Catholic Books : How religion can be manipulated to abuse children - Catholic Sentinel ,
Their Will": Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment," by Janet
Heimlich. Prometheus Books (Amherst, N.Y., 2011). 397 pp., $20.
" Any book detailing child abuse by religious authorities or in the name of religion is a hard read for people of faith. Believers are faced with a harsh reality: Many of their cherished values and concepts have been manipulated, distorted or misunderstood for perverse or violent ends.
"Breaking Their Will" is no different. It narrates stark cases of children who were abused sexually, physically, emotionally and through medical neglect, all in the name of religion. For Catholics — after a decade of reading about clergy child sex abuse in the United States and Europe — learning that abuse goes beyond the confines of their church and is not limited to sexual maltreatment doesn't lessen the blow.
Author Janet Heimlich shows that sexual and other abuses of children in the United States are present in Judaism, Islam and various Christian churches. As the book title states, the primary goal of abusive adults is to break the will of children, using religion or their moral authority status to dislodge resistance.
Heimlich is a freelance journalist who has done admirable research in presenting the problem. Not afraid to tackle touchy issues, she not only deals with female circumcision but also the more controversial problem of whether circumcision of boys is abuse. She criticizes the practice. Much attention is devoted to medical neglect of children by parents who believe almost exclusively in faith healing, shunning accepted medical practices. " ........