Kidnapped for Christ: documentary about children whose parents rendered them to offshore militarized discipline camp

Here's a trailer for a documentary-in-progress called "Kidnapped for Christ," which tells the stories of children whose evangelical Christian parents pay military-style boarding school to render them to an offshore facility, where they are subject to inhuman treatment in the name of reforming their wicked ways, from "discipline problems" to simply being gay:

The film centers on the story of David, a straight-A student from Colorado who was sent to Escuela Caribe in May of 2006 after coming out to his parents as gay. Like many others, David was taken in the night without warning by a “transport service” and was never told where he was going or when he would be brought back home. While at Escuela Caribe, David had no way of communicating with any of his friends or family back home until the filmmakers arrived and he decided to ask them if they would smuggle out a letter that he had secretly written to his best friend. Once word got back to David’s community about what had happened to him, many people sprung to action and formed a plan to get him released. Getting David out of this school, however, turned out to be a much more difficult task than anyone had thought, and the trials they went through to get David released revealed just how far Escuela Caribe would go to prevent a student from leaving.

David was not the only student whose life was impacted by the school’s severe approach to discipline. The filmmakers followed many other students who also experienced degrading punishments and who struggled to understand what was happening to them. The film also features interviews with former students, including Julia Scheeres, whose 2005 New York Times Best Selling memoir Jesusland tells the story of the disturbing physical and physiological abuse she witnessed and suffered at Escuela Caribe during the 1980s.

The growth of the troubled teen industry, especially therapeutic boarding schools located in the United States and abroad, has given rise to many other allegations of the inhumane treatment of youth and the exploitation of families who are desperately seeking help for their teenagers. The goal of Kidnapped for Christ is to tell the stories of the students at Escuela Caribe and to give them a voice so that they may make people aware of the broader industry of schools like Escuela Caribe and the potential danger they constitute for our youth. We hope that the film will be entertaining, shocking, thought provoking and will ultimately inspire change in the way these types of schools are run and regulated.

You can help us finish the film and advocate for the rights of teenagers who are sent to boarding schools like Escuela Caribe by making a tax-deductible donation to our IndieGoGo Campaign here

Kidnapped for Christ (Thanks, Fipi Lele!)


  1. While I’m certain it will do nothing to divert the delighted religion-bashing sure to commence momentarily, I’d like to point out there is nothing Christian about any of this.

      1.  Well you could switch “evangelical christian” for any other nutcase fanatical/fundamental ideology…like scientology, for instance.

        Southpark did a really great episode on that whole “straightening someone out”-camp-shit once.

        1.  Extremists are obsessed with power and control, the specific religion involved is just a veneer.

          1. Sometimes and sort of. The obsessiveness of fandom is what draws their selves and their marks into doing what they do. If you’re into Harry Potter, but don’t care for Glee, you’re not going to build a worldview based around Glee and its fanfic.

            But the rewards of brutality and the cultic aspects do have a spectrum in common, yeah.

    1. Please explain how there is nothing Christian about any of this.  That phrase gets tossed around so much, it’s lost all meaning.  I can certainly see how elements of this are un-Christian like, but I disagree that there is nothing Christian about any of this.

        1.  Yet it’s not only allowed but demanded in the bible.  That makes it absolutely christian.  Jesus himself supposedly said that unruly kids should be put to death.  If sending gay kids to prison camps isn’t christ-like, it’s only because it’s not harsh enough.

          1. What?  there is no biblical teaching from Jesus saying that.  There is plenty to criticize the practice of Christianity about without making stuff up.   Mt 18:6 But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. 

          2. In Matthew 15:4-7  Jesus enters the stage from the left and says:
             For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother’ and ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’   But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is ‘devoted to God,’  they are not to ‘honor their father or mother’ with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition.  You hypocrites! 

            Get it?  He is pointing out the religious fanatics hypocrisy by quoting the contradicting rules.  
            (Looking a little bit like a young Gandalf.)

          3. Ipo,

            Probably best explained with the previous verses. In context, it’s clear he’s using the bizarre contradictory bits to challenge the focus on tradition, law, and established interpretation.

          4. @vertigo25:disqus :

            Try reading the whole thing next time:

            Matthew 15: 1-10

             1 Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus from Jerusalem and asked, 2 “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don’t wash their hands before they eat!”  3 Jesus replied, “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? 4 For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother’[a] and ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’[b] 5 But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is ‘devoted to God,’ 6 they are not to ‘honor their father or mother’ with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. 7 You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you:
               8 “‘These people honor me with their lips,    but their hearts are far from me. 9 They worship me in vain;    their teachings are merely human rules.’[c]”
             10 Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen and understand. 11 What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.”


            So… you see… Jesus was confronted by the Pharisees who claimed the Jesus and the disciples were breaking religious Law. Jesus came back with, “Hey, who are you to claim righteousness when you break the same laws yourself? In fact, these ‘laws’ are nothing more than the inventions of people.”

            Then Jesus goes on to say what goes into you isn’t going to spiritually defile you, but what comes out of you _will_.

            So… next time you try to school someone on the meaning of the NT, you might want to try reading it yourself.

          5. Of course…there is no need to make stuff up since there’s plenty of historical evidence of Christianity oppressing gay people. It doesn’t actually matter if the practice has it’s basis in the Bible or not. All that matters is that oppression of homosexuality is practiced by major Christians denominations. Going back to the Bible doesn’t undo all that Christians have done after Christ died.

        2. “The very word “Christianity” is a misunderstanding — at bottom there was only one Christian, and he died on the cross.”— Friedrich Nietzsche

      1.  If you were nice, why would you make fun of my religious beliefs? Not a very nice thing to do if you ask me.

        1.  I’m sorry if I hurt your feelings. It’s just the view from this side of the fence, the side of Science and logical thinking makes it so abundantly clear that those of you who remain wedded to the ramblings of those long ago goatherders of the Sinai are holding the rest of us back. The NEGATIVE POWER that religions hold over the actions of people on this planet is absurd. Yes, Jesus had some nice things to say about how to behave. So did lots of other folks.

          1. dammit I hate this commenting system, just lost the original post. Basically the gist was “noctilucent is being just as hateful and blind as any bible-thumper out there, and he doesn’t speak for atheists as a whole. If any mods can recover the original post I’d love it

          2.  My feelings aren’t hurt. I’m just saying you can’t make fun of someone and then say you are nice in the same breath.

            And just as most Muslims aren’t terrorists, most Christians aren’t hate filled monsters. And I’d contend that without Christianity’s POSITIVE power there would be a lot more homeless people, more people starving to death, more women without anywhere to go in crisis, etc. Most social service non-profits are religious based. If you just focus on the hate that some have, you miss the love that most have.

          3. nothing is worse than the holier-than-thou attitude of an atheist.

            Oh, I can think of some worse people.  Namely, holier-than-thou Christians that practice soft hate in the name of tough love.  Complete, evil dicks like Santorum that are propelled into the national consciousness by swarms of ignorant Christians.

            Oh, wait, let’s not forget the beautiful, holier-than-thou Muslims that abuse or kill their daughters who have “disgraced” them (in their eyes).

            All the evil idiots like Bush the Christians have voted in that have pretty much destroyed the United States for the rest of us.

            All the Christians that vote in Republicans that attack a single payer system for health care in their name.  And, in their name, contribute to the agonizing deaths of 45,000+ Americans per year who go without proper health care for the crime of losing their insurance (because of a job loss after getting sick, etc.). By the way, that’s about FIFTEEN 9/11 World Trade Center attacks per year. [sound of crickets]

            Right…  nothing worse than an atheist that dare says he or she doesn’t believe in what you do and tells you why.  Such a travesty.  I wonder how many poor Christians have killed themselves because so many atheists make them feel bad about themselves?  Right…

            Wait.. are Christians reading this? Don’t you have some gay-bashing republicans to go support and vote for?  With some luck, some gay kids will kill themselves in humiliation since they don’t fit their Christian mold.

            I’m not an hard-line atheist myself, but I sure would rather deal with critical thinking from an atheist than the bigoted, ignorant, hate-filled vitriol I see from many (yes, MANY) Christians and Muslims towards people that don’t believe the horseshit they do.

            Are all Christians and Muslims bad people?  No.

            Delusional?  Yes.

            DEAL WITH IT.

          4. Jesus was talking about the problem of belief versus knowledge and wisdom. Knowledge of the saviour (which is not Christ if you understand the Trinity) and the Trinity is the philosophical, linguistic and psychological proof of the non-existence of God. If you believe and do not know then belief in God (one thing) is better than belief in everything.

          1.  Chad,

            These things can usually be justified without reference to religion. So everything that makes sense and can be justified or demonstrated gets reclassified, and religion’s left with the parts that don’t make sense, and the parts that do make sense but can’t be demonstrated or proven.

          2. «Religious beliefs like “be nice to everybody”, and “give shelter/clothing/food/whatever to those in need”» — Those are not religious beliefs exclusively. Many people hold those beliefs without also believing some the more negative/toxic/unnecessary religious dogma. And it is risible to believe in blue men from the sky who are obsessed with milkmaids or men coming back from the grave to dispense wisdom, or that some cosmic invisible father is watching masturbators.

          3. Dear Marja (and Saltine, for that matter),

            I’m certainly not stating that religions have a monopoly on charitable, compassionate behavior.  There are secular charity and support organizations worldwide, not to mention social safety nets in many countries (although those are being sold off by the neo-liberals as we speak).  

            However, just because they are there doesn’t negate the fact that commandments to “be excellent to each other” in, say, Christianity for example, are a major part (arguably the _central_ part) of the belief system.  Does it really matter if people tithe to charities because of their religious beliefs (regardless of how ridiculous you personally might find them), as long as that giving takes place?  Whether or not the motivation to do good comes from secular or religious interests, it’s still ultimately the practices _themselves_ that are important.  

            Bottom line, uninformed and absurdly hyperbolic pronouncements about an entire realm of human experience aren’t helpful or constructive.  

            Let’s just “be excellent to each other,” alright?

          4.  I’ve got to second Chad here. I’m a committed atheist, but it’s a fact that, for example, an *overwhelming* majority of social/medical volunteer work in this country is by religious organisations. 

            When we’ve succeeded in building secular organisations that do the same jobs as well, we’ll begin to be in a position to argue about the value of demolishing religious institutions. That is blatantly not the case at the moment.

            So, guys, if we want to convince people that they don’t need religion, we should stop yelling and start doing some of the socially vital jobs that the churches are currently doing.  When the day comes that we’ve got that covered, we won’t *need* to persuade so hard.

            Don’t dictate; lead.

          5. Bevatron Repairman…you act like the Dark Ages had nothing to do with religion.  That was one of the reason they were so dark.

          6.  PamEllis,

            What Dark Ages? It’s probably an acceptable term for the early iron age, after the collapse of several bronze age civilizations, but it’s completely misleading for its usual referent. The late Roman Empire had civil wars every few years, and it’s collapse meant there were fewer wars on more limited scales. The luxury goods were less common after that, but the living standards for typical peasants may well have improved, and the power of the landed kleptocracy seems to have declined. And literacy was still widespread in the sixth century, so it declined rather too late for religious change to explain that.

        2. Of course, making fun of your religion is the more pressing issue and not that silly stuff about Christians abusing gay kids.

          Perspective. When Noctilucent kidnaps you and whisks you away to a military camp because of your religious beliefs, it might matter.

        3. Nobody owes your beliefs respect simply because they’re your beliefs. Ideas, which beliefs are, are rightly subject to examination and questioning.

      2. Putting the supernatural aspects to one side, i would say that Jesus had some interesting ideas about social behavior and community. Sadly most of it seems to be ignored by those that claim to be followers of his teachings.

          1.  Dunno, i have not looked hard. To be honest i only bother with “religion” when something happens to the extended family or some extremist starts waving their holy book of choice around like the object to end all debates.

      3. I put religious nuts and secular nuts in the same category.  They are both a very mean, hateful, and vindictive lot.  And neither sees themselves that way.

        1. LOL. Right, “secular nuts” are going around kidnapping “rebellious” teens and shunting them off to abuse camps. Or committing “honor killings.” Or trying to pass laws that get GLBT people executed or birth control banned. Oh, well, at least you get to feel superior to both sides

        1. Fuck “nice.” It’s right. Your beliefs aren’t sacred to those of us who don’t share them. There is no good reason they shouldn’t be challenged the way other bad ideas are. 

    2.  I think it’s legitimate to say that the evangelical doctrine that holds that absolute obedience (and heterosexuality) are necessary, and that violence is the best way to instill them, are not representative of all Christian sects.

      But homophobia is, in fact, doctrine among many Christian sects, including mainstream Catholicism (unless the Pope has retracted his ex-cathedra condemnation of homosexuality while I wasn’t looking), and even many C of E dioceses (viz all the African bishops who are fighting with Canterbury over gay priests).

      Likewise, absolute parental obedience has its roots in scripture (honor thy father & mother), and “spare the rod” has been a “Christian” excuse for violence against children for a very long time. There’s lots of scripture, and you can read anything you’d like into it, but these specific people specifically say that they are beating up gay children because the Bible told them to. And in that sense, this is, indeed, “Christian.”

      1. No. The text controls the possible, legitimate interpretations – people’s personal psychological dispositions may distort the text beyond its original intentions – two different problems of analysis.

        1.  It’s hard to interpret Matthew 15:4, Deuteronomy 22:13-24 and Leviticus 20:9 as anything other than a command to go to any inhumane lengths necessary to ensure your children obey, because if they don’t, you have to kill them.

          Of course, the bible also says you should kill anybody who works on saturdays, acts like a witch or cheats on their spouse.  If you’re looking for excuses to act like a total dick, the bible is a great source for religious justification.

          1. Matthew 15:4 has various possible interpretations. Put to death is only one. Surely die or must lose his life are other interpretations. Very radically different according to a Christian definition of life and death. Hey, even translators can have psychological problems and not recognise a metaphor or a code. Paul did much to suppress the Hellenic philosophical elements to the original message and theologised a fundamentally philosophical statement about God.

          2. I’m astonished.

            How on earth can someone read Matthew 15:1-11 and think Jesus is praising that law instead of condemning it? He’s turning one part of the religious tradition against another part of the religious tradition. He’s pointing out a contradiction.

          3. @Marja Erwin: No, he’s not condemning that law at all, nor is he pointing out the contradiction of “turning one part of the religious tradition against another part of the religious tradition.” At no point does Jesus ever say that God’s law has “contradictions.”

            Read it again. He is saying that God’s law is more important than “traditions” that are not God’s law. That God’s law is more important than, quote, “Human rules.”

            In this situation, Jesus makes two very clear distinctions: between the Human rule/tradition of washing hands before dinner, which is what the Pharisees are complaining about, vs God’s rule of  ‘Honor your father and mother’ and ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’

            Jesus is specifically saying that ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death’ is a law directly from God, and he is directly quoting Exodus 21:17 (““Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death.”) and Leviticus 20:9 (“For every one that curseth his father or his mother shall be surely put to death”)

            This law of killing children who do not honor their parents is repeated at least 3 times in the bible, and no, Jesus is not criticizing the law.

        2. Oh, so in other words, scripture is a Rorschach blot with no inherent meaning. Therefore, it’s worthless as any basis for ethics.

          1. Close. 

            The chief problem of Scripture–and I’m speaking as a Christian-turned Pagan here–is that each individual book within the Bible was NEVER INTENDED by its writer to be part of a definitive volume of other books that came together to create a singular, cohesive whole. 

            The fact that there are contradictions between books, especially between the so-called Synoptic Gospels, isn’t because of misinterpretations.  It’s because when these texts were being written, one guy decided he didn’t like Gospel A, so he wrote Gospel B to replace it.  Other people came across Gospel B and maybe didn’t like that it contradicted Gospel A, so they re-wrote Gospel B, keeping it mostly intact but changing a few key phrases.  Along the way, this gospel became known by later Christians as Gospel Ba.  Another Christian, seeing these three gospels, might have thought that they were legitimate Scripture, but couldn’t understand or explain the discrepancies, so they took all three books, rewrote them into a single book, writing out all the contradictions and changing details so that it all fit together.  And meant this to replace all the others, calling it Gospel ABCD.  Then a later Christian came along, and seeing all these gospels, rather than treating them as the individual, complete-in-themselves books they were always intended as, put them all together, called the volume of books a SINGLE book, and said that there were no real contradictions.

            This is why there are so many problems.  Christians–and sadly many non-Christians alike–insist on trying to make the Bible be a single book, when that simply is not the reality.  The reason why there are so many contradictions is because NONE of the writers ever intended their books to be read together as a single Scripture. 

            What’s funny about the whole thing is that even a lot of non-Christians repeat the myth of the Bible as a singular whole when they try to separate the Biblical scriptures from human believers.  You see this whenever you see someone saying “gee, and here I thought the message Jesus taught of the Bible was love and tolerance, not cherry-picking Scriptures to justify hate.”  The reality is that even the Scripture writers themselves engaged in chery-picking.  This is, again, why we have one Scripture that has Jesus talking about loving thy neighbor while another has him talking about hating your nearest kin.

            It isn’t bizarre, it isn’t a mystery, and it certainly isn’t a case of modern readers just misinterpreting a text.  It’s because people blindly insist on trying to make the Scriptures a unified whole when they just weren’t written to be anything like that.

      2.  “Danny, there’s a lot of… badness in the world. I see it in court every day. I’ve sentenced boys younger than you to the gas chamber… didn’t WANT to do it; felt I OWED it to them.”

      3. Anyone who genuinely tries to apply Biblical law literally to life now – well, they’d be doing things we now consider definitely-not-okay.  The Bible is a culturally situated document.  People who interpret it as such do pretty well at finding meaning in there that can apply to their everyday lives, good on them.

        But we don’t stone adulterers, we don’t condone the regular beating of children…  we don’t own slaves, and we don’t think the right response to rape is for the rapist to marry his victim.  

        There’s a lot of awful crap in there, made much more awful by being taken out of its original context.  You might say I’m bitter, as I’ve been one of the targets of decontextualized-dogma-fueled hate for half my life now.  

        1.  Why do folks miss that the context is “Holy Book”
          As in “word of God”   and “religious teachings”   Show me the expiration date on the bible or this god’s infallibility.

          1. In Christian theology, Jesus is the incarnation of the Word of God. And the Wisdom or Word of God did not refer to scriptures, it was, to oversimplify, an aspect of God in several religious traditions.

            Most early Christians would have regarded it as falsehood, if not blasphemy, to say that some written pages were the Word of God. And allegorical interpretations were often more highly regarded than literal ones.

          2. Well, because your evidence for it being the direct teachings of an infallible god is “because I said so.”  

            My evidence for the Bible being a culturally situated historical document is rather greater.  We know quite a bit about when and how much of it was written, how the books to include were chosen, that sort of thing.  Some of what’s in it meshes with history, which we can learn about through other kinds of evidence:  historical documents kept by other people and archaeology are the two big sources there.

            Many of the things in there make perfect sense in some particular social and historical context and no sense whatsoever outside it.  

            So I’m a fan of evidence, and you can’t provide any, so I’m going to go ahead and stand by my point.

          3. FYI I don’t actually believe in the teachings of the bible.  I was just making the point that it is the foundation of the christian church.  Trying to pick and choose which elements are “Christian” is silly.  Its like looking for the American parts of the constitution.  And for every slavery reference you claim is taken out of context you really need to put “love thy neighbor”  and “neighbors wife” into the context of religious leaders keeping the peace in clan politics, while endorsing the rape, murder, theft, and all manner of violence against the non neighbors in the next tribe over.

      4. Just for the record – the bible is only against male homosexuality – there’s nothing in there at all about lesbians.

    3. Sounds pretty Christian to me. Every time fundamentalist crazy Christians do something outright evil like this, the “good” Christians should be doing everything they can to expose it and shut it down. Because they remain utterly silent and complacent every time, “Christianity” has come to be a synonym to many people for “homophobic, prudish, ignorant hatemongers”. And maybe rightfully so- if the “good” Christians really are such a large majority, then why are entire political platforms based on hating gays, denying evolution and climate change, making the poor poorer, and restricting birth control?

      1. Alright, then put your money where your mouth is.  Call your state and federal representatives!  Start a grassroots protest movement against this abusive, illegal activity!  Better still, fly to Escuela Caribe to personally rescue the children being abused there!  Show all those complacent, hypocritical “Christians” a thing or two.  Take the high moral ground!  

        1. These are your bastards, not mine. They are your responsibility to take care of. Get to it sport, because until you do, your complaints about how unfair it is for the rest of us to judge Christianity by the example of folks like Escuela Caribe are contemptible noise.

        2. No, how about YOU clean up YOUR house instead of whining at us that just because there’s a meth lab in the basement doesn’t mean it should be condemned, because the upstairs rooms are awfully pretty!

      1. To kemplis and elladrion and the other ones mewling about being “picked on”:

        Get this through your goddamn heads: It’s not just brazen assholes like Escuela Caribe that give christians a bad name.
        It’s the meek little do-nothings like you, who look the other way and make excuses and try to change the subject by defaulting EVERYTHING to your “We’re being persecuted !” bullshit instead of getting up off your knees and DOING something about them, that “gives christians a bad name”.’

        When you obedient little droogs start policing your own, instead of letting them get away with shit like this, then maybe you’ll earn a little respect from the rest of the world. Although, in my experience, most of you will be more than happy to just curl up into your standard “Nobody appreciates us” fetal position instead of getting your saintly hands dirty.
        How convenient, to have “Cleanliness is next to godliness” as an excuse at a moment like that.

        1. Yep. Same thing as with child abuse in the Catholic church. Oh those aren’t the *real* Christians. We are. So don’t criticize the organization that empowered and protected the abusers, damn it!

        2. I don’t have that many tools to stop this, but when I speak out against these things, against war, and so on, I don’t usually see much reason to bring up my religious views.

          1. If you are a person of faith who HASN”T put their ethics and their balls into storage in order to make room for extra holy roller fervor, then that’s an important first step. If you’ve managed to keep your sense of outrage and willingness to rock the boat intact, then good on ya.

            But the best first step is still to NOT BECOME A PERSON OF FAITH IN THE FIRST PLACE. It only sets a person up to compromise or be compromised anyway.
            As evidenced by the typical knee-jerk “christian” responses here to nondenominational (or them consarned atheists’) anger at a horror story like Escuela Caribe. Which, instead of being a principled, ethical decision to strap ’em on, get the proper authorities involved and smash an exploitative and inhuman shithole like EC, is to automatically defend the rest of the herd – Who have absolutely NOTHING to do with the matter at hand. Except, of course, for their docile refusal to speak out against another “christian” group.

            So WHAT if you’re religious and “not like that”?  I’m  agnostic, and I’m not “like that”, either. The problem is, is that while self-described “christians” are busy congratulating themselves for not being “like that”, Escuela Caribe and those like them go right on doing what they’re doing.

            Do you grasp the concept ? I have always been less offended by the silliness of religious explanations for how the world came to be, than I have been by the way religions stifle, suppress, coerce and manipulate those who try to make it a better place to live, if that better way isn’t one that keeps the religious status quo in place.

          2. Why not?  If you claim to be a Christian and don’t want these people who also claim to be a Christian to be associated with you, do you not realize that you aren’t doing yourself any favors by hiding your own religious affiliation?

        3. If you don’t like the way the people in your club behave, don’t tell people “but they’re not acting like the REAL members of my club!”  Change the rules, kick ’em out, leave yourself, you have options that do not put the burden of explaining the bad behavior on people who aren’t in your club in the first place.

          I don’t mind people who say “please don’t assume all Christians are like this; I’m Christian and I feel like these people are making a mockery of my religion.”  That’s fine.  But this “you’re just going to use this as an excuse to attack us” thing?  Ick.  You could take some responsibility for the actions of the people in your club, if you wanted to.  You don’t have to, though, you don’t control them.  But if you don’t want your club to look bad, you gotta blame the people doing the bad things, not those of us judging from outside.

      1. Christian behavior is a plastic, undefined term that tends to pop up whenever people calling themselves Christian do something bad. How convenient. Because Christian behavior is good, no bad behavior is Christian and anyone doing it isn’t *really* Christian. Watertight,  that.

        1. Exactly.  It can’t simply be that some Christians are just bad people.  Funnily enough most Christians I know don’t hesitate to classify Muslims as either “good Muslims” or “bad Muslims” rather than “true Muslims or “not really Muslims at all.”

      2. But it IS Christian behavior.  It is fallacious to claim otherwise, because there is nothing to dispute it.  There ARE Biblical Scriptures that support and encourage it.  Claiming otherwise just means you don’t know your Biblical scriptures that well.  It also means you don’t understand that the contradictions in the Bible arise from the fact that it was never meant to be a single, unified book with one overall meaning.

    4. My question to you is: why is your first response to this a desire to distance and defend your religion from this, cast judgement on people for not being real Christians, and *preemptively* call out “religion bashing?”

      Why isn’t it outrage? Why isn’t it an expression for something to be done?
      I’m not saying that you *don’t* feel those things, but wonder why your priority is to put this first.

      In all the greatness that Christianity supposedly does, why is it that so many Christians seem to think that simply distancing themselves from the actions of others done in the name of their shared faith is the appropriate reaction to human abuse?

      1. Exactly, Vertigo — instead of splitting hairs over whether this hellhole is run by “real” Christians or not, energy would be much more productively spent shutting places like that down.

    5. To people who are not Christian, this kind of comment is ridiculous.  You say they’re not Christian, they say they are.  I consider it all basically infighting, and anyone who says they’re Christian is.  And while I might prefer your version, that doesn’t mean it’s the “right” version any more than theirs is.

      It drives me nuts.  If you want to fight with other Christians about who counts as Christian, go for it, but quit expecting us non-Christians to care about your internal definitional squabbles.

    6. “there is nothing Christian about any of this ”

      Like there’s nothing particular Islam about blowing shit up or how throwing stones at kids is nothing particular Jewish.

      I don’t care much for this tiresome nonsense:  sect-member A telling us how sect member B isn’t actually a sect member. Like member B isn’t going to say the very same thing about member A’s behavior.

      Listen, these non-christian Christians? these are YOUR beasts. Not ours. To us you’re all the same: deluded, childlike and not to be taken serious. 
      Don’t want to be linked to what you perceive as undesirable within your religion? Consider not being within that religion. There ARE alternatives.

      You’re barking up the wrong tree here.

    7. I agree. Their belief in a magical sky man is totally wacky since they’re mean, but my belief in a magical sky man is legit, since I’m nice.

    8.  Riiiight, because the atheist and agnostic boot camps/torture away the gay schools for troubled kids are just as bad.

      1. You mean these ones? 

        Yeah, those seem like lovely little home away from homes. Before anybody tries to say there is “nothing atheist about this” please remember that one of the reasons that minority communities get sent en mass to reeducation camps is because they insist on practicing their “primitive folksy” belief systems (usually, notably, in a “primitive” tongue) instead of moving on in cooperation with the “secular and scientific” progress of the party in charge.

        And if that’s too far removed from your frame of reference or maybe just not schoolish enough for you… there’s always this one: 

        What is happening at Escuela Caribe is abhorrent and inhumane, but everybody would do well to get there heads out of their asses and realize that God is entirely unnecessary for the perpetuation of atrocities (I mean, surely we all agree that God is unnecessary for the perpetuation of kind and charitable acts right?)… that really just takes mankind. Meanwhile, instead of anybody talking about what might be done to help these kids and young adults this has instead gone down the road of everybody’s favorite pass time: us vs. them. 

        1. i will give you points on the first two as examples of atheists attempting reeducation.  Although American atheists and agnostics aren’t exactly sending their kids there for re-education, nor are atheists members of organizations or preachers of dogma that is used to justify those institutions.

          On your last example, i am not sure if you are implying all mentally disabled individuals are religious, all scientists are atheists, but I am not sure I follow the link on that one. 

          But I agree with your central point that eliminating religion alone is not a cure all for the terrible things man is capable of.

          Ignorance needs to be replaced with reason and education and a fair system that drives opportunity, and reduced conflict over the resources to simply feed ones family.

          My problem with religion is not only the inspiration of terrible acts but religious leaders opposition to reason, education, and equality.

    9. I’d like to point out there is nothing Christian about any of this.

      Ah, Christianity: the religion that encourages you to believe that you can commit any number of heinous acts, and all you need to do is repent to be absolved of all responsibility. Given the Inquisition, the Crusades, etc., this seems very Christian, very Christian indeed.

      1.  Take it back now, there is nothing Christian about the Inquisition, the Crusades, etc.  Those were all just flawed human interpretations of God’s word.   Just remember that religion is all the nice stuff and the bad stuff is just human mistakes, and if the bible says to do it, its probably that you are taking it out of context…   Unless its nice, then of course feel free to take it out of context.

      2. In the Christian faith, repentance is not an absolution from responsibility, or punishment. 
        I appreciate that to an atheist this makes no difference, since the consequences are delayed until after the culprit dies, in a world that the atheist doesn’t believe exists, but nevertheless, Christianity doesn’t give you a ‘get out of judgement day free’ card. Should the Christian God turn out to exist, a lot of people who put off acting decent  in the hope that a last-minute half-sincere repentance will do the trick will find themselves paying very dearly for that mistake.

        (disclaimer: not Christian, too queer for it)

        1. Unfortunately, not only have some nasty-ass people convinced themselves that it’s a get out of jail free card, they’ve convinced the courts. Finding Jesus in prison or during trial is a fast road to a shorter sentence if you get the right judge.

          1. True, and unfortunate that judges can’t (won’t)tell the difference between a genuine change of heart and mind and a trick.

            Also unfortunate that so many people who claim to be Christians continue to reject the best qualities of Christianity.

          2. Can you imagine a lawyer trying to get the judge to reduce a sentence by saying that the defendant had found Krishna?

  2. It’s same principle as secular parents sending their kids to a mental hospital to get drugged up and placed in “circle of shame” style group sessions.

    The simple fact of the matter is any population will have a subset of parents who think raising children is about creating a cookie cutter of themselves instead of providing a child the tools they need to become the best person they can be.

    1. While I agree with you that the desire for a cookie cutter child is misguided, do you think that there’s no value at all in sending legitimately troubled kids to reform schools and those types of things?

      1.  Only at the behest of a councilor and will the full agreement of all parties involved. This type of action should be the last step in a series of steps that starts with the parents and teen sitting down with a councilor and actually talking about their problems.
        We have marriage counseling and all kinds of arbitration. So why not this as well? Then if the teen agrees that a more structured environment will help him get his shit together then he can go to military school or whatever.
        But this, this makes me steam. A parent who does something like this to their child should have the full weight of the law thrown at them for child abuse. Because that is what it is, child abuse by proxy.
        That this is done in the name of Christianity makes me sick and the perpetrators will surely feel the righteous fury of Jesus Christ just as He had when He threw the money lenders out from His Fathers house.

        1. Trent, twelve years ago I would have agreed with you completely. I’m a parent of adopted twins who both, on entering adolescence, flipped out in horrendous ways (being LGBT would have been the least of our worries) that put their lives at serious risk. Yes, there are awful emotional growth boarding schools out there, but the ones our kids attended saved their lives. Yes, there are screwed-up parents who pack off their kids because they’re gay/won’t keep their room tidy/[your inappropriate reason here]. I have met them. And I have also met some of the sanest parents I know, who, like us, had to finally decide to get help (yes, of course we tried counseling first) to keep our minor kids safe the best imperfect way we could find.

          Our son went voluntarily, but our daughter would never have agreed to go and we had to use an escort service. Some kids will not agree to what parents and counselors recommend.I would make the same decision today. I hope no one reading this ever has to go through what our family experienced, but hundreds of thousands of families have had to make what is nearly always a wrenching decision. Please know that not all of us are narrow-minded religious kooks who are threatened by the sexual orientation or beliefs of our children.

          1. Sorry for your family’s tough times, but I find it difficult to believe any circumstances warrant having your children kidnapped and taken to essentially a concentration or re-education camp. Doing so only creates more harm and animosity from your children towards you. I stop short of calling you unfit to be a parent, but not being able to control your child to the point of needing an “escort service” (great euphamism) makes me reconsider. Without knowing all the details I will stop short of judging you, but even a kleptomaniac, drug abusing, wild child can still be locked in their bedroom and not given dinner. Parents just need to parent. Kids need to stop having kids. These camps ARE NOT the solution, and are criminal in my estimation.

          2.  People can pose any argument they want out of ignorance, but until someone has faced the issues you list here, they can’t even begin to understand what this is truly like.  Kids with attachment disorder are especially hell-bent on destroying not only their own lives, but many times the lives of those around them.  People that call this “kidnapping” haven’t experienced the pain of making a tough decision like this.  Its nice to pontificate on a situation that you have no experience with, its another thing to have do something to save the life of a teen.

            That said, even if the clips where cherry-picked for that video, what they were subjecting the kids to were brain-washing techniques, not therapy.

          3. Yeah, flickerKuu, that will fix ’em: “lock them in their bedroom and not give them dinner.” Luckily for you, you’ve obviously had no experience of what some kids are capable of.

            “Parents just need to parent,” you say. Gosh, I wish I’d known that, it would have made all the difference. My mentally ill kids, in their mid-twenties today, would be just fine.

            Not, sadly. They’d probably be dead. But at least they wouldn’t have gone to those “criminal” camps.

            flickerKuu, please don’t spout off about something you’ve not experienced and know nothing about.

        2.  the perpetrators will surely feel the righteous fury of Jesus Christ

          Boy, that’d sure be nice, wouldn’t it?  ‘Cause it doesn’t seem likely that anyone will be answerable for it in this life.

        3. “the perpetrators will surely feel the righteous fury of Jesus Christ just as He had when He threw the money lenders out from His Fathers house.”

          Yeah, keep pretending that your imaginary friend will kick their asses. Because then we don’t have to bother fighting for justice in THIS world.

    2. I’m not going to defend certain actions that the “reform bad children” industry takes, but your equation of this and hospitalization strikes me as muddying the waters and is bit… concerning.

      The way you’ve worded this makes no distinction between legitimate mental health care and the shady business of what amount to discipline schools.
      I think that having someone committed for behavior that could harm them or others is a far cry from taking them in the night (often by force), sentencing them to hard labor, threatening them with eternal damnation, cutting off all communication with the outside world, and emotionally torturing them.

      Also… my dad had this great saying… maybe you’ve heard it, “Two wrongs don’t make a right.”The question really shouldn’t be whether there is some secular counterpart to this. The question should be “is this treatment humane… regardless of who is doing it?”

  3. Coffee100 – well, it’s the people who go off on “Honor thy father and mother” and an overly strict interpretation of “spilling one’s seed” – but they call themselves Christians.  And other people call them Christians, even if they’re behaving in a way that would make Tomas de Torquemada nod in approval.

  4. Sadly, the lesson in David’s case was not to trust his parents with any information about his sexuality. Perhaps coming out is too treacherous in many corners of American society, and kids should not be encouraged to do so until they are 18 unless they feel reasonably assured their parents won’t put them in jail when they find out. 

    1. Horrible but true in many places. Hell, a poll just out finds that 20% of GOP primary voters in South Carolina want interracial marriage outlawed.

    2. Unfortunately, it’s not healthy to have to hide one’s sexual orientation. And it’s really really not healthy to have to hide one’s sex-identity. But a lot of kids get kicked out of their homes. LGBT kids are much more likely to face homelessness. And T kids are much more likely, even than other LGBT kids, and are often excluded from homeless shelters.

    3. When we’re talking to young queers, we older queers usually encourage them to come out if they feel safe.  In a lot of cases, it’s best to keep your mouth shut until you’re no longer a minor, because your parents really can hurt you quite a bit, entirely legally, if they don’t want you to be gay.

      This isn’t a good solution. Being in the closet is awful at best.

  5. Who would have thought that banding together into a peer group around lofty principles of moral behaviour could possibly engender an atmosphere encouraging the manipulation and alienation of some individual members for the greater purity of the group?

  6. This happened to two (unrelated) people I knew in high school.  Both sort of just disappeared for about a year.  When they came back, they were very different people.  From the parent’s perspective, it probably worked.  What were once energetic, bright, and creative people (albeit a bit rebellious in the way many teenagers are) came back broken, but docile, shells of human beings.  It made me very sad.

  7. Is this even legal? I mean, religious emancipation starts at 14, when the parents don’t have a say anymore,  doesn’t it?

    1.  I’m pretty sure it depends on your state (in the U.S.) – some states still allow marriage at 12 – some say 18.  Where I grew up emancipation could be had at 16 – but it took going to court and getting a court order. 

      Without the emancipation – the parents have quite a bit of leeway on the rights of freedom of the child involved – and they were also liable in many cases for the actions of the child.  Of course I grew up in the ‘liberal socialist almost communist state of Connecticut’ – you know where people held parents accountable for being shitty parents.  Out here in the Midwest where I live now – people seem to have the attitude that everyone should be held accountable – unless it applies to them, or requires them to actually do something.

      It’s baffling :)

      1. I was referring to religious emancipation, which starts over here at the age of 10 and becomes fully fledged with age 14, when parents lose any binding say in their children religious education. 

        I fondly remember the day when I walked up the school’s secretary and told her that I’d be dropping religion class.

        (Religious classes according to the pupils’ denomination are provided and controlled by the states over here. Usually only for roman catholics or protestants – some provide ethics and philosophy as am alternative.)  

          1. Implicitedly given via my disqus profile. :-)

            Germany, to spare you the work. :-)

            Guess I should write that in stead of simply “here”.

        1. That seems a bit backward to me. By 14 the damage has been done.

          I don’t so much mean than in a religion-bashing way, but the thing is that most kids will believe anything that their parents fervently believe and raise them with. If you (the reader) had been brought up worshipping Ancient Greek gods, you’d believe in them exactly as much as the Ancient Greeks did.

          If we lived in a truly secular society, religious emancipation would start at zero and end at 15. Then for the final three years that a child is in their parent’s custody, the parents could try to convince them of whatever fairy tales they want.

          Seems to me that the number of religious people in the world would plummet though…

    2. If the parents sign over  legal guardianship rights to the camp when they enroll their children (which may be the case), it would not be a matter of religious emancipation anymore.  But don’t take my word for it.

      1. Oh yes, you Americans still have guardianship, do you?

        By your description it sounds like you can hand over a minor to someone else, by the way. Was it meant that way?

          1. retepslluerb,

            Not usually directly… but many bad parents kick out lgbt kids, and homelessness and bigotry and harassment forces many into survival sex. especially since many shelters won’t take lgbt kids.

    3.  The United States has no established law on religious emancipation.

      Back in the very late 1970s, I was told that there is a Supreme Court precedent from the early 1970s, where parents hired a deprogrammer to kidnap and torture their kid into leaving the Krishnas; what I was told about that case was that the court ruled that as long as you’re on your parents’ income tax form, it is their First Amendment right to practice their religion, including the right to control their child’s religious education, that trumps the child’s (effectively non-existent) freedom of religion.

      On the other hand, I’ve tried off and on to find that supposed Supreme Court case, and I keep coming up empty. And the source that told me this was, in fact, a cult deprogrammer at a seminar hawking his wares, and thus highly suspect. But the fact remains: whether that precedent exists or not, whether or not it’s settled law, courts and law enforcement in the US seem to presume that nobody who still lives with their parents has any religious freedom rights that their parents, or anybody acting on the parents’ behalf, have any obligation to honor.

      1. Thanks.  I was mistankingly under the impression that religious emancipation was part of some well-defined and ratified international treaty, but apparently it isn’t. (At last not in the way I thought it was.)

  8. I’m afraid coming out as a legal minor can be a dangerous choice between doing something that’s rubbish — as well as mildly harmful in the long run — and potential blow-back that can cause brutal physical and mental damage.

    I’ve been there.  I had to choose.  My takeaway was that it’s hard to tell others, especially those younger than me, to go ahead and be a hero when this time I won’t be the one who might have to pay, and pay, and pay.

    Mind you, I admire those who do take the risk.  I just hope they’re careful, is all.

    1. Maybe a bit rubbish for non-trans folks, but I’m trans, and the best time to come out would have been before puberty did its damage. So for us, it’s ‘years of poison and damage to our bodies’ instead of ‘a bit rubbish.’

      However, I didn’t have any reliable information about transition and trans people. I had disinformation saying transition was hopeless and trans people were all self-hating gay men and/or cross-dressing fetishists who’d gone too far. I didn’t know that there was any hope in transition, or that there were all kinds of trans folks.

      1. Yeah – at least the cis queers like me don’t have the same puberty clock.  

        I have a hard enough time figuring out how we can support LGB kids…  the T kids in hostile situations break my heart.  :(

        1. I don’t know where to begin. At the very least, supporting feminism/gender egalitarianism. So much of homophobia and transphobia is just an extension of misogyny. I wish the schools would cover these issues, instead of keeping quiet. Because when they keep quiet, they teach that it’s not okay to be different, and it is okay to bully those who are different.

  9. There are some great Military Academies in the US – ones where you can enter ROTC if one is thinking of joining the military later (you don’t have to, of course). For disipline problems a place with structure like that may be a good solution.

    THIS, however, doesn’t look much like a credible institution. There is organized discipline, and then there are people who don’t know what they are doing playing god. Ironically, these kids are probably forever turned off to organized religion after this.

        1.  Not making a direct comparison, just pointing out that the USAFA is infested with evangelical nutjobs who have a bad history of ramming it down the throats of cadets. Also, ROTC is not the same thing as USAFA,West Point, Annapolis.

          1.  I’m also not sure I understand how sending a child to the Air Force Academy or West Point is supposed to be an appropriate response to them coming out.

            A military academy of prep school may be a way of dealing with certain behavioral issues, but someone realizing they’re homosexual isn’t a problem that needs to be “fixed”.

            It’s not just the lack of credibility of the institution that’s  going to turn these kids–and others–off of organized religion. It’s the belief pushed by some religions that being homosexual is evil or a disease that has to be cured.

          2. re: “I’m also not sure I understand how sending a child to the Air Force Academy or West Point is supposed to be an appropriate response to them coming out.”

            Uhh – no one said it was.

          3. Uhh – no one said it was.

            Then who brought it up in the first place? Oh, look; it was you.

          4. re: “Then who brought it up in the first place? Oh, look; it was you.”

            *snark removed*

            I said there were good academies for DISCIPLINARY problems. I don’t consider, nor would most people construe, being gay as a disciplinary problem. The film is about more than one or more kids being sent there for being gay.

        2. The motives may be different, but the techniques are very similar.  Basic training and the first year at the academy are all about breaking down cadets and building them back to fit the mold.  This is done through physical “training”, discipline, conformity, loss of identity, etc.   It’s very effective.  Of course, in contrast, you are free to leave the academies without incurring a military commitment through your first two years.. or that’s how it was when I was there in the late 80’s.

          1. re: “I’m also not sure I understand how sending a child to the Air Force Academy or West Point is supposed to be an appropriate response to them coming out.”

            Uhh – no one said it was.

            Then please explain why your statement that “There are some great Military Academies in the US” is relevant.

            I may have misread it, but your comment seemed to imply that instead of sending him to Escuela Caribe they should have sent him to a legitimate institution. This is missing the point of the story, which is that the parents of a young man thought that his being homosexual was a problem that needed to be fixed.

          2.  The guy in the trailer was sent there for being gay – but not everyone is sent there for that reason. Thus my 2nd sentence was, “For discipline problems a place with structure like that may be a good solution.”

            So if the issue is discipline, keeping your kid off the streets, or if they just have a want of the military at an early age, there are many great prep schools, and later the main, college level academies.

            This isn’t some magic fix for everyone – but for many it is a positive life changing event.

            But to clarify again – you can’t “pray away the gay” and you can’t un-gay people with push ups. Sending anyone away for such a reason is horrible.

            Then again – maybe look at it from the angle that you’re with a lot of young, sweaty guys getting in shape. “No, Br’r Bear, not the briar patch!”

      1.  I believe Mister44 is referring more to the prep schools, which replace high school. But yes, USAFA has a particularly bad record. I was at US Naval Academy around that time period, and visited the USAFA and talked to cadets that were on exchange to the USNA, and was extremely glad I didn’t go there – it was a rather depressing place at that time.

  10. Religion is child abuse. Teaching kids religion as an absolute truth rather than as mythology when they’re too young to know any better is brainwashing. If you waited until a child was old enough for skepticism and critical thought before claiming that those stories are a factual account that they should live by, they’d probably laugh in your face.

        1. No it damn well isn’t.  Stop lumping the extremists in with all of religion.  Do you have any idea what Jesus preached?  It sure as hell isn’t what is being represented by your average Christian Fundamentalist. In point of fact if Jesus was around (I do believe the man existed.  Whether or not he was the Son of God is another matter.) I’ve pretty sure he’d do a table flip over what is being done in his name.  Its complete and total BS.

          1.  I wasn’t limiting my argument to just Christianity. My feeling is that if you are going to raise a child up on this planet, and start feeding them fairytales as if it were the actual Truth, be they Jewish or Muslim of Hindu or Christian, then Yes, it is in fact a “type” of abuse…to fill those tiny heads with stories and make their young minds feel as if they had better believe it, or else. That’s just my opinion.

          2. “Do you have any idea what Jesus preached?”

            Do you?  He’s a character in a book, I don’t think anyone really knows what he said, if he said anything at all.

            I was going to support the argument that it isn’t child abuse.  But actually, the more I think about it, it kind of is.

            Bringing a child into a religious sect when they’re not capable of critical thought is dangerous on many levels; it’s also very unfair.  It’s not education, it’s fiction presented as fact – how is that not mild abuse?

            I’m not entirely sure if I like the idea of lying to a child about Santa – let alone building an entire belief structure around them that’s based on a badly translated book from over 2000 years ago.

          3.  re: “My feeling is that if you are going to raise a child up on this planet, and start feeding them fairytales…”

            LOL – you are/are going to be/would be a super fun parent. “No, Lucius, that is not real. The world is cold, bleak, and horrible. Now finish your Cherri-os and stop crying. Pip! Pip!”

            If religion is abuse, then so would be any magic and wonder your child may experience as “real”.

            These would include, but not limited to:

            Mickey Mouse (have fun at Disney World!)
            Tooth Fairy
            Easter Bunny
            Cavity Creeps
            Magic (the Harry Potter kind)
            Magic (the Harry Houdini kind)
            Fairies or other folk lore entities
            Dragons or any fantasy elements
            That Star Wars is not a documentary
            Most of the crap in Science Fiction is just Fiction

            And make sure you don’t feed them any false ideas about who they are or what is going on in the world:

            You’re average and it is unlikely you will be president (or any other career requiring

            You’re really good at science. Too bad the field is underfunded and hard to find a good job in unless you work for some evil corporation like DuPont. *shudder*

            Why try out for sports? You really aren’t that good.

            I heard you are thinking of asking Tina to the dance. Son, she is just waaaaaayyy out of your league. Pick a more… homely girl. Even then you’re too fat/ugly/weird at this age for most girls to say yes.

            ETC ETC ETC

          4. If religion is abuse, then so would be any magic and wonder your child may experience as “real”.

            FWIW, there’s a bit of difference between the magic of make-believe and religion.  I have a couple of very imaginative kids.  My four-year-old figured out when she was three that the portly bearded guy in the Santa suit was her grandpa, and that he was playing with her to make her happy.  Nobody “lied to her” and told her that he actually was Santa, nor did we even present Santa to her as anything other than a story character, who somehow manifested himself at shopping malls and storefronts all over town.  She knows that the characters wandering around Disneyland are people goofing around in big fur and plastic suits, but she has no less fun with them for knowing what they are.  (If anything, she’s less afraid of giant anthropomorphic rodents wanting to possibly eat her for knowing that they’re just friendly people in costumes.)

            I imagine the religious folk have no problem watching their children eventually lose faith in the existence of Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, elves, fairies, and sparkly rainbow magic, just as long as they keep believing in the invisible bearded Dude in the sky Who always sees you when you’re sleeping, knows when you’re awake, and knows when you’ve been bad or good so be good for goodness’ sake.

            One is not expected to maintain a belief in a globally-gift-giving corpulent elf (who can squeeze down the chimney flue of every deserving kid in the world in a single night) beyond elementary school age, but for some reason people think it’s perfectly sensible to maintain a belief in a virgin-born Savior (who’ll usher your soul to eternal peace and rest if you only believe in him, and guarantee you an eternity of torment if you don’t) until one’s deathbed.  There’s an inconsistency inherent in one’s treatment of fairy-tales if you teach your kids that this subset of magical mysteries is childish horsefeathers, but that subset is eternal verity, untested but undeniable if you know what’s good for you.

            It would probably surprise you to learn how fun and magical a childhood can be when the Bible stories taught to some other kids as historical facts are treated as no more factual than the fables found in Aesop, or the 1,001 Nights.  Hope and imagination are encouraged in my household, and though our daughter seems to have a sobering and sophisticated grasp of the finality and inevitability of death (due to the long-expected and happily peaceful passings of her great-grandmother as well as a beloved cat), she is none the worse for lacking an expectation for an afterlife.  At two and a half years of age, her little brother doesn’t concern himself much with the eternal questions of myth, mortality, and reality just yet.  But so far, so good.  They’re both delightful little scamps, quite far from the bleakly hobbled imaginations you might expect them to have.

          5. I love how xtians act as though atheists have never been xtians or other theists themselves… and certainly never read the bible. Most atheists in the west know their Wholly Babble better than most xtians do. In fact, it’s often *why* they’re atheists.

      1. If brainwashing and manipulation are abuse, then I’m afraid religion is absolutely abuse.

        You can argue a parent’s right to indoctrinate their kids to a degree; think Santa – but why is it that eventually everybody knows that Santa doesn’t exist? Obviously because there is no physical evidence for him. Yet the same holds for religion and people go their entire lives believing those stories. If you drew a logical line between the two then defining religious indoctrination as abuse wouldn’t be a very hard thing to do at all. Hell, look at North Korea and how they are indoctrinated; it’s not religious but you’d be a fool to claim that their manipulation is anything short of abuse.

          1.  Moving the goalposts?

            If you teach your children religion – much in the way science or math are taught – then that is indoctrination, as religion is not based in fact, it is based in myth.

            If you taught religion much like you taught Greek mythology, then you are right.

          2. If you taught religion much like you taught Greek mythology, then you are right.

            And that’s exactly how my children will learn it.  My wife was given an entirely religion-free childhood, which (to my way of thinking, at any rate) gives her insufficient context for a proper appreciation of culture and ecclesiastical art.  She knows what Michelangelo’s David is, but I suspect she might not know why he’s standing like that, whom he’s supposed to be looking at, and why he looks simultaneously relaxed and intent.  She and her mother both think that a Noah’s Ark playset is a perfectly harmless toy for our kids, and at this point it is, but at some point I’m gonna have to explain to the kids the context of the story, and why a nominally benevolent Deity felt He had to destroy the world and nearly everyone and every living thing upon it.  And explain that most of the people around us believe that this actually, literally happened.

            Part of me really looks forward to the challenge of that conversation.  Most of me wishes I could just treat it like Greek mythology, or a Grimm fairy tale.  Or an old EC comic book.

    1. I can only hope you say this out of ignorance, you having never met an actual victim of child abuse.  If you truly knew people who have suffered physical/sexual/mental abuse as children, you’d know better.

      1. And treating people who believe in something as being insane is any better?  Not all people who are religious are this……fraked up in the head.  You want to start a religious war…go right ahead.  But if you are willing to lump all of us together, be prepared for all of us to stick together.  Instead of those of us in the Christian faith who are getting DAMN sick of the fundis practicing this insane BS.

        1. And treating people who believe in something as being insane is any better?

          If they “believe” in something that’s categorically untrue and demonstrably false, then yes.  Folks who are mentally stable don’t tend to make good parents.

        2.  Hahaha!  As if you religionists could stick together. 
          Not in 6000 years. 
          Muslims, Jews and Christians united against the heathen unbelievers!!!   W0000t! 

      2. I haven’t met any victims of physical or sexual abuse, so you may be right. But I know many people who were raised as Christians and disowned by their families when they became old enough to make their own decisions and rejected the hatred and intolerance that they were taught. And even getting to that part was difficult- they had to battle peer pressure from their parents and church members and it took a lot of courage to break free of the ideas that they’d clung to since the age of 5. I’d call their fear, anguish and uncertainty a form of mental abuse, and I hardly think that’s trivializing the term, just because they weren’t physically harmed.

        And then there are extreme examples like the subject of this post, or the Phelps family children who are being raised in a cult-like environment, taught to hate gays before they even know what “gay” means. I can only imagine the lasting damage that will have on their lives.

        1. I haven’t met any victims of physical or sexual abuse…

          One in three girls is abused and one in five boys. You most certainly have met victims of physical and sexual abuse, you just didn’t know.

      3.  I was in fact abused as a child. I know whereof  I speak. Granted, there are varying degrees of abuse, but feeding a child religion before they can make up their OWN minds is a type of abuse.

      4. There are scales, and they’re not all hyperbolic.

        ‘Victim of Child Abuse’ isn’t some rigid label associated with the most heinous of crimes.  Brainwashing your child is abusive, but it sure as hell isn’t as bad as beating them to death; no one said it was.

        1. Brainwashing your child is abusive, but it sure as hell isn’t as bad as beating them to death; no one said it was.

          Sometimes it is. Because brainwashing your child may mean driving your child to suicide.

      1. Depends on your definition.

        I think even believing in some of the milder collective claims of religion must involve some mega ego and a disconnection from reality.

        But if you believe it you probably think it’s pretty sane.

  11. The last I remember Jesus had quite a lot to say about the letter of the law versus the spirit of the law (ethics/morality and action). Then Saul/Paul had his Damascene conversion and seems to have missed the point – there are many interpretations possible and many better, philosophical, non-ideological interpretations have been suppressed.

    1. The part where’s they’re abducted and shipped to the camp for abuse.

      That their parents authorized this doesn’t turn wrong into right. It just shows that the parents are abusers and enablers of further abuse.

      1. In America, as long as they’re under the age of 18, their parents have the right to send them wherever they want too.  It doesn’t become kidnapping just because the kids don’t want to go.  If it did, then that would be a very bad thing for military academies and summer camps.

        1. You’re confusing might with right here. Slaveholders had the legal power for almost any abuse, but not the right. Abusive parents have the legal power to send their kids to these camps for abuse. But they do not have the right. It’s kidnapping.

        2. The difference is military academies and summer camps don’t literally burst into your bedroom in the middle of the night, drag you out of bed, throw you in a van and ship you off on a plane without telling you where you’re going. That’s what institutions like Esquela Caribe do. Sounds like kidnapping to me.

        3.  There is a distinct difference between a child not wanting to go to summer camp, and a child woken in the middle of the night only to be handcuffed and/or head bagged, whisked off to the nearest international airport, dumped in a foreign country, and imprisoned until adulthood.

        4. There are a lot of things parents aren’t supposed to be allowed to do to children, particularly older children.  They’re supposed to have the right to privacy, for example, and the right to refuse medical treatment.  

          In practice, older teens are still legally their parents’, well, property until they’re magically not anymore when they turn 18.  

          It may not legally be kidnapping, but it’s certainly not treating a person with dignity and respect to have him taken from his room in the middle of the night by people who won’t identify themselves…  shame kids have a hard time advocating for themselves legally, now, isn’t it.

  12. Geez, I work for a non-denominational young adult rehab facility, and this is exactly the opposite of what a good facility strives for.  We want our clients to walk away in a few months capable of making their own intelligent, wise decisions…which means putting them in difficult situations so they can think their way out, not cower in shame and obedience.  Shaming, confusion, and power struggles only reinforce bad choices, isn’t that obvious?  The kids find their “higher power” answers to get them through the dark night of the soul all on their own.

    If you don’t give them trust in their own skills and abilities and choices, they will either relapse when they leave and/or die. 

    If these kids come in already equipped to make good decisions – like fight the powers that be – then they probably never needed discipline in the first place.

    1. Thank you for the work you do. It’s not easy, and often goes unrecognized. It sounds like you and your facility really strive to help your patients be functional and self sufficient members of society. It’s heart warming to hear about people doing some real lasting good in the world.

    2. The fundies would prefer that their children die or be emotionally broken than “fall into Satan’s clutches,” as they would put it. They are simply that morally debased. Many Americans do not want to believe this because fundies are so “nice” (polite and cheerful), and because they’re conditioned to believe that nice white middle-class and upper-class people could never be evil.

  13. I say that Obama should send in Seal Team Six, extract the kids, and wipe the rest of those fuckers off the map. Sound fair to the rest of you ?

  14. [referencing Wreckrob8’s reply to Cory above. Silly Disqus!]

    Definitely.  Nietzsche would have been appalled by the Third Reich, but that didn’t stop Nazis from distorting his philosophical arguments in order to support their agenda (Godwin?  Schmodwin!).

  15. Well, I suppose I should be thankful we didn’t get any posts taking the part of the kidnappers.  But this “all christians are loonies” / “all atheists are loonies” shit is quite bad enough, thanks.   Don’t you folks know that anyone that makes an “all X is Y” argument is always wrong?

    Seriously, can’t we agree that fundamentalist, controlling and/or proselytising behaviour is damaging to everyone, whether it comes from a religious person or an atheist (or for that matter, a vegetarian, a physicist or a dentist)?  And accept that those that follow those modes of thought that do not do these things might be vaguely okay?

    FFS, can we stop pretending the example is the argument?

    …of course not.  Rant over.  Please carry on.

    1. I don’t say “all Christians are loonies,” and in fact, I keep plenty of awesome Christians around (partly) to remind myself that they exist (and also they’re my friends).  But, and this is the important point…  I also can’t get behind the knee-jerk Christian response of “those loonies aren’t Christian.”

      It’s a big religion.  It inspires some people to live wonderful, pro-social lives.  It inspires others to be hateful.  Currently in the US there’s a lot of the hateful going on, at least from my perspective.   If someone identifies themselves as Christian, I assume I’m about to be at the very least verbally assaulted.

      And I know wonderful, kind, charitable, considerate, compassionate Christians.  I know and love them and respect the way they live their faith.

      1. I didn’t say you said all christians are loonies.  I was speaking in general terms.  I can’t help that wonder why you thought a general garment was one cut to your specific fit…

        1. I didn’t say you said all christians are loonies.

          Nor did tessuraea say you said so.  As a reminder:

           this is the important point…  I also can’t get behind the knee-jerk Christian response of “those loonies aren’t Christian.”

          The response wasn’t a direct rejoinder to a perceived personal accusation on your part, but using the “Christians are loonies” epithet as a springboard for establishing the fact that despite having strong, mutually respectful friendships with some Christians, tessuraea has come to expect a certain degree of negative judgment and hate in dealings with many Christians, through personal experience.  So you shouldn’t take it as being aimed squarely at you, I don’t think.  Just another general garment that happened to quote part of what you said.

    2. “Don’t you folks know that anyone that makes an “all X is Y” argument is always wrong?”

      Not entirely true, ‘wrong’ can be subjective.

      And anyway, who’s ever called an atheist a loony?  We’re not the ones that blindly follow the man-made adaptations of a book written 2000 years ago that should otherwise be referenced as a naive, egotistic and outdated attempt at what we now call science.

      1. Um, I was making a joke there.  My statement itself is of the form “all X is Y”…

        Otherwise, you make my point for me.  if you think all christians “blindly follow […] a book written 2000 years ago”, then you’re not thinking at all, just parroting stuff you’ve heard other people say.

    3. “Seriously, can’t we agree that fundamentalist, controlling and/or proselytising behaviour is damaging to everyone, whether it comes from a religious person or an atheist (or for that matter, a vegetarian, a physicist or a dentist)?”

      Not really. Vegetarianism is healthy. So is clean teeth. If a parent wants to be controlling about their kid’s health, that is not as bad as having them  forcefully brainwashed into an archaic belief system based on a 2000-year-old book in my opinion. Well, I guess it would be bad if kids were forced them into a Guatemalan “dental health camp” I suppose, but you get the picture…

      1. My point was that you can have a fundamentalist, controlling, proselytising vegeterian (check your history, victorian era).  Or a dentist.  Or, indeed, a christian, bhuddist, or atheist.  But the harm comes from being fundamentalist, controlling, and proselytising.

        Forcefully brainwashing your kids into any belief system is wrong — even an otherwise perfectly good belief system.  It’s not the system, it’s the forcing…

        1. Yeah, but “the forcing..”  is in “the bible”  aka “the system”  So it is the belief system that is at fault here.

          1. The forcing is not in the bible, it’s in the people.  They choose their actions.

            And if the majority of christians can avoid having their kids kidnapped and imprisoned, it seems pretty clear to me that the fault is not inbuilt in christianity. 

        2.  You are right, but you miss the point.  It advocates fundamentalism in the bible and the very nature of religion.  The system is the forcing.  Occasionally everygroup goes off the rails, but religion actually has it in the instruction manual, to believe without thinking and follow without question.  its called faith. 

          1. to believe without thinking and follow without question.  its called faith.

            I’m not sure that’s wholly accurate.  One is required to believe without concrete evidence, not without thinking.  My scholarship is faulty, no question, but I am unaware of any Biblical scripture, at any rate, that instructs adherents to believe without thinking.  There’s a whole lot that one has to take on faith, but I think even the authors of the religion in question realized that nearly every adherent would have cause to question their faith sooner or later.  And so the failsafe is built into the system: sooner or later you’re probably gonna doubt as stubborn reality keeps butting up against your faith, and so your faith, held in the face of all contrary evidence, is gonna be your price of admission to life everlasting.  You’re going to have to think about your faith and the ways it contradicts the concrete evidence of existence, the fact that you’ve never laid eyes on your Creator or your Savior, the fact that a large percentage of your prayers don’t apparently get answered, the fact that actual, observable miracles seem awfully few and far between these days, etc., and then thoughtfully reject the secular contradictions and embrace your faith, or you’re not gonna be Saved.

            That conscious rejection of secularity and materialism is, I think, more what Christianity is looking for rather than just blind, unthinking, “because they say so” faith.

          2. I rather thought that the christian belief was that god gave us free will so that we could choose to do good or evil?  Which would be completely at odds with what you say.

            Besides which, “the bible tells them to do it” doesn’t explain the existence of dogmatic, controlling vegetarians (well, excepting John Hanvey Kellog, etc), or dentists, or atheists.

            I rather think that your own blind adherence to your  precepts is stopping you from discussing this topic rationally. 

            But none of this has anything to do with child abduction; this will be my last comment.

          3. I rather thought that the christian belief was that god gave us free will so that we could choose to do good or evil?

            God gave you free will so that you can choose to do what you’re told. I learned that from C. S. Lewis.

    4. No. Because the dogma of the religion fuels this fuckery. The vast majority of atheists don’t care if someone is not gender-conforming. Same for the vast majority of vegetarians, physicists, and dentists. It’s long past time we started talking about this, rather than dance around it with ecumenical weasel words designed to coddle the feelings of liberal xtians.

  16. I’m appalled that we have went from a powerful documentry talking about the abuse and torture of children into a theist argument that holds no bearing.

    Let me repeat:  THIS IS ABOUT THE TORTURE OF CHILDREN!  Those too young to defend themselves, being psychologically brainwashed and indoctrined into something vile and evil, and we’re going to scream at each other over whether there is a God or not?

    Whichever God you do or do not believe in, has nothing to do with this.  Humans do.  Human’s who take a book written by other human’s and believe that every word must be followed.  Yet they pick and choose.  The Bible and pretty much all religious texts are written by man and therefore flawed by man.  However:

    “Judge thee not, lest ye be judged.”,  “He who has not sinned, cast the first stone.”, “Love thy enemy.”, “Turn the other cheek.” and “Thou shalt not kill.” are all pretty good pieces of advice.

    I am not a Christian, I have my own faith which is far from that of any ones derived from Judaism or Islam.  I don’t care what you believe.  No one knows the truth unless you are able to come back from the dead and tell us what happened.  Logic and reason do fall into certain categories yes, i.e evolution, dinosaurs for example.  We know of these things because they are fact!  The afterlife?  We can’t tell.  It’s impossible and will always forever be impossible.  Everyone has their own reasons believing what they do, but that doesn’t matter here.

    Rather than arguing about theories, you should be putting this video all over the internet, donating some money to help the film makers and getting in contact with whoever, the authorities, police, child protection, anyone who could help them because no matter what you believe, I’m sure we can agree that this is simply WRONG!

    Also to theists, almost all religions have a message of peace, tolerence and love.  I’ve met some religious people who hold those ideals better than some atheists, and I’ve met atheists who hold those ideals better than some religious people.  We’re all simply human.  Make things easier for yourselves instead of getting worked up and hating, just get on with your day and agree to disagree, if you see a wrong, a legitimate wrong, right it.

    This is one of those wrongs, and we should all be working together, to right it.

    1. Yes, it’s simply wrong. And examining why some people think it’s right obliges us to move beyond the fallacy that “We can all agree it’s simply wrong” and understand why some people disagree. That means examining the poisonous root of authoritarian religion.

  17. Scenario: A devout Atheist couple’s son has been lured away by an Evangelical blond bombshell with huge tits and moist limps. Now he’s turned into a bible thumping, take-no-prisoners, fanatic. He’s  taken to calling his parents apostates,  heretics and lumps of bent-for-hell coal.  Is there a boarding school for that too? 

    Well, yes there is! A Waldorf boarding school would be a good choice to tame your out-of-control Evangelical teen. Send them to Australia.

    1. And this is relevant because – why? Last time I checked, the Waldorf doesn’t engage in human rights violation and torture as depicted in some of these military Jesus “cure the gay out of you” camps. Worse thing you’d wind up getting at the Waldorf is – an education.

      1. I dunno.  Between the elves and the lack of reading before age 7, you might end up getting something less than an education at Waldorf.  Still, beats the holy hell out of anything remotely like Escuela Caribe.

        1. I know some twenty-something year old Waldorf educated people since they were kids. 
          At age 15 all of them, girls and boys, knew how to build a chair and sew a pair of pants, had played theater, participated in the circus, played instruments, had worked out and finished projects by themselves and as groups, had created art, were on par with standard educated youngsters in the required school subjects and quit smoking pot, which they had since age twelve, because among themselves they found that it inhibited their development, but didn’t mind that I did. 
          They had and still have a rare curiosity for knowledge of history, the present, art, and most of the sciences. 
          I’ve never found that it harmed them that they could dance the fucking alphabet before learning to read. 

          I know there are different flavors of anthroposophy, even a devout Christian one, so results may vary. 
           But I can’t imagine Rudolf Steiner’s “ganzheitliche” Waldorf education doing any damage by having these bits of pre-hippie esoteric and spirituality nonsense. 
           I realize my sample group is tiny, but if I had children I would certainly not mind if they turned out somewhat like them.
          That would be awesome. 

          1. Known a few Waldorf kids myself.  Mileage varies.  As an overall approach applicable to all kids I don’t believe it succeeds or fails any more spectacularly than current California public schools.  It’s certainly gotta be more fun.  I went to CA public schools in the 70s and 80s (both pre- and post-Prop 13), and other than being in a circus I did all the things you mentioned by the age of 15 as well.  Except I still haven’t gotten around to smoking pot.  I was reading at three (my four-year-old daughter reads remarkably well right now), and I wouldn’t have traded my youthful time spent with my nose in a book for all the Elf Faires in the world.

            The Waldorf folks certainly have their hearts in the right place, but our kids are going elsewhere.

  18. This makes me so angry. The parent of any of these kids sent to this camp should be imprisoned for child abuse. Lazy delusional parents who can’t parent shouldn’t be allowed to control these children. I would like to see the people running this camp prosecuted for abuse, or kidnapping as well.

  19. Gaze upon the face of your education system if ol’frothy or one of his ilk should win your next election.

  20. Bevatron Repairman 
    Yes, all that terrible preservation of knowledge during the dark ages, for instance. 

    Really?  You think the church PRESERVED old knowledge?  In your mind, what caused them, and why are they called the dark ages?

    1. They were called the Dark Ages because many people in late medieval and early modern times saw the Roman Empire as a symbol of everything good, and the barbarian peoples as a symbol of everything bad.

      Never mind that the Roman Empire was based on chattel slavery, so were many modern empires.

      The classical knowledge and literature was generally written on papyrus. It survives pretty well in the desert, but decays otherwise. A lot of it only survives because people, in late antique and early medieval times, copied it from papyrus onto far-more-expensive parchment. Unfortunately, literacy declined after the 6th century, perhaps [?] because wars interrupted the papyrus trade during the 6th and 7th centuries. It was a few centuries before paper-making technology reached Europe and literacy rose again.

      I don’t think religion had much effect, one way or another, except to the extent that missionaries developed new alphabets and the like.

  21. I wonder why these “transport services” are legal, without them these schools would have a hard time kidnapping these children, I presumed that just because you are the child’s parents it shouldn’t allow you to kidnap or procure the kidnap of your own child, and if not why not?

  22. re:  Mister44

    “My feeling is that if you are going to raise a child up on this planet, and start feeding them fairytales…”

    LOL – you are/are going to be/would be a super fun parent. “No, Lucius, that is not real. The world is cold, bleak, and horrible. Now finish your Cherri-os and stop crying. Pip! Pip!”

    Why does that world have to be cold, bleak and horrible?

  23. Let’s get past the Christian bashing and the religion bashing. Let’s get to the real point here: These send-your-kid-away-to-get-fixed schools are TERRIBLE. I was in one when I was 14. Back then they hadn’t been pushed off shore yet. I was at Victory Christian Academy in Escondido, California. That little place now functions out of Baja California where I have read they can keep girls until the age of 15 and neither the US nor Mexican govt’s will interfere.

    The Christians aren’t the only ones running these terrible places, either. There are other religious-centered homes/schools/camps of the same sort, and there are totally non-religious, non-theist places, too. I’ve talked to people who were sent to mental institutions in their teens because of their “discipline problems”.

    Here’s a clue for all you parents: If your kids are totally out of control, start by looking in the mirror. Get yourself some counseling. Get yourself some education. *THEN* get into joint-counseling. It’s going to be really hard, I’m sure, because if your kids are really messed up, then the problems have been going on for a long time — long before you even noticed — and that doesn’t just go away over night. 

    And yes, in case you are wondering, I am a parent and the teen years were pretty darned cool, actually.

    1. “Get yourself some counseling. Get yourself some education. *THEN* get into joint-counseling. It’s going to be really hard, I’m sure…”

      Lishevita, we did all that. It didn’t work for our adopted twins.

      Mental health problems often appear in adolescence. You can work on yourselves and your family situation to the best of your ability and still have to deal with kids who are likely to die without severe measures taken. My wife and I had to come to the terrible conclusion that we could not keep our kids safe by ourselves. Twelve years later I credit the emotional growth schools they went to with saving their lives. They are still struggling, but they now have more maturity and experience to deal with their lives and choices.

      Yes there are plenty of screwed up parents who send their kids to these schools (some of which are indeed terrible places) because their kid is gay/rebellious/[other inappropriate reason]. And I’ve also met some of the sanest parents I know, who finally decided they had no alternative.

      I’m sorry you were sent away from home for inappropriate reasons. I’m glad your kids’ teen years were “pretty darn cool”. (They were for our older daughter too.) But please don’t assume that all parents with out of control kids are to blame for their kids’ actions, and that therapy can fix everything. Sadly, that’s not always true.

  24. Christians always manage to turn themselves into the real victims in threads like this. The Christian way is to not give a crap about the abused kids when there are Christians being badmouthed. Because protecting the reputation of your religion is so much more important than protecting the welfare of children.

    1. Why do you think I for one don’t give a crap? I’m Christian [if an odd sort]. I’m also lesbian and trans. I’m glad I never had to go to one of these camps, and I doubt I could have survived one of these camps. I want to break down heteronormativity and help make a better world for more people. I look at how people use religion to justify the abuse, and that sickens me.

      1.  If it’s not about you, then don’t make it about you.  And no, this is not a hint for you to start in “but but they didn’t specify which Christians, they GENERALIZED OMFG.”  If you’re not one of the Christians being bitched about, then just keep your mouth shut and stop derailing the thread.

        The fact is, there are a LOT of Christians–and non-Christians too, I’m betting–whining NOT about the abuse, but about people bitching about Christians in particular and religion in general. 

        If you want to complain about the Christian bashing, then do it SOMEWHERE ELSE.  This is NOT the time or place to change the subject.

  25. I was wondering when the comments would lurch back on topic after the 200-comment Interfaith Pissing Match.

    This stuff’s been going on for almost 30 years now.  I used to  read stories like this in Maximum Rock & Roll about groups like Back In Control, based in Utah, who ran a “boot camp.” One such group snatched a kid from a punk rock show. His friends tried to save him but the snatch squad got away.

    Any group that raided one of these horrorshows, “Invisibles”-stylee, and leveled it would have my hearty thanks.

  26. Know a young guy who works one of the Utah camps that meets a van at the end of the dirt road carrying teen boys who’ve been ‘intervened’, or kidnapped, if you will. Not a religious camp, more an outward bound group. He deals with drugged-out teens and the frequently-arrested. He takes small groups way out into the wilderness for a month. There are no matches. They have to learn how to make fire with a bow drill and make it every time they want a hot meal. No coffee, tea, sugar, cigarettes or any stimulants allowed. There’s no counseling at first because, obviously, the boys are super pissed to have been forcibly swiped from their life and put in the middle of nowhere. Slowly, the shock and anger wears off and he earns their trust, probably because he teaches them how to survive in wilderness. Some teens find self-esteem in this and redirect themselves. Some redirect themselves for a while and go back to their former ways. All of them learn invaluable outdoor skills. It’s a very tough solution applied in a tough way. I have mixed feelings about this methodology, but I’d happily backpack with any of those boys. Of course, only if they wanted to.

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