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US couple kill child with prayer and neglect; get 6 months

(23 Posts)
Snorbs Wed 07-Oct-09 23:41:27

Story here.

"A US couple who prayed rather than seeking medical attention for their dying daughter have been sentenced to six months in jail.

Prosecutors said the couple had recklessly killed the youngest of their four children by ignoring clear symptoms of severe illness as she became too weak to speak, eat, drink or walk."

Their 11yo daughter had diabetes which was, for weeks, left untreated other than by them praying for her. The judgement says that each parent has to spend one month in jail per year for the next six years shock. Their other children are to remain in the parent's "care" albeit with regular check-ups by a nurse.

Does anyone else wonder if the sentence would've been so light if the parents had just left her to die without the praying?

Ewe Wed 07-Oct-09 23:44:08

I don't give a toss what excuse/reason there is for it tbh and the judge shouldn't have either. Completely and utterly stupid and irresponsible.

dooneygirl Wed 07-Oct-09 23:51:34

We just had a situation like that where I live. In fact, I thought that you would be talking about that. The judge didn't allow key pieces of evidence in, and also didn't allow the information that this was the 2nd child of theirs to die from lack of health care and the fact that there were many other deaths from the same reason among children from that one church. The jury was interviewed after, and they said if they would have know that, there would have been a different verdict.

The father got a 6 month sentence, and was out in just over 3 months for good behavior. The mother got off without any punishment, and is pregnant with a 3rd child. There is a trial in the works for another child who died less than 1 day after being born, and I'm hoping, but not very optimistic that with all the publicity from the previous trial, that this will be the time that they finally get a suitable punishment.

LaDiDaDi Wed 07-Oct-09 23:52:31

I think it's pretty outrageous and raises the issue of why "religion" somehow trumps other beliefs in terms of the rights that we give individual adults to follow their beliefs without harming others.

These parents had a duty of care to their daughter, they failed in that duty of care and this directly caused her death.

Snorbs Thu 08-Oct-09 00:04:09

dooneygirl, whereabouts do you live?

USA Today quoted the mother in this case saying "I do not regret trusting truly in the Lord for my daughter's health". The father was also quoted saying:

"I am guilty of trusting my Lord's wisdom completely. ... Guilty of asking for heavenly intervention. Guilty of following Jesus Christ when the whole world does not understand. Guilty of obeying my God,"

They really don't seem to grasp the magnitude of what they've done. This kind of fatalistic "it was God's will" stuff worries me deeply.

LaDiDaDi Thu 08-Oct-09 00:12:41

I've met familes before who take the view of "God's will/Allah's will" in response to bad news diagnoses but they all do all that they can medically to help their loved one if medical assistance is possible.

In other words the success or failure of any treatment is down to God/Allah rather than luck/chance/etc but it is the duty of the individual (or their family on their behalf) to access treatment and help.

dooneygirl Thu 08-Oct-09 00:16:52

Oregon City, Oregon, Snorbs. If you search for Followers of Christ in Wikipedia, you can find a brief overview. I didn't realize that the little girl who died also had a cousin die a few months later, and the mortality rate for children in the church is 26X higher than average.

SolidGhoulBrass Thu 08-Oct-09 00:21:19

DOn't you just want to punch these fucking morons? AND the morons that let them off on the grounds that their witless superstitions somehow need to be 'respected'?
IMO people who do this (and JWs who refuse blood transfusions for their dying DC) should be charged with murder with diminished responsibility as mitigation because they are clearly not mentally competent to look after a houseplant.

Northernlurker Thu 08-Oct-09 00:25:11

I'm a practicing Christian and there is nothing, nothing in our faith that says you should neglect a child in this way - or a person of any age come to that. Remember the story of the good samaritan - it's action that makes the difference there.

In this case I suppose the praying could be judged to imply a benevolent intent? That's no use to the poor child who was so let down. We can pray for God's intervention in our lives but we need to recognise that doesn't exempt us from action. Don't pray to God and expect an angel to come down from heaven to save a drowning man when you yourself are standing right besides a lifebelt!

Snorbs Thu 08-Oct-09 00:33:42

dooneygirl, my word but those Followers of Christ sound demented. The Wikipedia article you mention also has a scary bit in it regarding Oregon State Law which says:

"In a prosecution for failing to provide necessary and proper medical attention, it is a defense that the medical attention was provided by treatment by prayer through spiritual means alone by adherents of a bona fide religious denomination that relies exclusively on this form of treatment in lieu of medical attention."

In other words, in Oregon it's ok to kill your kids by witholding necessary medical treatment provided you belong to a church that says Jesus is cool with that. And there was me thinking this was the 21st Century not the 12th... sad

Northernlurker Thu 08-Oct-09 00:38:38

Just to be clear - I don't think the just prayimg was at all benevolent - just that I suupose the court in the USA must have viewed it as such.

dooneygirl Thu 08-Oct-09 00:46:43

It would have been nice if I'd provided a link, wouldn't it?

To make it even scarier, Oregon is considered a pretty liberal state.

Snorbs Thu 08-Oct-09 00:48:20

"I'm a practicing Christian and there is nothing, nothing in our faith that says you should neglect a child in this way"

But there are aspects of (at least some flavours of) the Christian faith that does engender a belief in faith healing. Not least that Jesus told his followers that they should go and heal the sick and raise the dead themselves.

dooneygirl Thu 08-Oct-09 00:48:46

I guess I should provide a disclaimer in all of this and say I grew up a Jehovah's Witness (and have left) and watched a very close family member die when I was young due to the fact that the religion wouldn't allow a blood transfusion, so I'm very biased and upset when situations like this happen.

Snorbs Thu 08-Oct-09 00:53:53

dooneygirl, I'm really very sorry to hear that. But I wouldn't say that you finding situations such as these upsetting shows you to be "biased". I'd say that was a perfectly normal and rational human reaction to a dreadful and shocking event.

Northernlurker Thu 08-Oct-09 00:54:32

Snorbs - GOd can do amazing things and I believe he can heal people beyond what is achieved by human medicine. We are praying very much atm for a dear friend with cancer - but that doesn't mean she isn't also having everything modern medicine can throw at it. How would we know what the agency of healing through faith is? If God can create a mountain then he can work through an aspirin as well grin Anybody who thinks otherwise, that leaning on medicine implies a lack of faith is just wrong imo.

bringonthetrumpets Thu 08-Oct-09 01:45:10

Well, go figure. They're from Wisconsin... it's like the worst state of all the states.

DollyPS Thu 08-Oct-09 01:58:08

Did anyone read to the end they are appealing their convictions WTF!!!!!!!!

MaMight Thu 08-Oct-09 04:34:09

What happened to 'god helps those who help themselves'?

mangosTrickyrice Thu 08-Oct-09 05:34:40

No SGB, I don't want to punch them, I want them to go to prison for, at the very least, manslaughter (would that be second-degree murder in the US?). For years, not months. And I want their other children to be removed and cared for by someone more competent.

The Oregon State law thing just beggars belief. shock doesn't cover it.

cory Thu 08-Oct-09 09:48:49

The problem seems to lie with the laws of the state of Oregon, rather than with the judge; presumably, he can only sentence according to those laws. And at least the way he organised the sentence means that they will still be punished in 6 years time, rather than being let out and allowed to get on after a 6 month period.

I don't know any Christians who would find this acceptable. Even those whose faith does involved public healings still take their children to the doctor, and see medical science as part of the healing provided by God.

Jesus did say you were allowed to pull a donkey out of a pit even on the Sabbath: there is no suggestion that you should just stand there praying until the donkey came out of its own accord.

As far as I can see, the attitude of these parents comes under the heading of tempting the Lord, like when the devil suggested to Jesus that if he threw himself off the mountain top angels would catch him. Jesus refused. Presumably not because he didn't believe in angels, but because this isn't the sort of thing Christians should be doing.

BobbingForPeachys Thu 08-Oct-09 10:06:33

LaDiDaDI that is my approach entirely

It is my belief that prayer did not kill the baby, but the criminally irresponsible attitude to other routes and general care.

Pray all you want,whether to god Allah or the fairy pixies in the clouds.

Just make sure that your child is cared for as well.

I've had the 'God is against donors / treatment / blood transfusions' thing so many times and never has anyone been able to tell me how they know that God din't give us medicalcare as the ultimate miracle.


It is not religion or prayer that killed the baby but fuckwittery from the parents. Just like when religious endeavour saves a child (mission hospitals) it is not religion that did it, but people using their hearts and heads to do what is righth- whoc ares if that's inspired by God or humanity?I don't.I do mind very much when people use it as an excuse to cause harm though. Whether it's the Taleban in Afhanistan or a local church excluding people thats different.

When someone shows me the txts that says 'Jesus said suffer the little children to come unto me, and let us cause them harm in my name and pain and cruelty rather than face up to our responsibilities'then I may feelless angry. It hasn't appeared yet, though.

BobbingForPeachys Thu 08-Oct-09 10:08:09

To put it better

God helps those who helps themselves

and that includes by buying a bus ticket to the hospital.

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