Eleven-year-old Madeline Kara Neumann died of undiagnosed diabetes on Easter Sunday in March 2008. She was at her parents’ home in the central Wisconsin village of Weston.
She died because Dale and Leilani Neumann, ignored obvious symptoms of severe illness as their daughter became too weak to speak, eat, drink or walk, choosing to pray rather than take her to a doctor. After the girl died, Leilani Neumann told police God would raise the child from the dead. They genuinely believed that.
Kara would have lived had she received medical care. Insulin and fluids would have saved her life.
Her parents were charged with reckless homicides. But the judge converted a 25 year sentence to a relatively mild “month in jail a year for 6 years”. Basically? 6 months in jail.
The argument was based on a Wisconsin law which protects faith healers. Where parents cannot be charged with child abuse if they provide spiritual treatment in lieu of medical assistance. Why the hell does Wisconsin even have that law. Prayer does not lower your raging blood glucose levels in the way that Insulin does.
And then as I read up, I found out that more than ten states in the USA have protections for faith healers. Why? Fuck! Doctors don’t have this kind of protection. We can be sued. We can lose or licenses. We can go to jail. Why should faith healers not even have to adhere to the “lax” laws of doctors?
In a 6-1 decision, the state Supreme Court found criminal immunity for treatment by prayer has clear limits and that the Neumann case was ruled correctly.
Firstly? One person on that Supreme Court bench thinks that prayer is an equally valid method of treating a patient as medicine.
Secondly? No one turned around and said “You think prayer has clear limits on what it can heal rather than prayer does fuck all?”.