Believers in faith healing don’t have the courage of their convictions


Syble Rossiter, the child of Travis and Wenona Rossiter, died of diabetes complications at the tender age of 12 because her parents withheld life-saving treatment from her because they believed in faith healing. The child’s decline was so noticeable that her teacher questioned the parents as to why she was losing so much weight. The family belongs to the fundamentalist Church of the First Born in Albany that “believes traditional medical treatment is sinful, and instead trust in God to heal them through faith”.

The parents are now on trial for manslaughter but their lawyer has made a motion that their belief in faith healing should not be presented as evidence before the jury and the judge is weighing this request. In other words, they were quite proudly willing to risk their daughter’s life for their crackpot ideas but when it comes to saving their own skin, they want to hide their belief.

What makes this worse is that Wenona Rossiter’s brother died of leukemia at the age of seven because her father withheld medical treatment from him, again because of a belief in faith healing, so she knew first hand the danger involved to her child by pursuing this course of action.

It seems like nothing, even major tragedies, changes the minds of these religious people once they get an idea like this into their heads.

Comments

  1. Dave, ex-Kwisatz Haderach says

    Manslaughter? No way in hell. They deliberately chose a course of action that regularly results in death. That’s first degree murder.

  2. Jockaira says

    The Rossiters are charged with manslaughter. Their religious belief could be cited in their defense. Their request to keep that out as evidence is possibly a wrong-headed effort to protect their belief or their congregation from disrepute and derision. Without their belief as mitigation either in the verdict or the sentencing, they are cutting off their legs unless the particular charge specifically includes their beliefs as prime motivation.

    They are confused, a natural state when true believers are faced with reality.

    It goes without saying that they should face up to their moral responsibility and cop to the charges. Religion is no excuse for allowing a child (or anyone) to die from lack of available medical care.

  3. raven says

    This is General Assembly and Church of the First Born. It’s an offshoot of the Mormon church.

    They are notorious for the number of people who have been killed because of faith healing.

    I’ve found one family in this cult that has lost 5 people, 2 adults and 3 children to faith healing.

    The parents are now on trial for manslaughter but their lawyer has made a motion that their belief in faith healing should not be presented as evidence before the jury and the judge is weighing this request.

    Oregon used to exempt faith healing deaths from their homicide laws. The result was dozens of children in numerous cults being sacrificed to their monster god.

    They changed the law finally and not too long ago.

    Probably the parents are going to try to plead ignorance or accident. I doubt it will work.

  4. raven says

    Most of these faith healing cults consiste of clusters of 3 or 4 heavily intermarried families. It’s not like they get a lot of converts to potential suicide.

    I used to think they were in danger of inbreeding.

    I’ve seen pictures of some of them. They look eerily alike, much closer than most brothers and sisters. It’s not great data but it wouldn’t surprise me if they were too closely related by now.

  5. machintelligence says

    Hence the phrase “feeling like a Christian Scientist with appendicitis.”

  6. Kevin Kehres says

    My great-grandmother died a Christian Scientist. Her last days were horrible. Pure torture. I don’t know what was wrong with her diagnostically (I guess I was 7 or so). I only know that she was in pure agony as a handful of women gathered around her deathbed to pray for her.

    There is nothing about “Christian Science” that is either Christian or scientific. I hate those fuckers with a white hot passion. They are not benign; not in the least. Those cozy little “reading rooms” to the contrary.

  7. Chiroptera says

    We all know that once a child is born, her welfare no longer takes priority over the wishes of her parents.

  8. Timothy says

    I’m no attorney, but I’m intrigued as to how one would mount a legal defense without being able to talk about the defendants’ religious beliefs.

    Any thoughts?

  9. says

    [T]hey were quite proudly willing to risk their daughter’s life for their crackpot ideas but when it comes to saving their own skin, they want to hide their belief.

    And in practice, it should be the other way around. Adults are perfectly free to refuse medical care for themselves, but those who cannot form consent should be protected against their parents’ actions.

    If a parent starved a child, we would call that child abuse and remove the child from the home. Why is denying medical care different?

  10. Daniel Rosenthal says

    These crackpots are guilty at the very least of second degree murder and should be put away for a long time.
    Involuntary manslaughter implies carelessness or negligence, but no criminal intent. Deliberately
    withholding medical treatment when the parents know that it might result in death, even if they believe
    that death is God’s will is not careless or negligence–it is implied malice–a willful and deliberate disregard
    for human life. And that,, by definition is at least second degree murder.

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