What. For real?
Yes, a prominent leftist publication, the Huffington Post, claims in an op-ed that spanking your child is both physical and sexual abuse. The article was directed toward Christians who believe that they have a religious obligation to corporally discipline their children.
Typically, evangelical Christians believe in some level of corporal punishment – to include spanking with the open hand, belt, or (for the older generation) a “switch” – because the Bible says this is the kind of tough love required so as to prevent children from becoming rotten, horrible people. The classic and oft-repeated text on this is Proverbs 13:24:
Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.
It is commonly paraphrased as, “Spare the rod, spoil the child.” This isn’t the only verse of the Bible that speaks of corporal punishment, however. There’s also Proverbs 22:13-14, “Do not withhold discipline from a child; although you strike him with a rod, he will not die. Strike him with a rod, and you will deliver his soul from Sheol.” And there’s Proverbs 29:15, “A rod of correction imparts wisdom, but a child left to himself disgraces his mother.”
You know that kid in Wal-Mart that melts down in the impulse aisle because she won’t let him have a ring pop, and he takes a swipe at her as she looks embarrassingly away? That’s the same kid who’s shoplifting at 14 and robbing liquor stores at 18. Christian parents have a tendency to lead their children in the love, fear, and admonition of the Lord. And when that doesn’t work, we beat the devil out of them. Such has been the case for, well, basically time immemorial. Leftists, however, want you to know that if you share the parenting strategy of pretty much every reasonable parent in the world you’re probably a sex pervert.
Using the agonizingly too-close-for-comfort case of Tom Chantry as their example, HuffPo guest writer, Jillian Keenan, claims that all spanking is sexual in nature. Chantry is too-close-for-comfort to Pulpit & Pen, I write, because I know him. I know him through interactions in social media, and all of them positive (so far as I know). He was theologically and ideologically like-minded. Then, a few years ago, Chantry was arrested for what was characterized as “sex crimes.” I reached out to a mutual friend and asked their opinion on Chantry and was told that the case against him was “iffy” and to reserve judgment (and so I did).
However, as the court trial has commenced, I find it almost impossible to reconcile the facts (as they’ve thus far been presented) as anything but damning. Chantry’s crime was laying church kids over his knee and giving them a good spanking and then rubbing their buttocks to make sure they’re okay. As a pastor, I don’t spank other people’s kids (I have physically picked them up and put them in the corner or told them to sit quietly, but only very rarely). However, I suppose there was a day and time that pastors and school marms would slap kids’ knuckles with rods or perform some other medieval form of torture that we would consider barbaric. Maybe – just maybe – Chantry lived in some kind of weird place were even in the 90s it was common to spank church kids? Alright, let’s assume that’s the wormhole he was living in. Regardless, you lost me at “rubbed their buttocks.”
Dude. No. No, that’s weird, man.
Even then, if I wanted to give Chantry the benefit of the doubt after the buttocks thing (and I don’t), there was the ARBCA three-man investigation committee finding that Chantry engaged in butt whooping and rubbing “for his personal pleasure.” To be fair, there’s an interpretation of “for his personal pleasure” to imply a non-sexual masochism and doesn’t **necessarily** have to imply a sexual masochism. At this point I ask, does it really matter? It seems like ARBCA biffed it on their findings and how they handled this (please see the editor’s note at the end of this article).
So with Tom Chantry’s sanctified butt-whooping and butt-rubbing as the example, Huffpo’s Jillian Keenan then makes the wide assertion that any spanking is by definition sexual. Because of Tom Chantry. She writes:
Chantry felt comfortable acknowledging the spankings because our culture still refuses to recognize spanking as a sex act when inflicted on little kids. But the spankings were every bit as sexual as the other abuse.
Well, that’s just like, you’re opinion, ma’am. I mean, who said spanking is by definition sexual? Keenan does. She continues:
For some people, spanking is sex. I know because that’s what it is for me. My whole life, I’ve been obsessed with spanking. Spanking occupies the place in my life that sex occupies in the lives of most people: As a child, it’s what I was curious about; as an adult, it’s the only thing I fantasize about and the only thing that satisfies me. My fetish is my sexual orientation, and, like any other healthy sexual orientation, only happens between consenting adults. For fetishists like me, consensual spanking is just our version of consensual sex.
For starters, and forgive me for being all scientific and biological, but spanking is not “sex.” I suppose it could be “sexual.” But trust me, a child was never conceived by unprotected spanking. However, just because for some people like Keenan – who has a particular fetish- considers spanking to be the level of kinkiness that turns sexual, it does not mean that it is by nature sexual. In fact, because it is a “fetish” indicates it is not, by nature, sexual. A “fetish” is that which is abnormal or something to an abnormal degree (per its dictionary definition). The word’s etymology is Portuguese, derived from Latin, and refers to that which is novel or bizarre.
Anything could be a fetish and therefore literally anything could be “sexual.” By Keenan’s argument, foot rubbing could be inherently sexual (I hear that’s a thing). To some people, furry animals are inherently sexual (I’m not making that up; it is a thing). To some poor guy out there, handshakes are probably sexual. People are the worst. But by definition, these things are not “inherently” sexual, but only abnormally sexual. Granted, there are a lot of abnormal people in the world and a lot of normal people that are occasionally or momentarily abnormal. Keenan draws that conclusion, however, that what is sexual according to her fetish is normative for the rest of society.
Citing statistics that evangelicals are 15% more likely to spank their kids (I suspect they’re also 15% more likely to shelter and clothe their kids), Keenan says:
Beyond the statistics, fundamentalist Christian communities have a disturbing history of obsessing about spanking their kids. “The rod must come wherever there is disobedience. Let’s not ever use the rod unless it hurts. It should be that the child would never want another spanking. He won’t want it to be repeated if it hurts. This is love,” one Christian parenting guide advises. Later, it concludes: “It’s better to go to heaven with welts than to go to hell without welts.”
This “spanking obsession” even has a name now, “Evangelical Spanking Abuse.” And I guess that makes a whole new class of victims we can call Evangelical Spanking Abuse Survivors. Support groups are forming as we speak:
Adult survivors of evangelical spanking abuse don’t describe it that way. I think often of one email I received from a reader, who gave me permission to share it anonymously. She wrote: “I suffered physical and sexual abuse as a child and that act [spanking] was a part of both. And in fundamentalist Christian homes, like mine, there is more than a little sexualizing in those acts. That’s part of the draw of it. They love it and it turns them on in a big way. It took me a long time to untangle this. … I do not have that fetish, but I know it is sexual behavior.”
If spanking is by definition “sexual,” I would hate to think about what lap-sitting is. Will there soon be an “Evangelical Lap-Sitting Abuse Survivor’s Anonymous” forming? Surely that gesture of familiarity has been abused by more than one predatory pervert and I’m sure that it’s a sexual fetish for many an adult. Should it be banned and, if so, how many mall Santas are we sending to jail this year?
Spanking is inherently violent. It is also inherently sexual: When any person ― child or adult ― is spanked, his or her body experiences a number of physiological responses that are identical to arousal and intercourse. And while not every specific adult who spanks a child is sexually titillated by the act, of course, that doesn’t matter: Some are, and there is no way of knowing which ones. There is also no way of knowing which children will experience a spanking as a sexual violation.
Again, spanking is not “inherently sexual” because if it were, it wouldn’t be a “fetish” as the author already described it. A fetish is that which is not inherent (inborn). In terms of the body’s response to spanking being identical to that of sexual titillation, I don’t know how many people respond to sexual titillation with fits of tears, uncontrollable crying or tantrums on the floor, but in my experience those aren’t exactly the same thing (am I the weird one, or is it not just me?). In reality, Keenan cites a 2013 article from the University of Wisconsin that indicates stress hormones may usher in an early onset of puberty in females. And because spanking can cause stress hormones, and stress hormones may cause an earlier onset of puberty, Keenan conflates that with “being spanked causes sexual arousal.” Uh, no. No, that’s not what the study says. No, that makes no sense. No, that’s insane. Your child is not getting “turned on” when they face grandma’s switch.
You might ask where such insanity, as presented in the HuffPo article, comes from. I’ll tell you. Evangelical Christians rightly point out the sexualization of children by leftists. They turn their little boys into fake little girls and they turn their little girls into fake little boys. They have them writhe sexually in tranny parades. They force them to suffer through explicit sexual-education classes in elementary school and read them LGBTQXYZLMNOP propaganda in primary school. Evangelicals rightly complain and so in response, they say, “Yeah, well you spank your kids, you bunch of sexual perverts.”
[Editor’s Note: It does look like ARBCA and the panel led by Ted Tripp might have botched it when it came to reporting Chantry’s behavior. This doesn’t mean ARBCA is bad. It means ARBCA may – once the dust completely settles – give their policies regarding how to handle such things an audit and overview. Hindsight is always 20-20]
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