Statement by Foundation President Anne Gaylor

Clergymen Share Culpability for Mother’s “Sacrifice” of Children

This statement was released following news reports that fundamentalist mother Deanna LaJune Laney, of Tyler, Tex., has been charged with killing two of her three sons on Saturday, May 10, because “God told her to.”

She is charged with bludgeoning two sons to death with rocks. A third son, 14-month-old Aaron, is in critical condition. Laney was described as a longtime church member and intensely devout woman. She is the sister-in-law of Pastor Gary Bell of the First Assembly of God in Tyler, where she was a choir member.

Rev. Bell’s response: “The main thing we need is prayer.” The case strongly parallels the recent tragedy involving another intensely religious Texas mother, Andrea Yates, who was convicted of drowning her children to “save” them.

Statement by Anne Gaylor, President
Freedom From Religion Foundation

When religious tragedies occur, such as those involving the devout Texas mothers who killed their children, reasonable people ask, “What went wrong?”

“How can this be avoided?”

“Can’t we do something so these tragedies won’t occur in the future?”

There is an answer, and that is for our society, including the press, to stop promoting “God” and the bible as truth.

Every clergyperson in America should be feeling a degree of culpability, because if it were not for the ubiquitous representation of a “god” as fact, and the bible as inerrant truth, tragedies like those in Texas could not occur.

Some mentally ill people might still do unacceptable things, but without “god” and the bible behind them, their actions could be expected to take a less lethal turn. Their mental illness could not hide behind the rationalization that “She is devoutly religious, so everything must be OK.”

Both of these mothers were devout. Both were subservient wives handling childcare pressures. Interestingly, both utilized Christian home schooling for their doomed children. Both “talked to God.” Both fundamentalist Christian mothers say they sacrificed their own children “for God.”

In the latest case, Deanna LaJune Laney reportedly even employed a barbaric biblical method–stoning–to murder two of her children, and attempt to murder her baby. After all, Psalms 137 reassures its faithful readers: “Happy shall he be, who taketh and dasheth the little ones against the stones.”

“Their children also shall be dashed to pieces before their eyes.” Isaiah 13:16

“If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother. . . all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die.” Deuteronomy 21:18-21

“Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.” Proverbs 23:13-14

It is time for our society to recognize religion as the unreasonable and dangerous preoccupation that it is.

Freedom From Religion Foundation

Send this to a friend