Man points to Bible over killing 5-month-old son


A DeKalb County father is blaming the Bible after he killed his five-month-old son. Benjamin Edetanlen was sentenced to 18 years in prison Wednesday. 

Edetanlen said Proverbs: 13 taught him “Spare the rod. Spoil the child.” But prosecutors said he went too far and his discipline ended his 5-month-old child’s life. 

Right after the judge sentenced Edetanlen he walked by Channel 2’s camera and smiled. 

Prosecutors said what happened in his home in 2004 was no laughing matter. 

DeKalb County assistant DA Dalia Racine said Edetanlen beat his 5-month-old, his 2-year-old daughter and another 1-year-old son, using the Bible to justify it. 

“The defendant stated that he disciplined the children according to the book of Proverbs in the bible,” Racine argued in court. 

Prosecutors said the baby died from blunt force trauma. He had brain injuries and a broken leg. 

Edetanlen’s attorney said he loves his children and was trying to discipline them according to scripture. 

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  1. 18 years for killing a baby. That’s a gift from god. This son of a bitch should never see the light of day again. What’s more, steps should be taken to ensure he never fathers another child.

  2. Tragic for the children and this guy should be in jail for longer than 18 years. But it is hardly surprising really when you mix stupidity with religion. 

  3. Ah that good book in action…such high moral direction one can glean from its pages.

    And in other news, from a member of congress…” It teaches us how to run our lives individually, how to run our families, how to run our churches. But it teaches us how to run all of public policy and everything in society. And that’s the reason as your congressman I hold the Holy Bible as being the major directions to me of how I vote in Washington, D.C., and I’ll continue to do that.”

    How does this excuse for a member of my species even justify the  “Spare the rod. Spoil the child.” bollocks where a 5 month old baby is concerned. Even in bible literalism terms this cretin is away with the fairies.

    It all leaves me with the taste of sick in my mouth.

  4. How the crap does one “discipline” a 5 month old child? They’re far too young to even understand what is going on.

  5. The horror of a tiny child like that who can’t even understand what is being said to him. This man makes a dog turd look honourable.

    I wish I could only say this was unbelivable, but unfortunately this is what happens when you think you have an imaginary friend telling you what to do and that imaginary friend is   an “infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully”

    If this was his only child he would be a candidate for the Darwin Awards.

  6. This one is pretty much in the print. Do we need to elaborate this at all? No? Ok. The article says it all. The bible justifies evil. THERES your headline.

  7. I think saying he “blamed” the Bible is misleading, because to me it implies the Bible’s advice was bad, as opposed to being something that he approved of.

  8. Well, Almighty could have burnt some bushes in the neighborhood, when the man raised the rod. He has done that before.
    Oh, wait, there is no Almighty …

  9. And we are expected, actually it is demanded,  that we are to give these sadistic shitheads and their ‘faith’ based existence our fullest and deepest respect!

    Not in this universe Sherlock…not no way!


  10.  He won’t be going to club fed so that smile will be wiped off his face in short order.

  11. The mind boogles, it really does….as a father and grandfather I just can’t get my swede around it at all.It’s FUBAR.

  12. This is an after the fact defence, perhaps cooked up by a lawyer hoping to get a fundamentalist jury.

    He just got angry. He did not whup the baby with a rod. You can’t give a child brain injuries whipping its buttocks. You can’t break its leg. 

    Even pre-doctor Spock, people did not hit 5 month olds.

    My mom and my aunt used to pick up the nearest object, a fishing rod, a hairbrush, a poker, a coke bottle, a coat hanger,  and lash out. They cover and claim this is discipline when it is just indulgence.

    My mom made up weird punishments like locking us outside all day without clothes on a cold November day. She smashed all my fish tanks with a coke bottle because she said, I loved my fish more than I loved her (true). She would lie in bed and issue commandments that always started with the phrase “You are to…” Even to this day that phrase makes me turn red with suppressed rage.

    In my generation, parents were absolute dictators, and the children were slaves with no rights of any kind. As a child you had no choice but to bide your time until you were old enough to leave home.  Happily, back then economics made it easy for me to leave home at 17 and still put myself through university.

    Kids today are not much better off. Even if they get relief from child services, they could be jumping from the frying pan into the fire of a foster home with a sexually abusive parent. And of course very young children have almost no protection.

    This man should never have had kids.  Perhaps in high school had he some course that would give him a foretaste of what it was like he might have avoided it.  Yet he seems to have had three, so perhaps he was not stupid but sadistic.

  13. Follow the link to the full video. In it he gives an OJ smirk.  He actually got off quite lightly “involuntary manslaughter and child cruelty”.  With early parole for affecting Christianity, he will be out in time to father and kill another child.

    I was glad to hear they are prosecuting the wife too, for standing by and letting her husband repeatedly beat the children.

  14. In jail, I’m sure other inmates will not ‘spare the rod’ one way or another, perhaps shortening his sentence.

  15. The bible has given justification for every atrocity and savage cruelty known to humanity. No doubt, the most evil artifact ever devised.

  16. I think a Bertrand Russell quote is apt here: “it has been said that man is a rational animal but so far I have found no evidence to support this”.

  17. A sick, sad, and still  all too frequent occurrence. Another rainy night in the Georgia Bible Belt.

  18.  Stop blaming the Bible for the man’s stupidity.  The entire verse preaches reasonable discipline in love.  Even a “fundamentalist” jury would find the man guilty.

  19. >The entire verse preaches reasonable discipline in love.

    Really?  What do you consider reasonable discipline? 

    What about this verse clearly preaches that idea? 

  20. I remember some time ago reading a book of writings by JC Ryle, the bishop of Liverpool way back in the 19th century. Ryle was commenting on “sin” and how it manifests itself right after birth. Instead of saying “what a cute little child” Ryle was of the opinion that we should say “what a little sinner”.… if you want to know more…. (beware, there is some seriosuly nasty stuff in there)

     This idea of people being born “sinful” is fundamental to orthodox Christianity. We are ALL tainted with Adams sin. So beating it out of kids is pretty much orthodox stuff.

    “Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell” Proverbs 23:14

    Interestingly, this “portion of scripture” as these idiots refer to such things actually states that thrashing your child will lead to their “salvation”. Which is contrary to the biblical doctrine of salvation by faith rather than deeds

    Of course modern translations of the bible say “Punish him with the rod and save his soul from death.” (NIV) which is quite different. Incidentally, the word “hell” does not occur anywhere in the Old Testament (NIV) 

    Grim, utterly grim that a kid should be killed because of this bullshit.


  21. Intensely sad that this kind of thing is not shocking.

    While it’s proper that mothers who don’t intervene should be punished too, most probably didn’t want kids in the first place. A big reason birth control should be cheap and convenient.

    * * *


  22. The bible excuse is hard to believe. The bible does not say anything that could possibly be mistaken for ‘thou shalt beat thy young child to death’. This fellow may have got the idea of corporal punishment from the bible, but the death was the result of his bullying sadistic instincts taking over during the process.
    I agree with Agrajag that he should never have the chance to do something like this again.

  23. It strikes me as odd that we are capable as a society of allowing a man who beats his infant son to death to eventually have a shot at a normal life i.e. work, love and play with the rest of us, but we can’t have a serious discussion about developing standards of reproduction that may include denials.  I don’t think this is a non sequitur either because a lot of the resistance to ideas like child limits must come from the same place emotionally as the knee jerk reaction to burn this man at the stake.  And if we can stare this reality in the face and do the right thing anyway (not burn him at the stake), we ought to be able to seriously consider the much larger problem of unrestricted reproduction without screaming we are entitled to every wholesome experience under the sun regardless of the consequences.

  24. Yep, another instance of an inadequate human being blaming his religion for his mental illness…

    Sometimes it really is difficult to work out whether it is the religion that makes them ga-ga, or that already mentally ill people are naturally drawn to religion…

    A bit of both, I’d guess – insanity and religion are natural bed fellows.

    As for the punishment, even the strictest sentence could never bring the poor child back to life, and that is the saddest part of the whole story.

  25. Indeed – God’s THIRD attempt at writing a book is easily his most blood-thirsty…

    Let’s hope he’s put away his typewriter for good…

  26. Well, obviously this guy is either insane or a psychopath. The real issue here is not whether he actually believed he was doing the right thing or not. The real issue is that USA has a judiciary system that considers religious belief as a mitigating circumstance. There’s no shortage of examples where sentences have been reduced due to religious convictions of the prosecuted.  This is an absurd and horrific trend. If anything these religious convictions should be seen as exacerbating circumstances. The offender is less likely to feel remorse and realize he/she has done something wrong which make that person a likely recidivist. 

    It’s insane that this person is charged with involuntary manslaughter. He repeatedly abused a five month old baby with extreme violence. People who run a red light and end up killing someone or people who are criminally neglective are usually charged with involuntary manslaughter. I think at the very least he should be charged with manslaughter. I think you could even make a case for murder. But, the strategy of referring to his religious convictions obviously worked in this case and it makes me sick to my stomach. This case brings to mind a guy in California who got a 25 to life sentence because he stole a slice of pizza (due to the three strikes policy). The American judiciary system really sucks.

  27. Disciplining a 5 month old for what? Crying? Sounds to me like another argument for placing the bible and other religious texts on a to be edited list. I don’t think it is a matter of free speech, these religious books instruct their adherents on how to kill, discriminate and brutalize; that goes far deeper than simple free speech. These aren’t books, these are the instruction manuals of large organizations. A company can’t write in it’s employee manual—rip off every customer, poison the really cheap and break the law whenever possible. There would be legal action and no free speech argument will do.  

  28. ” I don’t think it is a matter of free speech, these religious books instruct their adherents on how to kill, discriminate and brutalize; that goes far deeper than simple free speech.”

    Well, that’s a really interesting argument. There has been several cases where rock bands have been charged with allegedly inspiring people to commit suicide or commit crimes. Marilyn Manson was by many people blamed for the Columbine murders. A range of authors have been blamed for being an inspiration to a range of crimes and atrocities. It’s interesting that the bible never gets the same amount of criticism even though we have countless examples of people admitting the bible was their inspiration to commit criminal acts. Movies and video games that contain violence or sexual images or language are by default labelled unfit for children to watch. I think it would be quite easy to argue that the bible at the very least should have a “parental advisory” tag on it, and be considered not suitable for children under the age of 16. Of course that will never happen. And we know the reason why…

  29.  Response to Susan Latimer:

    The verse connects lack of disciplining your child with not loving your child.   Of course, the verse does not explicitly state “do not beat the hell out of your child” as a way of showing discipline in “love”.  However, it expects that a person following the verse and disciplining in love will do no physical or mental harm.  This is a good place for non-abusive natural consequences.

  30. Nice defence. Down here – in the real world – laws are written and enforced by humans.

  31. Proverbs also says at 23:13-14

    ‘Don’t fail to correct your children. They won’t die if you spank them. Physical discipline may well save them from death’.

    A bit ironic on this occasion wouldn’t you say? Certainly a far better defence than the verse used had the fuckwit known his scriptures a bit better, rather than those popular verses made common language by middle age English poetry.

    Your interpretation, like that of every other nasty text in the buybull, has been the subject for theological apologetics because of the moral Zeitgeist. It is not politically correct to whip ones children any more, only conservative religious fuckwits think it is beneficial to tan their children to save their souls in accordance with bullshit scriptures.


    What is the problem in spoiling ones children anyway? Particularly at the age of 5 months.

  32. See rodan’s response….he hasn’t used the ‘proper’ Disqus method so you won’t get an alert, but I for one would like to see your reply if you have one, which I’m betting ya do,  hence my flagging you.

  33. Good Bible following people would disagree with this man’s action. Herein lies the inconsistency of belief. Rational common sense trumps all.

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