Federal prosecutors have filed charges against a highly-religious Army major, John E. Jackson and his wife, Carolyn Jackson, with child abuse, beating their foster and adopted children, breaking their bones, refusing to get them medical attention for religious reasons, depriving them of drinking water and force-feeding their non-biological children hot red peppers. They have also trained their biological children to take part in the abuse. This has resulted in the death of one of their foster children, known only as J.J. in 2008, although they have not been charged with a crime in that case. While it’s hard to get information on that case, it appears that the child, Joshua, 2, was born with birth defects and a drug addiction and died of a seizure according to World Net Daily. A hospital social worker claimed Joshua had died at home under suspicious circumstances and was cremated rapidly so his death could not be investigated.
“Carolyn and John Jackson are charged with unimaginable cruelty to children they were trusted to protect, said U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman. “The crimes alleged should not happen to any child, anywhere, and it is deeply disturbing that they would happen on a military installation.”
Jackson is described as an active duty military officer who has served in both Kuwait and Iraq. He is a highly religious man, a “devout Christian and patriotic American” and a “family man”. Sorry, that’s not the kind of man who ought to have a family. All five of their remaining children have been removed from the home, but of course, the religious crazies and conspiracy theorists are out calling them victims of “anti-Christian bias”. No, this is just another case of fundamentalist Christians hiding behind their religious beliefs and abusing their children. They are charged with 17 counts of child abuse and the counts can carry up to 10 years in prison each. The indictment is here. Some of the claims made in the indictment follow:
- their biological children were told to prevent one of the adopted children from drinking out of sink and toilet bowls while the child was purposefully being dehydrated.
- one child was forced to ingest sodium or sodium-laden substances and denied water at the same time causing life-threatening hypernatremia (high amount of sodium in the blood)
- withholding of prompt and proper medical care for a broken humerus (upper arm bone).
- red pepper flakes, hot sauce and raw onion was used as punishment.
According to Jackson, “We were told we’re ‘excessive Christians’ by our therapeutic supervisor.” With the children out of the house, they have admitted to being beaten and said that Jackson quoted the Bible “spare the rod, spoil the child” as justification. I’ve had stories about that in the past. The children are currently in three different foster homes and Child Protective Services refuses to place them with family members for fear of additional abuse. Of course, Carolyn Jackson sees a conspiracy. “They put our children into homes completely opposite to our lifestyle … It has just been a constant barrage of them coming against our faith.”
We’ll have to see where this case ends up. The idea of torturing your children under the guise of religion is hardly uncommon, we see it all the time. This kind of hyper-authoritarian religious extremism, where the parents are convinced that they have been given complete control over their children by God, is extremely problematic and while the Jackson’s might have thought they were doing the best for their children, there’s more than a little paranoia in their claims. They are convinced that foster homes and police are just making up stories of abuse so they can shaft the highly-religious Jackson’s. That makes no sense. The hospitals are not inventing injuries out of whole cloth, the police are not making up claims by the children or brainwashing them, we’re hearing stories from their biological children that John forced them to promise never to tell anyone what happened in the house and when one did let slip statements about the abuse, he was beaten with a belt. But I suppose that was made up too.
How many times are we going to see religious fundamentalism used as a cover for child abuse? How many times are bad parents going to think they can use Bible verses to justify their cruelty? How long will the Religious Horror Show continue?