Horror Show Sunday: Abuse in God’s Name

Twelve Tribes

This post marks one full year that I’ve been writing the most recent edition of the Religious Horror Show.  That’s 52 stories of horror imposed on the world in the name of religion and I’ve just gotten started.  In fact, as of  this moment, I have already written stories through the middle of November, if you can believe it.  The horrors visited on humanity by religion and the religions are never-ending.  How long will we allow these horrors to continue?

In Bavaria, Germany, police have swooped in to rescue 40 children from a fundamentalist Christian sect that they claim were being abused and mistreated.  The group, called “Twelve Tribes”, promotes beating children with rods, was raided in the early morning hours by more than 100 officers. 28 children were rescued from a farm at Klosterzimmern near Deningen and another 12 were taken from another community near Wornitz.

Officers report that the “Twelve Tribes” has been under investigation for child abuse for quite some time now.  According to reports, the rods were soaked in oil before the beatings to make them more pliable and that children aged one to seventeen were routinely struck on the back, arms and bare feet.  The cult insists that it isn’t acting abusively, but in accordance with the Bible.

However, this isn’t the first time they’ve been in trouble.  Back in 1984, authorities took away more than 100 children out of a cult compound in Vermont, amid accusations of physical abuse.  Those children were eventually returned to their parents.  In 2000, another compound in Connecticut ran afoul of the law and several members were convicted of third-degree assault charges for beating their children with 30-inch fiberglass rods.

Further, like with many religious cults, the members refuse to allow their children to attend public school because it interferes with their beliefs. German officials had already revoked the teaching license of “Twelve Tribes” compounds because those involved were deemed unfit to teach.  Some children have been forced back into the public school system, but not all.

There are also allegations of illegal child labor among the group, where boys as young as 14 are being put to work in the group’s CommonSense Industries company, making furniture.  New York State Attorney General Elliot Spitzer asserts that what the  group is doing is tantamount to indentured servitude  and was illegal.  The state of New York fined CommonSense Industries $2000 for two violations of the law and investigations are ongoing.

The sect, which was founded by a Tennessee high school teacher in the 1970s, has 2000-3000 members worldwide, claims to be in 50 communities in 9 countries.  It has fallen afoul of the law in quite a few of those countries and is being investigated in others.

This is a problem for lots of these fringe religious groups where they think that God’s law is above man’s law.  They often violate the secular rules of society  and have to be reined in once again, often while they are screaming religious discrimination all the while.  People need to understand that just because you have a religious belief doesn’t exonerate you from following the laws of the city, state or country in which you reside.  You don’t get to break the rules because you have faith.  You don’t get to harm your children because you have a belief.  This is why we have the Religious Horror Show.

 

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