An Oregon couple so devoted to spiritual healing they let their teenage son die in agony instead of getting medical help pled guilty in court on Tuesday and will receive probation.
Russel and Brandi Bellew, of Crewswell, Ore., tried to “pray away” 16-year-old Austin Sprout’s infection from a ruptured appendix in February. The faith healing didn’t work — he died a week and a half later, according to The Register-Guard.
Well no. Faith healing doesn’t do anything to cure disease. Neither does running around in circles, reciting Shel Silverstein poems, or beating yourself about the head and shoulders with a rainbow trout. Why in the world would anyone think otherwise without any evidence to back it up? Evidence based medicine isn’t just some passing fad.
“The family, through their reliance on faith, ended up praying for his recovery,” prosecutor Erik Hasselman said in court, adding that Sprout agreed with his parents’ decision to not seek medical care. “It appeared that [Sprout] wanted to respect his faith and the manner in which he was brought up.”
Another way to put it was that some 16 year old kid was so thoroughly indoctrinated into his parents’ delusions about the way the world works that he was convinced that praying to an invisible deity would cure disease … yet for some reason humanity still needed all these hospitals, medical clinics, antibiotics, etc. …
The family is part of the General Assembly and Church of the First Born, which doesn’t believe in using modern medicine. Sprout would have been cured had he received medical attention, police said.
I honestly don’t think I believe in the criminal justice system, if all this couple got after letting their son die from an entirely preventable illness was probation. In any other situation imaginable, this would have been an open and shut case of child abuse, clear and simple, and their children would have been taken away from them. I still can’t understand how religion makes idiotic behavior like this tolerable in the slightest.
Russel Bellew, 40, and wife Brandi, 36, were arrested in February after an investigation into their son’s death.
They pled guilty Tuesday to negligent homicide charges and were sentenced to five years of probation. As part of the plea deal, the couple also must also follow an in-home safety plan set up by the Department of Human Services to protect their other six children, according to KVAL News. […]
In Oregon, faith-based healing isn’t a defense against manslaughter charges. The District Attorney’s office is working with churches to explain the law.
Faith based healing should just be illegal, period. It says to the rest of the world, “I’m not going to get medical attention for my children even if they’re dying.” Plenty of people would kill to have the resources to go to a doctor AND afford it in this country. Yet here we have people who don’t even want to bother with modern medicine because they know that God will suddenly – and without precedent – make an appearance to intervene on their child’s behalf to sure them of something He should have kept them from contracting to begin with. That, in itself, should be grounds for getting Child Protective Services involved so pointless deaths like this can be stopped before they happen.