Does the Bible Advocate “Tough Love?” How Tough?

Does the Bible say to give capital punishment to a rebellious teenager?

What if he joins a gang? What if he commits multiple crimes?

Here’s what the Bible says:

If a man has a teenage son who is defiant and rebellious, he refuses to listen to his father and mother.

The parents try to discipline him – he still does not listen.

His father and mother should do whatever it takes to bring him to the elders of his community

And tell them “Our son is defiant and rebellious – he does not listen to our words – all he cares about is his own physical pleasures”.

The townspeople should then stone him with stones – so that you destroy evil from amongst your midst.

Then all the people will hear and be afraid.

Deuteronomy 21:18-21.

All the Rabbis who have studied the Bible for the last 2500 years say that this is one of those laws that God does not mean to ever be taken literally. You do not stone a child because he steals and is defiant. These Rabbis say that in the entire legal history of Biblical Law – the courts would never impose capital punishment on teenagers.

Instead, this purpose of this law is to teach a principle. A principle that a community has the responsibility of doing “whatever it takes” to help parents deal with difficult children. We all know that if a child joins a gang; then he is very likely to end up on the wrong side of the law for his whole life. He is likely to be a criminal and hurt people. He may end up in prison for life. He may end up being a mass murderer. When a teenager starts going down the path of crime – it’s hard to get him out of it later on. The community must do everything it can to make sure that he gets off the path of crime.

The Bible is telling us that it is almost better to have this child die, then to have him lead a life of crime or a life of being on drugs, or a life of hurting other people.

The Bible is telling us that if the community allows the teenager to live a life of crime or a life of drugs – then the community has essentially murdered the child.

Tough Love. – That is what is called for!

The community should use whatever tools it has. Whatever it takes. If it will take jail to shock the teenager back to “reality” then do that. If it takes therapy and drug rehab then do that. You may have to physically impose a curfew – i.e. having the bigger men physically restrain the teen from going out at night, then do that. The life of a teenage child is too precious to waste by allowing the child to become a horror to his society.

What can you do to help disturbed children? What can your community do to save their lives? How tough is the love you will have to give – to make sure that you stop a teenager who’s joined a gang or is living a life of petty crime?

El Tempranillo: The King of the Sierra Morena and Thief of Andalucia

All countries have their scallywags, men and women who prefer to live outside the law. They exist on their wits in a hostile and lonely environment, not unlike marriage perhaps but still a desperate place. The outlaws’ life has brought fame to some, infamy to others but very short careers usually with a bloody end to most.

Terrorising the prairie towns of the Wild West was Jesse James and others of his ilk. Making a nuisance of himself in the antipodes was the metal clad Ned Kelly. With very few exceptions they were bully-boys thugs and murderers, yet they became idolised by later generations. Their crimes whitewashed and their limited humanity elevated. Some are composite outlaws with the deeds of others attributed to them. Dick Turpin never made the famous ride to York. It was John Nevison, alias Swift Nick half a century earlier. At least two anonymous individuals compose the character of Robin Hood. Considering the brutality and uncertainty of the age labelling his men as Merry is extremely questionable. Mr Hood’s rather strange fiscal policy of taking from the rich and giving to the poor is also questionable. It was nothing more than bribes granted to secure his base of operations.

Bandits can only operate where conditions allow. There must be a certain amount of law and order to enable the movement of people and goods. Hordes of baddies moving through the countryside are synonymous with a developing nation. When national organisation is such as to restrict their activities, daylight robbery becomes the task of gas, electric and banking concerns.

Spain has had its share of rapscallions operating in all of its regions. In the nineteenth century, Andalucían brigandage was an attraction for early tourists. These travellers purposely fell into the hands of the many bands of bandoleros. British and other Europeans were known to pay for the privilege of such an encounter. One can imagine the heroic stories told over roaring fires on cold winter nights. In any event it was probably safer than a ‘Club 18 to 30’ bargain weekend.

Arguably the most famous Andalucían bandolero was José Maria Hinojosa Cabacho. Known as El Tempranillo, this epithet probably refers to his early entry into banditry at the age of thirteen. El Tempranillo had all the characteristics necessary for local hero status. The first perquisite is to become an outlaw after the righting of some wrong. In El Tempranillo’s case he appears to have committed murder while still in his teens. Born on the 21st of June 1805, this would mean the incident took place in 1818 after the French occupation but still uncertain times. There are some references to him protecting his family, in particular his Mother. In 1818 the village of his birth, Jauja, would have been a remote place, adding some weight to the anecdote of his downfall. It was probably the need to escape the law that he joined a band of outlaws.

Like all successful highwaymen a highway is, by definition required. José Maria’s was the Despeñaperros Pass, roughly translated as ‘the place where dogs fall off rocks’, implying treacherous cliffs rather than genetically stupid dogs. The pass is on the Andalucían northern border, an ideal location for a young bandit chief and his gang. With regular through traffic but sufficiently isolated to make a quick response by the authorities difficult. He practised his art in broad daylight demanding 10% of a traveller’s wealth in return for safe conduct through the pass. His flamboyant style and initial success established him as a bona fide highwayman in the highest tradition. José’s ability to obscure the most felonious and seedy events in a fog of spin, self righteous justification and lies would have made him a welcome member of any of today’s political parties. Keeping the local population loyal with liberal doses of cash, gave the El Tempranillo myth a veneer of benevolence.

The gallantry of such English men of the road as Captain James Hind and Claude Duval is legendary and our José wasn’t to be outdone. When relieving a female traveller of her jewellery he reputedly said ‘A hand so beautiful as yours does not need adornments’. Her words about the loss of her trinkets are not on record. The encounter, embellished if not completely fabricated by our Bandit. A short man with one hand, the other lost after an accident with a pistol. He became a cult figure in Andalucía. He could separate travellers from their loose change and had a flair for public relations. While the King ruled Spain, El Tempranillo ruled the mountains. The title King of the Sierra Morena was probably José Maria’s own invention. Soon he warranted a bounty of 6000 reales dead or alive. José was becoming an embarrassment to the authorities.

Unlike the archetypical highwaymen of northern Europe José married, but his wife María Gerónima francés died during childbirth. José’s Son survived and was indirectly responsible for El Tempranillo’s most conspicuous act. In 1831 along with 50 of his men he took control of the mountain village of Grazalema. This audacious act was simply to allow the baptising of his offspring at the Church of Nuestra Señora de la Aurora. The local authorities outnumbered and out-gunned looked on helplessly as the bandolero completed his religious observances. José’s reputation spread beyond southern Spain. Writing of the 1830s the British writer John Ford noted ‘When Fernando VII was King of Spain and José Maria was the love of Andalucía’.

With an expansion of his fame, so his presence became almost universal. Simultaneous sightings occurred in venues separated by dozens of kilometres. The provenance of caves became attributed to him, local town’s people invented tales and encounters with the famous bandolero just so they could claim association. The momentum of his popularity was unstoppable. Along with his other misappropriations he stole the Kings limelight and vied with him for acclaim. The monarch had to act but he had a problem. On the one hand he had a criminal on the loose, committing crimes with an ever increasing audacity. On the other, he had a man revered by the population of Andalucía, a hero almost.

Fernando VII was in this instance very astute or at least his advisers were. He had to neutralise the bandit while avoiding the civil unrest which would undoubtedly occur if he blatantly went after El Tempranillo. His solution was to pardon the outlaw and put him at the head of a force of sixty men. The role was to hunt down and capture bandoleros, a classic example of setting a thief to catch a thief. The unit was the Escuadrón Franco de Protección y Seguridad Pública de Andalucía (The free squadron for the public protection of Andalucía). The impressive title implying that government pay was not at all good.

Ironically El Tempranillo met his end while bringing the bandolero El Barbarello to justice. José Maria Hinojosa Cabacho died on the 23rd of September 1833 from his wounds. He left very little in the way of tangible wealth but a fortune in the folklore of Andalucía.

Why do seemingly respectable people admire highwaymen and others of their ilk? These people robbed murdered and were generally antisocial, usually meeting their end in a ditch or on the gallows. Is it a reaction to the over organised life we lead today? A yearning from every person worth his salt to be free, to control his own destiny?

If I thought I had half a chance of success, I for one would be out there stalking the open road. El Gordo, demanding money with menaces or perhaps with the threat of a Chinese burn, but certainly carousing in some jovial inn with my cronies.

Crime and Punishment – Parenting Tips For Choosing the Right Punishment

Our actions have consequences. Whether we judge our actions as good or bad doesn’t matter. The law of cause effect says every action has a consequence. When teens get into trouble, the punishment could fit the crime. But, how do you punish or teach your teen their actions have consequences? You could think about the punishments you received when you were a teenager, but they may have been ineffective or too harsh. You may not like to punish your teen but it’s for their own good.

Choosing the right punishment

How severe is the crime? If your teen breaks a glass, they should clean it up. You could ground them for two weeks or make them do the dishes for a month (if this isn’t already their chore). You could make them pay for a new glass. It’s a wise idea to find out why they broke the glass in the first place. Were they upset about a breakup? Are they upset they have to do the dishes every night? Talk to them to find out what is wrong.

Was the crime committed on purpose? Did your teen hit the garage because they wanted to see if the airbags in the car work? You could make them pay for the damage to car and garage. You could also find out ‘why’ they thought it was a good idea to find out if the airbags work.

Did they skip school? Find out why they skipped school. Where did they go? What did they do? The principal may issue your teen one week of detention. You could make your teen come straight home from school. If they’re involved in extracurricular activities, you may want to speak to their drama instructor or coach. Tell them your teen won’t be participating for a few weeks. They may not like this and neither will the team or cast. This will teach your teen how being apart of a team means you must do your part. They screwed up and now their cast mates and team will be short one person because of their mistake.

Take away their cell phone, video games, and anything else electronic. Allow them to use the computer for homework but that’s it. BTW: Social media is off limits!

Did they try drugs? This is a parent’s worst nightmare. However, if you experimented with drugs, your teen may throw that in your face if they know you tried drugs. Speak to your teen in a calm manner. Let them know that while you tried drugs, it wasn’t a smart thing to do. Tell them how it made you feel. Talk to them about the consequences of overdosing.

Calmly ask your teen where they got the drugs. If they won’t give up a name, tell them they’re not allowed to leave the house until they do. They’re either protecting friends or bought the drugs on their own. If they still won’t tell you, monitor their every move; be on them like fleas on a dog. Tell your teen you want to speak to the parents of their friends. This will mortify your teen! They may cave and tell you where they got the drugs. If not, make them go to a drug addiction group. They’ll see first-hand what narcotics can do to them. If they’re old enough, make them volunteer at a rehab facility. Make them do a seven page research paper on the dangers of drugs and how drug addiction can ruin their life and have them present it to you.

Drunk driving. This is another nightmare for parents. There’s no excuse for drunk driving. Make sure your teen knows they can call you even if they’re plastered. Should they drive drunk, they could kill themselves, the passengers in the car, or other drivers on the road.

If your teen drives drunk and you find out about it, take the car keys away immediately and driving privileges indefinitely. Make them attend AA or Al-Anon meetings so they can listen to alcoholics speak about alcoholism. Make your teen speak to parents of teens who lost their children to drunk driving. Once they see the pain it causes, they may never do it again. You may consider having them meet with teens who are doing jail time for drunk driving. The laws today are not like they were 20 or more years ago and your teen could do jail time. If you’re lucky enough to have family or friends in the police department, you may ask them to speak to your teen. They can ‘scare your teen’ into staying sober.

These are few examples of how you can give your teen a consequence or punishment for their crime. Use your judgment. Your teen won’t be perfect all of the time. Remember when you were a teen and didn’t act on your best behavior. Your parents punished you but the punishment may not have fit the crime. Be fair and explain to your teen why you’re punishing them. Make it clear that if their behavior is unacceptable and won’t be tolerated. They’ll eventually learn their lesson.

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How Did America Become The Home Of So Many Child Predators?

During the late 1970s I sat in a New York City courtroom waiting to be a witness for a friend of mine who was involved in a tenant-landlord dispute. The location was Manhattan and the entire scene reminded me of what you see when you watch those courtroom scenes from TV cop and crime shows. It really did look just like what we all see on TV and that really blew my mind. However, what happened next really freaked me out and has stuck in my memory from then to now.

Being from New York City, I was used to waiting my turn for everything. It’s always been just a part of life for the millions of folks that live in the Big Apple and surrounding areas. Court is no different. The only good news was that most of the judicial proceedings ahead of us that day were either short legal housekeeping sessions or prearranged plea deal sentencing hearings. It was like court on speed dial. After less than two hours there was just one case ahead of us.

As that proceeding started, a well-dressed business woman came forward along with her lawyer. I thought this was probably some building code violation or traffic offense. I was stunned to the core when the prosecutor announced that the woman had been charged with child molestation. The incident occurred aboard a commuter jet at a local airport. Due to in-climate weather, the aircraft was forced to wait for several hours before it was able to taxi to the deplaning platform.

During the delay, the woman allegedly molested a twelve year old girl sitting in a seat next to her. Only one witness saw it happen because the plane was mostly empty and the incident occurred late at night. If it were not for an attentive flight attendant, the incident would never have been noticed. She kept checking on the two because she though it was odd that the woman had invited the child to sit next to her. The attendant was walking past at one point and happened to notice that the woman had her hand stuck up inside the child’s skirt. She alerted the flight crew and they notified the police.

Despite what I would think was the seriousness of the charges against her, the businesswomen had a wide smile on her face as her lawyer made an explanation for her behavior. The lawyer said that she was tired and stressed out from what turned out to be a long flight and an additional wait to deplane. The stress caused her to make a bad choice that she claims she did not even recall making. The child, traveling alone, later told her parents that she and the woman were just hugging to stay warm in a chilly plane.

In the end, the charges were dismissed and the well-dressed business woman walked out of the courtroom, free to molest again. I was stunned. So stunned that I’m sure I sounded a bit incoherent when my friend’s turn came up. It took me hours to wrap my head around the fact that a woman was able to molest a young girl on an airplane at a major airport and simply walk out of a New York City courtroom with no consequences.

Things have changed quite a bit from those days. I’m almost certain that a scene like the one I witnessed in court back then would probably not occur very often in the now. However, the incident still sticks with me, not just because there was no penalty for the predator, but because the well-dressed business woman just didn’t look like a typical child molester to me. I always pictured that kind of person as some nasty looking guy who bought pedophile magazines at some sleezy peep show parlor and hung around playgrounds looking for his next victim.

While I was growing up child predators were like town drunks. Lots of neighborhoods had one and your parents always told you never to go near that person’s house for any reason. They were reluctantly tolerated because courts didn’t want to send them to jail and no one else could figure out exactly what to do with them. I now believe that it was those many years of tolerating or ignoring these kinds of people that allowed their ranks to swell. However, the problem goes much deeper than that.

You would think that with all the laws that now protect kids from predators most anyone who had those kinds of sick thoughts swelling through their brains would not dare to try to act out their fantasies. The opposite seems to be true and the numbers don’t lie. We have tens of thousands (or more) registered sex offenders here in the good old USA and their numbers are growing by the day.

Just recently a number of former and present Hollywood celebrities admitted that they had been molested, raped, abused or made to feel uncomfortable by failed attempts at those kinds of behavior by powerful people working in the entertainment industry. All of them say that this has been part of the status quo in Tinseltown for years. The only problem is that no one wants to name names. To do so, the celebrities claim, would permanently damage the industry.

The sad truth is that child predators are often protected by the very people they attack. Their victims just do not want to take them on for fear of embarrassment or public ridicule. There’s also the chance the predator will be found not guilty or let go due to a lack of evidence. In many cases victims wait so long that legal statutes of limitations kick in and they cannot be charged under any criminal circumstances.

The recent allegations of child rape and molestation against figures in the sports world go to the very heart of the problem. The accused are married, have children and just do not seem to be the types of individuals that would commit these kinds of acts. These situations expose the best weapon that child predators have against being caught. They hide in traditional marriages, normal relationships and behind the facade of being successful and responsible community members. In short, they are wolves in sheep’s clothing.

What really mystifies me is how we got to this point? Why are there so many child predators and molesters out there in our society? I believe that the answer lies in the fact that the entertainment and fashion industries have helped to fuel that fire without accepting any of the blame. It wasn’t that many years ago that you could go to the movies and see naked children on the screen or walk into a book store in most any mall and buy books filled with nude photos of kids. All this was excused in the name of freedom of artistic expression.

Even today with far less nude scenes involving kids under eighteen in films, many movies still feature children involved in all sorts of sexual situations. Ads with kids acting or dressed in provocative ways still permeate society. However, those creating these kinds of films and ads are not the only offenders. At some point we have to blame ourselves because those kinds of films wouldn’t be made unless people went to see them and those kinds of ads would not be out there if people refused to buy the things being hawked by scantily glad children and teens.

Don’t misunderstand me. I fully understand and appreciate the fact that you cannot legislate morality. Lots of towns closed up their x-rated theaters and threw the pornography shops and peep shows out of town. It made things look better, but now all that any of the people that patronized those places have to do is go online. If you try to restrict pornography online (apart from child porn), you run the risk of starting politically-motivated social witch hunts. Every time some government agency restricts what we can do or say for what they claim is our own good, we end up losing valuable and irreplaceable freedoms.

I have a better idea and believe that one of the greatest weapons we have against child predators is personal responsibility. It’s about protecting our kids. Parents and relatives must act in a preemptive way to keep their kids safe. If that means keeping them from being alone with people that we’re supposed to trust, than that’s the price of keeping them safe. Remember, child predators gravitate to employment and volunteer situations that give them the opportunity to be alone with and molest kids.

I have often wondered why, in the times we live in, any adult authority figure would be allowed to be alone with a child or teen. It’s time to consider the use of paid or volunteer chaperones for situations that require kids to be alone or in close quarters with adults that might pose a threat to them. Yes it would cost something, but I wonder what the final bill will be at the universities where people have been recently accused of abusing and molesting kids on campus? I’m sure that the lawsuits will go on for years and end up costing tens of millions of dollars.

It’s all well and good to pass laws and jail offenders, but the jails in many places are busting at the seams. None of this has done anything to stop not yet identified predators from harming children. We have to stop thinking about solving the problem after it has already occurred and start protecting our kids from situations that they may be intellectually and physically unable to deal with by being proactive. Let’s not allow them to fall into the hands of predators to begin with.

We have to do more than lecture children about stranger danger. We have to look for the signs that a predator may be in our midst. Here are a few of the danger signals:

– An adult frequently wants to be alone with a child.

– An adult invites them over their house for extended periods of time or sleep overs.

– An adult readily and willing offers to babysit for a specific child on a regular basis.

– An adult gives money or gifts to a child without good reason.

– An adult offers to have a child do work for them regularly at a high rate of pay.

– An adult spends time with a child on their computer showing them unusual web sites.

– An adult shows a child or teen naked art, child pornography or films with nude children.

– An adult has too much physical contact with a child (frequent hugs or play wrestling).

– An adult regularly encourages a child to remove any part of their clothing for any reason.

– An adult offers to take a child on an overnight trip or camping for days at a time.

– An adult allows neighborhood kids regular access to his or her home as a meet up or play place.

It’s not just adults we need to worry about. Many child predators begin molesting other children while they are kids themselves. Teach your children to watch out for kids that encourage their friends, playmates or peers to get naked in front of them or try to touch them in private areas of their bodies. These kinds of activities are likely to occur when adults are not around, so beware of your children playing over a house when no adult supervision is available. Kids that host what seem like a large number of sleep overs with many different friends or classmates should also be considered a possible threat. What might seem like innocent curiosity on the part of children can grow into something far worse. We have to make sure our kids do not do these kinds of things or allow themselves to be put at risk by other children that do.

If we all work together to take away the opportunity that predators have to attack kids, we cut off their supply of victims and begin to chip away at the heart of the problem. I believe that the number of possible child predators is growing because they have so many opportunities to attack and take advantage of kids. Take away these opportunities and at least some of these malefactors will think twice before acting out their fantasies.