Delaware just passed a law that looks to be problematic for parents that spank their children. Here’s what the law says:
“Abuse” means causing any physical injury to a child. . . “Physical injury” to a child shall mean any impairment of physical condition or pain.
Because the law defines “physical injury” as anything that causes “pain,” it appears that Delaware has effectively become the first state in the Union to outlaw spanking. The law goes on to say that anyone causing “pain” to a child under the age of 3 years could be charged with a felony. Here are the specifics from the Home School Legal Defense Association:
Under the new law, a parent causing “physical injury” (e.g., pain) to a child under age 18 would be guilty of a class A misdemeanor and subject to one year in prison. A parent causing pain to a child who was 3 years of age or younger would be guilty of a class G felony and subject to two years in prison.
Some supporters of the bill claim that the law doesn’t actually prohibit spanking. But is this really true? Unless these supporters are talking about a form a spanking that doesn’t cause pain, that claim is certainly incorrect. Spanking (when done correctly) causes pain, and pain is precisely what this law aims to prohibit.
Why should Christians care about this? Unless this law is clarified or amended, then parents in Delaware who spank could be charged with a felony and put into prison for the loving discipline of their children. Christian parents could be incarcerated for doing what the Bible commands them to do. That would be a first in our country, and I’m surprised that more prominent news outlets haven’t covered this story. Perhaps we have to wait for the first parent to be prosecuted before we see any coverage.
Prov 13:24 24 He who spares his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him diligently.
Prov 22:15 15 Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; The rod of discipline will remove it far from him.
Prov 23:13-14 13 Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish him with the rod, he will not die. 14 Punish him with the rod and save his soul from death.
Prov 29:15 15 The rod and reproof give wisdom, But a child who gets his own way brings shame to his mother.