Some kinds of crimes happen, you could almost say, accidentally. In a moment of weakness or distress or drunkenness, a person performs a hurtful action that he regrets later when he faces the consequences. But there are other crimes where there is a way of thinking that comes before the hurtful crime. The premeditation or a prejudice adds severity to the offense.
What if a parent neglects to feed his child because he thinks his child is a burden? What if a parent neglects to care for an injured child’s wounds because he thinks the child should have known better? Does it add to the severity of the crime that it wasn’t accidental, but the result of a wrong way of thinking? Could it be called a “hate crime” against the child?
What if a parent neglects to correct his child when the child desperately needs it?
The Proverbs have been regarded for centuries as a source of wisdom for child-training. Proverbs 13:24 describes the difference between hatred and love:
He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him promptly.
Parents who love their children see that discipline is vital for their children’s self-image and proper development. They understand that sometimes children need consequences, even painful consequences, in order to learn. A selfish child will be a self-centered and unyielding adult if left uncorrected. A bent sapling can be straightened before the tree grows crooked. Leaky gutters can be repaired before the house rots. And selfish or obstinate children can be changed by love, restraint, and proper discipline.
Therefore, the parent who does not discipline his child is guilty of hating his child. And what of the nation that, after a long period of deliberation, mandates that parents not discipline their children? Should they not be charged with hate crimes against children?