I’ve been thinking about making this post for a long time..I’ll see if I can elaborate on this topic.
Although I am very spiritual, I can clearly see that there are a few child abuse linked to religions but cannot talk about all of the religions that I could not relate to. Christianity is the only thing I know the best. To begin with child abuse linking to religion, I always believe religion is not to be blamed, bad style of parenting is.
From my childhood experiences related to Catholicism, I remembered, as a child, begging my father to bring me home at the time I was having a huge asthma attack at the time my father and I were still at the church. He was praying and I really needed him to bring me home since I did not have an inhaler. He continued ignoring me until my cryings got louder and louder so that people would hear me. My father kept telling me to ignore my own asthma attack and said they are Satan’s work that try to distract us away from God.
Unbelievable, that is.
After hours of crying, it finally got to my father’s attention, so he decided to bring me home. My mother found out about what happened and she got mad at him. I should have died from asthma attack. I think my parents might not possibly remember this because it was so long time ago.
But that’s not only worse. For many years, my parents forced me to go to their Catholic church…without an interpreter. I am telling you, it has been a huge torture to me. No, I’d call it the greatest torture ever of my life. For three hours of Sunday service, my eyes would wander anywhere restlessly, because I was completely deaf to a priest preaching, I mean I am completely DEAF, actually. Profoundly hearing impaired since birth. I cannot understand such words that were spoken and I was completely mute and illiterate. I begged my parents to bring me home yet they ignored. My cryings wouldn’t work because If I tried that again, my father would severely punished me with spanking or other physical beating. Not having any choice, I had to continue attending their church and tolerate silence of years. During the morning services, what I would do:
I sat restlessly.
I stare at the ceiling.
I played with my hands.
I was painfully bored. I would describe it as being put in a small, sound-proof prison without any window AND human contact at all for years because my parents constantly ignore me without explaining or making an effort to interpret for the priest. When I finally developed my English skills at age of 10 or 11, I was able to read, yet could not understand anything since I lacked a strong vocabulary needed to understand Bible verses or written sermons.
Many years of being forced to go to church, being not able to understand anything from church or preaching itself, and being forced to tolerate “silence” until I turned 18…were the greatest torture of my life.
In addition to my past experiences of torment, my parents would sometime force me to attend prayer meeting which is for family only. In the basement, we would pray for an hour or so, or say our Hail Marys. There was nothing I can do but watch. There were a few times that I tried walking away but my father would drag me to stay with the family and then I would cry a little.
I could reminisce much more but I truly hoped that these experiences I’ve been telling, should be strongly labeled as child abuse linking to religion.
But how did I become so spiritual?
When I was in middle school, there was a woman entering into my life which changed a lot. This woman was my interpreter and an assistant to my signing teacher. I would call her “Miss S” because she wasn’t married until I finished high school, I think. She was now married to a man named Mario and lived in MD. She was much like a mother to me. In middle school, I was the only deaf student and many kids there did not know any sign language at all. Miss S would teach them so they can start friendship with me. My teacher set up Sign Language Club and more kids joined.
I was delighted.
However, Miss S would talk to me about God and I was shocked because I thought it was illegal and still kinda is, in most of US public schools. She almost quit her work after I picked on her, spit on her for being too religious, and was being terribly rude to her until I was curious to learn about her belief. I asked her to teach me about God and she was totally rejoicing. After talking and many discussions about God on occasions, I became a Christian at age of 12…but not a Catholic. I attended Bible Study on Wednesdays until I finished high school. My parents knew about Bible studies but they let me attend them because it was the only way for me to learn God’s Word.
What should have been done to make this better?
4 He taught me also, and said unto me, Let thine heart retain my words: keep my commandments, and live.5 Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth.6 Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee: love her, and she shall keep thee.
This scripture means that if a child is deeply taught wisdom, only if the child understood wisdom, that is…then the child would not turn away from wisdom, especially when he/she became much older. If the child isn’t taught any wisdom then they would easily rebel.
Patience and prayers are the only things that would keep a child coming for more wisdom or teachings. Maybe I would have became a Catholic if my parents knew full sign language, but becoming a Christian was the best decision I ever made. I was a Catholic for a brief time until I found errors in Catholic beliefs such as a priest healing, bread-and-wine, and more. I did my research and became a believer. I’m 23 now and still reading Bible sometime. If it weren’t for reading Bible, I would not develop strong English skills faster during my childhood years. Reading Bible benefited my English skills. It not only benefited my English skills but helped me learn how to keep my friendship with friends steady, and preserve my virtues.
1 Corinthians 13:11
11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
From time to time, I could not read Bible completely which would cause off-balance in my life, for instance, I forgot how not to lose temper so easily, or lack conscience sometime. I had to memorize some of the scriptures to preserve my best attitude and character. Bible was like a best parent’s wisdom. It had important history figures and events that I have to look up to as precedents to lead my life.
Anyways, I loved reading Bible but wouldn’t force anyone to read Bible…only encourage. I would only explain if anyone ever asks about God. I try to avoid pushing anyone to learn God’s Word in a bad way like my parents did. That was totally child abuse…for a deaf child. I forgave my parents for all these tragic experiences I had related to their belief.
Don’t go too further on forcing your children to study or learn your beliefs or they will seriously rebel.
PS: Another article related to child abuse linked to overstrict-religion, resulting in death, can be found on this link. It’s similar to my bad experience with my father neglecting me while being ill.