tv Anderson Cooper 360 CNN September 2, 2011 7:00pm-8:00pm PDT
>> it's important. i enjoy that. it's an exciting thing as a fan to be able to yearn for more. >> it's interesting. twitter brought them all here, and then all the camera phones come out. >> yep. >> boom boom boom. everyone's a paparazzi now. >> everyone's a director. everyone's a photographer. >> thank you. terrific. i loved it. >> since we did that interview beyonce' and her husband jay-z let the world in on their big secret, they're expecting their first child. she also turns 30 on sunday. i want to say happy birthday and congratulations mum to be. that's all for us tonight. "ac 360" starts right now. tonight a special report, ungodly discipline. for weeks we've been investigating a deadly collision of faith and family. in the hour ahead you're going to meet some parents who believe that bible commands them to spank their children, even very young children, toddlers, spank
them so hard that it hurts, that they cause physical pain. they call it spiritual spanking. they believe it's god's will. lid gentleman shatz was just seven years old when she was beat ton death in the name of god. she allegedly mispronounced a word during a home schooling session. that was her so-called sin. >> the phrase "death by 1,000 lash,". that's basically what this was. >> lydia's parents pleaded guilty and were sent to prison. but michael pearl, the man whose teachings they followed, is still spreading his gospel. through a popular christian parenting book he wrote with his wife "to train up a child". apparently more than 1 million copies have been sold. the pearls wrote it as a blueprint for raising children they say the way the bible commands. >> it says that if you spare the rod, you hate your child. but if you love him you chasen him timely. >> the pearls say not to blame for what the shatzs did but
spare the rod, spoil the child is a message that many fundamentalists and their preachers e78 brace. you also hear from a woman whose parents followed the pearls' teachings when she was growing up. per parents called it biblical chastisement. she calls it abuse. >> this is a systematic form of brain washing for these children. >> a form of christian fundamentalively that operates almost entirely beyond the reach of authorities. fundamentalist baptist homes for so-called troubled teens. they say they build character and help wayward young christians find their path back to god. but some former residents describe them as houses of horror. >> and they just bodily man handled me to the floor. and he hit me with a board as hard as he could. and i was shocked. and i had been paddled my whole life. i had never been hit like that. >> i have nightmares about it all the time. like very vivid dreams, like i'm trapped inside of this house again and i can't get out. >> accusations of abuse both
physical and emotional allen flikted in the name of god. you'll hear their stories ahead an hear from the pastor who runs the home. >> we've heard a lot of people complain they've been physically, mentally, emotionally abused at your house. can you give us a comment? >> i would rather not. >> he wasn't happy to see us but he did answer some of our questions. that's ahead we begin with a case that's put michael and debbie pearl's popular christian parenting book on the defensive. it's a book familiar to many fundamentalist christians who rely on its teachings to help raise their kids. until now it didn't get much attention outside those circles. but that's changing now that a little girl has died. here's part one of gary tuchman's report. >> reporter: the small town of paradise, california, where these children lived with their parents in a fundamentalist christian home. for the nine children, life in paradise was anything but. we cover up eight of their faces because they are the survivors.
survivors of a violent form of discipline practiced by their parents, kevin and elizabeth shatz. the one face not covered is their 7-year-old adopted daughter lydia. she was killed by her parents. mike ramsey is the district attorney of butte county in northern california. >> we've heard of the phrase "death by 1,000 lashes". that's basically what this was. >> reporter: this is where the family used to live. the children's sandbox is still here. so is their slide. and their tree house. but the surviving children are now in foster homes, and the parents are in prison. they've pleaded guilty to killing lydia and seriously injuring her 11-year-old sister zaria who almost died. authorities say kevin and elizabeth shatz beat their children regularly because they believed god wanted them. to the district attorney says the shatz believed -- >> to spare the rod will spoil the child. and if you can train your horse
and you can train your dog you can train your children. >> reporter: 7-year-old lydia suffered terribly, supposedly in the name of god. but authorities say this was torture and murder by parents who were supposed to love and cherish their child. inside this house they found important evidence. the so-called biblical rods that shatz had inside. what they were were 15 inch long plumbing supply tubes used to beat the children. and also important, a book was found inside. a book that appeared to light the fuse to the deadly brutality. the book is called "to train up a child". its author is is this man on the track, to michael pearl and his wife debbie. they consider themselves observant christianss who run an organization called no greater joy ministries from their tennessee farm. >> well, i'm a preacher, minister of the gospel. >> reporter: their book and others they've written stacked in a warehouse on their farm, all of them guided, they say, by the teachings in the bible.
>> and it says that if you spare the rod, you hate your child. but if you love him, you chasten him timely. >> reporter: a rod, according to the pearls' manual on training children, can be anything from a tree switch to a spatula. in the book they describe a rod as a magic wand. "god would not have commanded parents to use the rod if it were not good for the child". the pearls say parents should stay in control and not act in extreme. but they also declare, "any spanking to effectively reinforce instruction, must cause pain". >> let's say a 7-year-old slugs his sister. >> he would get -- a 7-year-old would get a 10 or 15 licks. and it would be a formal thing. in other words, you maintain your patient air, you explain to him that what he's done is violent, and that that's not acceptable in society and it's not acceptable in our home. then i would take him somewhere like into his bedroom and i would tell him i'm going to give him 15 licks. >> with what? >> probably a belt, a kid that
big, a boy, i'd probably use a belt. it would be handy. it my use a wooden spoon or a piece of like plumbing supply line, a quarter inch in diameter, flexible enough to roll up. >> something very flexible. >> why not use your hand instead of all these materials? >> hey. look here. right here. let me show you something. does that hurt? >> doesn't feel good. >> but look what it's doing to your whole body. see your hip? you don't use your hand on somebody. that's a karate chop. >> but telling me when you use this term it can't cause a permanent pain? >> it stings the skin. >> my children never had marks left on them. >> reporter: but look at the body of zaria, who was seriously injured by her parents. these are some of her wounds. other bruises on her body and those on her sister lydia who died are far too graphic for us to show. she was so severely beaten she
died of a condition usually found in earthquakes and bombings. >> what do you think influenced the shatzs to beat, terrorize and torment their children? >> the book by mr. pearl. there's no doubt about that. >> reporter: lydia was beaten for seven continuous hours, interrupted by short prayer breaks on the day she died. the sound of a police siren was reported by a paradise police officer racing to the house. when he arrived he tried to save lydia with cpr. both of the parents present. >> she's swallowed a lot of vomit. >> couldn't figure out what was going on. she was like really tired and her eyes, vision was blurry. >> reporter: and listen later in the day to the seriously injured zaria. >> where do you get spanked? just on the arms and your back? >> on my bottom and on my back last night, too. underneath my feet. >> underneath your feet? >> zariah, i'd like to take you to the hospital, okay? >> i probably need to bring a
pot because i might throw up again. >> reporter: at the sentencing hearing, 11-year-old zaria, seriously recovering from her injuries had the courage to address her parents in open court about her deceased sister. she said, "why did you adopt her? to kill her?" it's a heart-breaking story. kevin pleaded guilty to murder and torture and will be in jail for at least 22 years. and elizabeth for at least 12. >> do you think if the shatzs did not read the pearls' book there would be a good chance lydia would still be alive? >> i would think there would be. >> we reviewed the case and tried to find out what happened to see if there was going to be any blame pointed at us. so we looked into it. >> when we come back, has the death of little lydia shatz caused the pearls to rethink any of their parenting advice? gary gets a lesson in language. >> no, i don't use the term hitting. >> what's the word? >> spanking. >> and is there a difference? >> absolutely. >> well, he'll explain that ahead. also ahead, gary investigates some really disturbing
allegations of harsh abuse and even brain washing at a fundamentalist baptist home for so-called troubled teens. a special report "ungodly discipline" continues in a moment. st be the new kid. naomi pryce: i am. i'm in the name your own price division. i find empty hotel rooms and help people save - >> - up to 60% off. i am familiar. your name? > naomi pryce. >> what other "negotiating" skills do you have? > i'm a fifth-degree black belt. >> as am i. > i'm fluent in 37 languages. >> (indistinct clicking) > and i'm a master of disguise >> as am i. > as am i. >> as am i. > as am i. >> well played naomi pryce. [ male announcer ] they'll see you...before you see them. cops are cracking down on drinking and riding. drive sober, or get pulled over.
>> we started working on tonight's special report "ungodly discipline" after hearing about a little girl in california beat ton death by her parents. that's the little girl there. that in itself is a horrifying story. but fact that her parents allegedly believed god wanted them to beat their daughter made the story even more disturbing. kevin and elizabeth shatz are now serving prison sentences. they kept a controversial parenting book in their home, a book that says god wants parents to spank their children with rods and switches, even rubber tubing, and that spankings should be hard enough to cause physical pain. the couple who wrote the book say they're not to blame for what the shatzs did. the district attorney sees it differently. once again here's gary tuchman. >> reporter: michael pearl is a competitive knife and tomahawk thrower. he never misses the tat target. but it's just a hobby. his life' work is preaching. he targets what some might call extreme discipline of children.
>> i've never met any well-trained, emotionally secure, happy, creative children that weren't spanked. >> reporter: pearl is a minister of the gospel, a devout christian. he and his wife are best-selling authors who have written many religiously-themed books. but their most popular and most controversial is book called "to train up a child" in which they write about the need toin flikt physical pain. >> i don't use the term hitting. >> what's the word? >> spanking. >> and is there a difference? >> absolutely. a hand is hitting. a little switch is spanking. a wooden spoon or a spatula, rubber spatula, that's spanking. >> reporter: in the book the pearls, who live in rural tennessee, declare "the rod is a gift from god, use it as the hand of god to train your children". they say, "any spanking to effectively reinforce instruction, must cause pain".
this couple believed in the pearls. kevin and elizabeth shatz, parents of nine children, read their book. as a matter of fact, the book was found in their house and put in an evidence bag after the california couple pummelled one of their daughters for hours. 7-year-old lydia shatz, who had been adopted from liberia, died after suffering horrific injuries all over her body. mike ramsey is the district attorney in butte county, california. >> what we're talking about was and as we charged torture. torture over hours. >> reporter: this past spring, the shatzs pleaded guilty to the killing of their daughter lydia and seriously injuring her older sister zariah. these images some too horrific to show. the shatz said they also regularly beat their other children. we're covering their face toss protect their privacy. >> the book was there. underlined, underscored. >> there's no question in your
mind that this book by the pearls influenced the shatzs to boat, brutalize and terrorize their children? >> none at all. >> no question? >> reporter: but the pearls feel differently, saying their book rejects parents losing control and acting out of anger. >> so you're not accepting any blame. >> absolutely not. >> how scared were you that there would be blame pointed at you? >> i don't think we were scared at all. there's never been a suggestion by anyone that someone's lost control because of what they read in our book. >> reporter: the district attorney clearly disagrees and puts blame on the pearls for the tragedy. but he acknowledges that's about as far as he can go. >> was there ever any consideration at exploring legal charges against the pearls? >> not really. because they have a first amendment right to say awful things. >> reporter: the pearls say they feel badly for the girl who died but are unapologetic. they're not shy about using props and humor. >> i'm going to spank the cnn man. >> reporter: to how they believe
god wants parents to spank. >> rubbing the spaghetti all over your head. you shouldn't have done that at seven years of age. >> okay. and that hurts. and i'm 50. >> okay. >> leave any marks on you? >> no. but you would hit a 5-year-old like that? >> yeah, sure. >> reporter: the pearls say you can never be too young for some physical pain. for example, when a baby bites during breastfeeding. >> i would gently pull their hair, very gently, enough to make them let go. >> reporter: the spankings with various objects, say the pearls, are actually done out of love. the pearls appear to be staying prolific with their writings and preachings. they say they are now simultaneously writing four new books. there is no indication that any controversy slows them down. and why should it, say the pearls. they say it worked for their children, and most importantly, this is what god wants. >> we don't punish our children.
what we sometimes need to get their attention. are. >> reporter: the eight surviving shats children are now all in foster homes. they and their sister lydia certainly got our attention. gary tuchman, cnn, paradise, california. >> harsh discipline in the name of god. it's not just happening inside private homes like the shatzs and the pearls. just ahead what we uncovered and a fundamentalist baptist home for so-called troubled teens. a facility that operates outside the oversight of regulators because of its religious affiliation also ahead, a woman whose childhood was filled with beatings she says all in the name of god. her father was a pastor. >> these pastors are advocating a very systematic form of punishment that outside of their community would be referred to as abuse. inside the community it's called spiritual spanking. [ male announcer ] every day, thousands of people are choosing advil.
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the case of lydia shatz -- before the break you heard from michael pearl, a christian minister and author of the popular parenting book "to train up a child". his book tells parents that god wants them to spank their children with rods and belts and switches and spank them hard enough to cause pain. now, many fundamentalist preachers agree with minister pearl. one example is roger voegtlin.
>> this evening i'd like to preach on spanking according to the bible. now, this is not a new subject here at fairhaven baptist church. >> he then talked about the proper way in his opinion to administer discipline. >> what is a rod? i don't think it's a ball bat. i don't think it's a club or whatever the parent can grab at the moment. the rod in scrip tur's never carefully defined, but it's obviously some kind of a stick or a switch, and it's designed to give a sharp, unpleasant pain. if that isn't the result of your spanking, then you're failing. a sharp, unpleasant pain! ". >> well, fairhaven is part of the network of independent
fundamentalist baptist churches. >> spanking sessions i refer to it as beat sessions could last for hours at a time. basically these pastors believe it a child needs to have no will of their own. so they will continue to administer discipline until a child is completely docile in a way that they show no negative
emotion. that's the goal in the discipline session. >> all these pastors say look, we're not calling for abuse of a child. this can be misused by bad parents who are out there who act out in anger and are irresponsible. but that's not what they're calling for. >> michael pearl said that he does not advocate anyone spanking a child in anger or being out of control. and that's what's really difficult to explain to the outside of the ifb. because the ifb pastors are not advocating losing control and beating a child to death. these pastors are advocating a very systematic form of punishment that outside of their community would be referred to as abuse. inside the community it's called spiritual spanking. so it's a matter of semantics. they would say you shouldn't lose your temper, you opportunity be out of control. and when we hear of parents who kill children in our country we think of parents who lost control completely. and then it ended in the death of a child. but these parents are making a conscious decision to beat a
child for several hours at a time because it's something that's embedded within their belief system in the ifb. >> you run a web site called freedom from abuse.net where you try to bring together people who say they were victims of abuse at the hands of their parents who believed they were following biblical rulings. but i mean, plenty of parents believe in some form of corporal punishment. >> yeah. that's right. when we do think of corporal punishment in our country, i think most people would say -- or i think majority of people at this point in time would say at a time of two i swatted my 2 or 3-year-old on the butt when they were run out into the street. that's not what's being promoted within this group. this is systematic form of brain washing of these children to break them completely of a will. we were to be completely submissive. here's another way i would explain it. you can imagine a 3 or 4-year-old being spanked. the parent is laying the child
down, they are spanking them. if you're a 3-year-old you're going to squirm during a spanking session like that. and that squirm is a revelation to them that child is exerting their will, and that will needs to be broken. so the parents continue to spank. so in the lydia shatz case, i believe that they interpreted any kind of bodily movement of lydia's as a willful spirit that they needed to break, and so that's why the session lasted as long as we've heard of seven hours. >> i guess, though, i mean there's clearly abuse and in the lydia shats case i don't think anybody in this church would say that was acceptable. they all say that's horrific. is it fair to be casting aspersions against an entire church organization as opposed to just bad individuals who clearly abused a child? >> well, i think that that's where the history of the ifb has come into light now.
abc "20/20" did a documentary on april 8th called "shattered faith" in which they took a whole year to do an investigative journalistic piece on this culture. the findings were yes, this is what's being taught from the pull pits of these ifb pastors. >> i should point out we called the church for a response to talk to the pastor and did not get a response. but we look forward to continuing that discussion. jocelyn, i appreciate your time tonight. thank you very much. >> sure. thank you. >> we reached out a number of times to roger voegtlin to request an interview. he declined so did the fairhaven baptist church. our invitation is still open next, what's really going on inside this fundamentalist baptist home for so-called troubled teens. disturbing allegations former residents are making and the special protection the law gives religious group homes. gary tuchman investigates. >> we've had a lot of people complain they were physically, emotionally, mentally abused at your house.
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♪ the lord us everything ♪ and all of my worry is vain living by faith ♪ >> his home for girls faced allegations of abuse, and now decades later another home that grew out of the same tradition is facing similar allegations. once again, here's gary tuchman. >> reporter: i'm about to meet a man who i know doesn't want to talk to me. we know that because don williams and his father ron had already told us in an e-mail they would not comment about abuse that has allegedly happened for many years on the secluded property in the northern indiana town of wwynon lake. it's a bapist boarding school and church for adolescent girls. the allegations are so disturbing, we felt we needed a face-to-face meeting with the father or son in charge. we've had a lot of people complain they've been abused at your house.
can you give as you comment about that? >> i would rather not. >> our conversation did not end there. but first let us introduce you to susan, who is now 45 but spent two and a half years there starting when she was 15. >> it was going to be gardening and crafts and singing and just a chance to heal. >> that's what your parents thought this school was going to be? >> that's right. >> was it in any way correct? >> no, no. i knew that the minute the door shut behind me. >> on her first day in this house, susan said she was accused of having a bad attitude while cleaning the ceiling. so two staff members grabbed her and don williams administered what they called godly discipline. >> bodily man-handled me to the floor, and he hit me with the board as hard as he could. he's a very big man. i was shocked. i had been paddled my whole life and never been hit like that.
>> michelle dowling is 20 years old and just got out of the house a few years ago. her parents thought the strict religious curriculum would make her a better baptist. >> they told me it would be good for me, and i'd make good life changing decisions. >> michelle was only 12 and brand-new in the house when she says two staff women told her to take off her cloths and forced her into a closet where a man would give a medical examination. >> they hold both my legs and arms down and let him do this to me. stuck a speculum inside of me, and i was scared. i was screaming. i didn't want him to touch me. there was nothing i could do. >> both women talk about being forced to eat a lot of food, sometimes not being given any food, being forced to drink a lot of water. susan says 28 girls shared three bedrooms on the upper floor of this house. there was one toilet. but -- >> if i stood up to go to the bathroom, no, you can only go to
the bathroom when you're told you can go to the bathroom. >> these are girls you were with? >> right. >> what would happen if you went to the bathroom without asking? >> you would be paddled. >> i wet the bed every single night i was there. they made a spectacle of you. i ended up having to wear pull-ups every night. would watch me put it on every night, and they'd make me show it to them when i would take it off in the morning. >> it's been open a long time, lots of people have complained about getting beaten, emotionally tormented in the name of religion. there's a lot of us very religious don't believe in hitting people and tormenting people and making them wear diapers and drink and eat things they don't want to. i want to know why you do that? >> i prefer not to decline. >> why can't you comment if you believe in what you do? this is your chance to tell viewers. >> i understand that, but i prefer not to. >> if you could tell me why? why don't you want to tell us? >> i'm respectfully declining. >> don williams is also the pastor at the church on the
grounds. a former church-goer gave cnn a cd sold by the church in which williams is preaching his views about who is to blame when a male whistles at a female. >> if you girls are walking down the sidewalk and some fellows drive by and they whistle, you better stop and think about that. what drew that whistle? was it the way i was walking? or maybe the way i was dressed or whatever? did i do something to defraud those men? >> it shows pictures of girls that attended and claims there are no spankings or any out of the ordinary punishments. this facility has been around for about four decades. it seems to be a thriving enterprise. as you can see, the people in charge don't particularly want to answer my questions. but we're not alone. they don't really answer to the government, either. in indiana group homes operated by churches and religious ministries are exempt from
licensure. so nobody in the government even knows what's going on behind the closed doors. the women say their parents also had no idea what was going on there. in the 15 months you were in this house, how many times did you leave the grounds to go somewhere else? >> never. >> zero? >> zero. >> the indiana governor's office says there's nothing it can do. the attorney general's office says it doesn't have jurisdiction and the same thing with the independent department of education. the indiana department of child services said it could investigate providing there was a current complaint and not from someone who already walked out the door. we talked to a dozen women victimized at the house, and they said they could never make any private phone calls or send uncensored letters while on the inside. it's not the only facility of itself kind. across the country victim advocates say there are an unknown but large number of similar programs. >> i have nightmares of it all the time. like very vivid dreams like i'm trapped inside this house again
and can't get out. the only thing i want is to run out a door, and for some reason i can't. i think i fantasized about suicide those first years out. >> we wanted to give williams one last chance to answer the allegations. is it true or is it not -- this is a yes or no question? >> it's not true. >> so they're lying to us? >> i'm -- see, that's where you're trying to get me backed into a corner. it's their word against mine. >> we were not permitted to take video on the property, but we did walk up the front steps and ring the bell. we saw a girl hustled back inside the home. we saw girls through the windows, but nobody would answer the door. gary joins us now. why would the school use food and water as discipline? >> authorities at these institutions, they have a laser-like focus on discipline. they feel it's very important to
make the children who attend these schools submissive and then they're disciplined. >> they're saying these are problem kids coming there, and you can't deal with them through regular means? >> not all kids are problem kids. a lot of parents are problem parent and didn't once to take care of the kids and sent them to this institution. >> is indiana really powerless to do an investigation of the school? >> no. this particular school has been open for 40 years. if any of the governors over the last 40 years wanted to make this a cause or attorney general, they could lobby the legislature. there seems to be no incentive to do anything about it. >> is there any role of the federal government getting involved? >> yes, there is. three years ago a bill went to congress that would put more oversight over private boarding schools to help prevent child abuse. it passed the house and died in a senate committee and never came back. >> fascinating report. gary, thanks. they reached out and put us in touch with another former student that will talk about her time in the facility. her name is lucinda
pennington. her family sent her to the school when she was 15. she stayed for three years. she joins us now. thanks for joining us, lucinda. you went to this house in 1988 when you were 15. you say you liked it there. why? >> i did. i felt safe and secure there. it was a place for me to be able to get back on track. >> you came from an abusive family situation, and they were very supportive? >> yes, very supportive. they helped me get out of the situation i was in and helped me in taking care of what needed to be taken care of. >> were you ever beaten? >> no, i was never beaten. i did receive a spanking, but never beaten. >> what sort of a spanking did you receive? >> i had cheated on a test, and even though it had been several
days, they had to wait and get contact with my parents first before they could spank me. they took me upstairs, explained to me how it was done. i had to lay down on the floor. they held my hands and my feet and put a chair across my back. i don't remember anything sitting on it. granted, this was 23 years ago. i got three swats, and i was let up. >> swats with what? >> i think it was just a regular paddle. then i was let up and sat on the couch, and we prayed and talked about, you know, i shouldn't be cheating. cheating is lying. and then i -- within the three years i only received two spankings, so it wasn't like, you know, i got them all the time or anything like that. >> we've heard from other girls who were there who obviously describe what they call -- refer to as abusive situations. they refer to like having to
drink a lot of water and the not being allowed to go to the bathroom, being made to wear diapers. did you see that? did that happen to you? why would that happen? >> no. in the three years that i was there, there was only one girl that was made to wear a diaper. the situation was she had just gotten there. hadn't been there maybe a day, and these girls were not angels that arrived there. this girl was determined that nobody was going to tell her what to do, when to go to the bathroom. because we did things on a timetable, on a schedule, especially during school hours, we would have breaks and recess. she said, you're not going to tell me when to go to the bathroom. she refused to use the bathroom. a few minutes later she asked to use the bathroom. they said no, you had the opportunity to use the bathroom. when they told her that she needed to go when all the groups went, she said well i'm going to stand here and pee in my pants. they said, that's fine.
if you do the consequence is because you won't go to the bathroom when you're supposed to you'llware a diaper for the day. she said i don't care. she did it out of rebellion and spite. when they followed through with what they told her what would happen, it only took one day that she actually wore the diaper because the next day she did what she was supposed to. >> why do you think so many girls are giving strikingly similar accounts of being abused, if that's not what really happened? do you think they're lying? >> i think for them some of the things were traumatic for them because they had never been in a situation where they had been told what to do. so for them to be told when to eat, when to sleep, you know, not have the freedom to do as
they pleased, yes, they think they were abused, i guess you could say. do i agree with that? no. i came from a situation where i knew the difference between a spanking and beating. if someone's never been spanked, then, yes, somebody may say, yes, i was beat. >> i appreciate you being on and giving your perspective. thank you so much. >> all right. >> still ahead, when faith and law collide. if your religion tells you that god demands you spank your child, who is to tell you otherwise? under the law where is that line between spanking and abuse? we'll be right back. who's just as fast and responsive. [ rob ] i'm rob jones, professional race car driver and former fighter pilot. so, you might say i know a thing or two about fast. it takes a lot to keep up with my hectic schedule, but quicken loans has never let me down. they closed my loan fast, their rates and fees were low, and their crew kept me updated through every step of the process. quicken loans is a lot like me -- we're both engineered to amaze.
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today we show you how faith and family collide. within their own homes parents set the latitude in how they discipline kids. when does it legally become abuse, and what about outside the family? before the break we showed you the faith.based homes for troubled teens that because of their religious affiliation they have a lot a lack of legal oversight. bruce, i think the idea of corral punishment for kids is probably a lot more common among evangelical christians than a lot of people realize? >> they're about 15% of the country right now. i'm actually in georgia right now, and i spent last weekend at a christian marriage seminar in
nashville where 1,000 people spent six and a half hours inside a church on a saturday afternoon listening to the biblical point of view on marriage, on family, on parenting, on sex. what was striking to me about this conference is for many people in this country, many parents who are anxious about how to discipline their children, what's too much, what's not enough, they turn to what? they turn to science. they turn to studies and therapy, things like this. for a lot of people in this country, particularly evangelical biblical based protestants, they turn to the bible. on this matter the bible is not particularly vague. several times in proverbs it says very clearly if you spare the rod, you hate your children. if you want to discipline your children, you would be aggressive. i think for these people there is comfort in the bible and, of course, what we know in america is sometimes the people that put their faith in the bible come in conflict with people that put their faith in science or, of course, the law.
>> how far does the discipline go and how do you define it? gary tuchman detailed alleged abuses, girls denied going to the bathrooms for hours and hours, force-fed and starved, some of these girls said, abusive-sounding stuff. if it's true, how can they be justified? >> it's hard to justify based on religion. let's put it that way. these are extreme people cutting themselves off taking an extreme view of religion. for most people who do support corporal punishment and as jeff knows far better than i, almost half the states in the country it's still legal at this point in time in american history. most of the people like focus on the family, which is a very conservative evangelical group they say do it rarely and gently and judiciously. even the people that support it go nowhere near these extreme cases we've heard in your reporting tonight. there is a difference between what is occasional discipline of
some kind and this clear open crossing the line into abuse and in some cases murder. >> jeff, it's an interesting legal issue. there are folks that say this is part of my religious relief and what i read in the bible. this is my interpretation of it. where does the law stand on, you know, hitting your child or hitting a student in a school? >> unfortunately, the law is very easy at the extremes. no one is going to get arrested for a spanking. if god tells you to rob a bank, you can't rob a bank. when you get to these -- the corporal punishment that is more than a spanking but less than a broken arm, the police struggle with these cases and the laws vary by state. most of the time the police don't get involved in these, even though -- the sad truth is most victims of murder, children who are victims of murder are children that are killed by their family members. >> bruce, you make the point that the bible mentions a lot of things that aren't accepted
anymore? >> in the 19th century i wrote about this in the book i wrote about the influence of the bible in america's history, the bible openly supports slavery, and many people in the south used a biblical defense saying moses had slaves and jesus did nothing to stop slavery. on the matters of family, the bible is not a parenting textbook. it's not the dr. spock of the ancient world, and these attempts to take biblical passages and apply them are very dangerous. most mainstream protestant groups, in the methodist church a few years ago have openly rejected this idea. my personal opinion about this is if you're going to argue with people who are using the bible as a defense, you can't use the law in a lot of ways. you can't use mainstream society or science don't reject this. you're better off making a biblical argument, which is to say this is a very fringe idea in the bible.
it's mentioned only a few times this idea of corporal punishment in the book of proverbs, which is a very vague, poetic language. the larger theme of the bible, the first thing god says is have children and multiply. many have argued against this say this is against the idea of the bible. it's against the teaching of jesus, which is to be sensitive to those vulnerable in society and who is more vulnerable than children? so the way to argue in my view is not the law, it's to say this is against the main theme of the bible. >> and let's be clear. there is no such thing in an american courtroom as a biblical defense. you can maybe persuade a police officer not to arrest you, but once you're in a courtroom, no judge is going to say, well, it's okay if you bible says it's okay. >> as gary pointed out, it seems like there's very little regulation or oversight of homes or schools in indiana. >> no, very little. again, it varies by states. private schools in general are
outside the supervision of the state. that's why you have a private school as opposed to a public school, but they still have to maintain a certain minimum standards. you still have to have sprinklers for fire safety and a certain number of hours a week for instruction if you're a private or parochial school. but how much those rules are enforced varies a lot, and a lot of times religiously oriented schools have a lot of political power. and they use that power to keep government supervision to a minimum. >> interesting. jeff toobin, appreciate it, bruce, always good to talk to you. >> my pleasure. >> that's it for our special "ungodly discipline." "ungodly discipline." thanks for joining us. but other days i still struggled with my depression. i was managing, but it always had a way of creeping up on me. i felt stuck. i just couldn't shake my depression. so i talked to my doctor. he said adding abilify to my antidepressant
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i'm susan hendricks with a 360 bulletin. tonight the gulf coast is bracing for tropical storm lee. it's expected to hit land on sunday, bringing strong winds and almost two feet of rain. a state of emergency is declared in biloxi, mississippi and new orleans. louisiana governor bobby jindal is urging residents in his state to get ready. >> you hope for the best, you prepare for the worst. the primary challenges for louisiana will likely be a combination of heavy rainfall in combination with the rising tides. we are going to see flood watches, flash flooding especially in coastal areas. >> half of oil production in the gulf is shut down