Horror Show Sunday: Off to Hell With You!

Gilberto_DeLeonCameron County, Texas Sheriff’s Department deputies arrested 39-year-old Gilberto De Leon on aggravated sexual assault of a child charges after a young woman came forward, accusing him of having sexual relations with her since she was 7 years old.  Records show that De Leon used threats and lies to have his way the victim until she was 21 years old.  According to sources, the abuse happened early on, starting with oral sex and leading to full molestation when the girl left middle school.  De Leon is supposed to have raped her while she was wearing her graduation dress.  However, that doesn’t make it a Horror Show Sunday story, does it?  It gets worse.  In order to keep the girl in line, he told her that if she told anyone, especially her priest, that she would go to hell.

Unfortunately, this is an all-too-common technique to keep kids quiet by making threats about eternal damnation.  We know that it’s widespread among pedophile priests and whether or not De Leon actually believed in hell or it was a convenient excuse to keep the unnamed girl in line, that doesn’t stop the fact that it worked.  Belief in such absurd things has kept many people from taking actions that they ought to have taken but were afraid to be condemned to an imaginary pit of fire and torture.

Luckily, a friend talked the girl into coming forward with her allegations after 14 years of abuse and now it’s in the hands of the police.  Her mother confronted him with the accusations and he replied with a text that said “It’s all a lie. I’m on my way….” but he never showed up.  The girl had reason to worry, De Leon had numerous guns that he had pointed at her while cleaning them, the implication was clear, he intended to harm her if she told anyone about his crimes.

Yet while it is clearly illegal and unacceptable to threaten someone with bodily harm at the point of a gun, nobody thinks twice about teaching impressionable children about hell and eternal damnation.  How can that not be considered child abuse?  Oh wait, because religion gets to do things that nobody else would ever think acceptable.  If a criminal like De Leon told a child, any child, that he’d torture them with fire if they told what he’d done, he’d get another rider on his conviction.  If he tells the child that she’s going to hell, nobody bats an eye.

As of this writing, he is on the Cameron County Inmate list awaiting trial.  It’s too bad that hell isn’t real, criminals like this deserve to burn there for eternity.  Off to the Religious Horror Show you go.

3 thoughts on “Horror Show Sunday: Off to Hell With You!”

  1. "Yet while it is clearly illegal and unacceptable to threaten someone with bodily harm at the point of a gun, nobody thinks twice about teaching impressionable children about hell and eternal damnation.

    Are you implying that teaching children about hell and damnation should be treated as a criminal offense in the same way we treat threatening a person with a gun? If not, then you should take better care in sentence structure and how you connect ideas in a sentence. I agree with the sentiment that children should not be taught about hell and damnation, but doing so is not even remotely equivalent to threatening someone with a gun. Both threatening a person with a gun and teaching children that there is a hell to which they can be eternally consigned are both unacceptable, but only the former is illegal while the latter is not and should not be made so.

  2. "How can that not be considered child abuse?"

    You might be able to make a convincing argument that in this instance it is child abuse. But I am very doubtful that a case can be made that every child taught about hell and eternal damnation is a victim of child abuse. It is not child abuse if it does not result in lasting psychological harm. You seem to be claiming that any instance of teaching a child about hell and damnation is child abuse. While some instances, such as the one that Richard Dawkins wrote about in 2006 (http://old.richarddawkins.net/articles/118-religion-39-s-real-child-abuse) arguably are child abuse, you go to far if you are claiming that all examples are child abuse. Many children raised to believe in hell and damnation do not suffer long-term psychological problems from being taught this. I did not. I would argue that I was not abused as a child by any of my exposure to religion. Misled? Yes. Deceived? Yes. But abused? No. I suspect that you have suffered no lasting psychological injury from being taught about hell and damnation. But if I am wrong, and you consider your religious uprbringing to have been child abuse, then when do you plan to have charges filed against your parent or sue them for this child abuse?

    My point is that it is false to argue directly or imply that all religious upbringing involving the teaching of hell and eternal damnation is child abuse. Rather, each case must be evaluated and judged individually. I think it is similar to the topic of corporal punishment. When does corporal punishment cross the line from a form of discipline to a form of child abuse? Likewise, teaching religious beliefs of any kind to a child becomes a form of child abuse when it crosses some threshold, some line. What we need to determine is where is that line. I am not fully prepared to answer this question, at least not just yet, because I am not an expert on child abuse and need to educate myself on the topic in greater depth before attempting an answer to this question.

    I will however offer this for consideration.

    Emotional child abuse is considered neglect. What constitutes this type of abuse? In a brochure entitled What is Child Abuse and Neglect? Recognizing the Signs and Symptoms, and published by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Administration for Children & Families, emotional neglect is "inattention to a child's emotional needs, failure to provide pychological care, or permitting the child to use alcohol or durgs." (https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/factsheets/whatiscan.pdf)

    In the same brochure there is a list of the signs of emotional abuse. Such abuse should be considered as a possibility when a child:

    "• Shows extremes in behavior, such as overly compliant or demanding behavior, extreme passivity, or aggression
    • Is either inappropriately adult (parenting other children, for example) or inappropriately infantile (frequently
    rocking or head-banging, for example)
    • Is delayed in physical or emotional development
    •H as attempted suicide
    • Reports a lack of attachment to the parent"

    So I would argue that an instance of a child being taught about hell and damnation, or any other religious belief, rises to the level of child abuse if it fits the definition given and meets the criteria described in this brochure. If it does not then it most probably is inaccurate to describe it as a form of child abuse or child neglect.

    You may also be interested in reading another of this agency's brochures entitled Long-Term Consequences of Child Abuse and Neglect. (https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/factsheets/long_term_consequences.pdf)

  3. "It's too bad that hell isn't real, criminals like this deserve to burn there for eternity."

    I share the emotion you are attempting to express here. This man is a pathetic excuse for a human being and does indeed deserve a considerable amount of torment. But I find it puzzling, perhaps even hypocritical, for you say this given the many times you have complained of people using emotionalism in their arguments. The above statement, I think, can only be seen as an emotional-based statement.

    For a person who constantly bemoans the use of emotionalism by others in their arguments, you seem to have no qualms about employing a tactic to provoke an emotional response from your readers. When you ask the question, "How can that not be considered child abuse" without actually providing your own well-reasoned, evidence-based answer, you are employing rhetoric as a means to tap into the emotions of your readers. You want your readers to feel a sense of outrage. This is an emotional response, not a one based on rationalism. Rather hypocritical of you I think.

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