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That Child Beating Case in Indy: More ‘Religion’ Coverage that Marginalizes Religion

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You know those pseudo-fruit drinks like Tang and Country Time – you know, tasting vaguely like orangeade and lemonade without the actual fruit? Well, mainstream media came close to that “ideal” in coverage of a woman who gave religious reasons for beating her son.

The stories, like this one in USA Today, have Kin Park Thaing quote Scripture to defend her taking a coat hanger to her child’s back, arm and thigh. Nothing on what her church or pastor might say about it:

INDIANAPOLIS (USA Today) An Indiana mother who beat her 7-year-old son with a coat hanger is citing the state’s religious freedom law as a defense against felony child abuse charges, saying her choice of discipline comes straight from her evangelical Christian beliefs.

The Indianapolis woman quoted biblical Scripture in court documents. She said that a parent who “spares the rod, spoils the child,” and: “Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you strike him with a rod, he will not die. If you strike him with the rod, you will save his soul from Sheol.”

This despite the fact that the article originated with the Indy Star, a local newspaper.

We’ll leave aside another fact, that “Spare the rod and spoil the child” is not in the Bible; it’s actually a digest of several verses by 17th century poet Samuel Butler – something a religion news specialist likely would have caught. Let’s look instead at the gaping holes in the coverage.

There is no denying the brutality of the mother’s attack:

The alleged abuse occurred Feb. 3, according to court documents, when 30-year-old Kin Park Thaing said she stopped her son from dangerous behavior that would have seriously harmed his 3-year-old sister. Thaing, documents say, hit both children with a plastic coat hanger before telling them to pray for forgiveness…

Read full article at GetReligion.org

 



 

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