Till recently it was legitimate for a man to beat his wife in many western countries. Due to the efforts of many brave men and women, this is now punishable by law in most of these countries. It is time for more brave men and women to stand up and fight for the rights of the weakest members of society: our children. A beaten child can only grow up to be an adult who believes that it is legitimate to use aggression to get his/her way with those weaker than he/she. In the same way that the century-old lie – that a man must beat his wife for her own good to educate her – is slowly being rejected, so too the century-old lie that parents must beat their children for their own good to educate them must also finally be seen for what it is and rejected. Due largely to the bold work of many psychologists, such as the Swiss Alice Miller, it is now considered a criminal act to beat children in many countries such as Portugal, Germany, Britain, most states of the USA, to name a few. Even the ruling Communist Party in China has recently drafted a National Domestic Violence Law prohibiting and punishing child-beating. If communists can see that beating a child is wrong, shouldn’t Christians, who profess a message of love and respect, see this all the more clearly and be taking the lead in fighting to abolish child-beating for good? Last month the Pope declared that it is legitimate to spank your children to discipline them – as long as their dignity is maintained. How can a person’s dignity be maintained, if they are spanked by another? As an example he recounts: “Once, I heard a father in a meeting with married couples saying ‘I sometimes have to smack my children a bit, but never in the face so as to not humiliate them.” “How beautiful!” he continues. “He knows the sense of dignity! He has to punish them but does it justly and moves on.” There is no beauty or dignity in causing pain, either physical or emotional to another human being, particularly if they are much smaller and weaker than we. If a parent delves deep enough into their heart, they know that the urge to beat their child comes always from anger, never from love. It is not possible to beat another person without feeling anger. Let us beseech the Pope to revoke his message that child-beating is legitimate, and join us as a powerful voice in our mission to create a world in which all human beings, irrespective of their nationality, color, or creed, irrespective of whether they are men or women, irrespective of whether they are an adult or a child, have the right to a life free of all forms of violence, both physical or emotional.
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