Spanking Gets a Bum Rap

Last summer, parents who practiced spanking as a form of discipline were rebuked by a University of New Hampshire study which vilified the technique. According to the study led by sociologist Murray Strause, spanking spurs children on to anti-social conduct such as bullying, lying, and cheating. It went on to suggest that violence in America would decline if parents would stop spanking their children.

However, Focus on the Family founder James Dobson has pointed out serious flaws in the study. The mothers surveyed were disproportionately young and single. Also, the children were ages 6-9, generally past the age for corporal punishment. According to Dobson, age 6 usually should be the cutoff point.

Most research appears to back Dobson's view that corporal punishment, applied judiciously and rooted in love, can be helpful. Researcher Robert E. Larzelere analyzed eleven studies on the subject. In a review published by the American Academy of Pediatrics, he found six studies that showed beneficial results and four that showed neutral results from spanking. Only one showed harmful results.

Focus on the Family Citizen, November 1997



Doctor Death

Murder in the Cathedral

Jack Kevorkian has done it again, but this time he has managed to thumb his nose at the church in the process. According to his lawyer, Kevorkian helped a Detroit women commit suicide in a Roman Catholic church. Ned McGrath, a spokesman for the Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit, called the action "a tragic publicity stunt," executed in response to the church's failed attempt to repeal Oregon's law, which allows doctor-assisted suicides.

Enlarging the Net

Kevorkian is no longer satisfied with assisting in the suicides of the terminally ill. Now, he is available to aid those who desire to take their own life, even if they are not sick.

In December, Kevorkian was present at the suicide of Martha Wichorek, who said in her goodbye statement, "I am not stressed, oppressed, or depressed. I don't have Alzheimer's and am not terminally ill. I'm eighty-two years old and I want to die."

It appears Kevorkian has grown comfortable in his self-assigned duty to determine who lives and who dies.



A Full Quiver

The highly publicized birth of septuplets in November delivered a powerful pro-life message to America. When fertility treatments left Bobbi McCaughey of Carlisle, Iowa, pregnant with seven children, doctors urged her and her husband Kenny to abort some in order to enhance the other's chances of survival.

But for the McCaugheys, that wasn't an option. And when the national news media swarmed them, they didn't hesitate to say why.

"God gave us those kids," Kenny told reporters in October. "He wants us to raise them."

As the use of fertility treatments has increased in recent years, so has the number of multiple pregnancies. In these cases, doctors strongly recommend "fetal reductions" — aborting one or more babies to improve the others' prospects for life or health.

"People are calling from all across the country," said McCaughey family spokeswoman Marlys Popma, executive director of the Iowa Family Policy Center.

"The media is seeing a good strong Christian family of conviction — and they're letting the family talk about their beliefs to millions of people. I've even had media people tell me this has deeply, deeply affected them spiritually."

The Pastor's Weekly Briefing, November 28, 1997



Going Fishin'

A guy in the Widener (Colo.) area wandered into a church's food distribution center looking for some food he could take fishing. A few days before, the center had provided food for his family, a wife and five children.

He asked the local pastor, "Why are you doing this?"

The pastor answered, "Because this is what Jesus would do."

"I've heard of Jesus," he said. "He's related to God, isn't He?"

"Yes," said the pastor. "Do you want me to tell you about God?

"My friends and I talk about God every Saturday morning when we go fishing," he said before leaving.

A couple days later the fellow came back and said, "I think it's time you told me about God — about Jesus." He gave his life to the Lord, then went home.

The angler's wife came in the next day and demanded to know, "What did you do to my husband?"

"I don't know what you mean," the pastor said.

"We've been married nineteen years," she said, "and every day of that time he has hit me or beat me and the children. Last night he came home and told me he loved me. This is not the man I married, and I want to know what you did to my husband."

The pastor led the woman to Christ, then she went home and her husband led their children to Christ. The entire family is currently active in a Southern Baptist church in that area.

Rocky Mountain Baptist, November 1997



Vital Statistics

Abortion Rate

The Center for Disease Control said in December that abortions in 1995 were down 4.5 percent from the previous year.

In Michigan, the abortion rate has dropped more than 35 percent over the last ten years. Officials point to the cut of Medicaid funding for abortions and a law requiring parental notification prior to an abortion.

Citizen's Issue Alert, December 10, 1997

Children and Working Mothers

An analysis of 105 middle-class six-year-olds indicates that the more hours mothers work, "the lower the children's grades and the poorer their work habits and efforts." The study also showed "as mothers worked more hours … the children displayed less resilience, resourcefulness, and adaptability in the classroom."

The Family in America, New Research, March 1997

Teenage Mothers and Their Children

Children born to teenage mothers are more likely to drop out of high school, live in poverty, and become teen parents themselves, according to a report in the journal Pediatrics.

Forty percent of daughters and 18 percent of sons born to teenage mothers became young parents themselves, compared to 22 percent of daughters and 6 percent of sons born to mothers over twenty-five. Nearly three-quarters of the children born to mothers twenty-five and older graduated from high school.

Associated Press, November 3, 1997




The next time you take a trip to the Holy land, stop in and visit the Jerusalem Baptist Church. John Anthony, the church's pastor, and his wife, Connie, have served as Baptist representatives there since their appointment by IMB in 1973. The church is located at the Baptist House Center, #4 Narkis Street. When you and your group visit, you can hear about the history of the Baptist work in Israel.



The Slaughter of Innocence

"We live in a nation where we slaughter our children, and we act surprised when they slaughter each other." — The Rev. Tim Percy, speaking at the funeral for three West Paducah, Ky., teens slain by a fourteen-year-old fellow student.

Associated Press, December 5, 1997



A Living Testimony, or a Fashion Statement

A pastor in east Tennessee noticed a beautiful pin with the gold-toned letters WWJD on the store clerk's lapel. Having frequented the store, he had never seen an indication that she might be a Christian, so after complementing her on the pin, he ventured to ask, "Where do you attend church?''

"Oh, I don't go to church," she replied.

The pastor looked directly into her eyes and asked, "What would Jesus do?" The clerk was speechless.

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