In short order, Georgetown University sociology professor and esteemed author Michael Eric Dyson‘s New York Times op-ed “Punishment or Child Abuse?” started appearing in the paper’s “Most Viewed” and “Most Emailed” lists. Helped in that regard by ESPN Radio host Colin Cowherd, who urged his listeners this morning to take the time to read the piece.
Another sign of just how provocatively Dyson has cut into the raging debate about the scandal surrounding Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson is the churning quantity of reader comments. At press time, feedback had zoomed past the 600-mark to remind once more that real-time reaction is so much more compelling than the snail-mailed Letters-to-the-Editor of yore.
Here’s one of the scholarly points made by Dyson, who says he vividly remembers being violently punished by his father as a teenager:
Like many biblical literalists, lots of black believers are fond of quoting Scriptures to justify corporal punishment, particularly the verse in Proverbs 13:24 that says, “He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.” But in Hebrew, the word translated as “rod” is the same word used in Psalms 23:4, “thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.” The shepherd’s rod was used to guide the sheep, not to beat them.