Moral Low Ground


Kevin & Elizabeth Schatz, Christian Fundamentalists, Spanked 7-Year-Old Daughter to Death because “God” Wanted them to

A California couple is behind bars after pleading guilty to torturing and murdering their seven-year-old adopted daughter.

According to CNN, Kevin and Elizabeth Schatz of Paradise, California beat seven-year-old Lydia Schatz to death because they believe “God” wanted them to. The couple beat Lydia for seven consecutive hours, with breaks for prayer, on the day she died. When police arrived at the Schatz residence, Lydia was still alive. An officer administered CPR, but it was too late.

The marathon torture session was allegedly sparked by the mispronunciation of a word during the Liberian-born child’s homeschool lesson.

“We have heard the phrase ‘death by a thousand lashes,” Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey told CNN. “That’s basically what this was.”

Lydia was beaten with, among other things, a 15″ plumbing supply tube, called a “biblical rod” by the Schatzes.

The Schatzes didn’t only beat little Lydia; all nine of their children were victims of regular torture. Eleven-year-old Zariah was beaten so severely that she almost died too; all eight surviving children were placed in foster homes when Kevin and Elizabeth were arrested.

The couple was apparently heavily influenced by a Christian child-rearing book titled To Train Up a Child by Michael and Debi Pearl of  Tennessee-based No Greater Joy Ministries.

Ramsey told CNN that there is “no doubt” the book influenced the Schatzes.

CNN interviewed the book’s authors at their Tennessee home. “If you spare the rod, you hate your child,” Michael Pearl explained, “but if you love him, you chasten him timely.” “God would not have commanded parents to use the rod if it were not good for the child,” the book states.

Kevin Schatz, who pleaded guilty to torture and murder, will face at least 22 years behind bars. His wife will be locked up for at least 12. At Kevin’s trial, 11-year-old Zariah courageously faced her tormenter and asked him: “Why did you adopt her (Lydia)? To kill her?”

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  1. Betty FokkerAugust 17, 2011 at 5:03 amReply

    Jesus wept. They just wanted a ‘justification’ to indulge their desire to beat and torture children. Monsters. My oldest child is 6 and I feel physically ill thinking about someone hurting her at just a fraction of what that child suffered.

    • john dietzAugust 29, 2012 at 8:56 amReply

      if everybody was black in this case, it would have been called “A BEATING” and not “a spanking”. they did not spank them kids, they “BEAT” them. now get it right everyone!

  2. Foxy CatAugust 18, 2011 at 12:35 amReply

    How on earth were these people allowed to adopt children? Adoption agencies are typically anti-corporal punishment, and prospective adoptive parents may have to sign documents stating that they will agree to not spank their adoptive child(ren). If these people signed such a statement, only to go back on their word, they can’t possibly fall back on a defense of Christianity, because they would have knowingly lied under those circumstances.

    Think of all the couples who want to have children so badly and cannot for whatever reason. I wonder what goes through their minds when they see something like this on the news. Sickening.

  3. Gilberto DipientoAugust 18, 2011 at 7:03 amReply

    Above all I am proud that as a Hindu I belong to the only major religion in the world that does not claim to be the only true religion. I find it immensely congenial to be able to face my fellow human beings of other faiths without being burdened by the conviction that I am embarked upon a “true path” that they have missed.”
    As for Jesus, here is what some eminent scholars tell us.:

    Rudolf Bultmann: “The character of Jesus, the clear picture of his personality and life, has faded beyond recognition. I do indeed think that we can now know almost nothing concerning his life and personality, since the early Christian sources show no interest in either, are moreover fragmentary and often legendary…”

    Ernst Käsemann: “One is overwhelmed by how little [of the accounts of Jesus in the New Testament] can be called authentic…the historical figure of Jesus is traceable only in a few words of the Sermon on the Mount, the conflict with the Pharisees, a number of parables and some further narratives.”

    Günther Bornekamm: “The attempt to reconstruct an original draft of the Gospel according to Mark is a hopeless undertaking…”

    While more recent New Testament research sounds less depressing-especially with recent developments in New Testament scholarship in the United States-modern experts in general have gradually come to believe that no more than fifteen percent of the words attributed to Jesus in the New Testament are his actual words. The rest have been attributed to him by generations of theologians and scribes.

    In other words, the New Testament was not written by eyewitnesses. Rather, the four gospels gradually evolved, reflecting views of various Christian communities that existed from the time when the Gospel of Mark was written, around 70 AD.

    The last gospel, the Gospel of John (125 AD), is now regarded as the least authentic because of its exaggerated Christological and Gnostic tendencies. Bultmann considers the Gospel of John a Tendenz Roman (i.e., tendentious literature).

    As for the gospels of Matthew and Luke, written shortly after Mark’s (c. 80-85 AD), it is widely agreed upon that both drew on Mark for their plots.

    Regarding the virtually identical instructional material in Matthew and Luke that is not in Mark, scholars have assumed that the authors of both similar gospels drew upon a common source, logia, labeled ‘Q’ (from the German word Quelle meaning “source”). Q is said to comprise written or oral sayings of Jesus that might have been in circulation around the time of the composition of the Synoptic Gospels (i.e., those of Matthew, Mark, and Luke).

    This assumption in its most basic form is called the Two Sources Theory. It has gained considerable support with the emergence of the Gospel of Thomas (Nag Hammadi Codex, discovered in Egypt, 1945), which indeed turned out to be a Gospel of Jesus’ sayings-the existence of the genre of a gospel of sayings thus being demonstrated.

    None of the Gospels were written in Israel. All of them reflect the understanding of the evolving Christian communities in the various geographical locations they represent.

    Hence at the heart of the argument is the idea that the Gospel stories that we have all known, loved, eagerly recited and reposed our faith in- from the manger in Bethlehem to the crucifixion at Golgotha and beyond, to the resurrection and ascent to heaven- rather than representing the Jesus of history are actually proclamations of the Jesus of faith: What Christian communities outside Israel had come to believe about Jesus after 70 AD.

    Along these lines, it is quite certain that neither Jesus nor his disciples had any idea of him being the awaited Messiah, the Christ, God incarnate, the second person of the Trinity, or the savior bringing mankind salvation through his self-sacrifice at Calvary.

    Even the Last Supper- first recorded in Paul’s letters (“For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus, on the night when he was betrayed, took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, ‘This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me…’” (1 Corinthians 11:23-27)-even this might very well not be what those who actually physically associated with Jesus received (i.e., Peter, John and the rest of his disciples. John Dominic Crossan says the Didache, a second century document of the Jewish-Christian community–discovered in 1873 by Philotheos Bryennios–says nothing about such an event. In other words, the immediate followers of Jesus were not Christians. Nor was Jesus one.

    With much of Christianity’s most essential theological concepts being called into question- Soteriology (Jesus as the suffering savior) as much as Christology (Jesus as the divine second person of the Trinity)- Christianity is facing a major doctrinal crisis.

    • T CorlisAugust 19, 2011 at 12:45 amReply

      What people have “come to believe” and whether theological concepts have been “called into question” are not scientific points. The words you have written here, whether they are yours or another’s, suffer from the same lack of solidity that they attribute to the Bible.

    • JustinAugust 19, 2011 at 1:01 amReply

      Seriously? This is not your pulpit. This is a story about some twisted people. I am happy for you that you are a proud Hindu. I am not proud. I am humble. Humility is the way to go. Also, the only crisis is the one you are trying to create by this post. You are afforded the right to your beliefs but you are not afforded the right to post this and not get a response. Write something about the story being presented.

      • Rev. RHKerri Anne Ruane H.P.sJanuary 25, 2014 at 12:02 amReply

        Greetings Justin~

        I believe Gilberto Dipiento did just that-‘write something about the story presented’
        He actually gave several examples of why it is dangerous to take the bible piecemeal.
        The bible in of itself is a book written by man and then is open to interpretation.
        These parents followed another book, a book which used the phrase “God would not have commanded parents to use the rod if it were not good for the child” .
        Arrogance of ignorance believing there is only one path.
        Blessings of peace to all who pass here.
        Rev. RH Kerri Ruane HPs
        and murdered one and nearly killed another child.

    • BRENDAAugust 28, 2011 at 12:50 pmReply

      proud hindu.There is only ONE way and ther is only ONE TRUE and LIVING GOD his name is JESUS!Fall on your knees and cry out to the ONE TRUE and ONLY LIVING GOD he will forgive you of your sins and he will give everlasting life! now isnt that wonderful news!JESUS IS LORD!

      • Brett WilkinsAugust 28, 2011 at 1:39 pmReplyAuthor

        Beware of anyone who says there is only one true religion.

      • HELMUTTDecember 13, 2011 at 7:43 pmReply

        Maybe Jesus can help you with your miserable punctuation.

      • hopeApril 7, 2013 at 7:05 amReply

        and then beat your child to death in the name of your heavenly father

  4. JMarraAugust 18, 2011 at 10:53 amReply

    Ultra-religious foster homes in Missouri are exempt from the regulations that secular foster homes are subject to. Probably that applies somewhat to adoption, too. And often it’s only one or two children who get the worst beatings, so the condition of the other children might fool the adoption agents.

  5. EdwinAugust 18, 2011 at 12:45 pmReply

    This one is very sick on how they view and applied religion. For all others who claimed that their religion is a true need to think twice. There is no such a thing a TRUE RELIGION. GOD itself has no religion. It is only man made and create division among us.

  6. JustinAugust 19, 2011 at 1:15 amReply

    I looked at “To train up a child” on Amazon. This is a How-To Guide for CHILD ABUSERS! The people that wrote this deserve JAIL TIME for writing this book. Whenever someone hires someone else to murder someone, the one that hired the hitman is arrested. The authors of this book are the people behind the tactics that these parents used to KILL their daughter. PERIOD. Please investigate the authors of this book and their family for CHILD ABUSE. I guarantee you will find it.

    • Tony GieglerSeptember 13, 2011 at 7:45 pmReply

      Don’t forget “Focus on the Family”

  7. AshleighAugust 21, 2011 at 7:53 pmReply

    There are many reasons I’m an Atheist.
    Stupid Theists are one of them.

  8. AnonymitySeptember 21, 2011 at 12:11 amReply

    I wish I would have been there to stop it.
    Parents that kill their children should get close to life in prison. You get out only if you are near death.
    The authors, short of burning their book, need to be totally shamed and berated in public.
    And the other poster is right…
    Corporal punishment is just a justification for sadistic minded people.
    I am a survivor of corporal punishment done in the name of god – so I know a little about this stuff.

  9. AnakephaOctober 2, 2011 at 9:12 pmReply

    IF…they are found guilty and they had really done this….then the swift justice of prison a** intrusion shall send the message loud and clear to these nutjobs.

    • dribblesmearOctober 29, 2011 at 4:49 pmReply

      sounds like personal experience to me…. hmmm…

  10. The MamaNovember 7, 2011 at 8:57 pmReply

    Though I have not seen Kevin and Elizabeth for many years, I remember them as very kind and loving people. One article I read said the children had brought homemade bread and a thank you note to a neighbor. It also mentioned they would come serve this neighbor by raking leaves at their home. These are examples of the beautiful heart this family has. I believe they sincerely loved their children. I am heartbroken about this tragedy and will pray for Kevin and Elizabeth, along with all their precious children.

  11. A. Nonny MouseNovember 8, 2011 at 1:17 pmReply

    Oddly enough, people remember my mother as a “kind and loving” parent. At her funeral, several others wept to me and said that they couldn’t believe that she would commit suicide, because we had “the perfect family.” Seriously? I lived in fear for my life for over 12 years, suffer permanent nerve damage in my back, had several broken bones, a broken nose, and attended a “good” Christian school with my face covered in bruises…and that was “perfect”? Do not judge by appearances; the most abusive parents hide behind a veil of love and kindness. You don’t know what goes on behind closed doors. I sincerely hope those surviving children now get what I never had – genuinely loving parents and a life without fear of their caretakers. It’s a shame that one child had to die for it to happen.

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