This is one of the saddest stories I have mentioned.
In a sense, the story is finished. It is over. Seven-year-old Lydia Schatz is dead.
In February 2010 Lydia died at the hands of Christian parents who were using a disciplining method proposed by Michael and Debi Pearl of No Greater Joy Ministries, a Fundamentalist Christian organization. Their method is outlined in their controversial book, "How to Train Up a Child". (I ask you as a Christian parent...is this book in your library? Are you basing your discipline methods on this book?)
Lydia was adopted. By Christian parents who thought they were serving the Lord by adopting three orphans from Liberia. And they believe it their "Christian duty" to discipline their children. And to insure they did it right...bringing an obstinate child to submission and obedience...they used the methods taught by the Pearls.
They beat Lydia so severely over several hours time (because she did not or could not comply in correctly pronouncing a reading word) that massive destruction to tissues underlying her skin caused her kidneys to shut down. Lydia died.
A 911 call brought law enforcement to the house. Her older sister was hospitalized with severe kidney damage due to similar beatings given in the previous days.
In April 2011 Kevin Schatz and Elizabeth Schatz were sentenced for their crime. Kevin will serve at least 22 years of two life sentences for second-degree murder and torture. His wife, Elizabeth, will serve at least 13 years for voluntary manslaughter and corporal injury on a child.
I hope you will read Brad Hirschfield's column in yesterday's Washington Post entitled "Beating Children In the Name of God".
Especially his last paragraph which reads..."There is no way to bring Lydia Schatz back, or to undo the damage to her still living siblings, or any of the other children who are beaten in the name of God. We can however do everything in our power to put a stop to the practice. For the sake of these kids and for the sake of the traditions we hold dear, that is what we must do."
You can read more about Lydia's short life here.
You can read what one writer wrote about the Pearls' method of discipline here.
Or you can read my previous posts here.
You can view the Anderson Cooper video at CNN here.
My prayers tonight are for the little children. I hope yours are as well.