Pastor Guilty of Teaching Biblical Discipline
Written By: ECJ Staff | Posted: Tuesday, May 29th, 2012
A Dane County pastor faces up to six years in prison for teaching his brethren the use of the rod according to the Bible's teachings. Philip Caminiti of Black Earth, Wisconsin is the pastor of Aleitheia Bible Church. He was found guilty of eight counts of conspiracy to commit child abuse. Judge Maryann Sumi presided.
In March last year, Caminiti, along with his brother John, were arrested for charges concerning violations of State child abuse laws. John Caminiti pleaded guilty to mentally harming a child and two counts of child abuse and is serving a year term in prison. Other church members faced charges of abuse as well though many were dropped due to their testimony in court.
Caminiti argued that he had religious liberty and that his teachings were based on what the Bible teaches regarding child discipline. Judge Sumi thought otherwise, instructing Caminiti on the role of the State in interpreting Scripture. According to the Wisconsin State Journal:
"Sumi said Caminiti failed to show the state's child abuse statute 'places a burden on his sincerely held religious belief.'
"'Scripture doesn't specify how and when the rod should be used,' Sumi said, adding that Caminiti also was willing to modify the church's practices to comply with the law.
Caminiti now faces sentencing. Sumi refused to accept only probation. Channel3000.com reports, "She said Caminiti's demeanor in court, his attitude that he has done nothing wrong, and the seriousness of the crime all were reason for her to order jail time."
This was affirmed by the prosecution "He teaches people to hurt infants and children and steadfastly holds to these beliefs in spite of all of this," said Shelly Rusch, Assistant District Attorney.
The Bible verse that prosecutors said Caminiti cited is Proverbs 13:24, "He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes."
- ECJ Staff