Belief Beat

Did you watch Diane Sawyer’s interview with abduction survivor Jaycee Dugard last night? There are a lot of parallels to the Elizabeth Smart kidnapping, though Smart was rescued after nine months, while Dugard was held captive for 18 years, giving birth twice in her backyard prison.

Both Smart’s kidnapper Brian David Mitchell and Dugard’s kidnapper Phillip Garrido said they were acting on special instructions from God, using these delusions to justify their crimes. (Of course, Christianity doesn’t condone kidnapping and rape… but, when used by madmen, twisted beliefs serve as an effective tool for manipulation.)

Both Mitchell and Garrido had female accomplices — their wives, who were somehow in their thrall, sharing their religious convictions. Were they also crazy, or just taking “obey thy husband” too far?

But perhaps above all, both Smart and Dugard now serve as living examples of incredible hope and strength — for some of us, reaffirming faith in God, even as the horror of what they went through begs the question, “Where was God?”

I don’t know if everyone can handle reading Dugard’s book, but the TV interview is worth checking out, if you missed it. There were lots of references to religion’s role in her captivity, ranging from how Nancy Garrido, a Jehovah’s Witness, first met her husband by discussing the Bible with him in prison, and how Phillip Garrido would make Dugard listen to ” long lectures about the Bible and how he is the chosen one.”

What do you think? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below.

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