A pastor who recommended using a wooden spoon to spank children has been sentenced to two years in prison. The judge said that child abuse must be stopped.
The pastor is Philip Caminiti, 55. He was pastor of Aleitheia Bible Church in the town of Black Earth, Wisconsin.
It was my understanding that preaching something illegal is not a crime in the United States. It is illegal only to commit the act. Otherwise, the First Amendment does not apply. But my view is clearly old fashioned. Preaching a criminal act is now a criminal act.
Obviously, spanking a child with a spoon is a criminal act. A judge says so.
No legislature has passed a law to this effect, because of what would happen at the next election: lots of public “spankings” of very naughty politicians. It’s called “time out,” and incumbent politicians hate it. “Go to your room and stay there,” voters say. “Stay there for the rest of your life.”
So, judges decide that this is the meaning of laws against child abuse.
The female judge said this: “What is important to me is there was and continues to this day no expression of remorse or repentance for the consequences of those actions, or what the whole chain of events has led the family and the community through.”
What was his crime? Eight counts on conspiracy to commit child abuse. Specifically, he preached eight times that the Bible must be taken literally for imposing a punishment required by the Bible.
In Black Earth, Wisconsin, the authorities let you commit a crime eight times before arresting you. They tell you that you have committed a crime only after you have committed it frequently.
The judge tells you that what you did was criminal only after you did it. This is an ex-post-facto law. Such laws are prohibited by the U.S. Constitution. But it does not apply in Black Earth, Wisconsin.
“The children were beaten for of all things doing what children do,” the judge said.
He will not be allowed any contact with members of his church, except for family members. This applies to the six years after his prison sentence. He may have no pastoral job in any church during this time.
The Assistant District Attorney had tried to get him sentenced for five years, plus 15 years of extended supervision after the sentence.
The judge is some sort of liberal, I guess. Two years plus five will be enough, she says.
I found a Web article on the Bible’s view of spanking. It was written by Betty Miller. It is on www.Bible.com. Mrs. Miller had better stay out of Black Earth, Wisconsin. So should the people who run www.Bible.com.
I know I plan to avoid the town. That’s because I wrote this article saying that what Pastor Caminiti’s interpretation of the Bible is correct. Betty Miller’s is, too. I think I am covered by the First Amendment. But I’m old fashioned. Pastor Caminiti thought he was covered, too.
Silly, silly man. He believed in original intent. That’s gone with the wind.