Spare the rod and spoil the child…

Spare the rod and spoil the child…

In what I can only imagine was a gross misunderstanding of the etymology of the term “slap happy,” a Baptist preacher in North Carolina is advising parents to slap the gay right out of their children. He seems to define “gay” as playing dress-up, suffering from wrist palsy, or “acting too Butch.” (I’m not sure what that means; doubtless, I am therefore probably guilty of it.) Jonathan Turley quotes some of the good pastor’s advice:

Can I make it any clearer? Dads, the second you see your son dropping the limp wrist, you walk over there and crack that wrist. Man up. Give him a good punch. Ok?

“Better that one enter the kingdom of heterosexuality with a broken wrist….” I imagine him deciding. I wonder if he has some sort of biblical Mad Libs that guide his thinking in such matters….

Sadly, there is no shortage of reactions like this in our Church and culture. We tend to overreact, to try to cure one sort of evil (or perceived evil) with another. Like the “spare the rod” epithet, we’ve all internalized the unwisdom to fight fire with fire. The planet is three-quarters water, my friends; perhaps we could look a bit harder for better answers.

There must be some way to, say, provide health care for all without trampling on religious beliefs. There must be a way to be merciful to the poor without unfairly burdening the well-to-do. I suspect we could solve these problems if we first solved this one: How can I give my best efforts to my Church and community and still provide for myself and my family? Because if every warm-hearted, well-intentioned Catholic out there can find a way to answer that question, the rest of them will follow suit.

Oh, and don’t beat your kids. They have enough problems just being your kids.

Photo courtesy of David Castillo Dominici |


About the Author

Kathleen M. Carroll is the managing editor for the book department at Franciscan Media. She loves reading, gardening, animals, babies, baby animals, and extreme recycling. She is the stay-away-from-home mother to four really good-looking children. And no, she will not read your manuscript.