The article is actually pretty interesting and I think the author makes some valid points.
As for the items that everyone is talking about...
Research shows that spanking doesn't work. Yes, yes, "I grew up fearing my parents as much as loving them," "It worked for me," "I was spanked and I turned out fine," blah blah blah. Research comes down pretty soundly on the idea that it doesn't work, builds aggression in kids, etc.
We've never spanked our kids, and they're generally very well-behaved as long as you're not the type of person to freak out about kids being kids.
We also go to church fairly regularly, but I don't think their behavior has a thing to do with being good for church-related reasons. In fact, one of the kids in my son's class who regularly picks on him also goes to our church, and it seems to make no difference in the kid's behavior.
The fact of the matter is that a child can be raised in the church and still be a complete ----- or raised out of the church and be an absolute angel. What matters more is how the parents raise the child, the values and behaviors that are encouraged at home, and whether empathy and kindness are emphasized as important traits. Church can encourage these things in some cases but is definitely not a prerequisite or a rule, and spanking is counterproductive to these traits.