Saturday, February 25, 2006

World Council of Churches: Babylon and Sodom among Evangelicals

World Council of Churches: Babylon and Sodom among Evangelicals

Julio Severo

The following pictures, taken in the meeting of the World Council of Churches (WCC) in Porto Alegre, Brazil, February 2006, show clearly the real spirituality moving the participants of that ecumenical organization and demonstrate in an astonishing way whether the mission of the WCC helps or harms the true mission of the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. Many liberal evangelical churches are members of the WCC.

Stand in the WCC defending the fight of the “Palestinian” Arabs to possess territories that God gave exclusively to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. WCC debated strategies to lead the evangelical churches to boycott Israel in order to strengthen the “Palestinian” cause.

Stand of the human rights group EAPPI, which defends the “Palestinian” cause and accuses Israel.

MCC stand. MCC means Metropolitan Community Church, a homosexual “evangelical” denomination founded by gay “minister” Troy Perry.

Representatives of an occult Afro-Brazilian religion and homosexual activists of the group Harpazo join together in the WCC ecumenical Babylon. On the bottom, “Jesus” image used by the Brazilian spiritist group LBV.

Information from the WCC:


Monday, February 13, 2006

When a father does not discipline his child

When a father does not discipline his child

Julio Severo

The subject of discipline inside a family is effectively addressed in the Word of God. And the New Testament even uses it to demonstrate how God doesn’t act differently inside his own spiritual family:

And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons: “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son”. Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. (Hebrews 12:5 NIV)

That simple Bible text dealing with the topic of reprehension and punishment summarizes the essence of discipline very well. The whole text was based on the following verse of Proverbs: “My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline and do not resent his rebuke”. (Proverbs 3:11 NIV) So the New Testament made a very important reference, because there is no book in the whole Bible containing more orientation on child discipline than Proverbs.

A father in the Bible who corrected their children — only by words

If Proverbs is a book explaining very well what discipline is, then did all the parents mentioned in the Word of God know how to apply it? No. Not all the parents in the Bible corrected their children. Some simply chose a verbal correction — nothing else. For instance, High Priest Eli brought up his children in the priesthood and, when they became men, they frequently committed sins against God. They were even violating the sacrifices offered to God in the house of God:

The sons of Eli were scoundrels. They paid no attention to the LORD or to the regulations concerning what the priests could demand from the people. This sin of the sons of Eli was extremely serious in the LORD’s sight, because they treated the offerings to the LORD with such disrespect. (1 Samuel 2:12,13a,17 GNB)

Eli saw the sins of his children and, as every good father, he did not keep silent. He always opened his mouth to rebuke them.

Eli was now very old. He kept hearing about everything his sons were doing to the Israelites and that they were even sleeping with the women who worked at the entrance to the Tent of the LORD’s presence. So he said to them, “Why are you doing these things? Everybody tells me about the evil you are doing. Stop it, my sons! This is an awful thing the people of the LORD are talking about! If anyone sins against someone else, God can defend the one who is wrong; but who can defend someone who sins against the LORD?” (1 Samuel 2:22-25a GNB)

There are parents who remain silent before the horrible sins of their own children, not even daring to suggest that they should stop their wrong sexual behavior, but that weakness Eli didn’t have. He showed the mistakes of their sons in their face. However, the Word of God reveals clearly the reaction of children’s Eli to their father’s reprehensions and the reaction of the Lord to their disobedience and persistence: “But they would not listen to their father, for the LORD had decided to kill them”. (1 Samuel 2:25 GNB)

God, in his love, makes prophetic visitations to Eli

As priests of the Lord, Eli as well as his children knew the Word of God very well. Even so, the children of Eli were determined to disobey the Word of God and their own father, and Eli was determined not to discipline anybody — restricting himself to reprove. Since all were in the same way determined against the orders and advices of the Word of God, God also decided to make a determination: he determined that the solution for the children of Eli was capital punishment.

Although Eli was making God very sad by his inaction, God always demonstrated mercy, in the hope that Eli might repent and eventually to take on the posture of a father who acts. Through prophetic messages, God made very clear to Eli that he wanted much more than only words. If his children insisted in disobeying, the obligation of Eli was, besides reprehending, to take concrete measures. It was in that point that God sent a prophet Eli:

A prophet came to Eli with this message from the LORD: “When your ancestor Aaron and his family were slaves of the king of Egypt, I revealed myself to Aaron. From all the tribes of Israel I chose his family to be my priests, to serve at the altar, to burn the incense, and to wear the ephod to consult me. And I gave them the right to keep a share of the sacrifices burned on the altar. Why, then, do you look with greed at the sacrifices and offerings which I require from my people? Why, Eli, do you honor your sons more than me by letting them fatten themselves on the best parts of all the sacrifices my people offer to me? I, the LORD God of Israel, promised in the past that your family and your clan would serve me as priests for all time. But now I say that I won't have it any longer! Instead, I will honor those who honor me, and I will treat with contempt those who despise me. Listen, the time is coming when I will kill all the young men in your family and your clan, so that no man in your family will live to be old. You will be troubled and look with envy on all the blessings I will give to the other people of Israel, but no one in your family will ever again live to old age. Yet I will keep one of your descendants alive, and he will serve me as priest. But he will become blind and lose all hope, and all your other descendants will die a violent death. When your two sons Hophni and Phinehas both die on the same day, this will show you that everything I have said will come true. I will choose a priest who will be faithful to me and do everything I want him to. I will give him descendants, who will always serve in the presence of my chosen king. Any of your descendants who survive will have to go to that priest and ask him for money and food, and beg to be allowed to help the priests, in order to have something to eat”. (1 Samuel 2:27-36 GNB)

God had already determined that the punishment for the offenses priests Hophni and Phinehas were committing was death. But as Eli didn’t want to fulfill his responsibility as a father and as High Priest punishing their cruelties, the curse and the divine sentence of capital punishment that were on Hophni and Phinehas would fall on the whole Eli family. He used even the boy Samuel to warn Eli:

The LORD said to him, “Some day I am going to do something to the people of Israel that is so terrible that everyone who hears about it will be stunned. On that day I will carry out all my threats against Eli's family, from beginning to end. I have already told him that I am going to punish his family forever because his sons have spoken evil things against me. Eli knew they were doing this, but he did not stop them. So I solemnly declare to the family of Eli that no sacrifice or offering will ever be able to remove the consequences of this terrible sin”. (1 Samuel 3:11-14 GNB)

After such a divine reprehension, a wise man would fall prostrated before God, would thank his supernatural visitation, would ask for his forgiveness and would make the commitment before the Lord to behave according to the Word of God, punishing all those deserving punishment, even capital punishment if necessary. But what was the reaction of Eli when Samuel gave him the prophetic message?

So Samuel told him everything; he did not keep anything back. Eli said, “He is the LORD; he will do whatever seems best to him”. (1 Samuel 3:18 GNB)

In other words, Eli meant: “If God wants to act and do what I am not doing, he can do as he pleases, but I won’t act. Let God act alone”. He did not accept the chance to collaborating with God in the order of the family of God and in his own family! He just wanted to continue treating his adult children the same way he has been treating them from the childhood: with no corporal punishment.

Consequences of a father’s negligence

Eli avoided his responsibility of punishing, and the curses on Hophni and Phinehas came true, hitting much more than their own lives — affecting the whole nation of Israel. When Israel faced its terrible Philistine enemies in battle — under the spiritual “leadership” of Hophni and Phinehas —, there was great defeat. Israelis discovered, in the worst way, that they were without spiritual protection:

The messenger answered, “Israel ran away from the Philistines; it was a terrible defeat for us! Besides that, your sons Hophni and Phinehas were killed, and God's Covenant Box was captured!” When the man mentioned the Covenant Box, Eli fell backward from his seat beside the gate. He was so old and fat that the fall broke his neck, and he died. He had been a leader in Israel for forty years. (1 Samuel 4:17-18 GNB)

Eli didn’t worry much about his children’s death, because he already knew that there was not other destiny for them. He worried more about the destiny of the Covenant Box. However, if he had effectively acted, his family would not suffer curse nor the Covenant Box would be taken.

Few years later, nearly the whole priestly family of Eli was brutally murdered by King Saul (cf. 1 Samuel 22), fulfilling the prophetic word addressed to Eli: “And all your other descendants will die a violent death”. (1 Samuel 2:33b). A father’s stubbornness in not punishing the stubbornness and wickedness of his own children removed the spiritual safety that might protect the grandchildren, great-grandsons and other relatives of Eli against the blind and murderous fury of Saul years later.

Prophet Samuel, in his childhood and youth, saw everything that happened to Eli and his children. He lived in the priestly house of Eli, but the difference is that Samuel was not a son of Eli.

Hannah, a barren Hebrew wife, had fervently prayed to God asking for a son. God answered giving her the blessing of conceiving Samuel in her womb. After Samuel’s birth, Hannah took him to the house of God — where Eli occupied High Priest’s function — and she gave and consecrated him to the service of God, separating herself physically from him. (See 1 Samuel 1)

From the human point of view, the boy Samuel was under the risk of suffering the same kind of educational deficiency that Eli had given his own children — because the children of Eli didn’t know what corporal punishment was. From the divine point of view, everything that Hannah and her husband could not do for their son Samuel, God would give. In fact, God in his sovereign way filled with his wonderful grace all deficiency and bad influence of Eli in the upbringing and education of Samuel.

God’s Grace is not automatic

Even being reared without any corporal punishment, Samuel miraculously didn’t become the kind of adult that the children of Eli were. Samuel saw that the grace of God that was on him had delivered him from all contamination and damage. Then he might have concluded that it is possible to educate children without the application of the corporal discipline. Doubtless, the lack of damage was an exclusive work of the grace of God, but Samuel might well have thought that he could “sustain” that work in his family, without ever needing to spank his children. The Word of God talks a lot about Samuel and his integrity, but it does not talk a lot about his children, and the little that it talks reveals that they didn’t inherit their father’s integrity. Everything that the Word of God says about Samuel’s children is:

“When Samuel grew old, he appointed his sons as judges for Israel. The name of his firstborn was Joel and the name of his second was Abijah, and they served at Beersheba. But his sons did not walk in his ways. They turned aside after dishonest gain and accepted bribes and perverted justice”. (1 Samuel 8:1-3 NIV)

Samuel had only two children, and they were corrupt — probably because his father gave them the same (humanly deficient) education that he had received himself. The grace of God that worked in Samuel’s life — without the need of the use of the corporal discipline — didn’t work in his children’s life. The grace of God is not a blessing that we choose, nor is it automatic. It is God who by his exclusive sovereignty chooses and gives.

Probably, Samuel acted as his mother Hannah, delivering his children to the grace of God, thinking just this was enough. What he did is not incorrect, but the situations were different. In Samuel’s rearing, there was not a father to discipline him. In Samuel’s children's rearing, there was a father to discipline them, but that father tried a way of faith that eventually did not work. His example is a helpful lesson for us today. Parents can and should give their children to God and depend on the grace of God, but they can never fail to obey the specific commandments of God about children’s education and correction. To use the grace of God as excuse to avoid the responsibility of corporal discipline is to jump into the darkness — risking sending children to the same destiny and abyss of corruption where Samuel’s children ended!

The same God who by his sovereignty grants his grace in special situations also guides his people on the divine method of corporal punishment for the children’s education. The grace of God may work in situations where a child for a reason or another doesn’t receive corporal punishment, especially in the parents’ absence, but it is risky and wrong to close deliberately the ears to the orientations of Proverbs and “to leave for the grace of God” a work and responsibility that God gave directly to parents. God can work when parents are not present, just as it happened in Samuel’s childhood, but when parents are present, they should act as it is already very clear in the Word of God.

While we live as human beings, we have human needs. One of those needs is discipline, correction and punishment, that make part so much of the natural family as of the spiritual family. To help parents in the important and difficult task of discipline, God gave us the Book of Proverbs, which contains many passages on the subject.

What God’s wisdom taught Solomon

The Book of Proverbs in the Bible was, largely, written by Solomon, son of David. Being then the major author of Proverbs, how then was Solomon able to write so much on children’s corporal discipline? Was it because of his father’s example? Was it from what he learned in his childhood?

Solomon didn’t learn discipline principles from his own experience nor from his social environment, because in the home where he was reared he had never received a corrective spanking from his father. For some reason, David never corrected the stubbornness and disobedience of his children. He failed in that area. He was a righteous man in many areas, but the Word of God shows his failure to behave in his role as a father. When his son Amnon raped his sister, most of the Bible versions just say that David was furious when he learnt about the sexual violence, but Septuagint reveals much more:

When King David heard about this, he became very angry. But David didn't punish his son Amnon. He favored Amnon because he was his firstborn son”. (2 Samuel 13:21 GW)

“When David heard what had happened to Tamar, he was very angry. But Amnon was his oldest son and also his favorite, and David would not do anything to make Amnon unhappy”. (2 Samuel 13:21 CEV)

Another Bible passage reveals how David dealt with his son Adonijah:

Now all his life his father had never gone against him or said to him, Why have you done so? (1 Kings 1:6 BBE)

But his father had never once reprimanded him by saying, “Why do you act this way?” (1 Kings 1:6 HCSB)

His father had spoiled him rotten as a child, never once reprimanding him. (1 Kings 1:6 MSG)

Perhaps David did not suffer as strong divine punishments as Eli received because David was married to several women and he didn’t have, as a king, time to administer his immense family. Such weakness may not have cost him the curses that Eli reaped, but it did not deliver him from serious problems with his children. His son Absalom, who was never spanked, took his throne and tried to kill him, acting with extreme violence, raping the concubines of his own father! The case of Absalom shows the mistakes of those who believe that only children reared with discipline turn out violent. The opposite was true in the case of Absalom. His brother Amnon, reared without ever receiving a beating, committed a violent act, raping his own sister!

The secret then for not suffering similar problems in the family is not to follow the modern fashion of avoiding physical discipline, but to adopt a balanced posture: a child reared in a violent way or without physical punishment eventually commits violence, but a child reared with the wise application of corporal discipline will have very more chance to lead a life marked by a good and correct behavior.

Living all his childhood in the home of David, seeing Amnon, Absalom and Adonijah in their wicked behaviors, Solomon knew what lack of discipline was by his own experience. In fact, he suffered himself the consequences of lack of discipline in his father’s home, because his spoiled brother Adonijah tried to take the government from Solomon, and daddy David did not act. Spoiled Adonijah was willing to kill Solomon to seize the government.

Solomon also knew the tragic case of Eli, through the stories his father David told him. David knew about the internal problems of the family of Eli through Prophet Samuel, his friend. So through David Solomon knew even the situation of Samuel’s children.

Perhaps his father David has not been much concerned with the lack of corporal punishment in the way Eli, Samuel and himself brought up their children because those generations generally didn’t educate children by another way. Because great spiritual leaders of that time as Eli, Samuel and David didn’t see anything strange with the lack of corporal discipline in the children’s education, very possibly in Israel the education without corporal punishment was much more commonplace than one could imagine.

Probably, Solomon had never put into action the principles of children’s discipline that he wrote in Proverbs when he was still young, very God-fearing, single and childless. Proverbs directs men to have only a wife[1],but Solomon acquired many.[2] He disobeyed.[3] Proverbs is the book in the Bible containing most of the Bible teachings on discipline, but Rehoboam, son of Solomon, followed the tradition of the spoiled and wicked children in David’s family.

But just because Solomon failed to obey does it mean that all men of God will not be able also to get only one wife and educate and correct their children according to the excellent principles of Proverbs?

What God talks to parents through Proverbs

In the many orientations that he wrote about children’s correction, Solomon was not influenced by habits of his family or by the culture around him. He was unable to write based on his own experience, because he and his siblings didn’t know what was to receive discipline from their father. The direct inspiration of God led him to sustain the position not of his father nor his culture nor his own heart, but of God in the subject of the corporal discipline. The wisdom of God enabled him to understand and see what even his father and Samuel didn’t see. God, through Solomon's wisdom in Proverbs, teaches:

He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him”. (Proverbs 13:24 NIV)

Whoever refuses to spank his son hates him, but whoever loves his son disciplines him from early on”. (Proverbs 13:24 GW)

“He who spares his rod [of discipline] hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines diligently {and} punishes him early”. (Proverbs 13:24 Amplified Bible)

Wounding stripes purge away evil, and strokes purge the inner parts of the belly”. (Proverbs 20:30 Darby)

Sometimes it takes a painful experience to make us change our ways”. (Proverbs 20:30 GNB)

“Blows and wounds cleanse away evil, and beatings purge the inmost being”. (Proverbs 20:30 NIV)

Children just naturally do silly, careless things, but a good spanking will teach them how to behave”. (Proverbs 22:15 GNB)

Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him”. (Proverbs 22:15 KJV)

“Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him”. (Proverbs 22:15 NIV)

All children are foolish, but firm correction will make them change”. (Proverbs 22:15 CEV)

Children just naturally do silly, careless things, but a good spanking will teach them how to behave”. (Proverbs 22:15 GNB)

Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell”. (Proverbs 23:13-14 KJV)

“Withhold not discipline from the child; for if you strike {and} punish him with the [reedlike] rod, he will not die. You shall whip him with the rod and deliver his life from Sheol (Hades, the place of the dead)”. (Proverbs 23:13-14 Amplified Bible)

Withhold not correction from the child; for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die: thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from Sheol”. (Proverbs 23:13-14 Darby)

Don’t hesitate to discipline children. A good spanking won't kill them. As a matter of fact, it may save their lives”. (Proverbs 23:13-14 GNB)

Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish him with the rod, he will not die. Punish him with the rod and save his soul from death”. (Proverbs 23:13-14 NIV)

Correction and discipline are good for children. If they have their own way, they will make their mothers ashamed of them”. (Proverbs 29:15 GNB)

The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame”. (Proverbs 29:15 KJV)

A spanking and a warning produce wisdom, but an undisciplined child disgraces his mother”. (Proverbs 29:15 GW)

However, although favoring spanking with a rod, the Word of God doesn’t back excesses and violence:

Discipline your children while they are young enough to learn. If you don't, you are helping them destroy themselves”. (Proverbs 19:18 GNB)

Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying”. (Proverbs 19:18 KJV)

Correct your children before it's too late; if you don't punish them, you are destroying them”. (Proverbs 19:18 CEV)

Discipline your children while you still have the chance; indulging them destroys them”. (Proverbs 19:18 MSG)

Therefore, the Word of God does not accept any kind of excess — nor lack of discipline, neither violent spanking endangering a child’s life.

Lack of discipline may represent defeat in many areas for negligent Christian parents, who open their mouths to rebuke and nothing more. Although the media frequently and insistently stress parents’ abuses who use the violence in the place of discipline, similar room is never given to alert the public on the dangers of lack of discipline. In fact, the liberal and leftist elite — the real media owner — chose the radicalism in the place of the good sense, preferring to back efforts to prohibit every form of corporal punishment of children, turning lack of discipline the norm in the whole society.

The preoccupying point is that if lack of discipline in strong Christian homes may provoke great damages, then what could happen to a whole society seduced by the deceiving propaganda saying that every corporal discipline is equal to violence? The Word of God was not written by psychology experts, but a Wise Mind is behind its orientations. To substitute those orientations for trendy advices and laws may bring relief and accommodation in the present, but also the spectrum of an uncertain and gloomy future, because there is no individual or society that was able to be successful by rejecting the orientations of the Word of God.

Certain Bible experts like to affirm that some passages of the Bible are not more valid, because in their view their application has relevance only for a past culture and society. For instance, if Eli and David had used a rod to discipline their children, those experts would conclude, according to their own desires, that the use of rod as a correction instrument in the home had a cultural application for that time that today does not have anymore. But the reality is very different, so that it would be very interesting to see those experts contorting themselves to interpret, against their own tastes, that lack of discipline is a cultural practice of old Israel with no value for today! But those experts don’t act this way. Only when it is convenient for them is that they reinterpret the Bible using the cultural argument.

Discipline and punishments are part of the spiritual and human family

Even as God disciplines his own spiritual children, he also wants parents here on the earth to discipline their own children.

Although the measures of God against the stubbornness, rebellion and disobedience of his people are extremely forceful and hard, he limited the forceful actions of parents to the use of a rod in cases of need.

In the New Testament, the Lord Jesus uses reprehensions and punishments to cope with the disobedience of some churches. One of the churches received the following disapproval from the Lord:

“Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols. I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling. So I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways. I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds”. (Revelation 2:20-23 NIV)

God takes care of his spiritual family, educating it, training it and punishing it, and he gave us the Book of Proverbs so that we may educate, educate and punish our children. The children’s education in Proverbs can be summarized in one verse:

Teach children how they should live, and they will remember it all their life”. (Proverbs 22:6 GNB)

With the wise advices of Proverbs, parents can train their children to walk in the way of the good and right behavior, and until the end of their lives they will practice what learned and will avoid wicked behaviors.

Nobody is wiser than God concerning child rearing. No book in the Bible talks so much of wisdom as Proverbs does. And nobody on the earth was wiser than Solomon, because his wisdom came from God. So the wisdom of God together with the wisdom of his servant Solomon produced the wisest advices that parents need to carry out the responsibility of training their children in the good way.

The “wise” people in this world — who are real fool before God —only accept what their wise “friends” teach. But the real wise people accept what the wisest Mind in the universe teaches in Proverbs.

Stupid people always think they are right. Wise people listen to advice”. (Proverbs 12:15 GNB)

Keep company with the wise and you will become wise. If you make friends with stupid people, you will be ruined”. (Proverbs 13:20 GNB)

Education without corporal punishment: in the fashion since the time of Eli

The trendy propaganda, following the method of Eli of talking and rebuking without using a rod, preaches that corporal discipline brings violence to the homes and the children’s lives. Hophni, Phinehas, Amnon, Absalom and Adonijah — wherever they are today — would never agree with such a view! They became wicked and violent and now they are paying a high cost, suffering eternal punishment. Who thinks the child-rearing and educational method without corporal punishment is a modern invention overcoming old practices doesn’t know the life of Eli and David. This method was not invented by the modern psychology experts. It was inspired in the human heart and it has been in force for thousands of years.

Even as in the case of Solomon, who didn’t write on discipline based on his childhood experiences in his father’s house, the author of this article and his wife came from homes where parents didn’t believe in the effectiveness of corporal punishments. They just believed in the method of Eli, never tolerating a spanking on a child for correcting stubbornness and rebellion. In fact, in one of our homes, besides abundant “specialized” magazines on child rearing with abundant psychological advices à la Eli, there was also a handbook by Dr. Benjamin Spock, responsible for the modern mass rejection to corporal punishment. The books of Dr. Spock have been sold for more than half century — rearing at least three whole generations of parents who love and follow his theories as if they were so or more sacred than all the orientations in the Book of Proverbs.

Today, in spite of all that tradition in our families, we believe in the Word of God, that is above experiences, traditions, trendy practices and human views — even above well-intentioned Christians who are a blessing in many areas, but follow the footsteps of David and Eli when speaking and teaching about child rearing. The best handbook on child rearing has always been and will always be the Bible, and the greatest master is not Dr. Benjamin Spock. It is the Author of the Bible.

Of course, God not accepts authority abuses, but it is not right to use the cases of violence and excesses to annul the orientations in the Book of Proverbs for parents, because the Word of God is clear that is exactly the lack of application of corporal punishments that may lead families and their children to tragic destinies. Those tragedies may have a great increase in the whole society, because the government’s goal is to prohibit parents from disciplining their children. That prohibition unavoidably will make a crime to obey to the orientations of God in Proverbs.

Eli died more than three thousand years, but his followers today are many, especially among educators, psychologists and defenders of the children’s “rights”. If he were alive, he would demand his trademark of the method that many psychologists today arrogantly attribute to their own concepts. He would say what is very common in our time: “I want my rights! I am the creator of that method! That invention belongs to me!” He could even sue psychologists because they stole from him the invention of “discipline without corporal punishment”. Psychologists are then lucky that Eli is not alive!

Discarding these joking thought, Eli and his children may be suffering eternal punishment for they did not recognize the value of corporal punishment here on the earth. Father and children may be paying the same cost, because of their sins. The Word of God is correct when it warns:

Don’t be afraid to correct your young ones; a spanking won't kill them. A good spanking, in fact, might save them from something worse than death”. (Proverbs 23:13-14 MSG)


BBE: Bible In Basic English.

GNB: Good News Bible – Second Edition.

CEV: Contemporary English Version.

GW: GOD‘S WORD. Copyright © 1995 by GOD’S WORD to the Nations Bible Society. All rights reserved.

HCSB: Holman Christian Standard Bible.

MSG: THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language.

NIV: New International Version.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

The Brazilian Government Abuse Against the Family

The Brazilian Government Abuse Against the Family

More Rights to the Government, Less Rights to the Family

Julio Severo

A woman comes up to a hospital. She claims that she was raped. She wants an abortion, and according to the Brazilian law her request should be attended, whether she was really raped or not, because there is not any kind of legal requirement of evidence of a rape. What will happen then is a “medical” procedure where instruments will be used to touch, mutilate, lacerate and destroy an innocent child’s life. It is an extremely cowardly and violent act, and many people don’t have any difficulty to see correctly that act as absolute cruelty.

However, the Brazilian government is changing, and it wants all the citizens to follow also its changes. What used to be considered as violence now is becoming… a right. The government does not want abortion anymore to be seen as a violent act of murder and destruction, and it is investing a lot in efforts to make the Brazilian population conscious that abortion is a right of every woman. For the government, there is not anything wrong and inhuman in the mutilation, laceration and destruction of a child in gestation. So what used to be violence has now received the government label of right — and the government is working step by step so that that label of “right” may be affixed not only on the cases of supposed rape, but on all the circumstances.

The same government that knows how to transform violence in a right also knows how to transform a legitimate right in violence. Representative Maria do Rosário, from the Workers’ Party, presented in the National Congress a bill “prohibiting parents from spanking, giving slaps, and using a slipper to discipline children, in all situations”.[1] For the leftist representative, every slapping and spanking is equal to aggression, and she wants the law to prohibit parents from using corporal punishment to educate their children. “Corporal punishment forced on a child, even mild punishment, is a violent act, provoking significant traumas”, declared Representative Sandra Rosado, from the Brazilian Socialist Party, who agrees with the bill.[2] She also declared, in a radical way, “Corporal punishment of a child, as an educational way, shall be abolished completely from the Brazilian legislation.”[3] The bill has already been approved by a committee from the Chamber of the Deputies (the Brazilian counterpart of the House of Representatives) on late February 2006, needing only the Senate approval to become law. With such a bill transformed in law, the government will effect campaigns to make the population conscious that corporal discipline is not a right, but violence. As in the case of abortion itself, the government took on itself the responsibility to decide and determine what is or not violence and right. And the consequences may be alarming, as CongressoEmFoco informs:

“If the bill becomes in law, complaints may be made in the Guardianship Councils of the Child and Youth Courts. In cities where there is no Council, one should look for prosecutors, police stations or schools, which already have the legal power to refer those complaints. According to the bill, any neighbor, friend, relative and anybody else may denounce, according to one’s personal conviction and sense of limits, what they consider to be abuse in the punishments imposed on a child or adolescent”.[4]

However, even if that bill does not become law, no family will be free from threats and intimidations, because thStatute of the Child and Adolescent (Estatuto da Criança e do Adolescente: ECA) may easily be interpreted against the parents’ rights to apply corporal discipline to their children. Many Brazilians don’t notice, but ECA is a land mine that eventually will mutilate the parents’ rights, leaving them without freedom to act against their children’s bad behavior. CongressoEmFoco reveals that the bill against corporal discipline in Brazil “is backed by the Brazilian legislation and international laws. ECA warns, in the article 5, that boys and girls cannot be victims of any kind of violence. And the Convention on the Children’s Rights, international treaty Brazil undersigned on September 1990, also demands, in the article 19, that State-members of the United Nations are to be committed to protect children and adolescents against aggressions of all nature”.[5] The Socialist bill was also backed by Swedish experts, who have visited Brazil and testified in the National Congress.[6]

The ECA threat

Therefore, together with the weight of the Convention on the Children’s Rights, the declaration of ECA saying “boys and girls cannot be victims of any kind of violence” may be used by the Brazilian government to prohibit all and any kind of corporal discipline ministered at the home. The main tactics of the state agencies “protecting the children’s rights” is to classify all discipline with the label of “violence” and “abuse”. There is real violence and abuse, but the government doesn’t intend to make a difference, seeking to outlaw and punish everything in the same way. So, what used to be a family right is now receiving the state label of “violence”, with the total support of UN in its pretension to the world government. Perhaps then the Socialist bill prohibiting Brazilian parents from disciplining is unnecessary, because ECA already has the potential of reaching that aim.

Although it is being used more and more to inhibit families, ECA doesn’t represent any threat to men in homosexuality interested in children. A gay group comments:

“The Statute of the Child and Adolescent authorizes the adoption by one individual, making no restriction concerning sexual orientation. Therefore, it is not difficult to foresee the hypothesis of a homosexual who, hiding his sexual orientation, comes to plead and obtain adoption, bringing a baby to live together with the partner whom he maintains a stable affective bond with”.[7]

Therefore, ECA fails to protect children where it should by obligation act. Tradition and the human experience over thousands of years have contended that children and youths are always at risk when those who practice homosexuality are allowed close interaction with them. What is strange is that the same ECA that is unfairly invoked to persecute families exercising their right to educate their children by corporal discipline is not invoked to hinder those who practice homosexuality from approaching children. In addition, ECA is never mentioned or used to stop the government in its efforts to guarantee to men in homosexuality a supposed right to adopt children. ECA is also never mentioned against the state measures to indoctrinate public-school children into homosexuality. In fact, in the gay issue it is the government’s goal “to develop, starting from the public school books, the youths’ conscience concerning sexual diversity”.[8]

Favoring homosexuality among children and young

If a boy has doubts and problems about his sexual condition, the government will be ready “to help him” develop his “conscience” concerning “sexual diversity.” Instead of collaborating with families in the elimination of sexually harmful influences and behaviors for their children, the government intends to encourage and strengthen them, so that children and adolescents who have gay tendencies may never leave their condition. As it was to be expected, the Brazilian government relies on ECA for its goal.

The government also leans on ECA in its objective and goal “to rescue, value and recognize Afro-Brazilian religions”[9], coming to the point of using public schools to coercively expose children and adolescents to candomblé and other African witchcraft religions whose teachings and practices are an insult to Christian families who send their children to school to learn only academic disciplines, not to receive spiritual influence from African religions. For the Brazilian State, such measures are neither psychological abuse nor violence. Before the legal and state privileges granted to homosexuality and to Afro-Brazilian religions for the sake of a supposed sexual and racial equality, the children’s best interests preached by ECA disappear, prevailing the ideology over the children’s well-being.

Behind those measures, there are powerful ideological interests involved. On a side, it is the State — pressed by radical gay groups — hungry for implanting their diversity politics, ready for all sacrifice — that is, ready to sacrifice all the opposing views. On the other side, it is the family, desirous to help their sexually needy children, but without knowing how to do and impotent before the smashing state power.

And what is the state answer to cope with a great part of the Brazilian population who is not ready to accept its diversity politics to children and youths? The government has the following goals to weaken the opinions different from its state positions:

  • To combat all discrimination.
  • To value and build a culture of peace throughout the whole society in order to condemn all kind of prejudice, educating the society by all possible ways (school, media, etc).[10]

The cost for that peace and peaceful coexistence is not only other people’s acceptance, but also the acceptance of their behaviors and actions, no matter how unnatural they are. It is the acceptance of the determinations of the State. If, for instance, the government declares that homosexuality and abortion are rights, and the family thinks that those “rights” are actually perversion and violence, then “for the sake of peace” the family should be silent and submissive to the state impositions — progressively losing their right to freely expressing that abortion and homosexuality are violence and abuse. Any “unsubmissive” attitude would suffer the compulsory label of discrimination, prejudice and disturbance of peace — and it is not necessary to mention who will be in charge “to combat all discrimination”.

Therefore, ECA is never used to protect children against homosexuality and abortion. Nevertheless, it is used to guarantee that children and adolescents may have free access to “reproductive rights” and “reproductive health”— terms suggesting not only birth control, but also abortion procedures.

Abuses against children and their families

It is said that ECA is a First World legislation in a Third World country. To a certain extent, such declaration should be distrusted, because legitimate family practices as homeschooling — that are legally respected and protected in the United States, Canada, England, Australia and other First World countries —receive in Brazil the vilest treatment and prohibition, with the help of ECA.

Of course, if ECA were really a legitimate document defending children, who would be in trouble is the government, not families: the government would be totally hindered in its efforts to promote abortion laws — because abortion kills children and represents the worst abuse against children. The government would also be hindered to expose children to an immoral sexual education in the public schools. However, the reality is different. Instead of protecting the children's best interests, what ECA does is to protect the best interests of the Brazilian State. Instead of intimidating the government in its pro-abortion initiatives, ECA inhibits and terrifies families in their responsibility to educate and correct their children. Even international organizations reveal that ECA is open to interpretations that are much different from the parents’ values. The Center for Population Options, an American group dedicated to promote abortion, homosexuality and family planning politics among Third World youths, recommended to the family planning experts in the 1990s:

“Use Existing Legal Avenues to Expand Adolescent Access to Contraception and Abortion While Pressing for Better Laws. The Conventions on the Rights of the Child and the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women should be exploited to their fullest extent to provide adolescents with information and family planning services and, where possible, safe abortion. In addition, at the local level in countries with laws providing limited access to abortion (in case of rape or incest or with a parental or judicial approval process), [children’s rights] advocates should take advantage of these provisions to promote increased access to safe abortion. In other cases, national legislation on children’s or young people’s rights, such as the Statute on the Adolescent and child in Brazil, may provide avenues to increasing adolescents’ access to health services, including family planning”.[11]

Such recommendation — that is in harmony with the “best” state interests —represents real aggression to the family role in their children’s protection. Such recommendation exposing sinister actions in the back stages to manipulate manipulable laws should not be disregarded as a simple exaggeration or mere absurd pretensions of foreign groups seeking to interfere in the national affairs of Brazil, because in early 2005 the — so anti-American! — Lula administration itself eventually implemented the sinister American recommendation, carrying out its distribution of condoms program for 10 year-old school children.

The government’s role in the children’s abuse

In its article entitled “Aluno de 10 anos receberá educação sexual, afirma nova política federal” (10-years old students will receive sexual education, a new federal politics affirms), newspaper Folha Online announced: “In the public health services, the government commands adolescents to be guaranteed the access of contraceptives and health services in case of violence and legal abortion... The Code of Ethics prohibits physicians from violating the professional confidentiality if the underage girl or boy may evaluate and solve her or his problem… The Statute of the Child and Adolescent also guarantees the right to the physical, psychic and moral integrity”.[12]

Then, according to federal determination, Brazilian schools will work united to the health “services”, with the due ECA assistance. Schools became state instruments to cope with the youths’ and children’s sexual issues and the government is determined to protect them from the “interference” from their parents. To guarantee that no family disturbs, the Code of “Ethics” prohibits physicians and school authorities from revealing to parents that a male student is receiving condoms or that a female student is receiving contraceptives or abortion “services”. According to the government’s ethics, parents having Christian or moral values should be kept totally out from those government “cares” to children.

So, instead of educating children for marriage and for avoiding sex out of marriage, the government prefers to encourage sex without marriage and teach children to avoid pregnancy, as if pregnancy were a disease or problem and as if sex without marriage were not any problem — and as if “legal abortion” didn’t involve any mutilation, laceration and death of children. Therefore, the government fails to see violence and abuse where real violence and abuse exist. In fact, where families see violence and abuse, the government sees just “rights.”

From the family’s point of view, the State became the Great Abuser of children and families. But such shameful and fair title is never applied to it, especially by the liberal media.

From the government’s point of view, the distribution of condoms, contraceptives and legal abortion “services” is to take care of children and adolescents. From the point of view of the families (and of the good sense), that is abuse. But considering that who is in charge is the State, the government’s point of view wins — prevailing the law of the strongest. Only the State has the “right” to define what abuse is and what is better for children and adolescents.

The moral opinion of the families doesn’t represent any threat to the government, which is not afraid of what parents define as abuse. But the family has every reason to fear when the government defines a legitimate practice as abuse, because the state opinions bring with itself the “gentle” touch from the law — gentle only while the family “collaborates with the State”.

Who should collaborate with whom: the government decides

It is worthwhile to remember that the efforts to weaken the rights of the families began in the Brazilian Constitution of 1988. In the past constitutions, the law made clear that the responsibility of the State was to collaborate with the family in the children’s education. The State was not the center of everything. The center was the family. Today, with the Constitution of 1988 and with ECA (both documents created by the direct participation of many totalitarian leftist parliamentarians), the State usurped the central role of the family, and now the law declares that is the family that should collaborate with the State in the children’s education! Brazilian judges have themselves been interpreting the law favorably to the state desires and contrarily to the real needs of the families, and in a decision against a family that wanted to recover their natural right to educate their children home the Superior Tribunal of Justice (STJ) declared, “Children don't belong to their parents”.[13]

In that decision, STJ defended the central role of the State, and the decision was based exactly on the Constitution of 1988 and on ECA, documents that give to the State all power and authority and marginalize the family to an insignificant role of mere servant of the State! Therefore the government knows how to act forcefully against the families who want to exercise their natural right to give to their children school education home, but it doesn’t have any disposition to use the same force and authority to rescue the hundreds of thousands of abandoned children in the Brazilian streets and give them a place where to live and a school. For those children, that are many, the government does very little, but it does much when a family commits the “crime” of educating their children home. With all that the current Brazilian law says, leaving for the family only the option “to collaborate” (that is, to obey unconditionally) with the government’s mission of molding the new generation, nobody should have doubt of what the State means with the declaration “children don’t belong to their parents.”

So the State is in a privileged, arrogant and imposing position, entirely protected in its intentions and wicked intentions, while the families, in all their fragility, are more and more abandoned in their most basic rights — and totally dependent of the state whims.

The families need to act now, before it is too late

A morally disoriented or ill-guided government seeks to invert and subvert the natural order, removing legitimate rights where they always existed and creating rights where they should never exist. Such a government wants to impose, by laws and other penalties, that everyone are to follow it in its disorientation. Fortunately, evangelical parliamentarians in the National Congress and many other groups concerned with the children’s and families’ well-being are acting so that the violent act of abortion may not be treated legally as a right and so that the right of the families to corporal discipline may not be treated legally as violence.

Those actions are very important, because many Christian parents follow the orientation from the book of Proverbs, in the Bible, that teaches the use of rod in the children’s discipline. The Word of God declares, He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him”. (Proverbs 13:24 NIV) And there are many other passages in Proverbs on children’s discipline with the use of a rod. That use has a purely educational purpose and effect, but the government's attempt to reinterpret discipline as violence is a serious threat not only to the religious rights of the families, but also to their natural right to educate their children.

If the bill from the Workers’ Party becomes law and if ECA continues its course of promotion of the state interests in the name of the children’s rights, the corporal discipline that the book of Proverbs teaches parents to use will be treated as a crime and disciplinarian parents will be judged as criminals, by will and imposition of leftist concepts introduced in the laws of Brazil. In addition, books like Dare to Discipline, by Dr. James Dobson, that guide parents in the discipline issues, will be banished.

With the stridently leftist politics of the Brazilian government and with national documents like the Constitution of 1988 and ECA that favor the best Socialist interests in important family issues, it is very easy to prove that children don’t belong to their parents. What is not easy to do it is to prove that children don’t belong to the government.

It is strange that the same government so determined to stigmatize as violence the orientations of the book of Proverbs is equally determined to laud and support a supposed “right” of gay “couples” to adopt and educate children. In the children and adolescents issues, the government’s official politics is “to create police stations specialized in crimes against homosexuals”.[14] Then will a father and a mother who make an effort to help their child be delivered from homosexuality be under risk of being denounced by crime against homosexuality? In this way the secular State acts: between the best interests of the families and children and the homosexual perversion, the trendy political preference is granted to measures that prioritize the respect to sexual orientation — a very innocent term invented to cover a behavior that is not innocent. Such attitude should be classified as prejudice against the families and children, but as now the gay behavior is receiving legal and state privileges in Brazil, the definition of prejudice has changed, and it may at last be applied on behalf of the homosexual interests and against the family values that protect children against homosexuality.

It is ironically tragic that a government that doesn’t see any violence and cruelty in legal abortion now sees violence in the corporal discipline that healthy family provide for their children. It is sad that a government that doesn’t see any psychological aggression against children in its pro-homosexuality educational politics and distribution of condoms in the schools now wants to outlaw and punish families that educate their children according to Christian principles. It is unfair that a government that is hardly able to arrest (not mentioning to punish) murderous criminals now wants to use all of its state power and weight to victimize and do violence to the families that do not obey its commandment prohibiting parents from disciplining their children.

Which commandment is more important: government’s or God’s?

Will the evangelical families in Brazil need to renounce to their right to live according to biblical principles because of the pressures of a State that demands total submission, that transforms injustice and sanguinary cowardice — abortion — in right, but treats the natural rights of the family as crime? When a government and its laws make us question us God and his commandments, it is time for us to question seriously the government and its laws.

When the commandment of a man or a government comes up against the commandments of the Word of God, it is time for us to open our eyes — and to look upward. The obedience of a Christian to God should prevail even when the government tries to impose its own commandments. When confronted with authorities and their unjust commandments, the apostles of the Lord Jesus gave the example:

Peter and the other apostles answered, “We must obey God, not men”. (Acts 5:29 GNB)

Therefore, Brazilians need to give their support to the Evangelical Parliamentary Front and other groups struggling in defense of the families in the National Congress. After all, it is not right of the government to interfere in the people’s lives, nor to sustain abortion laws that destroy children, nor to sustain laws that destroy of their parents the right to educate and discipline their children.


[8] Comissão Especial Destinada a Acompanhar e Estudar Propostas de Políticas Públicas para a Juventude, Relatório Final, Câmara dos Deputados, Brasília, 2004, p. 151.
[9] Comissão Especial Destinada a Acompanhar e Estudar Propostas de Políticas Públicas para a Juventude, Relatório Final, Câmara dos Deputados, Brasília, 2004, p. 146.
[10] Comissão Especial Destinada a Acompanhar e Estudar Propostas de Políticas Públicas para a Juventude, Relatório Final, Câmara dos Deputados, Brasília, 2004, p. 138.
[11] Adolescents and Unsafe Abortion in Developing Countries, Center for Population Options. Washington, DC, EUA, 1992.
[14] Comissão Especial Destinada a Acompanhar e Estudar Propostas de Políticas Públicas para a Juventude, Relatório Final, Câmara dos Deputados, Brasília, 2004, p. 151.

Other articles by Julio Severo:

The right to choose home education in Brazil
What every Christian should know about Israel
Abortion: Is the solution not only abuse, but kill?
Targeted By Bias: Evangelicals Who Voted for Bush
The Great Gaffe of Lula Against Israel
The Mark of the Beast: The Tomorrow’s Education
Helping Take Care of the Social Health
Message to President Lula on Israel
Message to President Lula on homosexuality