Pastor: I Punched a Kid ‘As Hard As I Could’ for ‘Not Taking the Lord Serious’

Jan 20, 2015

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By Scott Kaufman

A pastor at the Bible Baptist Church in Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey is coming under fire after his church posted a video of him claiming to have converted a “smart aleck” youth by “punching him in the chest as hard as I could.”

Pastor Eric Dammann begins by saying that he met a young man in Calgary named “Ben,” who was “a nice kid, but one of those — he was a real smart aleck. He was a bright kid, which didn’t help things — made him more dangerous.”

“We were outside one day at youth group,” Dammann continues, “and he was just trying to push my buttons. He was just kind of not taking the Lord serious [sic].”

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40 comments on “Pastor: I Punched a Kid ‘As Hard As I Could’ for ‘Not Taking the Lord Serious’

  • How could any sensible person take this pastor’s Lord “serious” ? A supposed three in one God who sent a part of himself to inseminate a young woman, who then gave birth to the third part of the ‘godhead’, Jesus. All free from sin mind, God can’t sin. Joseph’s feelings are not documented in the Bible. Anyway this Jesus then has an unremarkable childhood, apart from His birth, well apart from coming from two places, Bethlehem and Nazarus, and fleeing, and not fleeing to Egypt. Was Jesus giving us a parable about quantum superposition ? Anyway the young God then sets out as a preacher, performs a few miracles, brings back some dead, drive pigs crazy, upsets some tables and generally pisses off the Jewish Elders who want rid of Him ( Gospel of John). Sure enough He is arrested and condemned to a horrible ‘death’ so as to ‘cleanse’ the sins since Adam and appease His dad’s need of a blood sacrifice. Of course he wasn’t really ‘dead’, instead on the 3rd day, depending on the Gospel, he floated off to heaven to sit on the right hand side of the Father. Where the Holy Ghost sits is not mentioned. Perhaps like Puck he is forever whizzing around the cosmos impregnating other young females on other planets ?

    He said sorry but I didn’t believe him, he was proud of what he did to that kid. Let this bully of a pastor come to this site and defend his actions in person !


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  • 4
    Miserablegit says:

    Accept the word of God or get beaten up by some religious toe rag, not only here but of course the popes mentality as well.

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  • ‘He was bright and that made him dangerous’

    That sums up the issue…. Skeptics are a threat and think they can control with power.

    He was proud of beating a kids ‘salvation’ into him… Torture will make anyone say any thing… Just to get the creep away… As this kid was smart he knew what had to be said to get this deranged madman away….

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  • On other topics in this forum, I’ve argued that we should target extreme irrational views, not the brand of religion. I argued that when we write a post about Muslims and Islam, we should be able to substitute the word christianity for that was just as bad in the past and could be again in the future. I argued that there are millions of christian fundamentalists in America all armed to the teeth with firearms, that in the right circumstances, will use those guns just like Muslim extremists.

    The last words this extremist christian used in justifying violence were….

    “There’s times when that might be needed.”

    Criticize the irrational behaviour where ever it occurs because irrational thought is the enemy of the planet. But be cautious about blaming the tag for the behaviour.

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  • <

    Islam an intolerant religion? Of course it is and this is the latest
    proof that religion in general and Islam in particular have only
    contempt for non believers and will emphasise this with brute force.

    This is what you said on that other post about Egypt and Islam. Apparently Christianity is just as bad, yes?

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  • @David R Allen
    I think you’re only partially right. Widely held irrational views come from institutions that actively spread them. It seems to me that there are two salient points that determine the degree of active spreading: firstly the extent to which the belief in question is contained within the canon or doctrines of the institution, and secondly, the extent to which the leadership of the institution emphasises or encourages those particular aspects of the canon.

    In the case of Christianity, most of the raw material for extremism is contained in the Old Testament. The New Testament, with its relatively harmless nonsense, is regarded as the core of Christian doctrine. This alone at least arguably puts it on a different footing to Islam. But more importantly, there is no significant leadership cadre of Christianity in the 21st century that encourages the kind of violent irrationality that we currently see coming from Islam.

    If the irrationality is systematic, it makes sense to criticise and reform the institution, rather than just the individual holders of the belief.

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  • 10
    mombird says:

    Criticize the irrational behavior where ever it occurs because
    irrational thought is the enemy of the planet.

    That would be all religion of all stripes. All religion is irrational. Of course, every time anyone criticizes, the religious get their shorts in a wad and act out- you know like punching kids and gunning down the opposition.

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  • But, to be fair, there’s still a big difference between a punch to the chest (albeit of a minor) – which may have been showmanship as much as anything else (perhaps even staged?) – and going out and shooting up a dozen journalists and a handful more in a kosher deli, or rioting and burning churches.
    They’re all acts of violence, but they’re near opposite ends of the spectrum.

    Also, the preacher here was involved in a personal altercation, face to face. Take away the religion angle, and I’m sure many an adult has been confronted with a know-it-all teenager who is “just asking” for a thump. Not saying it’s right, just that it’s understandable and all too human.

    Whereas the “provocation” in the other case we speak of is rather abstract. People in a certain African country are so incensed by a newspaper they’ve never personally read, or even heard of until recently, that they go out and riot, commit arson, maybe a bit of light pillaging on the side.

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  • I’m of the view that what you say is a contributor to the behaviour but not the prime cause. . If the book gives you licence and the shaman gives you encouragement, you are more likely to act. True. But a rational person wouldn’t act, regardless of the book or the shaman. This is the salient point.

    I think you’re only partially right. Widely held irrational views come from institutions that actively spread them.

    There was an article on this web page that argued that a person can find endorsement for their views in the religion, and not the other way round. The article pointed to the myriad interpretations of the same texts across all religions. The article, (which I can’t quickly find) says that the person brings their views to religion and reverse engineers the justification for their behaviour. The books and the institutions are irrational sure, but it is the person who finds justification for their own irrationality that can be stopped. We can’t edit the book and the institutions can’t quickly be changed, just slowly eroded away over time like the bed of a river. But we can promote rational thinking as a foundation for decisions. This will also be very slow, but it will be faster that the crumbling of the institutions.

    I suspect that in an alternate universe with an identical earth to ours with the only difference being there is no religion, the Charlie Hedbo cartoonist would still have been killed. We homo sapiens are a defective product of evolution and we will behave irrationally.

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  • OK, enough with the comments. Time for some action here. Find someone in the criminal justice system in Calgary who can answer the following questions “Can we locate this Ben person after so many years ? Is there a statute of limitations involved ? Can this pastor be charged after so many years, with no formal complaint at the time ? If so, is the offense extraditable ? If not, can he be flagged in some system so he cannot enter Canada again ?”

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  • Could we stop the distribution of bibles, qurans, toras, that incite hate, dismembering, and killing? Or at very least have them edited to remove those passages that demonstrate unacceptable social behaviour? I know there wouldn’t be much left. Just to say I agree with you!! The laws are already there, we need to get them enforced. A civilised way for social change. Thanks rod-the-farmer.

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  • 19
    webmailworld says:

    So the meathead got to be a pastor.

    I am utterly appalled and my heart breaks for the kid. 🙁

    What is so shocking and utterly appaling. This pastor has to know that he’s being recorded most churches especially the more modern church always records their sessions. modeling his violent behavior in front of his flock. Sending a message to the group that hey it’s okay just punch the kid in the chest and that will break him! (Spare the rod and spoil the child mentality)

    Mental midget … I really hope whoever this kids parents are do something extreme and make an example of this guy. I hope this guy is not able to get away with this?!

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  • You do not need to resort to quoting illiterate red-neck southern US baptists for this sort of thing. No less than the Pope said that people insulting the church should “expect a punch” (well he obliquely talked about insulting his mother, but it was clear from the context that he meant that to be heard as “mother church”). And this was part of a specific comment about freedom of speech and the Charlie Hebdo atrocity.
    Yes there is a lot of nonsense in the Bible, but there is also that bit about turning the other cheek – maybe these people need to be reminded of their own sacred book!

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  • Of course he’ll get away with it. If all else fails then the bottom line will be that biblical favourite that he was only speaking metaphorically.
    But let’s be open-minded here and extend this form of persuasion into wider areas of life. Perhaps Obama could hit Romney, Palin or some other foaming mouth idiot into a rational state of mind. Let’s go further, quiz show contestants could hit the question master until he accepted an erroneous answer was correct all along.
    Of course we could end up in a world dominated by big bullies enforcing their lunatic crap on the rest of us, but evidently that would be a price worth paying

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  • 23
    Mcguffin8 says:

    What the pastor is doing by TELLING the story is the point of the story. It would surprise no one if the story were to be found a total fabrication. The pastor is validating the violence that lurks in psyche’s of his congregation. In any group, there is a point at which the most extreme responses can be released. Sanctioning by opinion or community leaders, political and religious leaders and peers can produce actions ranging from shunning or verbal denunciation right up to mass murder. Daniel Goldhagen wrote an epic and thorough book titled ‘Worse than War’ where he researched why and how genocides and mass murders function (and there have been many genocides or attempted genocides) it is in general an accretion of sanctioning from the lower to the higher influences in a community or state. What this thug pastor is doing is soliciting for greater sanctioning and he knows what he is doing. He hit the buttons for his audience.

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  • 24
    Mcguffin8 says:

    aye, I am an old man now and my greatest regret is that Pa didn’t smack me around. Even worse he made jokes about religion! (But not when Ma was about)

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  • I really tied to come up with a sophisticated reaction to this clip…. but still after 5 minutes of mind twisting, the only word that comes to my mind: psychopath! I’m actually more shocked by the fact, that the herd did not flee from the “arena”, screaming: help-help!.

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  • There’s no need to wonder what reaction is appropriate. The guy is simply a BULLY. Bullies need to be taken down. If the parents won’t react, the child will probably have insecurity issues, he may internalize it and become depressed or, when he’s older he might track down that psychopath and attack him. I just feel bad for that poor kid and every other kid who’s forced to believe nonsense.

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  • Two thoughts:
    1) Pastor is a liar. If a full grown man punches someone in the chest with all his force, my guess is the victim will end up in hospital with broken bones.
    2) It’s illegal. Assault and battery is a felony, is it not? Teaching his congregation to ignore the law? Such a fine follower of Jesus. But that’s American macho Christianity for you. No Wimps for Jesus in this country, no sir-ee.

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  • Quite a stupid comparison. Apples and oranges. And even if it were apples to apples, the extreme violent reaction to the Mohammed cartoon in no way makes unprovoked physical violence on a smaller scale acceptable. Why would it?

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  • I recall when I was just a kid in Perth W.Australia, I use to go to these YMCA camps during holidays because there were no kids my age living close to my home. At the camp I remember that they had a prayer session. My family was never religious so getting involved in prayer wasn’t for me. I remember being struck quite violently on the back of the head by one of the camp leaders because I was expected to bow my head along with the others. It seems they get away with this sort of behavior all the time.

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  • @ David R Allen:
    A person predisposed to violence, xenophobia, bigotry, etc. will of course be able to find justification in most religions – if not, they can just add their own gospels. And a person who is predisposed to rationality probably won’t believe any of it. But I don’t agree that that makes all religious institutions equally dangerous. There are without question violent, xenophobic, misogynistic texts within mainstream Islamic doctrine, and there is without question active emphasis on those themes from a significant part of Islamic leadership (including many nation states).

    This is simply not true of other religions. Your suspicion that the cartoonists would have been killed by another group seems unfounded – they lampooned many groups, and only Islam responded with violence.

    Rational thinking is a good long-term solution to the problem. But in the short term, well the ones who are doing the burning and looting and killing, are not going to yield to reason. We need to target the institutions that give them cover. Can you imagine if the Vatican (or, indeed, any church), issued an assassination order against an author who wrote something they considered blasphemous? Would we tolerate it?

    We Homo Sapiens are indeed defective and behave irrationally, but we can at least stamp out the worst of it at an institutional level, as we have done with so many evils.

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  • @Wes:
    MadEnglishman was, I think, simply refuting the idea that all irrationality is equally evil. I’m pretty sure he wasn’t saying that what the pastor did was okay because someone else did something worse.

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  • Most religious people, since they have no true conviction of whatever they are preaching, they would resort to any means at their disposal, like violent aggression, in order to try to convince the non-believers. But convince of what? If they have nothing to convince anybody about something, then aggression certainly will not accomplish anything.

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  • I’m reminded of a cartoon from the New Yorker. It depicts a man lying on a couch during a psychotherapy session. Sitting in an armchair next to the reclining man, a bearded psychiatrist with notepad is shown pounding his fist down on the patient’s head while shouting, “There..that should knock some sense into you!”

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  • 35
    Aber ration says:

    “He was a bright kid, which ………. made him more dangerous”

    Only a religionist would think bright equals dangerous.


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  • 36
    Light Wave says:

    The poster behind the guy says it all….”he who believes in me will Live “….does that mean he who doesn’t – will not live ??? that sounds like a threat or a fear campaign …….Is that why the guy is trying go one more step than the pope suggested with a punch to insulters ?

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  • I can only conclude that this man is either a liar, and/or prone to exaggeration, or the parents of the youth are as dumb as he is, since it appears he was not locked up for assault… but maybe he was.

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  • Olgun Jan 30, 2015 at 10:44 am – Oh dear!

    Some of these dummies don’t understand irony!

    Speaking of God, may He give us all strength as we hear what exactly this monster told his congregation. (The full audio is below if you want to listen along.) According to Harris, you’ve got to get ‘em young:

    So your little son starts to act a little girlish when he is four years old and instead of squashing that like a cockroach and saying, “Man up, son, get that dress off you and get outside and dig a ditch, because that is what boys do.” You get out the camera, and you start taking pictures of Johnny acting like a female, and then you upload it to YouTube, and everybody laughs about it, and the next thing you know, this dude, this kid, is acting out childhood fantasies that should have been squashed.

    Yeh! I know! He could end up wearing stuff like this while everyone with a brain laughs, or the sheeples take him seriously!!

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  • These are the people I have no defence or excuse for what so ever. My ‘best friend’ from school years was an armenian from Istanbul. I thought I knew him really well until in our twenties we came around to talking about gay children. He got very angry and said he would throw out any child of his that was gay. I can remember my mind going straight to the pictures of jesus and the many crosses he had in his house. Things were never the same after that and we soon drifted apart.

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