Magazine article Free Inquiry

Faith-Based Murders?

Magazine article Free Inquiry

Faith-Based Murders?

Article excerpt

The day after news wires reported that Texas mom Andrea Yates drowned her five children, a self identified God-fearing Christian mother of eight called the Rush Limbaugh show and sobbed that she understood exactly where Andrea Yates was coming from. She said she had almost "crossed the line too," but instead used to just drive down the highway praying that they would all be wiped out by a trailer truck.

Rush said the lines were "on fire," but he chose not to take any more calls on the subject. Though few women engage in acts as desperate as Andrea Yates, many are pressured into leading lives of quiet desperation--five or six unspaced children, home schooling to shield them from the world--the ideal state for women advocated by fundamentalist religions.

We have all seen the powers, positive and negative, of religions and cults. Jim Jones's cult in Jonestown coerced adherents into killing their children and themselves with cyanide-laced Kool Aid. The Heaven's Gate cult members waiting for Comet Hale-Bopp were deluded into killing themselves on command. Though the information about the Yates's religious beliefs are still somewhat sketchy, we know that Rusty Yates, Andrea's husband, is an evangelical Christian, 63 percent of whom believe birth control is immoral. Their home was found full of religious artifacts, and Yates' mother said her daughter and Rusty belonged to "a national cult." Women can expect to bear twelve to fifteen children over the course of their childbearing years if no birth control is used. …

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