An Oregon jury took just an hour Tuesday to convict a couple of felony criminal mistreatment for relying on faith healing instead of taking their infant daughter to a doctor.
Timothy and Rebecca Wyland’s daughter Alayna, born in December 2009, developed an abnormal growth of blood vessels that covered her left eye and threatened her vision. Now 1 1/2 years old, she has improved under state-ordered medical care. She remains in state custody but lives with her parents…
The couple had 6 ½ months to seek medical attention before the state intervened but they did not, [Prosecutor Christine] Landers said. Because of their faith, “they never would have,” she said.
In the past two years, Clackamas County has prosecuted two other couples from the same church whose children died from untreated ailments.
Oregon has been making great strides in the fight against this religious-based violence on children. It is currently in the process of developing and passing a law that takes away the defense of faith healing, it has this recent conviction, and as the article notes, it has convicted other Christian parents of their crimes. The only place where improvement is needed is in sentencing. While I am against using prison merely as a means of punishment (because that’s just petty, emotional revenge), it does serve a legitimate purpose to use real sentences as a deterrent. Most convicted faith healing parents receive short sentences or probation (which is likely for the Wylands), and what do we keep seeing? Parents who want to hide behind their religion when they neglect their children. It has to stop.