Is Religion To Blame For Moms Killing Their Children?

by Stuart Burson

We've seen it several times in Texas lately - women killing their kids in the name of religion.

Last year in Smith County, Deanna Laney said God told her to beat her kids to death. Before that, there was Andrea Yates, who said Satan told her to drown her kids. Then, just recently, a Texas woman cut her baby's arms off, saying she wanted to give her children to God.

So, do these incidents give Christians a bad name?

The country reacted in horror when the stories of Andrea Yates and Deanna Laney made headlines. Yates thought she was saving her kids from "eternal damnation" by killing them. Before murdering her children, Laney told her congregation in Tyler that the world was ending and that God told her to get her house in order.

When acts like these are blamed on religious intentions, many believe the secular community's view of Christians is changed.

"I think there are certainly some non-Christians who would maybe try to use that and saying, 'Well, you see... that's what Christianity leads to,'" says Dr. Bob Klund, pastor of Believer's Bible Church in Lufkin.

But even Pastor Klund believes that, for the most part, these events don't have a negative impact on Christian churches.

"Most people who even reject Christianity, but have some understanding of what we're about, understand that that's not part of our faith in any way, shape, or form."

Some may ask, could certain religious teachings actually be harmful for some people?

"Any teaching or anything that is too extreme leads to error. So people can be real extreme in their teaching, and that leads to error," says Karl Harris with Lufkin's First Assembly of God.

Another common belief is that linking cases like these with religion can give Christianity a bad name.

"In a way, it can. But the Bible also says (quoting Jesus Christ), 'My sheep will hear my voice... and a stranger they will not hear... they will not listen to the voice of a stranger.' And that tells us we can really know the voice of God," Harris said.