Feb 22 2014

What is even more bone-chilling

Kausik Datta wrote a post on the Philadelphia parents who let not one but two of their children die while they prayed over them instead of seeking medical care.

Not one, but two, of the sons (aged 2 years and 8 months at death) of this über-religious Pennsylvania couple died, in 2009 and in 2013 respectively, of entirely preventable and treatable bacterial pneumonia, because they would not vaccinate or seek medical help when required, instead choosing to pray over the sick child. After the first child’s death, they were convicted of involuntary manslaughter, receiving probation and a mandate to seek proper professional medical help in case of illness of their children. They did not.

I find it hard to comprehend this level of intellectual blindness. They are adults by age, but they are not responsible parents; despite all their beliefs, they haven’t a clue about sanctity of life. I fault their fundamentalist church for brainwashing them into mindless, unthinking myrmidons, robbing them of empathy, rationality, and human values. I sure as hell am glad that their six surviving children have been placed in foster care and are receiving necessary medical, dental and vision care.

What is even more bone-chilling in this context is the fact that several US states allow religious exemptions from healthcare of children, including preventive, diagnostic, and therapeutic measures. Do read the link for the whole list.

It’s appalling. See what I mean about the Free Exercise clause?


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  1. 1
    Kausik Datta

    Thank you for sharing my post, Ophelia. I am truly outraged, but also flummoxed by this situation. As I wrote further down, medical situations associated with children for which religious exemptions exist in one state or other reveals:
    (a) Immunization (b) Neonatal testing for innate metabolic disorders (c) Prophylactic eyedrops to protect neonates against vertically transmitted STDs (d) Childhood testing for lead levels in body (e) Testing and treatment for tuberculosis (f) Neonatal hearing tests (g) Neonatal administration of Vitamin K to prevent spontaneous hemorrhage in certain conditions (h) Medical negligence, child abuse, felony crimes against children.

    Imagine that! Someone has at some point actually claimed their religion as a valid excuse to withhold medical interventions from and commit crimes against children.

    As if this were not enough, some states (Idaho, Iowa, Ohio, Arkansas, and West Virginia) allow religious faith as a valid defense to most serious crimes against children, such as manslaughter and murder.

  2. 2
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    These parents should be tried for (at least) manslaughter, convicted and jailed for atleatds ten years to set an example and deter others.

    How the flip could they after the first one!?

  3. 3

    @ 2 StevoR

    You realise, right, that they were tried and convicted of manslaughter the first time, and that didn’t even set an example to, or deter, them?

  4. 4
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    @ ^ Silentbob : That’s why there needs to be serious jail time for them now.

    To deter others too even if these two child-neglecting and killing fools will never listen.

    In future , zero tolerance from the start for people like these who put innocent lives at grave risk or worse over their own willfully ignorant religious zealotry.

  5. 5

    They should have been sent to prison for the first death and their second child immediately placed in foster care.

    The parents are quite insane. Religion does that to people very often.

  6. 6
    Bjarte Foshaug

    “Pro life” my ass..

  7. 7

    Look at it from the parents perspective. Who are you going to obey, some unbelieving judge or THE CREATOR GOD OF THE UNIVERSE!!
    It’s too late to save the parents- their brains have been turned to quivering knots of fear. I wouldn’t jail them for punishment. That wouldn’t work it would only ramp up the martyr in them.
    I would jail them to get them away from fucking up their children’s lives any more.

  8. 8

    As if this were not enough, some states (Idaho, Iowa, Ohio, Arkansas, and West Virginia) allow religious faith as a valid defense to most serious crimes against children, such as manslaughter and murder.

    …I got nothin’.

    (from the link in OP)

    Their sermons even include a proscription against buying liability, health or any other kind of insurance.

    …Is that what’s going on beneath the Obamacare panic, I wonder, besides all the class and race hatred and women-shaming. Guess harping about their right to let kids die wouldn’t make such great press.

  9. 9
    Pierce R. Butler

    An oddity from Datta’s link –

    Mississippi and West Virginia are the only states that require all children to be immunized without exception for religious belief.

    Those are two of the most heavily churched and lightly schooled states in the country. The only scenario I can come up with is that the dead kids were stacking up so high that even backwoods legislators realized that they had to take strong action, despite preachers frothing at the mouth against gummint inte’ference.

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