Brad Smith (jesus_h_biscuit) wrote,
Brad Smith
jesus_h_biscuit

Don't Even Try To Tell Me This Isn't Child Abuse

On Salon I found a post about child preachers (Documentary Explores Child Evangelists) that is quite unnerving. The programme it is based on is called Baby Bible Bashers, which was produced by Channel 4. There’s nine-year-old "Little Man of God" Terry Durham of Fort Lauderdale, who has his own website here. Durham was ordained as a minister by his stern grandmother Sharon Monroe at the age of six, and under her instruction he visits African-American neo-Pentecostal churches to preach, heal the sick (apparently, he can cure any ailment), and sign autographs. Monroe keeps a tight reign on her grandson, taking him to task when she thinks his performances could have been better. He probably needs a firm hand; as he explains to the film crew:
"The reason why I know that God’s speaking to me [is] that I can hear his voice. Sometimes he sounds like me, but I say 'no', it’s God".
Terry’s manager is his father Todd Durham, who has good line in T-Shirts and DVDs promoting the prodigy. Todd Durham is frank about his rather worldly ambitions for his son – as well as a church of 30,000, he expects that "...within the next three years this empire [will be] internationally recognised and renowned".

The programme describes Terry – who wears clerical robes – as "the world’s youngest minister". That may be so, but it doesn’t match the achievement of soul legend Solomon Burke, who was a bishop from the day he was born.

Another example is Ana Carolina Dias (official website here), a twelve-year-old Brazilian who has been preaching since the age of three. Dias is a celebrity in Brazil, and she goes preaching with her father in the most notorious prison in Rio de Janeiro. She also has visions and engages in spiritual warfare, and is particularly close to her father Ezequiel, who was a wife-beating drunk and prison inmate himself before God intervened. Now he says that he’s the happiest father in the world; Ana responds that she has "a father in heaven and my father on earth".

7 year old Samuel Boutwell, child evangelist.
Perhaps most disturbing is the case of 7 year old Samuel Boutwell of Brookhaven Charity Baptist Church, Mississippi. From his church’s website, it seems that the young evangelist came to the notice of the American media a few months ago. The crew follows Samuel and his parents Kendall and Vicki as they picket an abortion clinic (see the video of it here) and go on tour towards New York, dispensing sermons and Jack Chick tracts as they go. Young Boutwell has been in fear of hell since he first disobeyed his mother as a toddler, and he is keen to save as many souls as possible:
"If you don’t repent you’re all going to hell. Like I said, worms’ll be eating, worms’ll be down there. Theys going be long worms."
The Boutwell family and their support team take in a Philadelphia casino and Washington DC before finally arriving in New York, where Samuel is at first bewildered by a Hare Krishna procession and rival preachers, but his cute factor wins him a polite hearing from curious onlookers as he delivers an anti-evolution speech while perched on a wall. Alas, his father’s sandwich board condemning homosexuals to hell goes down rather less well, and the child is reduced to tears and calling for his mother as his father is harangued by an angry hippy.

Oh, and it's not just the Jesus Camp Christian sect they're indoctrinating either - there's even Assud the rabbit, who recently debuted on the Palestinian kid-targeted program “Pioneers of Tomorrow” and bears more than a passing resemblance to WB’s Bugs Bunny. The similarities stop there, as Assud says he will “get rid of the Jews” and will “eat them up.” Assud is the latest in a line of deceptively cute and fuzzy “Pioneers” characters—following martyred Farfour the mouse and Nahoul the bee—to take up Hamas’ cause in its long-standing clash with Israel. See the video here.

Religion poisons everything.
Tags: child abuse, child preachers, children, religious hysteria
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