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Mar 06 2013

Children Who Died Because of Religion

Here’s a video about children who have died because their parents chose prayer over medical treatment, letting them die from entirely treatable conditions because their religion believed that going to a doctor shows a lack of faith in God.

20 comments

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  1. 1
    glodson

    I think I am going to be sick.

  2. 2
    grumpyoldfart

    I had to switch off the video as soon as I saw the picture of the baby.

    What is it with the parents? Are they control freaks who enjoy the idea that they have the power to decide who lives and who dies? Or sadists who haven’t got the courage to torture outsiders so they get their enjoyment from prolonging the pain experienced by their children?

    What role does religion play in their behaviour? Do they really believe what they say in the court, or do they cynically make a decision to watch their children’s suffering because they know that they can use god as an excuse for their controlling/sadistic behaviour – and that their peers will accept that excuse?

  3. 3
    Sastra

    This is what happens when you think you get to decide if you “believe in” modern medicine or not. How do you justify drawing a line on where faith goes too far when the entire point of faith is that its truths go outside of and beyond rational demonstration?

    These parents no doubt meant well. That’s not enough. Ironically, their own sense of discipline, self-control, and virtue were their own worst enemies.

    Well, their kids’ worst enemy, at least.

    You shouldn’t rely on a method which optimistically allows you to evaluate any and all results as “God’s will.” I have a friend who is considering studying to be a faith healer. She admitted to me that she considered ‘death’ a possible stage in the healing process.

  4. 4
    Chris A

    So. Much. Rage.

    I had to walk away from a career in medicine because I just could not handle what we could not do (pediatric oncology, anyone?). I was just a technician — I operated radiation machines to administer treatment. Despite all the things we could accomplish, the failures were just too much for me. For people to ignore treatable conditions and watch their children suffer and die makes me want to resign from the human race and come up with some other option.

  5. 5
    raven

    It is just a charming fundie xian ritual. Human child sacrfice.

    There are families that have killed more than one of their kids with faith healing.

    They know it doesn’t work.

  6. 6
    bornagainatheist

    If that’s what they believe then they shouldn’t mind being martyred for their faith. Send them to prison forever and they can thank god every day that they stood firm. Pretty soon all these monsters would be in prison so that can’t hurt other children.

    I used to be one of Jehovah’s Witnesses and I didn’t have children while I was one, mainly because I knew that if my child needed it, she or he would get a blood transfusion. I got to a point where I was totally deluded like these people, but I know deep down that if I couldn’t bring myself to give consent for my child to get treatment, then I would have gone to the state and asked for my parental rights to be taken away temporarily so that the child would get what she or he needed.

    Even if you think you would go to hell for getting the child treatment, wouldn’t a parent do that for their child? The child would be innocent because the child isn’t responsible. The parents are.

    I wonder how many of these people have had medical treatment themselves? Betcha a lot of them have.

  7. 7
    Nick Gotts

    The churches telling these lies should be shut down, and their leaders charged with murder. They, even more than the parents, are responsible for these wholly unnecessary deaths.

  8. 8
    raven

    I wonder how many of these people have had medical treatment themselves? Betcha a lot of them have.

    It’s possible.

    HW Armstrong was a sometime opponent of modern medicine and divorce. He demanded double and triple tithing.

    He lived to be very old with the aid of lots of modern medicine. He also ended up getting divorced. He also ended up extremely wealthy. Those tithes went to the top and stayed there.

    Consistency and honesty are not necessitites for these types of xians.

  9. 9
    eoraptor

    Even if you think you would go to hell for getting the child treatment, wouldn’t a parent do that for their child?

    Bornagainatheist, you’re forgetting your wholly babble. Recall a story about Abraham and his son, Issac?

    God: Cut your son’s heart out as a sacrifice to me.
    Abraham: Really? Okay, anything for you.
    God (at last possible instance): Heh, heh! Just kidding.

  10. 10
    bornagainatheist

    Eoraptor,

    And why is it today when a parent hears the voice of god demanding the child be killed, that person is deemed crazy, but ole Abraham was faithful and a model for everyone? How are you supposed to tell if the voice in your head is really god? After the kid is dead? Oh, the kid didn’t resurrect? Oops, I guess I was mistaken. But don’t blame ME, I was just following Abraham’s example of faithfulness.

  11. 11
    D. C. Sessions

    I wonder how many of these people have had medical treatment themselves?

    Can’t recall where I ran across it (so please ignore) but apparently quite a few of the “born again” consider themselves, having previously fallen from The Way, figure there’s no more harm to be done by medical care (or whiskey, or …) but their children, being pure, are to be kept that way.

    Pardon me while I go do something violent.

  12. 12
    tomh

    @ #7

    The churches telling these lies should be shut down, and their leaders charged with murder. They, even more than the parents, are responsible for these wholly unnecessary deaths.

    Exactly right. Unfortunately, in America this will never happen. Freedom of religion and all that. The root of the legal problem lies in the federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act, which requires states to include failure to provide medical care in their definitions of child neglect, but also states: “Nothing in this Act shall be construed as establishing a Federal requirement that a parent or legal guardian provide a child any medical service or treatment against the religious beliefs of the parent or legal guardian.” Sen Dan Coats, (R-Indiana) argued on the floor of the Senate that the First Amendment allows parents to withhold medical care from children. This clause allows states to protect parents from legal action, no matter what the outcome to the child, and a majority of states do.

    Some of these laws are changing. Here in Oregon, which was one of the worst offenders, the law was recently changed which has allowed for several prosecutions, one for a teenager who died from a urinary infection, and another for a baby who died that could easily have been saved. Sentences were light, but it’s progress.

  13. 13
    raven

    Exactly right. Unfortunately, in America this will never happen.

    It is not quite that way any more. Some states are starting to charge the parents with homicide.

    Faith-Healing Parents Given Jail Sentence – CBS News
    www. cbsnews .com/2100-201_162-5367848.html

    Oct 7, 2009 – “God probably works through other people,” he told the parents, “some of them … The case was believed to be the first of its kind in Wisconsin involving faith healing in which someone died and another person was charged with a homicide. …. You can neglect a child to death because you believe in God?

    Parents in Diabetes Prayer Death to Face Charges – 620 WTMJ …
    www .620wtmj. com › News › Local

    (AP) — Parents who prayed as their 11-year-old daughter died of untreated … moved to Weston, a suburb of Wausau in central Wisconsin, from California about … for faith-healing parents after the deaths of several children whose parents were …

    WI Law Allows Parents To Pray Rather Than Call A Doctor, Child Died
    www. totallawyers. com/…/parents-allowed-to-pray-versus-call-911/

    The preventable death of a child in Wisconsin has the whole country scrutinizing the state’s faith healing law that shields the parents – Total Lawyers. … charges against the Neumanns and begin a legal challenge to the faith healing statute in …

    Another faith-healing death of a child puts Oregon City parents on …
    www. oregonlive. com › Oregon City News › Breaking News

    Sep 11, 2011 – Another faith-healing death of a child puts Oregon City parents on trial … The Hickmans are charged with second-degree manslaughter.

    They have gotten convictions in Wisconsin and Oregon.

    No one knows the number of kids sacrificed to their parent’s imaginary friend each year. I estimate about 100. Very few are prosecuted.

  14. 14
    kemist, Dark Lord of the Sith

    She admitted to me that she considered ‘death’ a possible stage in the healing process.

    That’s a bit like calling “crushed into a cube” a possible stage of the car repair process.

  15. 15
    kantalope

    If you don’t provide medical treatment because your imaginary friend stopped you…no good.

    If you don’t provide medical treatment because Jesus stopped you…ok.

    Is that weird?

  16. 16
    otrame

    I think one of JT’s most effective bits is about parents who genuinely love their children allowing them to die of easily treatable diseases, saying this is what religion does to you. It distorts your mind so much that you can stand and watch your child die.

  17. 17
    markr1957

    Doesn’t the xian book of magic tricks strictly instruct them to kill false prophets? Having watched that video I feel nothing but disgust for the preachers who spread these lies and take advantage of people’s ignorance.

  18. 18
    naturalcynic

    Doesn’t the xian book of magic tricks strictly instruct them to kill false prophets?

    There’s always a way out of this dilemma with faith healing. If being healed is contingent on faith, then the faith simply was not be strong enough.

  19. 19
    tomh

    tomh: Exactly right. Unfortunately, in America this will never happen.

    raven: It is not quite that way any more. Some states are starting to charge the parents with homicide.

    My quote refers to the chances that the church leaders will ever be held responsible. They won’t.

  20. 20
    Gwynnyd

    @ Sastra – “I have a friend who is considering studying to be a faith healer.”

    How does one ‘study’ to be a faith healer? Memorize bible verses? Practice laying on hands techniques? Take marketing and PR courses so they know how to monetize themselves? Do they start with non-lethal conditions like colds or hangnails and work their up to the lethal ones or is all ‘sickness’ alike and they get to pray over the really ill from the start? Do they get mentored or apprenticed? What do they practice on? Sick people or each other? How do they get graded? On survival rates taking into account the severity of the illness or just technique and the ability to spout verses and prayers for hours?

    Weird.

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