Today I want to write about a phenomenon that I am seeing time and again in my youth justice work: when a child is charged with a heinous crime, people see this as a kind of license to turn off their brains, form purely emotional and often hateful judgments based solely on the hideousness of the offense, and promptly stone the child.

Mind you, this phenomenon is triggered independent of whether or not the child actually committed the crime (or if it is clear he did commit the act, independent of the reasons why). When confronted with a picture of an ugly crime, many people really don’t care if or why a particular child may have committed a terrible deed.

It is more important to them to lash out in anger and strike at someone—anyone will do, but the smaller the better—and it is a sad commentary on the state of our culture that children are seen as suitable objects of retribution.

At a deep level of meaning, children are in fact powerful sacrificial symbols in our acts of retribution.

You have heard the expression “whipping boy.” Do you know where it got started?

A whipping boy was a child who was assigned to a young prince and was punished when the prince misbehaved or fell behind in his schooling. Whipping boys were established in the English court in the 15th and 16th centuries which held that because the king was appointed by God, no one was worthy of punishing the king’s son but the king. Since the king was rarely available to punish his son when necessary, tutors to the young prince used the whipping boy as a surrogate for punishment. Generally of high birth and raised since birth with the prince as one of the prince’s only friends, the whipping boy and prince usually formed an emotional bond upon which this arrangement relied. The idea of seeing his friend being whipped or beaten for something he’d done wrong ensured that the prince would not repeat the same mistakes—if the prince had any moral sense at all.

What I am seeing is that children are too often held to account as surrogates for punishment for the sins of their parents. A child who reaches the breaking point and kills a parent after years of physical and sexual abuse is generally punished as if no abuse had taken place—as if the child were not a victim, but culpable of the crime as if he were an adult. It is shocking to me that the sentences of children who kill a parent are generally twice as long and severe as the sentences for parents who kill a child. Isn’t this bassackwards? Does anyone besides me see how irrational this is? Why and how does this persist?

Yet even senseless outcomes make sense on some level. But where is the sense in this?

I was frankly confused about this question until I ran across a writer’s observation that the rituals surrounding capital punishment are reminiscent of ancient rituals surrounding human sacrifice.

The lightbulb went on for me when I realized that the most valuable victims for human sacrifice were children without blemish or imperfection, as seen in this mummy of a sacrificed Inca boy.

I have spent the last couple evenings researching the phenomenon of child sacrifice in our prehistory and history and have come to the uncomfortable conclusion that child sacrifice has always been a part of human culture (and always will be) in some form, whether actual or symbolic or something in-between. Human beings must be hard-wired in the reptilian parts of our brains to tolerate and engage in such repugnant acts against children. When we commit these sins against our kids in more abstract ways—for example, through the ritualized workings of the courts—we don’t even realize what we are doing.

But it is sacrifice nonetheless.

The notion of sacrificing the life of a child to prove the depth of one’s faith and commitment is present in virtually all of the world’s religious and political traditions. The ideal of sacrifice is invoked today time and again at the graveside services of young soldiers killed in immoral wars. The followers of all three Abrahamic faiths flirt with the tradition of child sacrifice in numerous ways including the foundational stories of the “binding of Isaac” in Genesis, Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice Ishmael in the Qur’an, and the story of Christ which celebrates a “father” who offers “his only begotten son” to be sacrificed on the cross.

At the Tophet (“roasting place”) in Carthage, the largest cemetery of sacrificed infants in the ancient Near East was discovered in 1921. An estimated 20,000 urns were deposited there. It is well established that the rite of child sacrifice originated in Phoenicia, ancient Israel’s northern neighbor, and was brought to Carthage by its seagoing colonizers. The burial urns were filled with the cremated bones of infants, mostly newborns, but even some children up to age six years old were discovered.

The actual rite of child sacrifice at Carthage was graphically described by the Roman author Diodorus Siculus: “There was in their city a bronze image of Cronus (Moloch) extending its hands, palms up and sloping toward the ground, so that each of the children when placed thereon rolled down and fell into a sort of gaping pit filled with fire.” Plutarch, a Greek author, adds that: “The whole area before the statue was filled with a loud noise of flutes and drums so that the cries of wailing should not reach the ears of the people.”

Some people claim these barbaric practices are reenacted today, one way or another, in every strata of society—from a mother’s abandonment to the system of a 15-year-old son who’s been wrongly accused of rape (more about that later) to the bizarre rituals held at the Bohemian Grove before an audience of world financial, political, and cultural leaders. Moloch lives, they say, and he needs the blood of children to be appeased.

If sensational media exposes are to be believed, child sacrifice is practiced at every level of society by numerous Satanic and mind-control cults here and abroad. These cults, many of them kept alive through families and tribes, are said to have perpetuated an unbroken chain of sacrificial practice all the way back to the time of the Phonecians and their insatiable god Moloch. Stories of child sacrifice have periodically surfaced in Uganda, India, Chile, and the US.

In mid-August of 2010, three boys in Memphis were charged with raping a 23-month-old girl. Two of the boys—brothers Noah, 13, and Micah Scheulin, 11—are said to have been in serious trouble before, while the third, James Prindle, 15, the brother of the rape victim who claims to have been away from the apartment when the rape happened, is the only one of the three who is being held responsible. He was waived into adult court and is facing the threat of a more-than-50-year prison term.

The incident happened about 10:30 p.m. on a Monday night, as both the toddler’s parents were at work. They had left the girl in James’ care. Although James has said he’d sooner put a bullet in his head than hurt his little sister, his family has disavowed him and apparently abandoned him to the machinery of the state’s “justice” system.

No one had taken an interest in the case until my youth advocate friend Stephen got involved a couple weeks ago and very quickly learned that James is innocent and being railroaded.

The police apparently have not gone to the trouble to corroborate the boy’s alibai and are overlooking the likelihood that two boys with prior offenses are more likely suspects than a boy who has never been in trouble before.

Why is this happening in a way that is so eerily reminiscent of Jordan Brown’s experience? Why have the people in James’ life apparently decided to abandon the boy on the altar of Moloch at a modern day Tophet in Tennessee?

This boy is clearly being sacrificed by someone for some reason. We will discover who and why in a little more time.

In the meantime, though, we are looking for an angel who, like that one sent to stay Abraham’s hand, will be willing and able to help us secure legal representation that will likely save the boy’s life.

If you are that angel we’re seeking, please contact me for details today at sowelo2000@yahoo.com or 432/ 371-4257.


Groove of the Day

Listen to Dead Can Dance performing “Sacrifice”


12 Responses to “tophet”

  1. 1 Dana Hoffman
    April 15, 2011 at 1:44 am

    What an interesting story of how all this whipping started…..good research and work there Dan. I have no doubt in my mind that God is smiling down on you and stephen and all those involved in trying to help James in TN. It is just heart breaking that these kinds of things are allowed to happen. James along with the other youths will remain in my prayers.

  2. 2 Matt
    April 15, 2011 at 11:40 am

    Children represent society’s greatest hopes and are a validation/confirmation of our basic beliefs. When children commit serious crimes, it calls those basic beliefs into question and figuratively “rocks the boat” and I think that is what makes people so very uncomfortable. It is like the scenes from Frankenstein or Young Frankenstein, in which the villagers arm themselves with torches, pitch forks, and clubs, and seek out the monster to destroy it and the fears it represents. The internet seems to be the modern day playground for such people, a place where they can shout for blood and retribution, throw virtual stones, and rant to rouse the rabbel to destroy the evil . . . and they do it all within the safety and relative anonymity of their cyber-homes. They don’t often concern themselves with the facts of the cases, nor with any possible motives of the child (physical or sexual abuse, mental illness, self-defense, etc.), only that the evil must be rooted out and destroyed or locked away forever. Certainly they can’t let it pass, because then other children might see and feel empowered, and then everything would turn to chaos, so they attack the accused child with far greater veracity than they would a serial killer or mass murderer, and only the sexual predator seems to elicit equivalent fear and hatred.

  3. 3 alawyer
    April 15, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    I have another story that folks might want to read –


  4. 4 Dana Hoffman
    April 15, 2011 at 5:03 pm

    Thank You for posting this and I have put it in my sharebook on care2 and shared it with others as well on change.org

  5. 5 Gloria
    April 15, 2011 at 8:11 pm

    Thank you alawyer, signed and shared it.

    • 6 Gloria
      April 15, 2011 at 8:53 pm

      This is an excellent post Dan. Child sacriface has never stopped, there are just different levels of child sacrifice. the sacrifice of children to the judicial system is sadly another one, a most modern one, they can abuse them there without consecuences,or that’s what they think anyway:(

  6. 7 Jeanne
    April 15, 2011 at 11:05 pm

    I would not be surprised if we learned the parent of this child that was sexually abused was the perpetrator. It happens more than we want to admit and they would hang the 15 year-old child to cover themselves. This also happens more than we want to admit.

    It is not hard to imagine the conversation that took place with the younger children and the 15-year old teenager. “I didn’t do it, he did it”…etc.. I think a lot of problems occur with improper questioning. Children look guilty, they feel guilty because they are often accustomed to being accused. Whether it is in school, or in the home, children are often blamed for things they are innocent of. We see it all the time. They tend to acquire a sense of guilt, especially when they are suppose to the more mature child in the group and are often given responsibilities they are too immature to have. Such as, watching a toddler and other younger children.

    In the case of Jordan Brown, it seems like the questioning at the school is what lead the entire investigation. They followed up on what he said at the school, when they claim to have come up empty, they re-interview the children. What people do not understand is that it only took one cop to disbelieve the child. This started a chain reaction. If you are looking for evidence to substantiate why you disbelieve a child, it is not hard to find. This could explain why the people that were only briefly suspect, we immediately dropped from the list. The policeman or woman, never really thought it was anyone else, therefore causing a failure in properly interviewing other possible suspects. This too happens more than we want to admit.

    The interview of the little girl could have went something like this.

    Police: “Did you see Jordan with anything”.

    Little girl: “I think he had a blanket”.

    Police: “So, you saw Jordan with a “blue” blanket”.

    Little girl: “yes”.

    Police: “Was Jordan covering something with the blanket”.

    Little girl: “I think so”.

    Police: “Did you hear a bang, or something that sounded like a BOOM?”

    Little girl: “I think so, yes, it sounded like a “boom”.

    This type of questioning is called “leading” questions. The child responds to what you feed them in the question.

    As for Jordan, the questioning could have been similar which he may have responded in a manner that tried to please the officer. Children try to please adults all the time. This is not uncommon.

    If you consider what happened in Jordan’s case, it all started with the interview at the school, and the re-interview of the children. Very sad.

  7. 8 abram
    April 16, 2011 at 12:18 am

    Does anyone believe that the police under the right circumstances would re-open the investigation?

    • 9 Dana Hoffman
      April 16, 2011 at 2:39 am

      I think that they would but I also think that would depend on just how deep the corruption runs and weather or not they want to swallow their pride, and admit the mistake. I could only hope that some where out there that there would still remain a small inkling of hope that people in authority are going to do the right thing.

  8. 10 abram
    April 16, 2011 at 12:18 am

    Jordan’s investigation is what I meant.

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