They beat the hell out of their children

Beating in the name of the Bible

SWR Info
Rolf Reinlaßöde
September 18, 2013
Translated from the German

Beatings, racist teachings – the Bible-based Twelve Tribes cult has proven controversial for years. In early September the police and social workers removed 40 Twelve Tribes children from their parents and placed them in foster homes. A study shows that the level of violence seems to be quite liberal in religious communities. It seems that the more religiously devout the parents are, the more likely they are to beat their children.

Child advocates and criminologists are alarmed. It seems that radical Christians in evangelical free churches beat their children. Particularly frightening – it is not just about spectacular individual cases. Professor Christian Pfeiffer, head of the Criminology Research Centre of Lower Saxony has evaluated 45,000 young people and over 10,000 adults.

The Twelve Tribes are a Bible-based cult and erroneously believe they are “the chosen people of Israel.” The Community was founded in 1972 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The Twelve Tribes followers live in communes. The current case revolves around the police raid of the Twelve Tribes communities in Klosterzimmern and Wörnitz.

Some Bible-based cults beat their children in the name of the Bible and then appeal to the Old Testament to justify their actions. They insist that God has prescribed the use of physical punishment and discipline and correction of their children. “Whoever spares his rod, hates his son but he who loves him punishes him often.”

Spriggs – the (unopposed) leader, instructs baptized members when disciplining children not to leave bruises and marks on their bodies. The Twelve Tribes members strike the children with resin-soaked rods which make the rods more pliable. Supposedly the strikes from the rod do not damage bones or muscles. If the child feels no pain, then the rod is probably too soft.

The children receive no support.

Prof. Christian Pfeiffer, Criminologist

Criminologist Pfeiffer has calculated that probably more than 1,000 German 15 year olds suffered at the hands of their devout Free church parents who severely abused them. According to criminologist Pfeiffer, some very traditional communities still exist. The parents believe the children are born with original sin so therefore it is easier to beat the hell out of the children!

The criminologist Christian Pfeiffer speaks of similar groups that abuse their children in isolated parts of Germany. The problem is well-known to the German Protection Association. We know that children are beaten until they are unconscious because they find no support says Pfeiffer.

The children are “educated” at home in their own private school.

In Germany more than one million people in evangelical free churches -many with several children educate their children without violence. The Association of Free Churches has sharply criticized the study. Nonviolent education is the consensus of the Evangelical Free Church, it said in a statement.

However, cases of child abuse in Free Churches exist, this is undisputed. In the Twelve Tribes community, evidence is obvious that the children were beaten and punished in Klosterzimmern and Wörnitz. Currently the Nördlingen courts have revoked the parental rights of the parents and placed the children in foster homes.

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