News - Should the state have intervened in the House of Prayer?

No. Watching the folks from DFACS drag the House of Prayer children away from their parents was disgraceful.

The truth hurts more than a spanking. Watching the folks from DFACS, those great bastions of “child care,” drag the kicking and screaming youngsters of the House of Prayer away from the arms of their mothers and fathers was disgraceful. While I don’t endorse the way the House of Prayer members choose to discipline their children, I certainly see how they’d feel it’s necessary. I don’t imagine I’ll ever take my kiddos down to the church for a public spanking but, then again, I’m not living in one of Atlanta’s roughest neighborhoods, surrounded every day by drugs, poverty and violence.

How do you define child abuse? Is it leaving red marks or welts on a child’s body? Is it sending an 8-year-old to bed without dinner? Entering little girls in beauty pageants is a practice I’d say is detrimental to healthy development, but some parents think it’s all in good fun. What do you think it does to an Islamic girls’ self-esteem when she’s forced to cover her body and face so that no male can have “lustful thoughts” about her? It happens in the U.S. of A., and many think it’s abusive. I’m also pretty sure those of the Islamic faith would be offended by this characterization.

Abuse is a matter of opinion in many cases, a judgment call that, like in this case, can be wrong. Corporal punishment is not illegal (yet). And while it’s possible that several members of the Rev. Allen’s congregation over-used the license to spank, the offenders should be dealt with on an individual basis.

After listening to interviews with Allen and the members of his congregation, I don’t see how anyone could see them as hateful or vengeful people. They preach personal responsibility, and they believe children should be disciplined when they knowingly do wrong. Is that so crazy? They are men and women whose harsh reality, good intentions and old-school sensibilities don’t match with a pansy-assed society that passes judgments without offering solutions.

The irony of this story is that we have a preacher and a group of parents doing everything in their power to stop their children from growing up to be predators, statistics in a system that is currently keeping them away from their loved ones. While you may not agree with their methods, it’s hard not to understand why they believe they must do something drastic to save their children.

Our society doesn’t care what happens to those kids when they’re not at the top of the news. It’s sad, but we’re actually afraid of them. They’re poor, they live in public housing, and most are the offspring of young unwed black mothers. We don’t want to deal with them, and that’s why places like the House of Prayer are around. Give them their children back, for God’s sake.??

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