Judgement House: A Legitimate Case of Child Abuse

In my local area a church staged a Judgement House for Halloween, in which people are scared into believing because of the threat of God's punishment in hell. It basically portrays a few people who die and face God's judgement, with some being taken away by "demons" into hell and the others taken into heaven. Now we've heard a lot recently about Richard Dawkins' claim that religious indoctrination is child abuse, but this is a clear case of it...

As I read my local newspaper tell of it there was a picture of a nine year old boy being counseled to accept Jesus after the program. This alarmed me so I wrote the following letter to the editor:

I think it’s time more people question the tactics of churches like Grace Community Church with its “Judgement House” (as reported Wednesday). When a father verbally threatens his children with violence, we consider that mental child abuse, don’t we? How is that different than admitting nine year old children (as pictured) to graphic depictions of God’s judgement and the threat of hell if they don’t immediately accept Jesus into their lives? That’s some pretty powerful stuff, don’t you think? What nine year old child wouldn’t accept Jesus in order to avoid hell? If a Muslim group decided to make a similar “Judgement House” and admitted nine year old children, it would have the same effect. These children would become Muslims to avoid the Muslim hell depicted.

I know this is what that church believes, but exposing children to it is nothing short of mentally abusing them with threats, not from a father, but from a heavenly father. Most Christians think people should come to Jesus because he loves them, but apparently not this church. Like an earthly father who threatens his children with violence if they disobey, Grace Community Church threatens children with violence from a heavenly father if they don’t believe.

It has been said that “hell serves the holy purpose of cradle to grave intimidation,” and this is exactly what that church is attempting to do. But for civilized people, including most Christian people, what they did can be considered child abuse. They can only be thankful that with the separation of church and state, child protective service agencies cannot do anything about it.

Notice that I am also trying to rally Christian people to help me argue my case, since this is better than going it alone in our small community.

It hasn't been printed yet. But it'll be interesting to see the reaction.