Judge William Adams Alludes to the Bible as He Beats His Daughter, Hallie

The below video shows Aransas County Court-at-Law Judge, William Adams of Texas, reminding his 16-year-old daughter, Hallie, of the apostle Paul’s commandment to obey your father and mother (see 4:20 in the clip) as he beats the living shit out of her for downloading music from the Internet. He didn’t know that his daughter’s webcam was on as he was beating her. The video is from 2004. Hallie is 23-years-old now and posted it to YouTube to bring awareness to child abuse. 

So, as you watch this, know that it’s not just Judge Adams who’s administering the beating. In the shadows is God. And his Law. And the words of the apostle Paul. As Judge Adams beats her, he also alludes to other ideas readily associated with biblical discipline (such as female submission, another Pauline favorite—not to mention a favorite of Islamists).

The overwhelming initial response to this video has rightly been outrage. But expect right-wing traditionalists to soon assert themselves and defend the judge for upholding “family values”—the father’s lordship and prerogative over the control of his household. The judge has already been quoted as saying it’s no big deal, and he is, to date, unrepentant. He thinks of his daughter, even as an adult, as a problem child.

In terms of counter-sympathy, the judge is likely betting on the Bush-Cheney Orwellian torture effect to kick in: if torture can be redefined as enhanced interrogation, why can’t child abuse be redefined as godly discipline? Here’s one of the child correction passages in the Bible (for those interested):

He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes. (Proverbs 13:24, KJV)

Imagine how many children, throughout the millenia, have been maimed, and even killed, under the provocation of such “sacred” passages.

Sometimes it’s hard not to agree with Christopher Hitchens that religion poisons everything.

Here’s Forbes magazine explaining that Judge Adams is unlikely to be prosecuted for his behavior, and how the incident is likely to stir up the U.S. home-schooling community:

The statute of limitations for inflicting bodily harm on a child is five years in Texas, so the Judge will unlikely face criminal charges.

But whether Judge Adam is punished will, in time, become secondary to the much-larger debate over corporal punishment. As the Ending Corporate Punishment in Schools Act sits in Congress, there remains a whole school of thought in conservative circles that advocates for corporal punishment. Conservative Christian home-schoolers have been called out for following the draconian tenets of the book, “To Train Up A Child,” which has been implicated in the death of 13-year-old Hana Williams, an adopted child from Ethiopia living in Washington, and four-year-old Sean Paddock, the adopted child of Lynn Paddock of North Carolina.

And here’s the video:  

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Texas Judge William Adams:

Aransas County court at law judge William Adams

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As a footnote, this whole abuse story suggests to me, in a weird way, that the world is actually becoming a better place. Throughout much of human history, such violence was the norm. It’s now generally considered deviant. That’s progress.

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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8 Responses to Judge William Adams Alludes to the Bible as He Beats His Daughter, Hallie

  1. Mark says:

    Corporal punishment is nothing less than child abuse. In may have been the norm in the zeitgeist prevailing in Judea 2000 years ago, but there is surely no place for it now. My upbringing was outsourced to Christian boarding schools where floggings were a daily occurance. Neither flogger nor floggee retained the slightest shred of dignity. There is NO excuse for assaulting a child in any circumstances.

  2. Psilomelane says:

    This is the first time I’ve seen this infamous video, and it obviously depicts child abuse by any rational standard — both physical and emotional. I *am* in agreement with Hitchens, in that religion poisons everything. There is nothing among the few positive things that religion has inspired, such as great art, that can’t stem just as readily from secular sources. The “good christian” parents in this video are grotesque, vile, and criminal.

  3. I can’t watch the video – just the description was enough to cause anxiety tremors.

    I just don’t understand why religion continues to this day, it’s barbaric and brutal

  4. Psilomelane says:

    The video is worse than the description; the beating just goes on and on, at one point the girl’s mother steps in to aid in the abuse, and after the father finishes round one and leaves the girl’s bedroom he quickly comes back for more lashes because he, “didn’t get his lick in.” Since the daughter initially refused to bend over her bed so the father could have access to her ass with the belt he proceeded to lash her just about everywhere else on her body (I guess these strikes somehow didn’t count). Once the mother joins in she demands the girl allow -her- to hit her on the ass. She does, round one ends and the parents leave the room, but the father comes back because he still hadn’t beat the daughter squarely on the ass with the belt.

    Once the physical abuse has ended the father then starts yelling at the girl, often spewing harsh condemnation right in her ear.

    Religion is for people who need it — and almost everyone does. For many of those people it’s a means of power and control. I doubt humans will be around long enough to ever truly evolve beyond the need for religion.

  5. Religion is for small people to feel like big people

    and no one needs that

  6. Reading all your posts here, looks like more people will be darned when He returns than I ever imagined!
    Yes he beat her too much but do any of you know how many times before he had to deal with catching her in stealing or lying?
    Children nowadays don’t get disciplined. Instead they kill people at school or commit suicide for lack of morals. The devastation is even worse but you guys will always be clueless because you don’t believe.

    Doesn’t matter. The master is coming back soon and I cant WAIT!!!!

    • Mark says:

      Bullshit.
      “do any of you know how many times before he had to deal with catching her in stealing or lying?”
      No. Do you? In any case it’s irrelevent, assault on a child is always wrong.

      ” Instead they kill people at school or commit suicide for lack of morals. The devastation is even worse but you guys will always be clueless because you don’t believe.”
      Your brain seems to be malfunctioning–this makes no logical sense whatsoever.

      “Doesn’t matter. The master is coming back soon and I cant WAIT!!!!”
      Perhaps then he’ll give you the spanking you so desperately desire.

    • Psilomelane says:

      Looks like there’s a bored troll in the midst of this thread…

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