An Arkansas candidate for state representative (he’s already served in the state house and once represented the Arkansas Department of Human Services) has been quoted in his own book as advocating in certain cases the execution of one’s own “rebellious children” under strict Biblical principles. The candidate, Charlie Fuqua, has been roundly ridiculed in places like Gawker for this tragically misguided statement, but it’s worth noting that cyber critics outside of his district won’t have a say in whether he’s elected (again) to the state house. What’s more worrisome to me about an attitude like Fuqua’s is less how literally some will take it or how much power he’s likely to amass in any political arena. I worry more about attitudes like Fuqua’s- even when much less extreme- because of the potential effect they have on child protection. Fuqua’s opinion might seem somewhere between clownish and horrific, but the idea that God has given parents ultimate authority over their children is one that can foster hostility toward any societal or governmental effort to protect them from abuse and neglect. I get it- religious parents want the freedom to raise and discipline their children without government intrusion or societally crafted ‘rules’ on how to do so. That’s understandable. But the fact is, abuse, neglect and child murder sometimes happen at the hands of parents who are followers (often strict followers) of all types of religious practices. Those who wish to hide behind religion in order to destroy a child or get away with it have an ally in Fuqua, however unwitting.