'Boys must be aggressive'

Cape Town - Boys need to play with toy weapons to learn how to be "aggressive and adventurous", according to Lenora Hammond, wife of paintball-evangelist Peter Hammond.

"Men who follow Jesus Christ the dragon-slayer, must themselves become lesser dragon-slayers. And this is why it is absolutely essential for boys to play with wooden swords and plastic guns," she writes in an article on Hammond's Frontline Fellowship website www.frontline.org.za.

A prominent Christian right-winger and pro-gun lobbyist, Hammond faces charges of assault for allegedly taking his two young sons out to shoot trick-or-treating children with paintball and BB guns in Cape Town suburbs on Halloween.

According to Hammond, who regards Halloween as an unChristian celebration of the occult, his ten-year-old son accidentally shot a teenager in the face with the paintball gun as the angry teenager tried to wrest the weapon away from him.

His wife's website article is accompanied by a photograph of her posing next to one of her sons. He holds a toy rifle, and both mother and son have what appear to be knives between their teeth.

In the article, Lenora Hammond asks why boys "gravitate to weaponry", and explains that in terms of "true and Biblical masculinity", man was created to exercise dominion on the earth.

"Right from an early age, boys want to conquer and subdue, even if the terrain is only the backyard. They are in training after all, and should be encouraged to become men who exercise dominion.

"They should be learning to be lords in the earth, and should be adventurous and visionary. This is difficult to do when they are only surrounded by videos and computers.

"If you have no backyard find a park, and let him conquer."

Boys, she writes, have a "deep need" to have something to defend, and something "to represent in battle".

"And to beat your swords into ploughs prematurely, before the war is over, will leave you ploughing for those who kept their swords.

"The Christian faith is in no way pacifistic. The peace that will be ushered in by our great Prince will be a peace purchased with blood.

"As our Lord sacrificed Himself in this war, so must His followers learn to do. Our boys must therefore learn to be strong, sacrificial, courageous and good....

"These future men need to learn how to be aggressive and adventurous, they are learning to be lords of the earth...

"We want to instil in them a hatred for evil and to have a deep desire to fight it. They are learning what a weapon feels like in their hands."

Hammond is to appear in the Goodwood magistrate's court on December 20. Indications are that a minor will also be charged and appear with him.

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