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Bible abuse

Lynda Moyo leads the prayers as we start an occasional series based on TV excesses which you might have loved or loathed

Written by . Published on February 15th 2008.


Bible abuse

The song says “The only one who could ever reach me was the son of a preacher man.” Baby Bible Bashers on Channel 4 last night was enough to make even Aretha keep her distance. The documentary gave an unearthly insight into the irregular lives of three American children who are, for want of better words, holier than thou. The conclusive, alarming reality is that as viewers, we were probably only dealt a slither of this God-coated cake of sweet-child exploitation.

We were probably only dealt a slither of this God-coated cake of sweet-child exploitation.

According to his parents, little Samuel, a 7-year-old from America’s Deep South, asked them for help. As with any boy of that age, loathing girls, loving the latest action figures and happy meals are fairly standard wants and wonders. Samuel wants to add sin and eternal damnation to this once innocent list. Upon guidance from doting dad the confirmed notion of facing eternity with the devil left the poor mite requesting to be baptised. Who wouldn’t?

For his dad, Samuel’s rebirth at the tender age of 3 was the start of something special in which we would see this tiny boy saving the souls of others. But what Samuel really needed saving from, was his own parents.

There was an unnerving sense of disbelief felt when witnessing the milky bar kid preaching about “saving sinners from rotting in hell” and the “worms that are going to eat u when u go down.” Nice.

The ‘chosen child’ and his family go on regular inter-state crusades in their trailer to save sinners. “Hurry up and start preachin’ son.” Like a wind-up doll Samuel begins to recite from his book, and no we’re not talking about a J K Rowling best-seller. With tears rolling down his cheeks and fear in his eyes, it was clear that Samuel is a child on the verge of a nervous break-down. The prospect of being eaten by worms in hell is as real to a seven-year-old as the monsters under their bed. If you were seven and your parents swore blind that those monsters existed and the only way to keep them at bay was to never eat sweets, you can bet your life that you’d never need to visit the dentist again. For Samuel, preaching is his sweets ban.

Another state, another child and another set of souls to be saved, nine-year-old Terry is once again, not the most likely candidate for the job. More than a job in fact, as his own father unashamedly asserts this is the ‘Terry Empire’. And like any good retailer branding is the key. Terry sings, praises and preaches to thousands but is bashful when he’s not bashing, so to speak.

Trying to convince himself that he’s not just a kid with a complex he tells the narrator of his ability to hear God’s word: “Sometimes it sounds like me but I say no its God.” For this is all part of a huge game to this minister- yes minister. No matter how he rolls the dice, as long as he plays with the Jesus piece, he will always roll a double six and inevitably walk away champion of God-opoly. And as for his parents? They get the Christ cheques, power and status: all of which defy the fundamental morals at the root of Christianity.

Sadly, Christians who genuinely trust in their faith won’t even know what to make of this misuse which turns their once gracious God into the ring master of a traveling freak show. Pushy parents aren’t anything new by any means. We’ve seen the drama school turnouts, the Britney Spears’ and the Michael Jacksons; both the result of premeditated acute parental ‘guidance’. The difference with these cases was that despite the blatant marketing and manipulation of their young protégées, these parents would swear blind that it’s not them, it’s God. And there lies the sinister twist which leads us to question whether this hidden agenda manifesting itself through their unsuspecting offspring is just indoctrination or worse still, a form of emotional child abuse.

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9 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

AnonymousFebruary 15th 2008.

I am a christian and to some extent, I believe all these kids have an amazing ability to speak the word of God and the fact that they engage in the gospel is is a great thing. HOWEVER, their talent and passion is being exploited by those around them and in little Samuel's case, I felt pain when his little safe ' bubble' was crushed by overwhelming crowds of New york, full of anger and lead to Samuel being subjected to fear. Which is terrible for any child and an abusive act of any parent to put their children through such an ordeal. For Jesus or not for Jesus, Children should always be made to feel safe in their environment as this has an effect on the rest of their lives.

DOMFebruary 15th 2008.

Jinkies . watch http://www.zeitgeistmovie.com

JinkiesFebruary 15th 2008.

Christinity's a croc, most of the jesus myths were lifted directly from stories of the Egyption god Horus. I can't believe people don't find out more about it. The american deep south genuinely scares me, i can't believe people that stupid actually exist.

NeilFebruary 15th 2008.

It made Baby Ballroom seem quite tame in comparison

DOMFebruary 15th 2008.

Jinkies . watch http://www.zeitgeistmovie.com

AnonymousFebruary 15th 2008.

I watched in complete horror at the child abuse taking place during this programme., all acceptable in today's society in the name of God.... Unbelievable.

wayneFebruary 15th 2008.

Unbelievable stuff, but we shouldn't have given it airtime in the UK. To show freaky people will always be unnerving, but then any TV programme about freaks would be. Maybe we should have TV better than the entertainment on offer in a medieval fair.

JinkiesFebruary 15th 2008.

Already seen it Dom, shame more people aren't enlightened - especially this fanatic just above

ChristianFebruary 15th 2008.

I am a christian...I've never seen that kid preach, but I believe that God can send anyone out to share his word. One of my favorite preachers, who is now 16, has been preaching sence he was 11. Everytime I've seen him preach the alters full by the end. God sends him places, and God speaks through him to save souls. Yes even when he was 11 years old! The great thing about God when he gives someone a gift, whether it's preaching or not, we enjoy to do it. We enjoy for God to work through us to save souls.

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