Corporal punishment in schools 'not given credence by the Bible'

Kathleen Wood, Education Officer of the Methodist Church,has today made the following statement:

"The Methodist Church stands firmly against the corporalpunishment of children in any circumstances. Our understanding ofthe demand for Christians to respect every human individual, andour concept of nurturing the young, makes any kind of physicalpunishment of children abhorrent.

"The view expressed by a very small minority of those callingthemselves Christian, that the Bible gives credence to their claimfor the right to inflict such punishment on children, is, to us,offensive. We cannot subscribe to any interpretation of Scripturethat makes such a claim.

"It is particularly distressing that the current action in theHigh Court by the promoters of a number of small independentschools should be identified as a 'Christian' action and linked tothe ongoing debate about Faith Schools. In recent months theMethodist Church has allocated considerable time and energy tocorrecting the misconceptions and allaying the fears of thosecalling for the banning of such schools. Considerable progress hasbeen made in encouraging those outside the churches and other faithcommunities to see Faith Schools as a valued and valuablealternative choice for parents seeking a broad education for theirchild, and as making a positive and significant contribution to thepromotion of racial and religious harmony.

"In neither the independent nor the state sector do FaithSchools (or any schools) have the right to administer corporalpunishment at present. The Methodist Church supports this positionunreservedly, and trusts that this High Court case will reinforcethe current interpretation of the law. Methodists must be vigorousin resisting the impression, quite understandably being given inthe national media, that the petitioners in this case representanything other than an extreme minority position."