Joshua and Caleb Thompson

This is not a new story. But it is a continuing saga that is worth remembering and discussing.

In July of 2002, Joshua and Caleb Thompson (sons of the late pastor Hank Thompson) were working at the Capitol City Baptist Church in Arlington, Texas when they decided that an 11-year-old boy who had had read the wrong Bible verses needed to be punished. So while Caleb held the boy down, Joshua beat him until his kidneys failed. Doctors later confirmed that during the hour-long punishment the boy had been hit at least 100 times. He was so injured that he spent a week in intensive care and needed a blood transfusion.

As a defense, the pair later claimed that the injuries had been previously created by an abusive step-father and that the boy’s mother had given them permission to paddle him. The jury evidently didn’t buy it because both Joshua and Caleb were convicted in a court of law. Joshua received a 24 year sentence. His brother received a mere 14.

Now each felon has written a book. And they’re marketed on a website called Remember My Bonds. Yes. You read that right. These two fundamentalist child abusers have the gall to compare their plight in prison to that of the imprisonment of the Apostle Paul. Nowhere on the site to they apologize or indicate that they are all sorry for what they had done in beating a child. In fact, their crimes aren’t mentioned at all. Evidently, they’re just suffering for Jesus.

But it gets better. Both Dr. Raymond Barber and Dr. Bob Jones III have apparently written endorsements for these books and these men.

It boggles the mind.

For more you can also view the video of the incarcerated men’s mother putting her own spin on the story as well as a local atheist activist recounting some of the details from the other side of the story. And then if you REALLY want to lose your lunch you can read the racist rantings featured on the website of Johnny The Baptist.

53 thoughts on “Joshua and Caleb Thompson”

  1. Darrell, you might want to clarify: Although it appears that Johnny the Baptist is only marginally literate, I think the racist material on that page is from another website. Johnny the Baptist appears to be excoriating what the defenders of these two criminals and their use of racist language in defending them. (Note that the racist section is marked off with red bands and the text “Start Website” and “End Website.” Johnny the Baptist’s disagreement with the website is much clearer in the text following “End Website.”)

    1. That’s how I read it. Johnny the B is quoting some other web site, just to say how much he disagrees with all the racism and hatred on that other site.

  2. *incoherent screaming*

    How do these people get away with this sort of thing? How can good Christians (and I’m sure there genuinely are good Christians in the IFB) just sit there and take this?

    I guess I do understand how it happens… if your whole worldview is skewed, of course you’re not going to be able to speak up, either because you’re too afraid to or you’re so far into it you simply accept whatever the pastor tells you.

  3. Wow. Just when you think fundies are irrelevant dumb dumbs, you find something like this, where not only are the child abusers & their families playing the victim card (what felon doesn’t?), but for Bob Jones III & whoever the other guy is to get involved defending child endangerment is just mind blowing. It’s kind of a shame that isn’t a crime as well.

    1. Just emailed that publisher the following.

      How dare you people publish a book by those monsters playing the persecution card! What is wrong with you? You owe the child, the parents of the child and the general public (not to mention Christ) a massive apology. This is just unfathomable. And to invoke St. Paul’s imprisonment is just a total outrage.

      1. I think I’m going to do the same thing, RobM. Shame on them for hiding behind the name of Christ.

  4. I can hear them now. “If the child had just done what he had been told we never would have had to punish him, so it’s all his fault.” I hope some of the other prisoners take that kind of logic to them.

  5. big props to whoever the atheist was holding that church accountable. Is a shame it falls to a lonely atheist to do so.

  6. Check out the description of “Embrace Grace”:

    “Five years into a fourteen year sentence in the Texas State Penitentiary for consenting to the discipline of a child…”

    How’s that for some spin? It’s not child abuse or beating, it’s “consenting to the discipline of a child.”


  7. This issue is also generating a little bit of a battle over at Sharper Iron. From what I’ve been reading about the books there’s no indication of repentance…only martyrdom.

    Darrell – maybe this should be a main post on SFL to generate more attention to this issue. Something like “Endorsements by Big Wig Fundies” because I think it’s hovering just under the radar right now.

  8. Whoever wrote their “remembermybonds” website obviously doesn’t think that their crime deserved such an “excessive” punishment. You have to go through the Wayback Machine to find this gem:

    “Joshua Thompson was sentenced to twenty-six years and Caleb Thompson to fourteen years for injury to a child. They applied corporal punishment to an eleven year old boy who attended their church, as their mother had previously and persistently requested. Later, after the discipline, substantial bruising was discovered on the boy’s body. He was given medical treatment at a hospital, because of the uncertainties that the healing of the bruises would overly strain his kidneys. Thankfully, the boy completely recovered and has absolutely no permanent marks or injuries – none.”

    1. Just read that book review, Mark. Who is this person? Her open letter to Tina Anderson made me physically ill. I can’t figure out what gives her any credibility whatsoever. Please God, save us from these spin doctors.

      1. apparently just a 20 something with a blog. Why she felt it was her given right to write an open letter to Tina is beyond me. She has no stake in it as far as I can tell other then that she is self proclaimed fundamentalist and you know how it works…there is no network, but for some reason every fundamentalist feels the need to defend every other fundamentalist.

      2. Well, anybody has the right to write anything, even if what they write is completely wrong. But the fact that someone wrote something doesn’t, in iteself, give that person any particular credibility.

  9. Paul was imprisoned for preaching the Gospel. Not for beating a young boy half to death. I know everybody already knows that, so why do some of these Fundies pretend they don’t know it?

    You can certainly empathize with anyone serving a prison sentence, but I can’t really be interested in the prisoner’s spiritual reflections if he shows no sign of repentance for a horrible crime of violence. Are these supporters really trying to say it’s OK to beat a child with a stick for 90 minutes as punishment for goofing off in Bible class?

  10. By the way, the Capitol City Baptist Church is in Austin, Texas, not Arlington. Austin is the Capitol City (or, more often Capital City) because the Texas state capitol is there. Arlington is near Fort Worth, and as far as I know, Arlington doesn’t contain the capitol of anything.

    1. This now includes the text of a Christmas “prayer” letter that Caleb Thompson sent to friends and supporters. I’ll let you be the judge of where this young man’s mind was at that point. 😛

  11. No wonder the folks at BJU like the Thompson brothers, they appear to be a bit racist.
    “The Great White Hope” Joshua was the pastor of the “Spanish” church, because the descendants of Ham are too stupid and sinful to operator their own churches. Would they have beaten a white child (or one of their own children) as severely?
    In the Bible, Joshua and Caleb commit genocide and ethnic cleansing. Yes, those are great role models to name your children after. Why not just name the twins Adolph and Hitler.

    1. To be fair, many churches are segregated by language (not by race). The “Spanish Church” may have just meant the services and classes were in the Spanish language.

      But, you know what? I don’t care. Two men hold down an 11-year-old for 90 minutes while beating him with tree branches, and I lose interest in what the batterers’ motivation was. It’s just as wrong if they thought he had some good reason as if they just hate brown people.

      1. .I have no problem with the church being segregated by language. But I question the need to have an Angelo lead a Latino congregation. If the Thompson brothers were allied with BJU they probably have a condescending view of non-whites. I can remember as a child hearing how some my fundie church’s white missionaries to the third world often had a condescending view of the locals. It’s Kipling’s “White Man’s Burden”.

      2. I’ve been in many churches where there’s a Spanish (or Korean, or Vietnamese) service, but usually the pastor of that congregation is also a native speaker of the language. At one church I was at, the Spanish congregation was so much larger and more alive than the English ‘host’ church that the question of who exactly was hosting whom was debateable…

    1. Quite interesting. Anybody who thinks the brothers were convicted just for “consenting to discipline” or something of the like should read the Court of Appeals’ summary of the testimony, especially the testimony of the responding paramedics and the attending physician (people who would appear to have no particular grudge against the defendants, and nothing to gain by lying). This was no routine spanking. Also, “He [Joshua Thompson] said that he and appellant took the boy to appellant’s house because corporal punishment was against church policy.” ❓ ❗ ❓
      So … corporal punishment was not allowed in the church, so they … took the boy to their house and beat him over 100 times with tree branches?

  12. Does anybody know who’s getting the profits (if any) from the brothers’ memoirs?

    Texas has a so-called “Son of Sam Law,” banning felons from getting financial gain from their crimes. In other words, if you’ve been convicted of a felony, you can’t make money from, for example, writing a book about your crime or selling the movie rights to your story. That means that, if either or both of these books turn a profit, someone else is getting the money.

    I especially wonder if some of the prominent fundamentalists endorsing the book may have any stake in it. Probably not, but I can’t help wondering.

    1. My guess is that because the books aren’t technically about their crimes, the Son of Sam Law doesn’t apply. I could be wrong.

    2. Or, perhaps, the money is all going to help pay the parents of the child who sued and received $1.5 million.

  13. I remember being in a fundy church and first hearing about these “boys” that were given long jail sentences for “spanking a child” and how bad Texas was for allowing such a miscarriage of justice.

    Then I did my own research and discovered that the sentence/trial was not about spanking a child, but about a child who was beaten so severely that he was in intensive care. I was so shocked at the blatant distortion of the truth.

    Note some corrections to statements that are sometimes made in error: The boy’s kidneys did NOT fail… there was some danger of them failing, but they did not fail.

    I don’t much like the idea of calling a switch a “branch” or “stick”.

    It is also indisputable that the Caleb and Joshua administered some kind of corporal punishment. Caleb & Joshua claimed that it was not that severe and did not last long. If I remember correctly, the delivered the boy back home and recommended that the parents discipline him.

    Later that night, the parents took him to the hospital with the horrific injuries that have been reported.

    In my mind, that means that either Caleb & Joshua are guilty of what they have been accused of, or else the parents did it. Those seem to be the only choices. The boy who received the injuries claims it was Caleb & Joshua.

    It is possible that Caleb & Joshua are innocent, and that the parents are guilty, and have threatened the child to keep their secret. But that is the only way that they are innocent. How probable is it? I don’t really know, but it does seem somewhat improbable.

    In any event, the defense did not pursue this avenue much (if at all).

  14. I knew this group in an earlier time and all the Thompson kids when they were young. I can testify to this: “I knew these boys to be kind and considerate. I haven’t known many kids with a heart as pure and sincere as the Thompson kids; I would have been proud to have had any of them as my own kids. Although I don’t know them today, I can’t imagine them intentionally hurting anyone or anything.”

    I by the time of the incident, I had left to explore life in other parts. I was not there so I did not see what happened and didn’t hear about the incident until 2008. I also know that many of the people that I see here throwing stones at the Thompson Twins were not there either. And finally; I am certain that all of us who are followers of Christ will stand before the throne of Christ where there will be no shadows, illusions, or ambiguity to hide behind. We will all stand naked before Christ and will be judged according to our deeds and the intentions of our hearts. If the Thompson Twins or the parents of the boy are guilty of any sin, they will be judged by their Lord. Let’s be cautious my friends, that we are not found guilty of throwing stones of judgment without knowing the facts. There is no Christian reading these words, including myself, who will be immune from the judgment seat of Christ. God Bless. . .

  15. I wish that at least once Darrell would get his facts strait about this story!!!!
    1 it was in Austin
    2 the boy was about to be kicked out of his third school
    3 he did not have kidney failure
    4 it was proved in court that the bruises where from two different times
    5 police time line put the entire insolent in 14 min

    I am so sick of people judging and not knowing the facts!

    1. That clearly means he deserved as an eleven year old to be beaten so badly for not knowing a Bible verse that paramedics were called.

      Is it okay until a child’s kidneys actually do fail? Is it okay since he’s had a troubled childhood? Defamation of a victim is a common tactic to make abuse, rape, and murder look “less bad”. And it’s always disgusting.

  16. I attended this church and my children also went to school at there church.I bought into there beliefs so some degree. until, I was told that: Children should be spanked until they stop crying. It is at this point that they are truly repentant.If you get too tired then you should call upon another church member.
    I might also add.
    Thou Shall Not Lie. Well. You see they have a way around that also. A lie is a falsehood told to someone that deserves to know the law enforcement, court, state, government,the general public, church members.
    And for that matter The Great late Marion Hank Thompson (father of Caleb and Joshua Thompson) can withhold the knowledge from the parents of,two young girls that one of the elders in his church was sexually assaulting them.Who knows how many others before them.However he did spend eight years and passed away in prison. Do I have the right to make this comment? Yes I can! Why? Because they are my girls… And he only reason he pled guilty was because his own daughter was going to testify against him in there case.She had called CPS and told the pastor it was happening.He told her to tell them that she was mad at her Dad and lied. She was told that her Dad would go to prison and her Mom wouldn’t be able to support herself. Four years later my child told people at public school. 👿

  17. Christ must be doing a major facepalm over this hypocrisy, no easy feat to do on a cross… 😯

  18. 👿 you werent there! ANY OF YOU! I GO TO THIS CHURCH WE SAW THE STEP FATHER MENTALLY ABUSE THIS POOR BOY OVER AND OVER AGAIN! Their mother was such a door mat she woulda followed her idiot husband off a cliff! you people also dont know that the mother now feels guilty for blaming the brothers and writes letters to get them out of this hell she put them in!

      1. yes thats completely wrong to punish a child for any reason BUT did you know that the mother begged the brothers to punisher her ” bad ” child. she gave them permission to punish him. but they certainly didnt beat the crap out of him. you dont know that people were giving this family food bc the mother was on drugs and their apt was disgusting wo a front door but couldnt say anything bc she was afraid of her wonderful husband getting deported.

        1. So your defense of the Thompsons is that the mother begged them to beat her child?
          Are you saying that what the Thompsons did was not physical abuse on a child?

          I just can’t wrap my head around the logic here:
          -Mom begs church to beat her son.
          -Pastors see opportunity to carryout mom’s wishes
          -Everyone is in shock to find out carrying out mom’s wishes is illegal. (not to mention immoral as well)

          Moral men do not beat children like that…Period!

        2. and the living conditions at home contributed to the Thompsons beating the boy?

          If the conditions were so bad at home then the Thompsons were negligent in taking the child back to a potentially dangerous situtation and should have involved the authorities.

          But the beating that put the child in the hospital didn’t take place at home did it?

          Someone up-thread mentioned that the kid is now in jail himself. (as if that is proof that he brought the beating on himself, and he deserved what he got.)

          I’m sure that his experience with church people is one of his most precious memories that he will cling to while in prison.


  19. As a graduate of a King James-only “bible college” I will be the first to admit that the majority of us “graduates” actually graduate from “bible college” ignorant, arrogant, and uneducated!
    Most of such students enrolled at 18-years-old and graduated at 22 thinking that they were the only ones that were right and every other Christian, who does not use the 1611 KJV Bible, were “wrong.”
    How ignorant, how foolish, and yes, how so damn uneducated those 1611 KJV-only, “graduates” are!
    Even today, such “graduates” rely upon accredited, degreed, professionals to provide them with the common services they take for granted, or the electronic gadgets they take for granted.
    If KJV Bible college “graduates” are so smart, why do they rely on educated people such as lawyers, accountants, consultants, doctors, IT and other professional to help them survive?
    Since I graduated from a farce KJV-only “bible college” I have earned an accredited, Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting. I now work as a sought after accountant and tax preparer for both individuals and businesses. I am also a Youth Pastor at a Baptist church!
    At least now I have have the knowledge to think analytically and think like an accountant, versus the ignorant, arrogant, and horribly uneducated 22-year-old Bible college “graduates” who beat the neighbors’ children, and ended up in a TX prison.

    Joshua and Caleb Thompson, you idiots got what you deserved…prison time!

    All of you 1611 KJV-only church members have a lot to be proud of, don’t you?
    Joshua and Caleb Thompson, did you enjoy getting your asses kicked and raped in the TX prison for your crime against the poor child?
    If you graduated from a 1611 KJV-only Bible college at the age of 22, do you really think you are smarter than your degreed church members, you know, the church members who put money in the plate to fill your bank accounts for your measly, six-hours-a-week public performance.
    Your church members work 40+ hours a week with the heathen and you KJV-only pastors think you are so special?
    Think about the questions and be honest with God and yourselves!
    You KJV-only “graduates” aren’t that smart at all!

    Joshua and Caleb Thompson are two examples that prove my point.


    the Baptist Youth Pastor and accountant

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