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Questioning 'Faith'

April 08, 1990

The correct term for the plight of the runaways in Livingston, Mont., is spiritual abuse. Unfortunately, Americans have so little language for spiritual realities other than that provided by institutional religions that spiritual abuse goes unrecognized not only in this extreme case but in millions of American homes.

If it were adults who were being forced into the spiritual practices described, it would be grounds for revolution. But because they are young adults, they forfeit our collective protection. Perhaps some good can come from this if test cases do result, and the pain of spiritual abuse for children is exposed and made conscious. At the very least, the state must stop enforcing the obedience of children to parents who are spiritually violating them.

DIANA QUINN ROSE, Los Angeles

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