Reply To: Pat Robertson – I have difficulty with this one

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Not surprising to me. Robertson has a way of fastening onto one particular verse that suits him. In this case, he is probably looking at the Old Testament verse that says disobedient children should be killed. Or else the “spare the rod” verse in Proverbs.

Much of the Hebrew Bible reinforces the concept of a patriarch having dictatorial powers. There are many verses that repeat over and over again that children, slaves, wives and concubines should submit to the patriarch. The story of the near-sacrifice of Isaac is perhaps the most terrifying. Offhand, I can’t think of Old Testament verses that portray a patriarch loving his children or nurturing them  — that’s Mom’s job. The New Testament is gentler and more merciful. You have Jesus telling his disciples not to shoo away the youngsters who wanted his attention.  Also, the young boy who offered to help feed the crowd and was commended by Jesus, rather than ridiculed. And best of all, the story of the father welcoming home the prodigal son.

In the circumstance presented by Robertson, he is pointing out that grandparents in most modern American families no longer have much respect. I think adult children do have an obligation to listen to the religious views of their elderly parents but also the right to form their own views. A grandson who is “stoned” in the presence of his grandparents and is not apologetic about it does merit some form of discipline. Depending on the age of the kid, it could be “go to your room” or “get out of the house.” However, if the parents are routinely drunk, they have no grounds for demanding better behavior from the children. Just my opinion — not being a father, I never had to figure out best ways of disciplining kids.

Tom in Daytona