Bethel Academy offers 'tough love'
Two Letters to the Clairion-Ledger, Mississippi
August 6, 2003


I read your recent news story ("AG wants boys home closed," July 7) indicating that the attorney general of Mississippi was going to close down the Bethel Boys Academy in Lucedale.

I am a physician who treated many of the children who lived there several years ago. I found no evidence of neglect and every evidence of Christian love. It had to be tough love, because the kind of young person sent there by the courts and by parents was, well, delinquent, to say the least.

Attorney General Mike Moore is quite wrong in his efforts. It reminds me of the Christian persecution in Waco, Texas, by liberal Democratic U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno.

We do not need such liberal activists in high position in Mississippi. I will never vote for Moore.

Samuel M. Richardson III, M.D.


I read with interest Dr. Richardson's letter to the Clarion-Ledger (Aug. 6) criticizing Attorney General Moore because of his intention to close down the Bethel Boys Academy in Lucedale due to evidence of abuse and neglect. It appears Dr. Richardson's standard for what constitutes child abuse is determined largely by whether or not the perpetrators are self-proclaimed Christians. If they are, then whatever they do to children is okay, and therefore none of the Attorney General's business. Since Dr. Richardson is a member in good standing of his profession, and earns an honest living thereby, surely his diagnostic skills are above question. After all, he says he has treated many children from the Bethel Boys Academy who were suffering from nothing worse than a dose of "good Christian love" - the tough kind. He must know it when he sees it.

Jordan Riak, Executive Director,
Parents and Teachers Against Violence in Education
Alamo, California

See related page: Camp Hell - Children abused in the name of God

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