The screaming, the endless exercise, it was all in the name of God, a necessary step at the Gateway Christian Military Academy on the path to righteousness.
So when Samson vomited, they threw him a rag. When his urine turned red, they said that was normal.
By Day 3, the 15-year-old was on the verge of death, his dehydrated organs shutting down.
Slumped against a wall, cold and immobile, Lehman recalls men who recited Scripture calling him a wimp. And he thought: Maybe, if I die here, someone will shut this place down.
Not in Florida.
In this state, unlicensed religious homes can abuse children and go on operating for years. Almost 30 years ago, Florida legislators passed a law eliminating state oversight of children’s homes that claim government rules hamper their religious practices.
Today, virtually anyone can claim a list of religious ideals, take in children and subject them to punishment and isolation that verge on torture — so long as they quote chapter and verse to justify it.