and said Indiana’s religious freedom law gave her the right
By Kristine Guerra September 1
The 7-year-old boy had a total of 36 deep purple bruises across his back, on his arm and on his thigh.
He had a loop mark on his ear that, court records say, was from the small hook of a plastic hanger that his mother had used to beat him.
When the boy’s elementary school teacher patted him on the back, he flinched. The state Department of Child Services was then called to the Indianapolis school.
According to a probable cause affidavit, the boy’s mother, Kin Park Thaing, hit the boy multiple times with a coat hanger after she became very angry with him one night.
Thaing, 30, has been charged with battery on a person less than 14 years old and neglect of a dependent, both of which are felonies. In August, a judge denied her request to dismiss the charges.
In July, Thaing had asked for the charges to be dismissed. Her reason: Indiana’s religious freedom law protects her from prosecution, she claimed.
Enacted last year, Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act says the government must first prove a compelling interest before it intrudes on someone’s religious liberty, and it must do so in the least restrictive way.
Thaing’s case, according to Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry, is the first time the new religious freedom law has been cited to justify punishing a child.
Her Christian beliefs were the “guiding values” that influenced her behavior when she punished her son on Feb. 3, according to the motion to dismiss filed by her attorney, Greg Bowes.
It also cited verses from Proverbs 23:13-14: “Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you strike him with a rod, he will not die. If you strike him with the rod, you will save his soul from Sheol.”
Who do you pray to?
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