Over the past week a horrific story of child abuse has been a top news story here in South Bend. Ten year old Tramelle Sturgis, a student at Madison Primary Center (where a few Living Stoners work), was tied up in the basement with duct tape and beat to death by his father. Responders to the scene said it was one of the worst cases of abuse they had ever seen. Yesterday, Tramelle’s paternal-grandmother was arrested for neglect of a child (which she should have been). As the story unfolds we discover that there has been a long trail of abuses (which by the way were reported to CPS by the school and others…and CPS did come to the house three times…HELLO CPS!!!?? What are you doing!? But that is another blog post). Turns out, Tramelle, and his siblings, had been beaten and tortured with things like being burned with a homemade torch of lighter and cockroach spray, a heated end of a screwdriver to the genitals, broken bones, etc. If you want more on the story you can find it here.
Tramelle’s obituary came out yesterday in the paper. And it has me a little fired up. I don’t know who wrote it. Because I’ve been in the room when obituaries are decided upon, I’m going to guess the family decided what to say. And the opening goes like this:
Jesus loves children so much that he decided to carry away into His loving arms Tramelle LaVaunn Sturgis on his 10th birthday, October 26, 2011.
If Jesus loves children and decides this…I don’t want Jesus to love my children! And I’m serious about that.
Don’t put this on Jesus!! Jesus didn’t decide “to carry away” Tramelle by being beaten to death by his own father duct taped in the basement! This is on Tramelle’s dad (and I have a few other choice words for him but I’m showing Christian restraint to leave it at that)! Jesus didn’t want this; desire this; wish for this; or orchestrate this!!!! The family might want to put a smiley face on this situation and make it into some sort of “everything is going to be OK because of Jesus” situation, but that isn’t the reality of what is happening here. And everyone in this family should own up to their part of what happened to little ten year old Tramelle and NOT put this on Jesus.
There is a lot that can be said in regards to suffering (the problem of theodicy), Jesus, and Tramelle. But for this short blog post – at least let me say – Don’t put this on Jesus.
Jesus is just as sad, horrified, and disturbed as everyone else. And his promise is that he will vindicate Tramelle and the pain, suffering, and abuse he underwent (which should be a sobering thought to a family so desperate to make everything OK). It isn’t OK. And it especially is not OK with Jesus.