The amount of abuse and torment children suffer in the name of religion never ceases to amaze (and disgust) me. And the worst part is, there's so much more of that abuse going on at this very moment than most of us know. Perfect example: Escuela Caribe, a military-style "discipline camp" in the Dominican Republic for "troubled" American teens.
Troubled teens with evangelical Christian parents, that is. Who consider something like being gay a "discipline problem" severe enough to pay goons from a "therapeutic boarding school" to literally wake their kid up in the middle of the night, drag them out of their homes (kicking and screaming, usually), and "transport" them to another country.
Sounds a lot like kidnapping, right? That's what the filmmakers behind documentary-in-progress Kidnapped for Christ think, too.
Yes, this really happens to real kids -- and their stories are heartbreaking. One of the most powerful accounts is given by a baby-faced boy named David who talks about his "transporters" tying a belt around his waist and using it to haul him to their car.
Why would an 18-year-old straight-A student be treated like a prisoner of war?
"I got sent down here because I'm gay and my parents just aren't okay with that," says David.
David's parents didn't offer any explanation for his disappearance to his friends, who of course were scared out of their minds with worry -- until David managed to slip a letter to one of the documentary filmmakers. See, "students" at Escuela Caribe aren't allowed to communicate with anyone on the outside, which makes a hell of a lot of sense when you see what goes on at the so-called school:
It's enough to make you sick, right? As a mom, I can't wrap my head around what parents who send their kids here are thinking. Are they completely brainwashed? Terrified of what people at church would say about their gay son?
Are they freaking insane??
Honestly, I feel like someone would have to be crazy to do this to a kid -- and even pleading insanity wouldn't get them off the hook as far as I'm concerned.
As for how these parents should pay for their sins, I think a biblically-inspired punishment is appropriate (Old Testament-style, oh yeah!): An eye for an eye.
Have fun at "therapeutic boarding school," Mom and Dad!
Do you think parents who send their kids to places like Escuela Caribe realize the harm they're doing?
Image via KidnappedforChrist/YouTube