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I have always thought that gods and holy scriptures are convenient. They can be used to justify anything. And they can prevent individuals from developing their own moral sense – always relying instead on the “authority” of holy scripture and/or religious leaders.

This can be particularly bad when it comes to how we treat children. That’s why many people are concerned at the role played by fundamental and conservative Christians in New Zealand’s debates on child discipline.

A friend sent me this today from the  Taranaki Daily News (Man cites Bible in child assault prosecution):

“An 80-year-old man believed he was following the Bible when he used an alkathene pipe to punish a child for stealing $1000 from him.

The man, who has interim named suppression, yesterday pleaded guilty in the New Plymouth District Court to two charges of assaulting a child and assault with a blunt instrument between November 1 and December 7.

When arrested, the man told police that he was frustrated by the child’s behaviour and had been “seeking to correct him in the manner described in the Bible”.

His lawyer, Paul Keegan, said the incident was out of character for the man.

“He is a Christian man and believes firmly in traditional methods of discipline,” he said.”

Well – we know what “traditional methods of discipline” can be “justified” by reference to holy scriptures and religious leaders, don’t we?

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