Today is August 2, 2019

Verse of the Day — Isaiah 55:11

My Word . . . will not return to Me empty,
Without accomplishing what I desire,
And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.


THOUGHT FOR THE DAY

God’s Word is extremely powerful and has a purpose.


MINI BIBLE STUDY FOR THE DAY

The Bible, the only book in the world that claims to be written by God, was given for a purpose. Every letter in every word was designed by God to accomplish His desires. He promises that His Word WILL succeed in the manner for which it was intended. God’s Word NEVER fails to achieve its aims—which to us means life in the hearts of dead sinners.

Every word of God is tested;
He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.
—Proverbs 30:5

For the word of God is living . . . —Hebrews 4:12

. . . the worlds were prepared by the word of God . . . —Hebrews 11:3

And He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood; and His name is called The Word of God. — Revelation 19:13

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. —John 1:1


QUESTION FOR THE DAY

Dear Compass,

In the State of California, spanking your child with anything other than your hand is illegal and considered child abuse. I like the idea of using a “rod” because it disassociates the pain from the spanker to the “rod.” Unfortunately, I use my hand because I don’t want the child social services coming by and taking my kids away. Even though the law goes against the Word of God, it is the law and people should be aware of this.

The California Attorney General’s web site (caag.state.ca.us/piu/womensrights/ch7.htm#2h under the heading “Child Abuse”) states:

“Corporal punishment as a form of discipline (spanking) is legal, but may become child abuse, depending on the manner and severity of the discipline. Corporal punishment can become abusive when a parent (or teacher, scoutmaster, adoptive parent, neighbor) uses extreme or inappropriate forms of corporal punishment. When corporal punishment is administered in an out-of-control way, out of anger and frustration, with a high degree of force, or when forms of corporal punishment are used that are not in relation to the child’s developmental age, or with objects, such as belts, cords or brooms, it is child abuse.” 51.

The “51” at the end of the above paragraph is a link that takes you to the following sentence:

51. The Ninth Circuit recently ruled that a parent has no clear federal constitutional right under the Forth or Fourteenth Amendments to strike her child with a belt without exposure to criminal prosecution. (Sweeney v. Ada County (9th Cir. 1997) 119F.3d 1385.)


ANSWER:

What you are referring to above is the Attorney General’s “opinion” on the web site, not state law. The opinion is, at best, ambiguous. But the law in California specifically defines illegal corporal punishment as, “unjustifiable physical pain . . . or injury.” There are cases in California where discipline was correctly deemed a violation of the law (obviously excessive rage beatings of a two-year-old and forced feedings causing vomiting) and also cases where the parents were NOT prosecuted when it was determined that it wasn’t resulting in physical harm or abusive conduct, even when using a belt or switch.

But to be sure, we called Alliance Defense Fund, the Christian legal group that helps defend or prosecute key Christian legal cases. The following are excerpts from their research on the subject that they did for GML regarding spanking your children in California:

“A parent has a right to reasonably discipline by punishing a child and may administer reasonable punishment without being liable for a battery.”

“Mistreatment of a child that is imposed in the guise of freedom of religious expression is not privileged. Whether discipline is excessive or a lifestyle is harmful to a child must be measured in the light of an objective standard of reasonableness under all the circumstances.”

“[We are] not aware of any cases which have said that use of an instrument is specifically illegal. The test, as [we] understand it, has more to do with the amount of force used. [We] do know that the Child Abuse people believe that if the punishment leaves any marks on the body of the child it is considered excessive.”

“The gist of the opinions that [we] have found is that spanking is permitted in California, consistent with a parent’s fundamental right to exercise authority and discipline over a child. The scope of that right is a jury question when the State alleges that the parent has exceeded their right to discipline. As a practical matter, anytime bruising is present, there is a likelihood that the State will intervene if it is notified.”

There is a secular movement that teaches corporal punishment is wrong. But there is a Biblical teaching that says we should discipline our children, with a rod, diligently, beginning early in life. If it ever becomes a law in America that Christians cannot spank their children in the manner outlined in the Bible, Christians will have to make the decision of whether to obey man in direct violation of a scriptural command, or obey God and face the consequences (Daniel 3).

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Scripture taken from the New American Standard Bible, copyright The Lockman Foundation 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977. Used by permission.

Answers to questions in GML are intended to be supplementary and in the spirit of Proverbs 11:14, 15:22, and 26:26, which calls for believers to seek counsel from more than one person. Therefore, it is not recommended that any decision be based solely on GML’s answer, but rather it be considered one of several counselors when determining a course of action.

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