Parents Biblically Beat Child to Death for Mispronouncing Word

Update, October 29, 2010: The November, 2010 trial date has been vacated, and trial delayed until February 28, 2011. Elizabeth Schatz’s attorney has asked for the continuation so lawyers can review the 6,000 pages of evidence already submitted and more yet expected. They remain in custody with bail set at $2M each. — MD

A couple in Paradise, California is charged with murder and torture for allegedly beating their adopted daughters, causing injuries so severe that one of the two died. The other remains in critical condition.

The adoptive parents, Kevin and Elizabeth Schatz, subscribe to a Fundamentalist Christian philosophy of using “the rod” as a corrective tool. In this case, the rod is a quarter-inch thick plastic plumbing line.

Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey is prosecuting the case.

The Schatzes were arrested Saturday morning after their adopted daughter, Lydia, age 7, stopped breathing. She was subsequently pronounced dead.

Her 11-year-old sister, Zariah Schatz, remains in critical condition at a Sacramento children’s hospital, though she is showing some signs of recovery. The two were adopted at the same time with an infant girl, now 3, from the same African orphanage about three years ago,

Prosecutors allege the two victims were subjected to “hours” of corporal punishment by their parents on successive days last Thursday and Friday with a quarter-inch-wide length of rubber or plastic tubing, which police reportedly recovered from the parents’ bedroom.

Police allege that the younger girl was being disciplined for mis-pronouncing a word during a home-school reading lesson the day before she died.

The two young girls reportedly sustained deep bruising and multiple “whip-like” marks on their back, buttocks and legs, which authorities believe resulted in significant muscle tissue breakdown that impaired their kidneys and possibly other vital organs, said Ramsey.

The adopted daughters, from Africa, were subjected to far worse beatings than the Schatz’s biological children.

Ramsey doesn’t think that the Schatzes dreamed this up on their own:

[Ramsey] said investigators are researching a possible connection to an Internet Web site set up by “fundamentalist Christian people” that recommends use of the same whip-like implement “as an appropriate tool for biblical chastisement … to train a child from infancy to make them a happier child and more obedient to God because they are obedient to the will of their parents,” said Ramsey.

The website in question is not noted in the article. We did a little hunting, and believe we’ve found it. Michael Pearl, paranoid fundamentalist Christian whack job, writes in the immensely popular “To Train Up a Child”:

If you want a child who will integrate into the New World Order and wait his turn in line for condoms, a government funded abortion, sexually transmitted disease treatment, psychological evaluation and a mark on the forehead, then follow the popular guidelines in education, entertainment and discipline, but if you want a son or daughter of God, you will have to do it God’s way.

The book has sold over a million copies, and the Pearls’ website, No Greater Joy Ministries, ranks 104,378 in the US on (By way of comparison, your favorite web site,, comes in at 108,915 in the US. Rankings updated 8/19/11.)

The Schatzes are held on $2M bail, and are due in court in a week and a half to enter pleas against the charges of murder and torture. We’ll keep you posted.

41 Responses to Parents Biblically Beat Child to Death for Mispronouncing Word

  1. There isn’t really much you can say about this. I am not against corporal punishment but this is an example where people have no real understanding of the dangers of using it. I figure that the fundamentalist view didn’t help any at all. I wonder how vetted they were when they started the adoption process? Was the fact that they called themselves christians cause for an easier acceptance into the adoption process? How can any person or group ever be sure it is safe to allow people to adopt children?

    • I found it particularly interesting that they severely abused the adopted children, but not so much their own.

      • I would say it is the mentality that some kid that has been adopted isn’t really mine but is more of someone like my servant. I would also bet that they adopted not because the wanted what was best for the kids but to show people of their church what good christians they are.

    • Can you imagine any evidence that would persuade you to change your mind about corporal punishment, or is inflicting pain on children one of your core beliefs?

    • avatar ReligionKilledJesus

      These psychopaths would not and could not have adopted in the US due to what they are, intellectually and spiritually constipated sadists "trained up" in pews. Many adoptive parents who can't pass state mental health examinations will dash to poor nations who don't scrutinize adopting parents. Of course, there are those that cannot afford the adoption process here that will go overseas and others who are basing overseas adoptions on their hopes of offering a better quality of life for little ones. The latter are the rare ones.

  2. I have written a book entitled: Thy Rod and Thy Staff They Comfort Me: Christians and the Spanking Controversy It’s on the subject of spanking and the Bible. Wall of promotional text removed by admin.

  3. I just heard about this sad story, as well as the book these two abusive parents reportedly referred to using. I am a Christian, and I completely agree with those who are outraged by this! Sadly, some people (not all) use their religion as a justification for carrying out physical abuse – that is completely WRONG and should not be tolerated. Most Christians don't do this – yet we are oftentimes stereotyped this way thanks to idiotic people (and books) like this! It infuriates me! These authors couldn't be farther from Biblical truth. It's high time Christians take a stand against propaganda like this – it absolutely sickens me that these parents cite the Bible to supposedly "validate" their own ideology all under the 'guise' of Christianity. They must be reading a different Bible. This ticks me off to no end and I feel so sorry for these poor kids.

    • Could you demonstrate where the Pearls (that’s the author of “To Raise Up a Child” and his wife, not the people arrested for killing their adopted child) and their “spare the rod, spoil the child” technique diverges from the Bible? Thanks!

  4. Actually, I have come across numerous biblical citations that liken Michael Pearl's teachings to that of the anti-christ because they steal up children's souls with violent dominance before they have a choice or are aware. Remember, the anti-christ fools people into worshipping him as God. Michael Pearl tries to give people the illusion that they can control completely like God and they can be God-like and "sit as God." I truly believe Michael Pearl is the anti-christ.

  5. I want to mention something regarding biblical bible quotes. The Old Testament’s statement that if “you beat them with a rod, they will not die. Proverbs 23:13 is wrong. Countless children have died. Jesus went against many of the Old Testament teachings. King Soloman wrote the quotes that support physically assaulting children. Well, King Soloman and his son heavily taxed their kingom and was otherwise brutal.Was that based on God’s teachings?son he was ousted. Who have him the right to have power over the people? Here is a quote by Rehoboam. “Whereas my father laid upon you a heavy yoke, so shall I add tenfold thereto. Whereas my father chastised (tortured) you with whips, so shall I chastise you with scorpions. For my littlest finger is thicker than my father’s loins; and your backs, which bent like reeds at my father’s touch, shall break like straws at my own touch.” So people like Michael Pearl are following the teachings of brutal leaders not God or Jesus. Does this make sense?

    • Just for your information, there is no dichotomy (or rather, should not be) between the old and the new testament. If you’re saying one part of the bible, whether old or new, is wrong, the whole thing is wrong and should be discarded. You cannot “follow Jesus” and not believe the old testament. Proverbs 23:13 is not wrong, because its point is exemplified in the next verse. This is a sharp contrast between disciplining the child (not beating them to death) which won’t kill them physically (unless you intend to, or are just plain cruel, obviously), but would rather “save their souls”. Another thing to note, this is a collection of wisdom, not commands. The bible is a collection of literature with varying authors and author’s intents, and expected recipients. This is not the bible telling everyone to discipline their child, it’s solomon telling his son that disciplining his children is wise and good. Big difference that christians often neglect. I don’t disagree with your assessment of michael pearl, he, like the two parents, deserve to be in jail, and probably worse. But you make it seem like Michael Pearl is actually using the bible correctly, that it’s just that those parts of the bible are wrong, and that I do disagree with. Being a thinking christian, there is no doubt in my mind that the worst people in the world are christians, as can be evidenced by this and so many other news stories about parents either actively or passively causing the death of their children and claiming to be “following God”. Read the story of Madeline Neumann for another heartbreaking example of Godless christian behavior.

      • "Christians" you say "worst people in the world" – wow, very harsh indeed! Where is the reasoning? Remember most "Christians" in this country do not practice what the Bible really teaches. Most "Christians" in this corporation (country) don't know what they worship, most couldn't answer a simple question of why God flooded the world. True Christians are not evil and you will know them by their deeds – they do not participate in wars, they remain neutral in government, they do not salute the flag or worship pagan holidays like easter or christmas and they live according to Bible as close as they can. True Christians are not prejudice and you can see this by visiting them in their Kingdom Halls, they do missionary work and publish the Bible in over 200 languages around the world. Most of all they follow Jesus and his teachings but have the Biblical knowledge that Jesus was the first begotten Son of God but not God. Do you know who these folks are? They bring truth to your door, listen to them please.

  6. Michael Pearl and others who tell parents that they should physically assault children because God says so is acting like the wolf in Sheeps clothing.

  7. The more I read about this story the more my heart breaks. This is so awful. I just want to cry every time I read something new. I am glad more and more people are speaking out about this. I just wanted to point everyone to an excellent response to Pearl’s awful “laughter” that Vyckie Garrison at No Longer Quivering has written.…

  8. Dr. Tim Kimmel writes a beautiful, refreshing book for parents called Grace-Based Parenting that really shuts down the trap of violent, authoritarian parenting. First, I would like to say that "Fundamentalist Christian" is not exactly the right word for these people. They certainly do exist but their views are not representative of most Christians and one reason why the Pearls are so popular on the web is that quite a few parents who DON'T believe in their child abuse are able to access the full text of the book online, and they read it out of interest to know what they are up against. Second, I would like to say that we were visiting a church on several occasions that we left because we started to recognize that most people in it were of this mindset. I was having difficulty getting my tired, squirmy 3 year old to get his coat on and a father in the church came over and said "his Daddy must not be disciplining him correctly. what you need is this handy little device called a Wisdom Worker, look it up online…" I have no doubts that this man's "Wisdom Worker" is the same apparatus that was mentioned in the above article. So misguided and so sad for the children who suffer. Please know that the truth of Jesus is frequently stretched, misrepresented, or maligned. God is love and seeks our hearts to be restored to him…self-righteousness, violence, anything bad…none of those things can exist in him. Again, read Dr. Kimmel's book, and also see what the Bible really says about things. Important point…the shepherds of the bible carried staffs/rods (the same word used by some to mean a disciplinary rod) NOT to beat their sheep with, but to beat away the things that could kill the sheep. Similarly, we are to discipline our children wisely…not violently.

  9. Christian Parents…yeah right! Many people profess to be Christians yet do things like this, no not right, true Christians are recognised by the fruits in their lives, LOVE, PEACE, joy, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and SELF CONTROL.. Beating a child an inch from their lives is NOT CHRISTIANITY, Children are Blessings. These parents must be following a different Jesus!!

  10. Religion is dumb.

  11. Don't blame Christianity. A mother killed her 2 year old because the 2 year old interrupted her farmville.…

    • For an evil mother to kill her child, nothing is necessary. For a good mother to kill her child, religion is necessary.

  12. These two pigs deserve the exact same punishment. They need their asses beat purple! Spanking your children is WRONG WRONG WRONG!!!

  13. Do you recognize a difference between corrective spanking and brutality?

    • Then how do you explain those who behave "correctly" and are successful adults that did not receive any sort of violent punishment? That's really all I want to know. I never am able to find anyone who can answer this. Spanking, simply, is lazy parenting. It is very time consuming to teach a child from right and wrong without using fear. Let it be known that those who use "brutality" to "discipline" their children call it "corrective spanking". Every person defines these terms based on their own needs and convenience.

  14. SEEMS THEY WERE JUST BEING GOOD CHRISTIANS: Proverbs 13 24 He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes. (KJV) 24 He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him. (NIV) Proverbs 22 15 Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him. (KJV) 15 Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him. (NIV) Proverbs 23 13 Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. (KJV) 13 Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish him with the rod, he will not die. (NIV) Proverbs 29 15 The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame. (KJV) 15 The rod of correction imparts wisdom, but a child left to himself disgraces his mother. (NIV)

  15. Its Good Christianity to beat a child of 7 years over a course of days where they choke on their own vomit and experience organ beakdown for mispronouncing a word? Whats the worst thing you've ever done? Now what kind of punishment do you think we should administer to you as an adult who has probably done much worse? Let's say we leave out the bad things you've done and use what the little girl did as an example. Lets say you mispronunced a word today, and we your peers beat YOU for an entire day with a 1 inch plumbing tool. You wouldn't press changes would you? Or complain in any way, because after all, it's Good Christian responsiveness to your misbehavior……..

  16. They are not Christians. You can not take a part of the Bible and abide by it. You must read and study the entire Bible. There are many scriptures in the Bible that guides a parent how to raise a child. We are so focus on two lunatics that did not have the good sense God gave a rat. What about those poor children who have to live with this brainwashing, abusive behavior. What type of adult or parent will they become. I hope and pray these children get the help they need to deal with this. In Matthew 26:52 , "Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword." So why don't the Government issue the same punishment they issues on that poor little girl. Let someone beat them for hours, with a pipe. The Bible also stated that parents should not provoke their child to anger. Please remove the title of Christian from these two lunatics. Christian means to be Christlike…Christ represents love, honor, respect, righteousness. We as a community must begin the process of caring about our neighbors. We have to go back to helping supervise all children in our area. We must end the abuse on innocent children. If you see something strange react.

  17. I say, let these Christian parents beat their children according to God's Will, and let them kill their children according to God's Will (the bible permits parents to have their children stoned to death for being disobedient), and let them go to prison and/or be executed; because if they are truly devout, they should believe that God's laws are higher than the laws of man. Let them die believing they are martyrs to their faith, because at the end of the day… that is all that is going to make them happy. Christians like this have a martyr complex and would love nothing more than for society to destroy them so they can die martyrs to their beliefs and thus gain free passage to heaven. Hey, it's a lot easier than taking the time and effort to be a good person and treat people the way you would want to be treated. That shit is HARD. Much easier to die for their beliefs and thus get free passage to the eternal reward they don't really deserve.

    • These parents as well as Pearl's book is taking the Bible out of context. The word Rod should not be taken literally. In the original Hebrew language that the Bible was written "Rod" means "staff" which is a shepherding tool to "GUIDE" the sheep safely. It is not used to hit the sheep. They use the word "rod" often in the Bible but it should be taken figuratively not literally! For years Christians have been misinterpreting Scripture! I don't believe in spanking, children are born with a natural desire to please and learn best by our example. A parent should be smart enough to discipline their child by taking away one of their many privileges and not taking the temporary fix of spanking! As far as the Schatz's are concerned they are violent lunatics and should be given the death penalty.

  18. This story made me cry. I feel so bad for those little girls.

  19. Religion is poison….look what happens when stupiid people believe in a fairy tale…they kill a child….

  20. This is just a reminder and continuation of the slave-master mentality in America! The same ideology was used to sanction the beating and whipping (among many other heinous forms of abuse and torture) of African slaves by their so-called Christian slave masters.

  21. People like this are sadists like so many radicals are. They are no differen't then serial killers and should be treated as such.

  22. Jesus said in Matthew 18:16 that whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. I firmly believe with all my heart that Jesus has a special place in Hell reserved for child abusers. As to those who equate this despicable behavior with typical Christianity, your day of judgment cometh also: Heb 9:27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:

  23. Those parents who killed these children are going to be punished more by god then by man. God knows the evil they have in their hearts. Man can only punish their bodies, but god will punish their souls for eternity. Im not deep as most as the ones on this panel but I am a god fearing man. I have two African daugthers, and they are my life. Sometimes they are bad, spanking is not the first thing you have to do to control ur children, but Im not saying that there should be no spanking. Schools are telling us to put our kids on addictive drugs,( like ritalin), to control their behavior. Put them in boot camp programs, Spanking is a form of correction, not ment for abuse. Their are people that do not understand the differents, Just like some dont know the differents between right and wrong. Socieity abuses people by locking them up for long periods of time and putting them back on the streets to get back in society and function with the rest of us. That is their way of spanking the community. Drug them up and Lock them up. I rather correct my child with a little spanking of my own than to lock them up and drugs them. And isnt locking them up abuse?

  24. These animals need to put in general population with street criminals who will atone for their previous misgivings by eliminating this trash.

  25. Well it looks like #13 is a lie because this child DID DIE now didn't she!!! The rod as mentioned in the Bible does not mean an actual Rod. It is referring to a shepherding tool translated from the original Hebrew as a Staff used to GUIDE sheep to safety. It was not meant to beat the sheep! Whenever rod is mentioned it should be not be taken literally. This child was beaten so badly that she had tissue breakdown which made her kidneys shut down! She was beaten for 7 hours! All because of their lunatic mentality being fed by a misinterpretation of Scripture. By the way we are living in the age of grace now, not the age of the law! Look up Bible dispensations and learn something!! We do things Christ's way now and Christ never taught that we should beat or spank a child.

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  27. Beating is not an effective method of teaching anyone anything. The only thing you teach your child is to hate and fear you. They will agree to anything if you hurt them enough, but they won’t mean it. It is only out of fear. Just as you teach them to hate and fear you they will hate and fear the thing that gave you the excuse to hurt them. Religion.

  28. Touche. Outstanding arguments. Keep up the amazing work. my blog – brett rossi naked

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