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I’ve been reading Suzi’s blog from day one and although I don’t agree with a lot of the ideas that the FOC promotes, I do understand, to a certain extent, how those that have been surrounded by and immersed in a religious environment become trapped in a world of belief. There is one thing, however, that I just can’t understand, or maybe just can’t accept. That is the suffering that some children are forced to endure because of their parents’ choices.
I recently read “A Land More Kind Than Home” by Wiley Cash, which is the story of two young boys, Jess and Christopher Hall, both of whom become victims of their mothers belief. The story is told by three narrators: the church matriarch, the town sheriff and Jess Hall. Christopher is autistic and during a church service he is killed as the preacher, Carson Chambliss, and other members of the church attempt to ‘cure’ him. This is an oversimplified description of the book, but it is enough for me to explain what really haunts me about this story. Even after her oldest son is killed, Julie Hall continues to follow Chambliss, forsaking the welfare of her younger son, Jess.
Julie was raised to believe, and in this case, to believe in the words of one man who hides behind the cloak of religion. She is a victim, too, and when her son is killed, the reader is sympathetic. Julie is unaware that Christopher saw her and Carson Chambliss, the church’s leader, in bed. But Chambliss does know, and decides it is time to free the demons that are the cause of Christopher’s autism. Julie allows Chambliss to try to heal her son, and it leads to his death.
It is not necessarily Julie’s blind following of Carson Chambliss that bothers me. As I said, I understand how those that are raised in a religious environment can become sheep-like. However, when one child is killed, isn’t that enough for a mother to say ‘Stop’? Isn’t that enough to open a woman’s eyes and realize that her children, her gifts from God, are her responsibility and she must do what is best for them, regardless of what her church deems right? At what point does providing for the safety and welfare of ones children become paramount in the lives of those that follow a religion that clearly puts those lives in danger?
I realize that ‘A Land More Kind Than Home’ is a work of fiction, however, the incidence of parents allowing the beliefs of their church to interfere with their own responsibility to their children is not fictitious at all. It happens too frequently and at times results in unnecessary illness and death. As a mother, this is what I can’t accept. God blessed us with children and it is our responsibility to care for them. Because in the end, it is not the Carson Chamblisses of this world who will answer for the abuses of the children. It is the Julie Halls.
|Wiley Cash, Kelly Stone Gamble, and Suzi Shumaker - June 16, 2012|