evangelical minister who first gained a certain fame in the late 1940s and early to mid 1950s when he became the youngest ordained preacher at the age of four, and then outright notoriety in the 1970s when he starred in an Oscar-winning, behind-the-scenes documentary about the lucrative business of Pentecostal preaching. Hopefully these children when they grow will soon realise that they have been exploited by there parents and that they turn there backs on this lunacy.

Sat, 19 Apr 2008 00:38:00 UTC | #155661

Geoff's Avatar Comment 28 by Geoff

I can't bring myself to listen to it, after being so revolted by "Baby Bible Bashers" when it was featured.

However, to address one of Santi's points:

And if so, would you also prevent parents from putting their little girls in beauty contests ala "Little Miss Sunshine?"

I haven't seen that film, but pre-teen beauty contests in general, yes, absolutely. I find few things as sickening as seeing little girls with full make-up and "sexy" clothes.

Sat, 19 Apr 2008 01:29:00 UTC | #155679

Chris Jackson's Avatar Comment 29 by Chris Jackson

There was a controversy recently when Argos (a British chain store) started marketing a "Lolita" range of furniture for young girls. No Joke.

It seems the more people scream about "pedofils", the more children are sexualised and trotted out in outfits that resemble a crude caricature of prostitution. Seemingly children's fashion is the new battleground of conservatism, and it feels odd to be on this side of the fence.

Returning to the article, I don't know whether my blood pressure could take listening to this if it's anything like "Jesus Camp".

Sat, 19 Apr 2008 03:31:00 UTC | #155710

Santi Tafarella's Avatar Comment 30 by Santi Tafarella

I'm on weakest ground with regard to the abortion clinic boy. If I were a sheriff, would I take the child into protective custody? I'd have to think about that.

I think I'm on strong ground, however, when it comes to the teen artist girl who "talks to god" and makes religious art, and whose parents encourage her mystic visions. The British narrator/reporter, in his flat, persona-less affect, struck me as thoroughly obtuse when it came to her. It's startling to hear a BRIT talk about a young artist who talks to God as "weird"--as if he's never read BLAKE! This is where, in my view, atheism misses the forest for the trees. Artists, especially gifted ones, are going to always be drawn to the sacred archetypal--and see the ghost of a flea, and their brothers' spirit leave their bodies at death--and think that god talks to them. To call parents who encourage their artistically gifted children's mystic visions as child abuse is to exhibit a breathtaking ignorance of Western artistic tradition and persona.

Sat, 19 Apr 2008 04:58:00 UTC | #155734