International Journal of Coercion, Abuse, and Manipulation (IJCAM) 

Vo. 3, (2022). Published August 14, 2022. 

DOI: 10.54208/1000/0003/002 

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Religion and State Authority: Control of the Child

Kate Brannum and Nicole Drumhiller 


This article focuses on the extent to which interactions between religious communities and the State can leave children vulnerable to physical abuse. In recent history, there have been numerous challenges to State control and authority from both new and nontraditional religious movements (Urban, 2006; Richardson & Bellanger, 2014; Doherty, 2016). In comparison, one can argue that insufficient attention has been paid to how religious groups seek to constrain or evade government authority to protect children. As part of their “monopoly of violence” (Gallaher & Froehling, 2002), governments in democratic societies are expected to protect the physical security of citizens. Despite this expectation, it is arguable that, when it comes to concerns over the bodies of minors, governing officials have been more limited and certainly more inconsistent in their actions to provide protection. This reality leads to a dangerous situation in which children’s well-being is subsumed to the rights of religious communities.