Sunday, September 14, 2008

A Post I Wish I Didn’t Have to Write: Tripp, Intimacy, Spanking, Submission and Little Girls

(If you are a troll who has been sexually harmed by spanking, I beg you not to troll on this blog.)

Watching parents and their babies and children at Mars Hill today, I got a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. Mark Driscoll encouraged parents to register for the Ted Tripp conference, lauding him as an excellent parenting speaker. I am afraid of what will happen to those babies and children if Mars Hill parents take Tripp’s advice.

I have blogged a lot about babies, but it is now time to find out what our excellent parenting expert teaches about spanking children, and I’m going to focus on little girls, one of the most vulnerable groups for sexual predation.

Let’s say that a father is spanking his little girl. Here is the process that Tripp recommends:

1. The father takes the little girl to a private place.
2. He strips the little girl of her pants or pulls up her dress. He pulls down her underpants exposing her bare buttocks (and most likely genitals)
3. He lays her across his lap. We will talk about why he recommends this in a moment.
4. He slaps her naked buttocks painfully with his hand.
5. He spanks her until the little girl is “sweet” and “submissive”. Perhaps he will ask her if she is going to be “sweet” now, or if she needs to be slapped on her naked buttocks again.
6. The two hug and proclaim their love for one another.

No one can deny that this is what Tripp teaches. It is stated in his book, Shepherding a Child’s Heart.

Tripp recommends baring the child in order to increase the pain of the spanking. But the
Stop the Rod website asserts that Tripp teaches: “God demands that parents spank bare bottoms, even infants, and that this brings ‘intimacy’.”

Tripp recommends putting the little girl in a position of physical closeness on the father’s lap in order to “put the spanking in context of your physical relationship” (page 151, Shepherding a Child’s Heart). This disturbing statement would be at home on an adult sexual bondage website and we all know it.

Out of the hundreds of men who are being given this advice at Mars Hill Church, do you think there are some for which this combination of purposeful exposure, closeness, slapping and seeking submissiveness of little girls will be a problem?

Is it possible that practicing of Ted Tripp’s spanking techniques will trigger something in a certain percentage of fathers who have latent inclinations that they do not even know about?

Many people who are “not really opposed” to corporal punishment imagine spanking to be a perfunctory swat on the backside of a child who just ran in the street or lit the house on fire.

But Ted Tripp’s spanking method is a ritualized process, which emphasizes bare buttocks, physically positioning the little girl to be in contact with the father’s body and the goal of the little girl’s loving submission to the father at the end of the process.

Mars Hill will be exposing these teachings to hundreds of fathers of little girls next week. Are you as worried as I am?

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