Thursday, April 23, 2009

Why Isn't That Man In Jail?

After speaking at the American Atheist convention in Atlanta the first person to the mic for the Q&A session was Dr. Dawkins. The bottom line of his question: Why was my father still walking around a free man after all the violence he perpetrated on our family? My reaction was incredulity and a little bit of fear. It seemed so obvious to me, that I worried the rest of the audience would chuckle at Dr. Dawkin's naivety. But the fear part puzzled me.

Grateful that Dr. Dawkins had even listened to my speech, I just let the uncomfortable nature of his inquiry slip into the background. A few hours after the speech, back in my hotel room, my fiance mentioned that she had spent a few minutes in discussion with Richard Dawkins after the speech. He was still agitated about my father and demanding to know how it was possible that he was still a free man. My fiance tried to explain it further. Later in the evening, in the lounge, I was introduced to Heidi Anderson. In our conversation she changed the flavor of the subject by pointing out that Dr. Dawkins was from England and things obviously were different there.

A few days ago, a thread appeared on Richarddawkins.net linking to my published speech. Dr. Dawkins appeared in the comments section and once again raised the issue:

"I heard Nate Phelps give this talk and was deeply moved by sympathy for Nate and a passionate desire to see Fred Phelps put behind bars for the rest of his nasty life. I asked various people why he has not been arrested for violent abuse of his family. The answers I got were rather unsatisfactory: a combination of "If you are sufficiently adept at manipulating the letter of the law, you can get out of anything" and "Anybody who calls himself 'Reverend' can get out of anything." I am reluctant to believe either of these explanations.

Richard"

This led to a number of other comments posted on the thread with variations on the same question.

Let me try to explain from my point of view.

It has been too long since the violence happened to me. The American legal system places time limitations on bringing charges against someone. I realize that begs the question of why didn't I do something sooner. Well, now we get into this whole area of the psychology of abuse. I can't say I'm an expert on it other then to tell you that every thought of vengeance that ever entered my mind was almost immediately dispelled by the certainty that I would die if I acted on it. Being severely beaten over and over, while at the same time being told that you deserve to be taken outside the city gates and stoned to death, does something to your mind. Remember, this is the person who is to define the world for you. The person who is to demonstrate the nature of life. The person who is to provide safety and security for a formative mind.

I looked to my mother for protection from my father. When I was around the age of 6, my mother packed the kids into the car and ran away to her sister Dorthy in Kansas City. Her sister lived in a small walk up apartment in a poor area of town. Her home was filled to overflowing with all the children. I remember being sat down in her living room with the TV while my mother and aunt sat, shoulders slumped, drinking coffee in the kitchen. Even at that age, the sense of joy was strong in me that we weren't going to have to deal with that man again. In the end she went back. I can only imagine the impossible hurdle she faced being alone and unemployed with 10 or 11 kids at that point. I learned very quickly that she was just as defeated by his violence as any of the children. The very real threat of violence and even death was more then enough to keep his wife and children from seeking help from the outside. Any intervention would have to be instigated from without.

In 1972 charges were brought against my father stemming from a particularly violent beating he administered to my brother Jon and myself. An excerpt from "Addicted To Hate" lays out the salient details of that:

"
For the moment, however, it had gone beyond the pastor's control. Police detectives investigated the matter, and it was filed as juvenile abuse cases #13119 and #13120. Jonathon and Nate were assigned a court- appointed lawyer, as a guardian-ad-litem, to protect their interests. The assistant county attorney took charge of the cases, and juvenile officers were assigned to the boys.

In his motion to dismiss, the ever-resourceful Phelps filed a pontifically sobering sermon on the value of strict discipline and corporal punishment in a good Christian upbringing. "When he beat us, he told us if it became a legal case, we'd pay hell," says Nate. "And we believed him. At that time, there was nothing we wanted to see more than those charges dropped. When the guardian ad litem came to interview us, we lied through our teeth."

Principals involved in the case speculate the boys' statements, along with superiors' reluctance to tangle with the litigious pastor, caused the charges to be dropped. The last reason is not academic speculation. The Capital-Journal has learned through several sources that the Topeka Police Department's attitude toward the Phelps' family in the '70s and '80s was hands off-this guy's more trouble than it's worth'.

Three months later, the case was dismissed upon the motion of the state. The reason given by the prosecutor was "no case sufficient to go to trial in opinion of state". The boys were selling candy in Highland Park when they learned from their mom during a rest break the Pastor Phelps would not go on trial for beating his children. "I felt elated," remembers Nate. "It meant at least I wouldn't get beaten for that."

But if Nate's life was so full of pain and fear, why didn't he speak up when he was at the police station and everyone was being so nice to him? Nate laughs. It's the veteran's tolerant amusement at the novice's question. "We'll do anything not to have to give up our parents," he answers. "That's just the way kids are. That's the way we were." "Besides, when it (abuse) occurs since birth, it never even crosses your mind to fight back," interrupts Mark. "You know how they train elephants?

They raise them tied to a chain in the ground. Later, it's replaced by a rope and a stick. But the elephant never stops thinking it's a chain." The loyal Phelps family are of two minds on the case. Margie admitted it had occurred. Jonathon denied it. The pastor never decided. Instead, he launched into a lecture on the value of tough love in raising good Christians.

Since their juvenile files were destroyed when the boys reached eighteen, but for their father's vindictiveness, there might have been no record of this case. As it was, he sued the school. This caused the school's insurance company to request a statement from Principal Dittemore, who complied, describing the events which led to the faculty's concern the boys were being abused. The suit was dropped."

What this excerpt doesn't detail is the level of intimidation that my brother and I faced from our father. When it came time for us to discuss the case with Tom Valentine, the attorney appointed to represent us (what a joke), my father spent hours pounding into our heads exactly what to say and what not to say. I remember the extreme dislike I felt toward Mr. Valentine because his presence threatened my physical safety. I no longer had the capacity to even recognize who was my friend and who was my enemy. I learned the outside world was impotent against my father.

Dr. Dawkins asked me why I waited until 18 to leave. I thought I made that clear in my speech. My father had the legal right to do with us as he saw fit until we reached the age of legal independence. That age was 18. Ultimately my brother Mark succeeded in leaving because his efforts began AFTER he turned 18. My sister Kathy tried to leave when she was 17 and the violence he visited on her, after he found her and forced her home, was epic.

There was no way in hell I was leaving before It was legal to be on my own.

There was no way in hell I was staying after it was legal to be on my own.

That was the best I could do...until now. When asked why I'm speaking out against my father my thoughts always get muddled. It's impossible to pick a single motive or even identify, honestly, all my motives. It's disingenuous to say that I have no notion of vengence. But until Dr. Dawkins asked that question, and this issue started being debated, it never occured to me that speaking out is, at least in part, my way of finally defeating this demon I live with every day.

If there is a way, and I shudder even thinking this out loud, to make this man pay for his cruelty, perhaps this journey will lead me to it. But ultimately there must be a strong will from within the state or federal government or my father and my family will run roughshod over them in the defense they mount for their prophet.

28 Comments:

Anonymous Heidi Anderson said...

Nate I only met you and Angela, but I have so much love for both of you.

People who have never been exposed to family violence do not understand how pervasive it can be, nor how humiliating and shameful it can be to be asked "Why didn't you report it, save them, do anything differently."

Those people have had the luxury of always having freedom, and they take it for granted. You have fought long and hard for your freedom, and not just when you left at 18. You have fought a long courageous journey to free your mind.

Do not allow anyone else to put you back there. The past can not be changed, and as harsh as it sounds, you father will soon be dead. But the more you look back and think "What could I have done?" the more you put yourself back in that period of your life when you were a helpless slave to a psychopath.

No one has fought harder for their freedom than you; you have fought the equivalent of a civil war in your mind, and you have won. People who do not understand this have always lived in peace, and resent the idea that the war truly exists. But you and I know that it does, and that getting out is the best victory.

I love you guys, and think of you often.

April 23, 2009 at 2:53 PM  
Anonymous DeafAtheist said...

I have to admit that when I read your speech the same questions formed in my mind about why your father was never charged with child or spousal abuse and put in prison. Your explanation here makes a lot of sense. I also assumed that given the time period of your youth domestic violence cases were not treated with the same attention they are today.

I'm glad you and your brother got away. I look forward to reading your book.

April 24, 2009 at 1:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nate, thank you. I am not alone.

April 29, 2009 at 2:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nate I really enjoyed reading this. I watched that documentary on your siblings. I hope that some of them, too, can make the leap to freedom...

April 30, 2009 at 7:45 PM  
Anonymous John Lombard said...

Nate,

I think that the majority of people, hearing your story, will understand the reasons why you didn't take action. Stories of abuse are far from rare; and it is a common theme that those being abused frequently live in fear of the abuser, and will act out of that fear.

For all that I respect Dawkins, he is a man who seems to be so intellectual and rational himself, that he has little ability to understand or empathize with those who don't think like him. Of course, the 'rational' or 'logical' thing to have done would have been to report your father, and get him locked away. But you weren't reacting out of logic, or ration. It was a gut-level emotional response that overwhelmed any logical response.

Regarding your own abuse, as you said, it may be too late to bring charges; and those who are currently undoubtedly being abused in the Phelps household would have to be willing to speak up and admit such abuse themselves...which doesn't seem that likely.

Perhaps the best 'revenge' you can get is in doing exactly what you are doing right now. Letting people know the real story, and what a petty, vindictive, manipulating, evil man your father is.

I wrote a bit about you on my blog (www.menscritica.com), also...hopefully will help more people find their way here :-)

John

May 2, 2009 at 3:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you think it possible that your father is suffering from an undiagnosed mental illness?

May 7, 2009 at 5:25 PM  
Blogger In geode state park said...

Nate, You express yourself so honestly and beautifully. I just finished reading your Atlanta speech and I was moved to tears when you told the story of your son asking about hell.

It would be wonderful if Fred Phelps had to face prison for the abuse he dished out on you and countless other innocents but the real way that you will show him up is by being a real father who treats his children with love and is loved in return by them. Your children are very fortunate to have a father like you. He on the other hand will never know what it feels like to be truly loved.

May 12, 2009 at 1:39 AM  
Anonymous James said...

I can understand why Richard Dawkins acted so. As a humanist, I took find it intolerable that nothing has been done or indeed it seems, can be done. However, that you are free (if only physically) is reason enough for celebration! You are right not to seek vengeance. I would like to think that I would have the strength to do the same, though I feel I would not.

I never knew my biological father. That doesn't really bother me to be honest. My mother's family took great care of me. Regardless of that, I know that I am a good dad - a caring dad - to two beautiful and inqusitive children. Words such as yours also make me painfully aware that sometimes, not knowing your father can be a blessing in disguise.

You are a brave man Nate. A brave, strong man. All the best to you and yours.

May 12, 2009 at 7:56 AM  
Blogger Mig22 said...

Cheers to you, Sir. While not exactly abused as a child, I had a father with an extremely imperious manner at times. His physical discipline was not dangerous or arbitrary but even I understand the fear or awe that can be instilled by a parent. In the end, it's not about revenge but instead it should be about you living your life, a good life.

Kind regards,
Mike

May 12, 2009 at 8:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your father is one of the most despicable hate-mongers mankind has ever had to offer.

You are not. You have risen above him, you have reached heights that he will never have hoped to achieve in his bitter, hate-mongering life.

Be strong. You've already overcome indoctrination into your father's hate-cult, you have the strength to go on.

May 12, 2009 at 10:11 AM  
Anonymous Lisa Lynn said...

I've read a lot about your father and your family over the years and I also went through repeated abuse as a child. I understood immediately when I read your story why you didn't leave until you were 18 and why your father was not brought to justice.

I know you must hear this all the time, but add me to the list of strangers who is so extremely proud of you for leaving and for being the person you are today.

May 12, 2009 at 10:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your speech was one of the most moving accounts of personal courage I have ever heard of. I have no basis from which I can understand your suffering, but the honesty and clarity of your speech still offered me much insight. Your inner strength will always be an inspiration to me. Take care.

May 12, 2009 at 11:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nate:
I think Dr. Dawkins asked a very important question and you've provided a very perceptive answer.
I got choked up at both.

May 12, 2009 at 12:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm barely able to think of anything to write. That was so earnest that I am a bit taken aback. I'm glad you made it out of there.

And to echo your words, in Colorado a runaway has no rights, and it's a terrifying life for the kid. At 17 the cops will drag you home kicking and screaming, assuming that you're just a rebellious youth fighting his way out. Until you're 18, you have little hope.

But once you're 18? You're gone.

May 12, 2009 at 1:34 PM  
Anonymous Paul said...

Welcome to British Columbia. If you are in Vancouver, give me a shout at paul@rudeboygames.com and my family would be glad to show you around town (if you aren't already sick of it).

May 13, 2009 at 2:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This cries is some of the most compelling evidence for education and child welfare reform.
Child abuse problems are not improving. Parents are given great latitude in these cases; especially when they use religion as an excuse for it. Short of systemic and cultural change this will not improve.
It is hard to understand why we as a nation still treat children as property like furniture or pets.
They have a rights. Quality education standards enforced in all schools, public and private, and the right to personal security.
When we shift our thinking, seeing children as potential adults, not assets of an individual this seems obvious.
NOTE: This is not a comment regarding abortion, that is better spoken to by science.

Nate, I'm glad to see you are doing well. I've been through some similar brainwashing when it seemed the whole family was on my mother's side, as was the church. There seemed to be no way out, and as of right now, there isn't for many children and even adults. Hopefully your message inspires action in all of us. Thank you.

May 14, 2009 at 11:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its easy to condemn kids for not leaving sooner or for not taking more action against the abuser. Please remember that according to the bible, parents have the right to take you before the older members of the church and demand they take your life. To disobey your parents by leaving is considered a sin against God. The others in your church reinforce the idea that discipline of children is a command from God. You see and hear other children being dragged out of church and beaten. You know it occurs in the homes as well. If you are from the southern states corporal punishment was also the norm in schools. Would you really report being hit at home to a teacher or principal that hits you at school? How would you tell what is abnormal? Would your abuser really tell you what they did was excessive? As a child you are told that being hit is YOUR fault. If you weren't a bad EVIL sinful child this wouldnt happen. Its YOUR fault. You cover the bruises because you dont want others to know YOU were bad, not because you figured the adults in your life were doing wrong. If you required medical attention you wouldnt tell the truth about being a bad child deserving to be hit. It was easier to let them believe you fell. If things got out of hand, you are told afterwards that they didnt mean it. You just made them angry by being a bad child. It was your fault. If you didnt believe or understand what you were told about religion and God you were taught that it was because YOU were bad and it was grounds for being hit. You deserved this. Complaining about any of it showed a lack of respect for your parents and for Gods arrangement for you. Why didnt he tell he was abused? Lets face it...most of us remained silent. We thought it was our fault. Even as I write this...I am picturing the likely reaction of those still in the church. They would see me as an apostate...a traitor...for turning away from God's plan. Its sad that one of us gets up and speaks and there follows this accusation...why didnt YOU...the CHILD do something. I feel guilty about leaving. I feel guilty about not leaving sooner. Please tread lightly in condemning any of us. We were told it was Gods plan that we get beat. We were also told it was Gods plan when our mothers got beaten. It was our fathers right as head of household. The church stateded repeatedly that the only grounds for leaving was if my father committed adultry. Unless this occured it was Gods command that my mother stay with my father. If as a child you felt sick or sad about your mother or a sibling getting beat, this showed your rebellion against gods plan. You had an Evil heart. I knew because of how I felt that there was something wrong with me. I also understand his statement about his mothers hair. There were things people could do to you that would take away your ability to go gain salvation when you died. Simply having your parents or the church decide that you are outcast was one such way. If someone touched you improperly then you would be no longer clean in the eyes of god...and that could also take away salvation. In bibical law unless you scream with those events then the fault is yours. How many children screm aloud when it happens? How many are scared silent? It doesnt count if you close your eyes and with tears rolling down your face you try to pray silently for God to help. You didnt scream so its YOUR fault. Unless you have been in this situation you dont truely understand. Sooner or later we need provisions in the law which allow children to approach the police or hospitals with the statement "I dont feel safe at home...I need help to get out" and where they can be moved to a safe place without question. Instead there is a legal process to protect parental rights. I was told as a child that if I ever left I would be beaten worse than at home because of my rebellious attitude. The teachings of the church didnt make sense to me...so I had an evil heart. I was told others would SEE that in me and be angry with me for it. They also wouldnt teach me about god so that my immortal soul would be in danger. People tolerate something very bad if they believe that the alternative would be worse. Its not productive to condemn people for not getting out sooner. It would be more productive to ensure that there is information out there about what constitutes abuse, info as to whom to tell about abuse, and procedures to handle children that do not simply ship them back to their abuser. When you attack someone because they had problems getting out, you make it MORE difficult for any child contemplating getting out. Please dont condemn any of us. The road away from that life is difficult enough without anyone making that harder. In case your wondering, I dont believe in God any more. I wish I could look back and not be ashamed and sad about who I was. Who I am now is a work in progress.

May 16, 2009 at 1:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Nate,
Thanks for writing all of this. It's a fascinating read, and a light that shines on the darkness that surrounds the cult of your father. Although many think otherwise, your father is not the equivalent of a black hole. He's just a man, and will eventually die and fade from human memory. In the meantime, we all know that outside of a black hole, light is stronger than the darkness. Your words dispel the shroud of darkness and fear. On behalf of those who are living in fear and don't have a light of their own, thanks for lending them yours.
One thing I feel a need to mention based on my background as an attorney in Kansas - if there is a psychological reason for you not coming forward to file a claim against your father, the court will look at that when it comes to the statute of limitations. It is a well established fact that it takes time to break free from psychological abuse. The time it takes does not always neatly fit within a statute of limitations.
It it also a fact that the court does not look upon your father with favor. I think the court would do anything within the boundaries of the law to punish him for actual harm done.
Please - think about speaking with a lawyer who practices in this area. Even raising the issue will help highlight the damage that fathers such as yours cause - not only to children, but to society as a whole.
Best,
Scott

June 11, 2009 at 4:15 AM  
OpenID upstreamzine said...

Richard Dawkins is apparently not as smart a man as I thought he was to not understand why you did not leave home earlier and why your father was not in jail.

June 18, 2009 at 5:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why isn't your dad been committed to a mental hospital or a funny farm? They way he acts makes me think he has a mental disorder.

July 8, 2009 at 12:22 PM  
Anonymous m said...

I signed your guestbook on your website just last night. I like reading what you have to say because I come from an abusive home as well and identify with a lot of what you say.

I had a stepfather who was very abusive and violent. I don't think he was abusive to the extent your dad was, but he was abusive nonetheless. He used the bible to justify his abuse. And it was so absurd: at church everyone thought he was this pious, christian man. He donated money to the church all the time. He sang in the church choir. Little did they know he would beat the hell out of his stepson all the time. He hit me only twice-well, actually he picked me up above his head and body slammed me. I threatened his life after he did that to me. I threatened him in the calmest of voices and I think I actually scared him because he never laid another hand on me after that. But the verbal and emotional abuse never stopped and it was *relentless*. My brother got the worst of the abuse. He seemed to have this *hatred* for my brother. He beat him *all* the time. And he would call us the most vile names-all of us-me, my brother and our mom too. I would think about the people in our church and I would imagine what the looks on their faces would be like if they actually heard "the good christian" calling his 12 year old stepson a little c*ck-sucking f*ggot and whether they'd still think he was such a great guy. He was so RIDICULOUS. He wouldn't say things like "goddammit"-instead he'd say "gosh darn it". But he had no problem calling us terrible, DISGUSTING names, telling us we were stupid and ugly and worthless and that we were ruining his life and other things that I don't even want to repeat. Whenever I think of my past, I start getting really angry and I want to cry and I want to find him (my mother finally found the courage to leave him) and beat his face in. I won't because I don't want to go to jail. But that's how I feel sometimes.

Something that struck me about your father is how (in my opinion) he seems to completely lack the ability to empathize with people. My stepfather was the SAME EXACT way. I never saw an ounce of understanding or sympathy or empathy in that man. Ever.

The reason my brother and I never called the cops was because we didn't want to be taken away from our mother and put in foster care or anything. I was terrified of my stepfather but even more terrified of being taken away from my mother.
And what if the authorities had investigated and found no evidence of abuse? We'd be stuck with a psychopath who would become enraged even more because we turned him in.

This was way longer than I intended, but I just wanted to share and thank YOU for sharing your story. It's a good thing, I think. I look forward to reading your book. Take care.

September 14, 2009 at 9:08 AM  
Anonymous Richard said...

Hi,

I just found out about your story. It's incredible that you came out of it alive. [I studied your father and family for a sermon I was going to preach [fyi. I am not presently a pastor.]] To be honest, a part of me wants to dialog with you about Christianity and Atheism. Another part wants to help you. But really I find both ideas to be presumptuous on my part. Forgive me for that. I'll make my way though your blog and if you wouldn't mind I would like to reply to some of the things you have written. Granted that goes back to my first urge to dialog and debate, but it's more from a desire to start than to debate.

March 29, 2010 at 8:05 PM  
Blogger C Woods said...

This was such a moving post. I'm so glad you were able to get away from your father. And even though time and distance have given you perspective on this, I hope, too, you have sought counseling, because those who have suffered this kind of abuse have difficulty achieving peace of mind. I never suffered terrible abuse but, at times, I still hear my mother telling me I am worthless, even though I know she only said it in anger a few times. I can't imagine how one gets over this kind of thing when it is so severe and goes on for so long. I'm sure writing about it must help. I'm glad to see you have received so many supportive responses.

I just found your blog today, so you may have answered this elsewhere, but I wonder if you are aware of anything that caused your father to be so full of hate?

March 31, 2010 at 4:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I will never understand how anyone can hurt a child. I have 3 daughters and they are my life. We don't even spank in our family. My girls are happy and well behaved. It is unneccessary to ever hit a child. It has been proven to be an ineffective and damaging form of discipline. I was not hit and NO ONE will ever hit my kids. Not even a swat on the behind. I could never bring myself to do such a thing.

I hope that you are able to find peace.

April 6, 2010 at 2:50 AM  
Blogger Stuttering Stanley said...

Nate, I read the chapter "Daddy's Hands" from the story "Addicted To Hate" years ago and wished so hard that I could go back in time to make things right. I am so glad you have turned something so horrible and tragic into something that, while still be tragic, can be a positive message for those who face similar circumstances. You are a hero for what you survived and for what you are now sharing with the world. Thank you.

May 5, 2010 at 11:16 PM  
Blogger javier said...

A closed system is a place where incredibly sick ideas fester. Your dad started a church where he actually attracted followers. My dad was a preacher in the Church of Dad. No followers, just the family. And, like you, we weren't exactly willing followers.

I won't go into the litany of abuse. It wasn't nearly so severe as yours, anyway. But what people have trouble understanding is how difficult a thing it is to turn away from your own father because he is a toxic poison to you. I get it.

Your dad had all the power when you were young, but time has a way of leveling all things. My own dad is bedridden now, and has ALZ. I feel sorry for him and I've forgiven him. He wanted to be a good father but went about it the wrong way, with the bible in one hand and a belt in the other.

If I believed in the devil, I'd make the observation that the devil does his best damage through religious people.

January 9, 2011 at 6:46 PM  
Blogger Perkyshai said...

Dear Nate,

I come from a deeply abusive home from a very different background. After more than a decade of multifaceted abuse, I was isolated, angry and alienated from anyone who would reach out to me. I found some solace in reading Elie Weisel's "Night." It was the first time I had heard someone say out loud the anger, frustration and defiant questioning I whispered in the secret parts of my own heart, when all alone.

It is good to not be alone. I am proud of you for speaking out, for taking the dialogue from the well-intentioned shock of Mr. Dawkins to something more functional from inside the experience. I wish you well, and I want you to know you are not alone. Thank you for telling the truth of your life.

March 23, 2011 at 9:31 PM  
Blogger Morrighu Tel Uvrith said...

I'd like to point out that REAL Christians don't hold with Westboro at all. We find them perhaps even more repugnant than most. They use our religion to clothe their heinous acts in a veil of hypocritical righteousness. I feel sorry for your sisters. I wonder if they haven't been abused in other ways.

With religion you either take it all, or you are a hypocrite. Your father missed quite a bit. Like directive to "Love thy neighbor as thyself". Husbands are commanded to love their wives as their own bodies. And even the Old Testament, which if you are truly Christian does not count as it is "Old Covenant", says that children are to be taught the ways of God by examples of their elders.

I may not approve of someone's actions but that doesn't mean that I can't love the person. And you just don't beat things you love. You beat things you hate. You beat things you want to kill.

You can comfort yourself with Matthew 7:2 which says "For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again."

Your father will reap what he has sown. Given what you have said, your father has an awful lot to answer for.

May 30, 2012 at 1:01 PM  

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