Benjamin Edetanlen was sentenced Wednesday to 18 years in prison for killing his 5-month-old son in 2004 because of a paraphrased version of Proverbs 13:24: “He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.”
“The defendant stated that he disciplined the children, according to the book of Proverbs in the Bible,” said Assistant District Attorney Dalia Racine in court.
The baby died from blunt force trauma. He also suffered from a broken leg and brain injuries.
Though he faced murder charges, Edetanlen pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and child cruelty. Prosecutors asked the court for an 18 year sentence to be served in full, and the judge agreed. He has been ordered to stay away from children after he is released. His wife also faces charges because she allegedly did nothing to stop the abuse.
See news report below:
Through it all, Edetanlen’s defense attorney claimed that his client loves his children:
“Mr. Edetanlen firmly believed in the adage, you know, spare the rod and spoil the child,” defense attorney Ingrid McGaughey said.
Though the “adage” is often attributed to the Christian Bible, it is in fact lifted from the 17th-century poem, “Hudibras,” by Samuel Butler. Ironically, Butler has been described as both homosexual and atheist, yet a quote from his work is used by evangelicals around the world who have no idea that it has been misappropriated.
In the poem, Sir Hudibras is in jail and a woman he fancies comes to visit. To prove his love, she slyly suggests that he use a whip:
“If matrimony and hanging go
By dest’ny, why not whipping too?
What med’cine else can cure the fits
Of lovers when they lose their wits?
Love is a boy by poets stil’d;
Then spare the rod and spoil the child.”
Though the widow extolled the “virtuous school of lashing,” it had nothing to do with God’s plan on how to raise children. In fact, the sadomasochistic nature of the request is in direct contrast to any biblical doctrine; yet, this man, and many others, use it to inflict pain on their children every day in this country.
Thankfully, Edetanlen will be behind bars for a very long time, unable to justify evil acts against children with his own ignorance.