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Sighting the Nonexistent

Do the doctrines of sin and obedience to God lead to child abuse?

Martin Marty's Sightings column is typically worth reading. After the decades he has spent as a religion scholar, his columns will educate nearly every reader.

Unfortunately half of Sightings columns are written by guests, and these tend toward infuriating rather than instructive. Today's column (not yet online [Update 5/4:It's up now]) by Bonnie J. Miller-McLemore is about spanking. She leads with the story of parents at Remnant Fellowship Church in Brentwood, Tennessee, who spanked their child, Josef Smith, to death and are now serving life sentences.

She says Remnant's "religious leader Gwen Shamblin encourages parents to spank their children, describing corporal punishment as a 'time-tested, ancient teaching of the Bible' necessary to shaping adherence to God's authority." Miller-McLemore fails to note that Remnant Fellowship is not a mainstream evangelical church, but tends toward aberrant Christian sect.

Miller-McLemore then criticizes ...

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