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May 29 2013

Faith Healing Death the Tip of the Iceberg

The child who died recently of bacterial pneumonia because his parents believed it was a sin to take him to the doctor is not just the second child of those parents to die from lack of medical care, it’s one of more than two dozen deaths in two Philadelphia churches that believe in faith healing rather than medicine.

Two Philadelphia faith-healing churches have a long history of the youngest members of their congregation dying because parents refused medical care.

Families who attend Faith Tabernacle Congregation in North Philadelphia and First Century Gospel Church in Juniata Park have lost more than two dozen children to illness since 1971, according to non-profit Children’s Healthcare Is a Legal Duty, Inc. (CHILD, Inc.). Both churches believe in the power of prayer over modern medicine…

The Schaibles are members of the First Century Gospel Church. Founded in 1925, the church is an offshoot of its mother church Faith Tabernacle Congregation. At least 22 children from the congregations have died from illnesses.

In 1991, Faith Tabernacle lost five children to the measles after an outbreak. One child from First Century Gospel also died.

Every single child in those families should be taken away and given to parents who will care for them. We cannot wait for them to die and then punish the parents. That’s more than two dozen dead kids in one city.

14 comments

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  1. 1
    raven

    The number of fundie xian human child sacrifices per year isn’t too well known.

    It’s estimated at about 100 USA.

    They do try to hide them as much as possible. Quite often they wait until the kid is 99% dead and then rush them to the ER. Oops, well, stuff happens and we didn’t know she was so sick anyway.

    One cult in Oregon came to the attention of the authorities when someone noticed there were a lot of child graves in their private cemetery. It’s estimated that the Followers of Christ killed 30 of their kids over a few decades and this in a small church.

    When your church needs its own cemetery for all the dead people it produces, it is time to…find another church.

  2. 2
    democommie

    Looks like a RICO case to me. Continuing criminal conspiracy.

  3. 3
    Michael Heath

    NBC10 Philadelphia:

    Both churches believe in the power of prayer over modern medicine…

    Humans should realize by their mid-teens that it’s ludicrous to believe in the power of prayer; even in a culture that promotes the juvenile practice of faith.

  4. 4
    dingojack

    People, people it’s right there in the name: ‘First Century Gospel Church’. Can’t accuse them of false advertising.
    :s Dingo

  5. 5
    ashleybell

    Well, epecially since in DEMONSTRABLY doesn’t work. “Prayer doesn’t seem to be saving our childrem… Let’s try that ‘qualified physician thingy’”

  6. 6
    dingojack

    MH – So you seriously think an American jury’s gonna go with ‘a reasonable person would think that prayer is totally inneffective’? Seriously?
    :( Dingo

  7. 7
    d.c.wilson

    I’d ask how many kids would have to die before these people wake up, but I realize these are people don’t believe in things like evidence or science. If the kid dies, it either means they didn’t pray hard enough or it’s just Gawd’s will.

  8. 8
    Ben P

    Every single child in those families should be taken away and given to parents who will care for them. We cannot wait for them to die and then punish the parents. That’s more than two dozen dead kids in one city.

    Well…..no, we can’t.

    Although it’s usually a juvenile court sitting without a jury that hears the cases and the burden of proof isn’t quite the same, Abuse and Neglect cases are very much similar to criminal cases.

    Even separate from the way that Pennsylvania law is written, I just can’t visualize any possible way that taking children away from parents based upon a religious belief of the parents, and absent any direct evidence of maltreatment would pass constitutional muster.

    At the bare minimum, I think you have to wait until there’s an incident of abuse or neglect (this would be medical neglect), then any children in the home can be removed, and the parents put under court orders to comply (i.e. if your child becomes ill, you will obtain medical care). If the parents indicate an unwillingness to comply with orders of the court, then you can proceed with fsomething like terminating parental rights. But if they were do that en masse I’d be scared of a firestorm and I’m not even sure that could pass muster. you’d have to demonstrate by very clear evidence that the parents will never change their beliefs and begin obtaining medical care for the children.

  9. 9
    JustaTech

    What are these people doing that their children get so sick that they would need hospitalization in the first place? Most kids I know just don’t get *that* sick. Maybe that’s because their parents take them to the doctor when the kid is only sort-of sick and they get anti-inflammatories, or antibiotics, or whatever other medicine they need. But something tells me these parents aren’t up on good nutrition either.

    There isn’t any quesiton that these specific parents need to loose custody of their remaining children, seeing as how letting this kid die was in direct violation of their probation. You would thik the first dead kid would have had them running from this church with all possible speed.

  10. 10
    D. C. Sessions

    I am so glad to be out on the end of things where, when things get down to the wire, I don’t have to get parental permission. Kid has a probable hot belly? Here comes the ambulance or bird. Mom doesn’t like it? Not my problem.

    And no, this isn’t hypothetical. I’ve done it — and had the kid crash on the way to hospital but they kept him alive with saline long enough to get blood and a flight to Phoenix. He’s alive, Mom notwithstanding.

  11. 11
    Ben P

    What are these people doing that their children get so sick that they would need hospitalization in the first place? Most kids I know just don’t get *that* sick. Maybe that’s because their parents take them to the doctor when the kid is only sort-of sick and they get anti-inflammatories, or antibiotics, or whatever other medicine they need. But something tells me these parents aren’t up on good nutrition either.

    There isn’t any quesiton that these specific parents need to loose custody of their remaining children, seeing as how letting this kid die was in direct violation of their probation. You would thik the first dead kid would have had them running from this church with all possible speed.

    I think the keyword is “most.”

    With two churches we’re probably talking at least 40-60 familes and very possibly 100 or more. In a population that size I’d bet it’s a near statistical certainty that you’ll end up with a few kids that get something that, without any treatment, will make them seriously ill.

    In the most recent case (that led to homicide charges), the 2 year old had pneumonia for at least several days. Most parents of two year olds rush to the hospital the second they figure out their baby has a fever because you don’t exactly ignore a sick and fussy baby.

  12. 12
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    What are these people doing that their children get so sick that they would need hospitalization in the first place? Most kids I know just don’t get *that* sick.

    When you don’t get vaccinated, and you create a community with others who don’t get vaccinated, then you get all the diseases that anyone in your community contracts. The rates of transmission are higher not only b/c things last longer w/o treatment giving more opportunities for transmission, but also because there are fewer barriers to transmission in the first place.

    Moreover, in the Oregon case (I was living there then), some of the people who came to pray over the kids that died **brought their kids with them** to the house full of disease. Why? Can’t trust childcare in this nation of godless heathens. So you have

    1. opportunities for transmission created by the pattern of deliberately visiting the houses of the sick
    2. opportunities for transmission created by the fact that a disease lasts longer than it otherwise would, given treatment
    and
    3. fewer barriers to successful transmission (as in vaccinations).

    Thus…more successful transmissions, more illnesses, and more deaths.

  13. 13
    kemist, Dark Lord of the Sith

    @ Justatech

    Actually, these stats look approximately like what you get for unvaccinated, untreated children. Nutrition has nothing to do with it. If you talk about it to your grand parents or great grand parents, they’ll all remember at least one schoolmate who went home sick with “childhood illness” and never came back.

    These cases make me wonder about the victims we don’t hear about – those who are still alive but crippled. There must be some. In at least one instance I would have been left crippled were it not for modern medicine. I had a severe case of internal otitis which would have made me permanently deaf.

  14. 14
    congenital cynic

    Sad because the people died needlessly. But scary because of how impervious these individuals are to evidence.

    As a father of four, I can’t imagine anything worse than to have one of my children die before me (unless I live to 100+). But for these people to have children die, and not absorb the fact that prayer doesn’t work to heal, just boggles the mind. Then again, the religious have an out for everything. “The lord works in mysterious ways. We cannot understand his plan. And other bullshit.” These people are, in a word, crazy.

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