God inspired discipline results in death of young boy.

One of the problems that sometimes develop when you have people who honestly believe they’re receiving instructions from God is the lack of good judgment this belief sometimes causes. When you honestly think God told you to do something then no act becomes too horrible to contemplate whether that act involves killing abortion clinic doctors or unusual methods of punishment for your children. Take for example the parents in Olathe, Kansas who believed God had given them an effective method of punishing their children by stuffing socks in their mouths and wrapping them up, mummy-style, in duct tape.

Witness: God Gave Christy Edgar Idea to Tie Up Children as Form of Discipline

Brian Edgar was already dead when his adoptive father, Neil Edgar, brought him from the family’s rented Overland Park home to University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City, Kan., early on Dec. 30, 2002. He had vomited while a sock was stuffed in his mouth, witnesses testified last week.

Neil Edgar, 47, and family baby sitter Chasity Boyd, 20, are being tried in Johnson County District Court on one count each of first-degree murder and two counts each of felony child abuse. Edgar’s wife, Christy Edgar, pleaded guilty before testimony began Thursday to first-degree murder and child abuse.

On Monday, the Edgars’ 16-year-old adoptive son gave the following account of Brian’s final days:

Christy Edgar and Boyd wrapped Brian in duct tape from his feet to his shoulders on Dec. 28. Neil Edgar saw what was going on but did not participate, the older brother said.

The women also placed a sock in Brian’s mouth because he was gnawing at the tape. They left him to sleep in a basement utility room.

The next night, after a day at the Kansas City, Kan., church run by the Edgars, Brian again was in trouble, and again Boyd and Christy Edgar wrapped him in duct tape, the older brother said.

They ran out of tape when Brian was wrapped up to just above his waist. Neil and Christy Edgar went to get more, and when they returned the women continued to tape Brian, this time wrapping it completely around his head, leaving only an opening for him to breathe through his nose.

“Now try to get out of this one,” the 16-year-old testified one of the women told Brian.

The next morning, Brian was not breathing. Neil Edgar took him to a hospital.

Oops.  Guess she wrapped him up a little too well, eh? The papers are filled with news stories like this all the time where someone acting under the belief that God is speaking directly to them goes off and does all manner of horrible things. This isn’t limited to any one particular faith as you’ll find such examples in all religious backgrounds. After all, it’s what the September 11th hijackers used to steel their courage.

I’m often told by believers that with God “all things are possible” to which I usually reply: “Yes, I know. And that’s what frightens me.”

22 thoughts on “God inspired discipline results in death of young boy.

  1. Wow.  I think it just supports the point that fanatics of any stripe are just plain freakin’ dangerous.  Christian, Muslim, Hindu, etc.  Unfortunately, it’s hard to clamp down on fanatics since it may effect the moderates…  As in , Middle East extremists, Christian Fundamentalists, all those that feel their belief or cause is worth the wanton murder of trangressors, etc.  Sometimes I feel like a strong moral stand is assuredly warranted.  Sometimes I feel we’re simply left with the realization that some are just moronic assholes, and, unfortunately, you can’t save everybody.  Just try not to be around when they go off.

  2. It’s the fanatics that do crazy things like this.  Biblical Christianity does not condone any of these acts. It saddens me whenever I read these things on the news because people are so easily decieved and also there are a lot of wackos out there.

  3. As I said before, these events aren’t limited to one particular belief system. Examples can be found in just about all of them of people who convinced themselves what they were doing was condoned by God.

  4. Brendoman,
    I completely agree that Christianity at its heart can be truly wonderful and inspirational. But the fanatics can and do mess things up.  Your beliefs compel you to love them and theirs (supposedly) command them to do these heinous acts.  Where does the true nobility lie?  In your (I’m assuming) pacifistic morals or their bending to the will of God?  Granted you think they have heard a false will, but they would doubtless claim the same of you.

  5. Guys, I think some of you are missing some of the finer points of this tragedy. The children were reprimanded like this for taking cookies and water from the tap. These were adopted children, who only wanted a stable home and sustenance. The children seemed to accept being tied up as a valid response to the wrongness of feeding hunger and thirst. The parents are monsters and should never have been allowed to adopt. Then consider the friend, a mother of nine children who assisted by destroying evidence of the murder of a child.
    Religion, as Les pointed out, allows people to justify any number of heinous beliefs and actions and Brendoman, your concern seems to be for defense of the bible, as though defending it and the religion it represents should be our concern as well. Well guess what – even if the bible doesn’t deserve to be blamed for each and every one of the actions of wackos, it and Christianity keep showing up as accomplices to repression, abuse and murder. If it is encouraging anti-social behavior, maybe it’s time to ban it. After all, far less controversial and hate-provoking books have been banned by Christians.
    It isn’t funny anymore and never has been. Defend the bible all you want. But consider looking into the death, destruction, hate and intolerance it can be said to have had a direct link to and maybe you’ll kid yourself less and another kid will still be alive.

  6. People already are frightened of atheists. We’re supposed to be evil and without morals, remember?

    The reason I put up posts such as this is to off-set the common opinion that religious faith is always a good thing. Like anything else, it has its dark side. I get tired of being told by people like David that I am instantly not trust-worthy simply because I lack faith in a higher power when there are believers out there committing acts way more heinous than anything I’ve ever done or would ever do.

  7. The papers are filled with news stories like this all the time where someone acting under the belief that God is speaking directly to them goes off and does all manner of horrible things..  ..After all, it

  8. You obviously haven’t had to face the charge of being immoral because morals only come from god. Les seems to be trying to show that morals and religion aren’t dependent. The level of your piety has nothing to do with your level of morality. Morality is generally society driven, and most choices of right and wrong are determined by what society will allow (or will no longer allow). Just look at what has been considered acceptable behaviour in the U.S. since it’s foundation, and what was once perfectly acceptable, but is now seen as morally reprehensible. Did the essential values allegedly taught in the bible change, of course not. What changed was the societies acceptance of what is right, and what is wrong. Things like slavery, racism, and spousal/child abuse were once acceptable, and could be supported by scripture, so why did things change? It wasn’t the fundementalists sticking to scripture, it was open minded free thinkers that were willing to buck the status quo.

  9. I think I have to weigh in with Daryl on this one.

    There is something inherently unfair about media sources jumping all over those who restrict,  hurt, damage and/or kill in the name of their god (or lack thereof.) Not because the stories should be hidden, but because they often imply that the religion (or lack thereof) is to blame for the crime.

    I stand very firmly stand behind the statement that ideas are not responsible for the people who believe in them.

    Christianity is about:
      – Loving God (#1)
      – Loving they Neighbor (#2)

    This is straight from the big J himself. And yet when some lunatic prooftexts the more “esoteric” parts of the bible into evidence of their need to be immoral….or better, “God” ‘tells’ somebody that they should perform an immoral act—the press jumps all over their religious beliefs.

    Why not report “yet another lunatic with no sense of reality has latched onto such-and-such (music, TV shows, games, God, Satan, Twinkies) as their crutch and the action has resulted in .

    Much better, I think, and no implication that the “crutch” in question is actually at fault for the psychotic behavior.

  10. There is something inherently unfair about media sources jumping all over those who restrict, hurt, damage and/or kill in the name of their god (or lack thereof.)

    I moderately disagree; many of these type stories are not even reported in the mainstream media, at least not at the national level.  Did you see the story a couple of weeks ago about the church that killed an autistic kid while trying to

  11. Not because the stories should be hidden, but because they often imply that the religion (or lack thereof) is to blame for the crime.


    Hmm I don’t know about anyone else here, but surely a belief system that cultivates the view that it’s followers are saved and or chosen by God and therefore somewhat better than everyone else, and that those who are not followers are condemned and unworthy and at best misguided, might lead some of it’s less discerning adherents to believe that they really were better than the people they were killing and that in fact they were doing God a favour?

    Allright perhaps these people were accidents waiting to happen, but it does seem that religion acts as the catalyst in these events far more often than

    (music, TV shows, games, God, Satan, Twinkies)

    after all I can’t recall instances of whole countries wiping out sections of their population over disagreements on musical taste, but I can certainly find you one or two instances where religion was the motivation. I rest my case…

  12. Mild Bill,

    I certainly do not ask that stories be buried because they cause me discomfort—in fact, they normally don’t. But as I see yet another story of so-called christians who do wrong in the name of God…I find it distressing when the direction of the stories seem to be in the implicit condemning of the religion, rather than the psychosis of the person.

    Every time I hear that “D&D” or “Ozzy” or “God” caused somebody to do something stupid…I can’t help but cringe. We blame valid hobbies, musicians and spiritual beliefs for the people who believe in them.

    Now certainly, some reasonable people do annoying things with their religion. As you say, people take the fact that religion provides a strong moral basis, and use this to claim that this puts them on a moral high ground over spiritually blind people like you (:-p)

    And I have no problem with low-pressure attempts to help people to find a relationship with God—I even support it. If God is the only path to salvation (or whatever) then it is not just an option, but a Christian obligation to help others find that path.

    It’s when that “preferred status” of “saved” is used to justify inflicting emotional or physical pain on others…that’s when I have a serious problem. And when people blame the religion for causing that pain..I have a problem with that, as well.

    Most Christians that I have had the pleasure of knowing would agree—be they fundamentalist or fairly liberal—claiming superiority is wrong. Insulting others is wrong. Hurting others is wrong. And those who claim religion justifies any of these things..they are wrong too.

    The story you mentioned, about the church or group that killed a kid while attempting to drive out the autism…that is the sort of story that doesn’t bother me for it’s religious content.

    Nor do stories about christians who believed that God would save them from [insert disease or condition here] and found out they were wrong.

    These stories are about how certain widely held beliefs are wrong, and cause damage. They don’t impune a belief in a savior who came to earth to save us. Rather, they shine light on misguided beliefs and the possible implication of those beliefs.

    My problem is with stories that combine themes, in such a way that they imply that the religion itself is supect and concerning—and often implying that actions by a member of a religion is somehow condoned and supported by the religious institution or belief system.

  13. I wouldn’t feel so moved to disagree with JethricOne and Daryl if Christian ideals weren’t so prevalent in the media to begin with. As long as CBN, TBN and shows such as “Touched by an Angel” and “It’s a Miracle” (to name a tiny fraction of pro-Christian message sources) remain widely accessible, it seems only fair that we should conversely have access to examples of faith crimes. If you want the media to stay off the backs of devotees, encourage the president to keep his faith-based initiatives to himself. Tell the churches to quit lobbying congress to pass laws that force religious counter beliefs on the unconverted. Help separate (or keep separate) religion from mandated education and law and religion from Emmy and Grammy awards.(“I want to thank God Almighty for glorifying me! Me!, Me!”) Christian propaganda is existent in every media. Why not give equal exposure to information representing the negative effects of Christianity and it’s so called followers? Do we need to agree whose faith is really a valid Christian faith before we can say evil is often a by-product of many of those faiths?
    JethricOne, ideas obtain credibility via implementation, and I see no just way to consider a crime without also considering the motivation (the idea) behind the crime, or the criminal who’s motivated by the idea. An Idea expects expression; it craves validation. An untested idea doesn’t usually remain untested for long. Action, no matter how positive or destructive it may end, always begins with an idea. Faith is dependant much the same way. It is meaningless, pointless until someone considers it and puts it to use. If we look at 9/11 and disregard the religious motivation (idea, justification) behind it we are left with something akin to an “act of God” (Yes I see the irony) such as Hurricane Isabel was. All is fair in love and war and collateral damage is something the US justifies for others continuously. Religiously inspired humans fighting a war they consider just were behind this tragedy. Innocent people are fatal victims of religious or moral fervor everyday somewhere in the world, and each event is a newsworthy event. I can’t honestly say that “Christianity is about:- Loving God (#1)- Loving they Neighbor (#2)” because most examples of Christianity I witness are about judgment, self-promotion, greed, hate, intolerance and so much more that is negative. This is not the non-believer’s fault! If you expect Christians to be exempt as evidence of lunacy, Christians need to present better examples of the faith’s transforming and uplifting powers.
    Daryl you said “It just reinforces sectarian notions that all other belief systems are hostile, and by extension so are their believers. Dredging up people who did monstrous things and were Christian / Muslim / Unbelieving Pagans / whatever, and parading them around isn

  14. Having been a professed atheist since the 5th grade (much to my parents mortification) I always have to stop and wonder if I am still trying to remain open minded or if I have become one of the hard-over anti-religious types that Mild Bill mentioned. I try to remain open minded because at my core I do not believe that the vast majority of people that practice any given religion are anything other than sincere in seeking enlightenment. Individually most would, like JethricOne and Daryl, adopt a live and let live outlook and avoid passing judgement on others (at least in public :p ). But when politics are preached from the pulpit spurring the faithful to boycott Disney because of their liberal partnership policies, vote Bush because Gore would bring about the end times (I actually heard that from a girl at work), or stand united on the steps of a government building forcefully saying the “under god” part during the pledge in defiance of a court ruling kind of makes for an adversarial atmosphere. I can certainly single out specific individuals when they decide to take credit like Ralph Reed or Rev. Fred Phelps, but when they do not I feel as if it is an oppressive cloud of christianity that I am struggling against. Struggling mostly to be left alone.

    I would like to think that most rational people could agree that what causes a person to do hateful thing in the name of religion, rock music, or even dungeon & dragons will vary with each individual but has more to do with their own instability than with the influence of words or music. I used to listen to hardcore punk but I never ate the rich, I went to church but never felt the need to convert someone, and I have played D&D and managed to never kill a neighbor with my plus one mace of crippling. Yet.

    Maybe all “bad” things are like the force, they easily sway the weak minded.

  15. Okay…I know I am double dipping here but having just gone out to the good Reverend Phelps’s site I had to share some incredible tasteless stuff. Click here to play Fags vs Kids a fairly simple (yet hate filled) game. Or maybe you would like to go to the memorial for Matthew Sheppard or Dianne Whipple and watch them burn in hell. There is Soooo much more if you follow this link but try not to stay too long, it will make you sick.

    What a total dick!

  16. And this Rev Phelps calls himself a man of God? He’s the sort of inbred cretin that used to burn wytches, I hope he enjoys the painful boils I am wishing him. =P

  17. The reason religion seems so appropriate a repository of dreams compared to, for example, a used car lot, is only because religions have been practicing longer. The crude methods of the used car salesman, the appearance of chrome and freshly washed metal icons, flags, balloons, cannot compare with the sophisticated, “uptown” presentation of a modern church. In a Western church you see actual images of deities, some frozen in advanced stages of suffering. Compared to this, a vintage Mustang, a classic Ford Coupe, mere metal and oil, cannot compete.

    Modern religion is not a concept, it is a process. You don’t evolve or sit in repose, you proceed. From the moment you encounter religion, you are in motion toward a goal. There is no rest for the wicked, because rest is itself wicked. But if you accomplish everything that religion places before you, expecting to be left alone at the end of the process, you instead discover you must go out and persuade other people to join up and commence their own process.

    This is something religion has in common with Alcoholics Anonymous—after you are in remission, you must go out and find other alcoholics and “bring them in.” For AA, the real reason for this is because, without that secondary goal, the members might slip into drinking again (as recounted in a well-known, possibly mythical story). In the same way, for the religious person, without the secondary goal of proselytizing, he might lose interest in what is, after all, a rather shallow belief system.

    I would like to report that religion (the symbol) once served the purpose of introducing people to a natural quest for meaning in life (the thing), only later to become distorted, but this would be disingenuous—so far as I can see, religion has always been a diversion from the actual quest, fed at times by personal selfishness, at times by a desire for power, but only coincidentally by a desire to provide a context for individual spiritual experience.

    Most western religions begin their indoctrination by asserting the basic evil of individual experience and the absolute necessity of the religion itself. This is simply a convenient way to accelerate a process that replaces the thing (spirituality) with the symbol (religion).

    This assertion, this statement that individual experience doesn’t count or is actually bad for you, is the most basic assertion of western religious experience. It conceals (not very well) a belief that individual experience is secondary to group experience. Thus, to the degree that it influences modern people, it is a totalitarian belief system. One person is in charge—the person who can most convincingly assert his connection with a deity.

    But religion in all its manifestations can never do more than symbolize the reality of individual religious and spiritual experience. Western religions are much more worldly than many others, having debased even the symbol they are responsible for. Instructively, the sad present state of Western religion can be summed up by saying “Television is better.”

    That’s an interesting test. Why not evaluate your most prized belief—by comparing it to television? In the case of Western religion, the experience is such that people prefer television. I hope you see the connection—both television (as it is embodied in America) and Western religion (ditto) promise something they can’t possibly deliver: an enriching experience. The only difference is that television provides so many colorful images so quickly that the average person finds he prefers the empty promise of television to the empty promise of religion.

    The negative side is that television and religion entrain people to trust external value systems, to rely on a fraudulent report of their own needs. And in this way television is worse than religion. Why—because it has no moral compass? No—it is only because television has a larger audience. Religion has no moral compass either, contrary to common belief. Or, to be more specific, religion has had the same moral compass all along, but the moral landscape’s magnetic poles have reversed, leading religion’s travelers astray. What was sinful is now virtuous and vice versa (to use the hackneyed language of religion).

    As just one example, having a large family used to be a virtue, now it is no longer so, and it is about to become “morally wrong,” if that expression can have any meaning in the minds of intelligent people. In the real world, very soon, to bear one child will guarantee the death of another child—that is nature’s math, not mine. Unfortunately, religion is using the same moral compass in the modern world that guided it through ancient times, but under nature’s law there is no permanent solution to life’s problems—we must change how we act in life, because life itself changes.

    In a larger sense, religion’s power to conceal this fact (overpopulation) shows the power of symbols to conceal the very things they are meant to reveal . And, once again, it shows the inability of people (the symbol’s recipients) to see the difference between symbol and reality.

    None of this is to say that spiritual experiences are fraudulent. That is a question I am not competent to answer one way or another (except for myself). Answering this question about religion is much easier—religion has validity only to the degree that we are all identical, can have meaningful spiritual experiences inside a building, listening to the rantings of someone who pretends attachment to a deity, and who needs us more than we need him.

    To a person capable of original thought, religion as a belief system represents as much of an obstacle as does government—a rigid system of facts, no ideas, no openness. But the biggest threat to religion and government (as practiced in modern times) are the laws of nature, a place where constant change is more than just a fact of life—it is a requirement.

  18. Don’t know when I’ve read such coherent “speak” from a drunken blogger. Usually when I get drunk I get horny and could care less who worships who.

  19. It is easy for you to judge these people since you did not know them, I attended thier church for a period of time and was even married there. Pastor and Mother Edgar both helped me out of hell and hopefully into heaven, we will see. They may be guilty of abusing and even killing Brian. I never saw any evidence of this behavior when I was a member. If not for that church, that was open and attended by thde Edgars the night I was about to die, from consumption, I would not be here today. All that they did that was good cannot be erased by the wrong they may have or not committed. Blessed be the Lord. Thank god for them, I am sure there are many of us who survived addiction, abuse and much worse because of them.

  20. What an amazing story, Regina. It’s just too bad the compassion and kindness Pastor Edgar showed you wasn’t shown to his adoptive son. Perhaps the boy would still be alive today had he done so.

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