The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Now That Is A Subtle Lie

Posted on | September 24, 2014 | 40 Comments

by Smitty

Isn’t this rich?

An article on the “Focus on the Family” website written by evangelical author Chip Ingram says, “The Bible’s word on discipline clearly demands that parents be responsible and diligent in spanking.”

I grew up in the evangelical South in a pro-spanking family. When my fellow Christians talked about protecting parents’ “rights to discipline their children,” they would often quote Proverbs 13:24: “Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.”

That settles it, right?


The key to interpreting this verse is the word “rod.” As Michael Eric Dyson, an ordained Baptist minister and professor of sociology at Georgetown University, noted in The New York Times recently, the Hebrew word translated “rod” refers to a shepherd’s rod, which “was used to guide the sheep, not to beat them.” The author of this Proverbs 13:24 (and the other “rod” verses) is saying that parents who love their children will guide, lead, and discipline them — not beat them.

Dyson here seems about as far afield as Robert Boyd Munger claiming that shepherds would break a leg of a wayward sheep and carry it around until healed. Or maybe Michael Eric Dyson is to theology what Neil DeGrasse Tyson is to science: an unreliable tale-spinner.

The logical extension of Dyson’s error would be to say that the shepherd never uses the rod as a weapon against predators, either. That rod should merely be used to “guide” the wolf along more mindful, aware, tolerant lines of behavior.

The operative phrase here is “an ordained Baptist minister and professor of sociology at Georgetown University”. Per Wikipedia, there isn’t any evidence that MED ever, actually, you know, ministered anywhere. Thus it seems we have another specimen of guy with a lot of degrees that’s as wise as a thermometer.


40 Responses to “Now That Is A Subtle Lie”

  1. M. Thompson
    September 24th, 2014 @ 8:10 am

    Subtle lies are the best sort, for they contain a modicum of truth.

  2. CrustyB
    September 24th, 2014 @ 8:26 am

    I thought “rod” was the old Hebrew word for “lightsaber.”

  3. Bob Belvedere
    September 24th, 2014 @ 8:52 am

    MED [who always appears to be off his meds] is probably as much of a Minister as I am:

  4. Evi L. Bloggerlady
    September 24th, 2014 @ 8:55 am

    Spare the rod, spoil the Dyson!

    Dyson vacuums aren’t the only Dysons that suck.

  5. Evi L. Bloggerlady
    September 24th, 2014 @ 9:16 am

    More Church of the Subgenius, well in MED’s case, submoron.

  6. WarEagle82
    September 24th, 2014 @ 9:30 am

    Which baptist convention ordained MED? Not all baptists are equal when it comes to scriptures.

    American Baptists are quite different from Southern Baptists. Sort of like the differences between RSM and David Brooks.

  7. RS
    September 24th, 2014 @ 9:42 am

    Unfortunately, the Adrian Peterson situation has allowed people to conflate multiple issues to the point where no one knows what anyone is talking about. Corporal punishment is not abuse. Yet, there are those who maintain it is. No one condones the injuries caused by Peterson to his son. Peterson needs help. But, as it is with many similar issues, there are those who hope to take a horrible incident and magnify it to the point where all parents who have administered a spanking are tarred with the same brush. Such an approach is patently absurd, of course, but useful to those who wish to destroy the authority of parents over their children.

    Disclosure: I have three kids. I’ve administered 4 spankings (open hand to clothed bottom) over their lifetimes and never after any had reached age 6. Each was for either a) deliberately lying to me or b) open and deliberate defiance. (The middle child got two. He’s the math and physics major. The others, one each.) I never had to do it again.)

  8. RS
    September 24th, 2014 @ 9:44 am

    One must remember, the term “baptist” is neither trademarked nor copyrighted. Thus, I hereby declare the “RS Baptist Church of Internet Comments & Refrigerator Repair.”

  9. Wombat_socho
    September 24th, 2014 @ 10:17 am

    You mean Yankee Baptists? Those guys might as well be Unitarians.

  10. librarygryffon
    September 24th, 2014 @ 10:56 am

    I’ve always figured that the folks who tell us that one should never, ever use corporal punishment on a child either don’t have children, or have a nanny who deals with actually raising them.

    When I was considering getting a teaching certificate I had to take a developmental psych class. One of the things that was emphasized was that until the age or 8 or 9, most children’s brains aren’t mature enough to deal with the type of reasoning that the child rearing “experts” who work for CPS/DCF/CPA/whatever think we should be using instead of the occasional swat on a well cushioned behind. Telling a child that he/she can’t ride his/her tricycle into the street because they might get hit by a car won’t have anywhere near the preventative effect as wanting to avoid another spanking.

  11. Evi L. Bloggerlady
    September 24th, 2014 @ 11:20 am

    Aren’t they United Church of Christ, like Jeremiah “Obama’s Spiritual Father” Wright?

  12. petetheelder
    September 24th, 2014 @ 11:22 am

    I have spanked slightly more than that, but I reserve spanking for when one of my kids has intentionally physically hurt someone else. Loss of privileges works better most of the time anyways. I am sure they would rather be spanked then not get TV for a day or 2 since we already are very strict about screen time.

    I don’t think I have ever spanked any of my kids after age 5 and I haven’t spanked my 2 year old yet at all.

  13. M. Thompson
    September 24th, 2014 @ 11:57 am

    The UCC was the Congregational Church.

  14. Quartermaster
    September 24th, 2014 @ 12:09 pm

    I commented that Dyson was engaging in blatant eisegesis. One commeter utterly disassembled Dyson and included the one verse that Dyson says Christian parents supposedly appeal to. There are far more passages that deal with the issue and Dyson is simply engaging in the same sort of trash libtards always engage in when the evidence is against them.

  15. McGehee
    September 24th, 2014 @ 12:19 pm

    Wait. Wasn’t the shepherd’s tool known as a crook, not a rod?

  16. DeadMessenger
    September 24th, 2014 @ 1:09 pm

    My brothers (4 of them) got spankings sometimes. I was the only girl, and I got a “talking to” instead, in which my parents would tell me how disappointed they were with my behavior. I used to ask them why the boys got to be spanked and I couldn’t be…I would’ve greatly preferred that to the sting of my parent’s disappointment.

  17. DeadMessenger
    September 24th, 2014 @ 1:15 pm

    A lot of these guys you’ll find never even read the Bible in its entirety. They have no understanding of the context of the passage nor do they have even the most rudimentary understanding of God’s heart, which you would think that a supposedly Spirit-filled minister supposedly called by God would have.

  18. Adobe_Walls
    September 24th, 2014 @ 4:23 pm

    Nice segue from the effete elitist in your previous post to the boorish elitist in this one.

  19. K-Bob
    September 24th, 2014 @ 4:28 pm

    Given yesterday’s story about the family that puts the “ack!” in “Outback”, I’m just glad these folks aren’t using “rod” to justify the usual deviancy.

  20. Adobe_Walls
    September 24th, 2014 @ 4:30 pm

    I believe someone herding sheeple is known as a “crook”. Obama for instance.

  21. WarEagle82
    September 24th, 2014 @ 5:53 pm

    He was ordained at 19 according to his wiki page. And things seem to have moved to the left from there.

  22. WarEagle82
    September 24th, 2014 @ 5:56 pm

    Your experience pretty much matched mine. Three kids and maybe each got two spankings each ever.

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    September 24th, 2014 @ 5:59 pm

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  24. theBuckWheat
    September 24th, 2014 @ 9:55 pm

    I firmly believe that liberalism occurs when a child who is of the age when they transition from living in a child’s world, where make-believe is just another form of reality, to living in the world of hard reality and hard choices decides he can continue to live in a reality of his own preferences and maintenance.

    I now firmly believe that when a parent disciplines a child by spanking, the child is snapped into the hard, cold, sharp painful reality of the consequences of his behavior. When childrearing, thanks to liberal experts like Benjamin Spock, went through a long phase where spanking was not recommended, that was the source of the great crop of liberal adults that we suffer from today.

  25. Evi L. Bloggerlady
    September 24th, 2014 @ 10:11 pm

    A lot of Baptists are saying: I told you so!

  26. K-Bob
    September 24th, 2014 @ 10:39 pm
  27. theoldsargesays
    September 24th, 2014 @ 10:43 pm

    I spanked my daughter two or three times ever .
    You’re right, the loss of privileges hurt more.
    There were times when I took her stereo or telephone away or even worse grounded her and she asked if she couldn’t just get spanked.
    (In addition to telling me what really got through to her, that also told me that I must have not spanked her very hard to begin with…lol)

  28. Andy Fox
    September 25th, 2014 @ 11:22 am

    There are other passages, in Proverbs 23:13 for instance, that do sanction physical discipline.
    Prov 23:13 “Do not hold back discipline from the child.Although you strike him with the rod, he will not die.”

    This is a quote from the NASB translation, which is a translation that aims to be word for word from the Hebrew.

  29. Andy Fox
    September 25th, 2014 @ 12:36 pm

    What about Prov. 23:13? Why don’t you tell us about the context of that passage?

  30. Andy Fox
    September 25th, 2014 @ 12:37 pm

    Prov 23:13?

  31. Quartermaster
    September 25th, 2014 @ 12:54 pm

    Try reading it with verse 14.

  32. Andy Fox
    September 25th, 2014 @ 1:42 pm

    I did. And?

  33. Wombat_socho
    September 25th, 2014 @ 2:24 pm

    I don’t know, most of these heretics/schismatics/Protestant social clubs look the same to me. 😉

  34. DeadMessenger
    September 25th, 2014 @ 2:53 pm

    My statement referred to MED, not Focus on the Family.

    And in point of fact, my own kids grew up into well-behaved adults, largely because I spared not the rod, which in my case, was a wooden spoon.

  35. DeadMessenger
    September 25th, 2014 @ 2:55 pm


  36. Andy Fox
    September 25th, 2014 @ 3:05 pm

    My bad

  37. Akzed
    September 26th, 2014 @ 4:42 pm

    “Thy rod (weapon to protect against predators) and thy staff (the crook for guiding the sheep), they comfort me.” So he has it bass ackwards.

  38. Akzed
    September 26th, 2014 @ 4:43 pm

    Not you Andy, the clown who is the subject of this piece.

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  40. Andy Fox
    September 29th, 2014 @ 8:53 pm

    Heh, no problem, I knew what you meant. Plus, I read this post a little hastily and stuck my foot in my mouth, see above, living in a glass house I shall throw no stone.