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You are the people who permit your children and the children of your communities to go into these institutions of punishment. . . . .I wonder what God's judgment will be with reference to those who hold the deposit of faith and who fail in their God-given stewardship of little children."
—Father Edward Flanagan
Children are a blessing, and that enrages the horrifying nature of those who seek only to kill and to destroy. . . . Let’s grieve for the innocent. Let’s demand justice for the guilty. And let’s rage against the Reptile behind it all.
—Russell D. Moore
Everyone in my church gave me advice about how to raise my son, but a lot of the time they seemed to be reminding me that I have no husband—and besides, most of them were not following their own advice. It made it hard to care what they said. They were not practicing what they preached.
—Victoria, age 24
I used to co-facilitate a group for parents who were trying to reunify with their children who had been removed by the state. I remember hearing the story of one mother whose 12-year-old daughter was removed from the home because she had been found walking the streets at 2am along with prostitutes and drug dealers. When her mother was telling the story in the group, she said, “The police brought her to my house and I said, ‘There is nothing I can do about this child. If it is God’s will that He test me with a spiteful child, then so be it. If it is God’s plan that she learn her lessons by getting raped, then I cannot do anything to prevent that from happening. Who am I to interfere with His will?’” In my head, I thought, “Are you serious?” To the group, however, I said, “I see that a lot of you are shaking your heads. What would you like to say to the mother right now?” Most of the group members said she was wrong, that God did not want little girls to get raped. Some members, however, stopped short and said that God’s will was a mysterious thing.
—Jonathan Singer, Host of the Social Work Podcast
Child abuse and neglect is still child abuse and neglect regardless of whether it's performed in a place of worship or condoned by religious leaders. Our laws should not restrict protections to certain children just because they happen to be raised by extremely devout adults. The health, safety, and lives of those children are just as important as the health, safety, and lives of all other children.
The Child-Friendly Faith Project: Supporting faith communities in their efforts to protect and nurture children
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