Under the category of “religion does no harm”, I give you current events from my neck of the woods:
Shannon and Dale Hickman are charged with second-degree manslaughter in the baby’s death. Officials from the medical examiner’s office said the baby was born two months premature. His lungs were too weak to sustain breathing and he had a staph infection he caught from Shannon while she was pregnant with him.
A death like this, while tragic, wouldn’t normally result in charges being filed … but here’s the catch: the Hickmans belong to the “Followers of Christ”, a Christian sect that believes in faith healing and rejects modern medicine. So, the allegation by prosecutors is that not only did the couple not bother to seek prenatal care, they spent their time praying instead of calling 911 when their baby was dying. Defense attorneys maintain that the change in condition occurred so quickly that there was nothing that could be done.
Problem is, the Hickmans testified today, saying that even though it was clear their child was having difficulty breathing, no one even considered calling for medical attention … even if the result may have been the same.
This is far from the first time the Follower of Christ have been in trouble for this very thing. For example, Timothy and Rebecca Wyland are being charged with first degree criminal mistreatment for refusing to take their daughter Alayna, to the doctor to treat her hemangioma, which is a benign tumor that will cause blindness if it grows around the eye. According to the New York Times:
… a growth the size of a baseball had consumed the left side of her face, pushing her eyeball out of its socket.
Yet they did nothing but anoint her with oils, pray, and lay hands on her. Thankfully, she received treatment from doctors and is recovering in foster care now. The article continues:
The church first came under criticism in 1998 after the local news media reported that of the 78 children buried in the church’s graveyard, at least 21 could have survived if they had received medical attention.
In 2008, the church was in the spotlight again when two of its young members died. One of them, Ava Worthington, 2, died of pneumonia. […] Ava’s father, Carl Worthington, was sentenced to 60 days in prison.
Three months later, Ava’s teenage uncle, Neil Beagley, died of complications resulting from a blocked urinary tract. His parents were tried and sentenced to 16 months in prison.
In other words, this is hardly what could be called an isolated incident.
In no other situation would something like this be considered even remotely rational by anyone other than two people who consciously, deliberately wanted their child to die. Yet their interpretation of “God’s Will” shut off the part of their brains that allowed them to think for themselves, their child paid the ultimate price.
One of almost two dozen over the years who could have otherwise been saved.