In a bizarre ruling this week, a Texas woman has been sentenced to five years (!) probation, ordered to pay a $50 fine and will be required to undergo parenting classes…for spanking her child. Not beating, but spanking…open-handed…on the bottom…no bruising…spanking. Yeah.
It’s Only Mostly Legal
So, in spite of the fact that it is not illegal to spank in Texas, District Court Judge Jose Longoria has decided that it is (unofficially) officially, illegal. It’s…illegal-ish? According to a Christian Post report, the Texas Attorney General’s website confirms the crazy notion that that darn, bothersome Texas Legislature has a different opinion:
Texas law allows the use of force, but not deadly force, against a child by the child’s parent, guardian, or other person who is acting in loco parentis.
It goes on to say that, according to the AG, “it is okay to spank a child’s buttocks if the parent uses their open hand. If using a brush or a belt and it doesn’t leave a ‘bruise, welt, or swelling’. That’s right, on the “butt-OCKS”, Forrest.
This is, in my humble opinion, ludicrous. Obviously, opinion is going to be divided on the subject, which is fine. Some spank while others use different means, but to criminalize someone for neither going against the law of the land, Scripture, or even common sense is way over-stepping the line. Scripture clearly teaches that parents must “bring [children] up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4) Though there are various ways in which this can be done, spanking should be preserved among them as a viable means to train and discipline a child in the right way to go, when loving parents see fit.
Here’s the “legal” rationale this judge used to determine this mother’s guilt:
“You don’t spank children today,” District Court Judge Jose Longoria told a Texas mother of three in court. “In the old days, maybe we got spanked, but there was a different quarrel. You don’t spank children. You understand?”
I certainly understand. I understand this judge has given an opinion, not based on the law or even an interpretation of the law, but on his personal worldview in total disregard of the law. He has decided that because he doesn’t believe in spanking, it is now a criminal offense. Fie on the law.
Let me be clear about something: I am sure that Judge Longoria is doing his job as he sees fit and is sincere in his desire to protect children. If that is, in fact, the case, I applaud him for his service. However, I totally disagree with the way in which he is going about it. It is not right that he criminalizes a mother when there appears to be no evidence of actual abuse (except a pink hiney).
Just the facts, M’am
Is spanking by parents legal? Yep, in all 50 states. Is it biblical? Sure is. Here’s a sampling of the Scripture that teaches spanking is a reasonable means of training:
Can spanking be abused? Yes, absolutely. Child abuse is and should be a crime. Spanking, carried out properly and out of love for a child, is not. Common sense should be able to differentiate. Unfortunately, common sense has become startlingly uncommon in the public arena. Sadly, the day may be coming when godly parents with an aim to raising self-disciplined, law-abiding children may actually lead to more of those same parents becoming convicted felons.
So, what do you think: writing on the wall or much ado about nothing?