Two Faith Healing Parents, Two Dead Children

This one’s going to be a quickie because we were out late last night …

Today’s article comes to you thanks to my friend Erin, who clued me in on the story of a couple of parents who have lost their 7-month old son after refusing to get him the proper medical treatment for their son’s bacterial infection, instead relying on faith healing to cure him.  BONUS:  this is the second child they lost like this.  The first was in 2009.

Herbert and Catherine Schaible are accused of not getting treatment for their seven-month-old son, Brandon Scott Schaible — choosing instead to pray over him — when he became sick last month and eventually died April 18. The couple was already on probation after being convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the 2009 death of two-year-old, Kent.

Ladies and Gentlemen! Straight from the 1st century, Catherine and Herbert Schaible! (Photo from DAVID MAIALETTI / Staff Photographer )

Brandon Schaible began showing difficulty breathing, irritability and decreased appetite three days before he died of bacterial pneumonia, the same thing that killed Kent, according to an autopsy.

As of right now, the couple’s surviving seven children are in protective custody, where they will likely receive medical care that was developed after the Enlightenment period.  Where their final destination is, I’m not sure.  The article doesn’t say whether there are any non- or mainstream religious family members who can take them in.  That’s a tall order for any family, but I suspect it would be better than leaving them in the foster system.

What I want to know is how in the goddamned world these parents were still allowed to care for their other kids when they already let one of them die from a preventable illness.  The most obvious response is:  where else would they put the kids?  If the parents have a court order to make sure their children get regular medical care, that should improve the situation and disrupt the family unit as little as possible …

… except for the fact that you’re imposing secular law on a couple that ignores 2,000 years of modern medicine in favor of the Bible.  I’m not too sure what the judge was thinking when he decided these people could be reasoned with and that this would not happen again to at least one of their (then) eight children.

But hey, at least we draw the line somewhere, right?  I mean, we still have laws allowing people with “firmly held” beliefs to opt out of vaccination, because as we all know from centuries of prayer that if you believe something strongly enough, it magically becomes true.  And, since vaccination clearly only affects the person being immunized and does nothing for overall public health, it’s clear that such decisions should be left up to the individual and not health organizations like the CDC.

Days like these make me wish there was a sarcasm font.  Kind of like italics, but with spikes or something.

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8 Responses to Two Faith Healing Parents, Two Dead Children

  1. Erin W says:

    The upshot this time is they’re going to be charged with murder, so 25-to-life is on the table. We’ve got a new DA since the last time they were in the dock, and I’m glad he’s less inclined to go light on them because God.

  2. Elyse says:

    Hard to believe that they would do this once. But twice? Lord protect me from your followers.

  3. What I love is how they often will go treat THEMSELVES for something but not the kid. Like WTF does it occur to them that they could go get medical help (from doctors who were supposedly created by God) AND still do their praying? I’m all for freedom of religion, but that freedom ends when you put the life of an innocent child at risk. It’s the same as putting an abused kid back in a home where you know there’s the possibility of abuse. SAME DAMN THING. Can I beat my children if I say it’s for the Flying Spaghetti Monster? Or Zeus? Or Thor? Nope, but add a God in and you’re set. Just the idea that they could watch a baby suffer and die . . . . despicable.

    • If there is no other rational context for doing something other than “the god I worship says I need to do it this way” then we shouldn’t give it any consideration. I’m tired of special treatment for people who think that medical science and secular law will stand aside for them just because they have a set of “firmly held” beliefs, regardless of how contrary they are to reality. Obviously murder, theft, rape, etc. have never been allowable, but other issues like the refusal of medical treatment have been given a pass in some regard. People like the Schaibles can’t keep their children from getting emergency medical treatment, but they can refuse vaccinations, transfusions, and transplants if they feel it’s against their beliefs. I have no problem if they want to die for their religion, but they have no right to subject their children to it.

      • Creativerealms says:

        I know I’m saying nothing new here but that rational makes no sense. The bible is two thousand years old and many of the things we have today are not in the bible because the people of that time did not think of them. That does not mean then are wrong or unholy. Beliefs should be updated with the times.

        Freedom of Religion like all laws of this country are no longer valid when your freedom effects other people’s freedom. Like your religious beliefs killing a kid who does not even understand what is going on.

        • To see this happening within a family is bad enough. To see it in hospitals or pharmacies makes it exponentially worse. There should be no question as to whether or not a pharmacist should do his or her job and dispense medication, regardless of what it is … or whether a doctor should perform an abortion to save a woman’s life. Unfortunately, the right to inflict the Christian religion and its belief system on other people who don’t share their particular interpretation is getting protection thanks to the Religious Right and the Republicans who are on their payroll.

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