As everyone living above ground knows, Minnesota Vikings’ star running back Adrian Peterson has been indicted on child abuse charges. The NFL star hit his four-year-old son with a “switch,” creating welts on the child’s legs, scrotum, and buttocks. In response, the outspoken Christian athlete invoked the Almighty, tweeting a picture from a popular religious devotional, Jesus Calling, with a quote about the perils of “habitual judging.”
Peterson isn’t the only Christian who thinks good parents should hit their children, or even that their faith commands it. Eighty percent of born-again Christians believe that spanking is acceptable. This is 15 percent higher than the general population.
But the wrong-headed belief that hitting children is not only a good thing but a “God thing” is rooted in poor and partial readings of the Bible, as well as ignorance about modern social science.
This false gospel of spanking preached by many belt-swinging believers is harmful to children. It must stop.