It is a definite sin to trust in medical help

Killing one child by praying instead of going to a doctor isn’t enough. True faith requires killing another one.

A couple serving probation for the 2009 death of their toddler after they turned to prayer instead of a doctor could face new charges now that another son has died.

Herbert and Catherine Schaible belong to a fundamentalist Christian church that believes in faith healing. They lost their 8-month-old son, Brandon, last week after he suffered from diarrhea and breathing problems for at least a week, and stopped eating. Four years ago, another son died from bacterial pneumonia.

Well that sounds like a nasty slow death.

At a hearing Monday, a judge told the couple they had violated the terms of their probation, noting the Schaibles had told investigators that they prayed to God to make Brandon well instead of seeking medical attention.

“You did that once, and the consequences were tragic,” Philadelphia Common Pleas Judge Benjamin Lerner said, according to the Philadelphia Daily News.

The consequences were tragic, they were on probation as a result, yet they still didn’t learn.

The Schaibles

grew up in the First Century Gospel Church in northeast Philadelphia and have served as teachers there. The church’s website has a sermon titled “Healing – From God or Medicine?” that quotes Bible verses purportedly forbidding Christians [to visit] doctors or [take] medicine.

“It is a definite sin to trust in medical help and pills; and it is real faith to trust on the Name of Jesus for healing,” says the message, from last May.

Really? Why? Is it also a sin to take the stairs instead of stepping out of the window? Is it a sin not to step in front of an approaching bus? Is it a sin to eat instead of trusting on the Name of Jesus to provide supernatural nutrition? Is it a sin to put on a sweater when it’s cold? Is it a sin to avoid poison ivy? Is it a sin not to step off the edge of a cliff?

What a nightmare.


  1. MFHeadcase says

    “He feels they are a danger to their children – not to the community, but to their own children,” Assistant District Attorney Joanne Pescatore, who prosecuted the couple in 2010, said Tuesday.

    Apparently the children are not members of the community? How about the children of any parents they convince to buy into similar bullshit? Apparent the death of one child and 10 years probation were not enough consequences for them to change their ways.

  2. says

    That’s OK. She’s a “quiverfull” uterus. She’ll just pop out a couple more. No biggie. /snark

    One can only hope the remaining children are adequately fostered.

    And JesusfuckingChrist on a stick, it is not “seeking medical care” to give a kid with diarrhea Pedialyte.

  3. says

    Some “gems” from the article:

    Catherine Schaible’s attorney, Mythri Jayaraman, cautioned against a rush to judgment, and said the couple are good parents deeply distraught over the loss of another child.

    Same attorney:

    “Nobody argues that these aren’t very loving, nurturing parents,” she said Tuesday. “Whether their religion had anything to do with the death of their baby, we don’t know.”

    Fuck, no.
    If two of your children die a cruel and needless death, you’Re not a good parent.
    Keeping your children alive is the absolute minimum requirement to be a good parent.
    And no, you’re not loving parents when you’re putting your imaginary friend’s commands over your child’s life.

  4. opposablethumbs says

    In what mirror-universe are these people “good parents”?

    Wait till the senior adult males in this cult get ill. All of a sudden it will be dog’s will that they get medical attention.

    At the very least, all their other children should be taken into care. It’s usually a terrible thing and a last resort to take children from their parents, but in this case the parents’ cult clearly makes them a danger to their children’s health and lives.

  5. Beatrice (looking for a happy thought) says

    Too bad they don’t consider neglecting one’s children a sin.

  6. stever says

    It can be argued that these people don’t belong in prison. OK, then they need to spend the rest of their days in a Secure Psychiatric Facility. They live according to an unshakable belief that is inconsistent with observable reality. Isn’t that the defining feature of schizophrenia? What they deserve is prohibited by the Eighth Amendment.

  7. naturalcynic says

    Matthew 4:7 Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'”

    Deuteronomy 6:16: Do not put the LORD your God to the test as you did at Massah.
    Adhering to scripture FAIL.The most common interpretation is “Do what is necessary rather than expecting a miracle” or “God helps those who help themselves”.

  8. says

    It can be argued that these people don’t belong in prison. OK, then they need to spend the rest of their days in a Secure Psychiatric Facility.

    Sometimes, I’m a very cruel person.
    So what I actually want for those people is for them to realize what they have done. With the full impact of that knowledge hounding them every day. Being triggered by children who are as old as their sons when they died, being triggered by children, men, who are at the age their sons would be if they hadn’t murdered them. Yes, I call it murder. There’s no other word for that.
    Prison would be a holiday for them because they wouldn’t have to look at a world in which parents care for their children more than for their gods.

  9. hotshoe, now with more boltcutters says

    I agree with you. No prison. Lifetime probation but a condition of probation that they both shall work full-time in a commercial diaper laundry, where they will be reminded every working minute of the untreated illness of their little baby.
    They’re in Philadelphia. I’m sure there’s at least one diaper-service plant which is large and has need for employees who won’t get disgusted and quit.

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