Evangelicals are less abusive and less authoritarian parents

Conservative Protestant parents yell at their children less frequently than others, says a new study from Princeton University's Center for Research on Child Wellbeing. "For almost a decade, a number of scholars have claimed that conservative Protestant parenting is abusive and authoritarian," says Brad Wilcox, who coauthored the study with John P. Bartkowski. "Our findings call into question those assertions and suggest that conservative Protestant parents have a neo-traditional style of parenting that may well be perfectly fine." While evangelicals may spank more, they praise more too. Last year, Wilcox and Bartkowski made headlines with their research that evangelical families are much more egalitarian than their rhetoric indicates. "Evangelical family practice does not match evangelical family rhetoric," they said.

Speaking of spanking …

Meanwhile, Salim Muwakkil of In These Times writes in the Chicago Tribune that the West should stop blaming the entertainment industry for youth violence and instead blame spanking: "Cursing Hollywood is good politics, even if it is barking up the wrong tree. But there is something Americans can do that most experts say would reduce levels of interpersonal violence: Stop spanking children. … Just as men once declared their 'biblical' right to punch their wives' lights out, we cling to the primitive belief that we can assault our children whenever we deem it appropriate."

Ex-Gay leader spotted in gay bar

John Paulk, board chair for the ex-gay group Exodus International and Homosexuality and Gender Specialist at Focus on the Family, was spotted in Mr. P's, a gay bar in DuPont Circle, a largely gay neighborhood in Washington, D.C. "I went in there looking for a bathroom," he told Newsweek, "It was poor judgment, [but] that does not mean I am going back to homosexuality." But, as Newsweek (which put Paulk and his wife on its cover in 1998) notes, "he could not explain why he chose the dark gay bar over the brightly lit coffee shop across the street." For more on the sighting, see an article in the gay newspaper Southern Voice. An Exodus International press release, apparently not available online, says that the organization is "saddened to confirm" the reports, and that, motivated by "curiosity," Paulk stayed in the bar for half an hour after using the restroom. "John's actions represent a serious lapse in sound judgment," says Bob Davies, Exodus's North American executive director. "His decision to enter a gay establishment for any reason opens him up to all kinds of speculation and questions by both other Exodus leaders and also the gay community." Paulk is quoted in the press release as saying he has "absolutely no desire to return to homosexuality."

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