Faith healing couple being charged

Faith healing is a significant problem in child medical care. Many parents are sensible enough to bring their sick or diseased children to real doctors who can offer real solutions, but that isn’t true of all parents. One reason is that 30 states offer protection for this evil practice. That, in part, leads parents to believe it is okay to refuse actual medical care for their children because the state will not prosecute them. The other part of the equation is obviously religion. It’s a virus that eats away rationality.

Take the case of the Neumann’s. Even without state protection in Wisconsin, they decided to forego real treatment for their sick daughter. The little girl, Kara, died, despite having a fully treatable condition (diabetes). The couple cited over and over their religious devotion and reasons for effectively giving their child a death sentence. It was this that gave them a ridiculous jail sentence of a mere 6 months to be served over a 6 year period – one month a year. And they have other children.

It is clearly a problem that 30 states are willing to protect negligent parents, but religion is at the root of it all. Take this recent case of Timothy and Rebecca Wyland, members of Oregon City’s Followers of Christ church.

The Wylands’ 7-month-old daughter, Alayna, was placed in state custody earlier this month after child-welfare workers received a tip about the untreated and ballooning growth. Doctors said that the condition could cause permanent damage or loss of vision.

The Wylands and their church reject medical care in favor of faith-healing — anointing with oil, laying on of hands, prayer and fasting. The parents testified at a juvenile court hearing last week that they never considered getting medical attention for Alayna.

I’m not posting it here because it’s gross, but there is a picture of Alayna at that link. Take a look. Her parents weren’t going to do anything but wipe away some puss and discharge.

The upside of all this is that Oregon is not one of those 30 states which protects negligent children. In fact, it has taken exactly the opposite direction.

Under Oregon law, it is a crime for parents to intentionally and knowingly withhold necessary and adequate medical attention from their children. First-degree criminal mistreatment is a Class C felony punishable by up to five years in prison.

The Wylands have been indicted on that charge of first-degree criminal mistreatment. There’s no way they’ll get the full sentence they deserve – Alayna needs to be given the longest possible time without any chance of either of them neglecting her further – but hopefully they will be given some prison time plus probation plus required medical supervision of their daughter. That’s the least that ought to happen to these nuts. Their religion has blinded them to the serious health problems of their daughter – who may end up blind because of their neglect.

Oh, and there’s this.

Wyland’s first wife, Monique, died of breast cancer in 2006. She had not sought or received medical treatment for the condition, said Dr. Christopher Young, a deputy state medical examiner who signed the death certificate.

Monique would likely still be alive rather than not existing with her fictitious god if she received treatment.

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Protecting Killers

I wrote some time ago about Leilani and Dale Neumann. They thought it appropriate to only pray for their diabetic daughter. They did not take her to get diagnosed, and when her health became grave, they continued in their quest to neglect her. They deserve to be put in prison; they have other children, not to mention the fact that not convicting them would encourage more parents to neglect their children through the meaninglessness of prayer.

Well, there’s good news and bad news. They were convicted earlier this year. Unfortunately, despite the fact that a jury decided these people were guilty of second-degree reckless homicide, the judge gave them a slap on the wrist. He sentenced them to 6 months in prison with 10 years of probation. The 6 months will be served over the course of 6 years – just one month a year. Compare this to the maximum they could have received – 25 years each – and it’s obvious that justice has not been served.

There are two mitigating factors to be noted, neither of which had a legal bearing on this particular case. The first is that Wisconsin is one of 30 states that protect faith-healing monsters. The law did not apply in this case. However, it’s hard to imagine it wasn’t a factor in sentencing. Second, the judge took pity on this couple because of their religion. He gave them an unfounded respect for their wacky and dangerous beliefs. Prayer will cure diabetes as well as it will restore an amputee’s leg.

The above link to their sentencing also cites similar sentence lengths for other, far less offensive crimes.

Russell J. Wozniak Jr. and Jennifer Ann Wozniak, of Chippewa Falls, Wis., received basically the same sentence as the Neumanns for, the criminal complaint said, allowing their 2-year-old to wander around covered in vomit and wearing a full diaper.

It’s absurd to pretend that the death of Kara Neumann is at all equal to what the Wozniak’s did. They had a child in a bad situation. So did the Neumanns. The difference is that the Wozniak’s child is still alive.

Then there are similar cases with differing sentences.

Then there are the parents of Alex Washburn. The 22-month-old died after hitting his head at home in Cross Lanes, W.Va. His parents, Elizabeth Dawn Thornton and Christopher Steven Washburn, said the boy fell a lot and hit his head on the corner of a table and his chin on a toilet. They apologized for not seeking medical help and agreed to terminate their parental rights to their other children, handing over custody to the state. “I wish I did seek medical treatment for my son faster,” Washburn told the court. “That will definitely be with me for the rest of my life.” The court sentenced both parents to three to 15 years in prison.

There are two differences here with the Neumanns. First, religion was not a factor for Thornton’s and Washburn’s actions. Second, Washburn was remorseful. He did not believe what he did was right; he recognized the evil in his actions. In contrast, here is a quote from Neumann.

If I in a moment of crisis and in a moment of time, I went to anyone else but the Lord, it would not have been favorable to God,

Here he has defended his inhumane actions. That should be unacceptable to anyone of rationality. Here is another quote (found in sentencing link).

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.

As if his lack of regret about his cruelty was not enough, his wife feels the same.

I do not regret trusting truly in the Lord for my daughter’s health.

Really read that. This woman does not regret acting in a way that resulted in her daughter’s avoidable death. If you’re a parent reading this, ask yourself if you could ever say such a horrible thing. Ask yourself if you would ever be proud of behaving in a way that resulted in the death of your child.

But it’s just the fringe!

Anytime I’ve brought up the horrors of what religion did to Kara Neumann, my point is always ‘countered’ with the argument that I’m merely giving an example of some fringe lunatics who are motivated through some form of mental illness or insanity. None of that is true. The monsters in the example I provide ran a successful business and were a normal part of their community. Not only that, but if I bend over backwards* and pretend like none of that matters and that, indeed, they were merely fringe examples, it doesn’t matter because there are 30 (!) states which have laws protecting the religious right to abuse one’s child by refusing medical care for him or her. There are rarely limits placed on this besides death. That means 30 (!) states allow parents to forgo medical treatment in favor of prayer or faith healing as long as they don’t kill their children. 60% of the state governments in the United States doesn’t sound like fringe to me.

And so there is yet another example of religion destroying the minds of otherwise reasonable people in the news. It’s a bill in The Bahamas that would outlaw marital rape. You’d think it’d be common sense, yet here we are with statements like this.

“It is ridiculous for them to try to make that a law, because I don’t think a man can rape his own wife. After two people get married, the Bible says that they become one – one flesh. How is it possible to rape what is yours?” asked Mr. Sutherland.

Keep in mind, this isn’t a story about a couple people who don’t like the bill. The issue is significant down there. The article states it is a majority of men who do not support this bill. There are even some women. And then there’s this.

State Minister for Social Development Loretta Butler-Turner said that over the summer months, the government would host a number of consultative meetings to better inform the public on exactly what the amendment entails.

Obama needs to go out and sell his health care reform at public events. That’s understandable. Just how to go about fixing the broken system of health care in the United States is a contentious issue with a lot of special interests, concerns for different age groups, bureaucracy, and a whole host of other things which need to be addressed as comprehensively as possible. That calls for nothing less than large-scale engagement with the public. And then there’s this issue in The Bahamas. It isn’t so complicated: Don’t rape your fucking wife, you degenerate, immoral scumbag.

In a secular society, this inanity would only be possible with legitimate instances of insanity. Religion is the pure motivation behind the efforts of those opposed to this bill in The Bahamas.

*It seems like I can give virtually every religious argument huge concessions and still make my point without injury.

But it's just the fringe!

Anytime I’ve brought up the horrors of what religion did to Kara Neumann, my point is always ‘countered’ with the argument that I’m merely giving an example of some fringe lunatics who are motivated through some form of mental illness or insanity. None of that is true. The monsters in the example I provide ran a successful business and were a normal part of their community. Not only that, but if I bend over backwards* and pretend like none of that matters and that, indeed, they were merely fringe examples, it doesn’t matter because there are 30 (!) states which have laws protecting the religious right to abuse one’s child by refusing medical care for him or her. There are rarely limits placed on this besides death. That means 30 (!) states allow parents to forgo medical treatment in favor of prayer or faith healing as long as they don’t kill their children. 60% of the state governments in the United States doesn’t sound like fringe to me.

And so there is yet another example of religion destroying the minds of otherwise reasonable people in the news. It’s a bill in The Bahamas that would outlaw marital rape. You’d think it’d be common sense, yet here we are with statements like this.

“It is ridiculous for them to try to make that a law, because I don’t think a man can rape his own wife. After two people get married, the Bible says that they become one – one flesh. How is it possible to rape what is yours?” asked Mr. Sutherland.

Keep in mind, this isn’t a story about a couple people who don’t like the bill. The issue is significant down there. The article states it is a majority of men who do not support this bill. There are even some women. And then there’s this.

State Minister for Social Development Loretta Butler-Turner said that over the summer months, the government would host a number of consultative meetings to better inform the public on exactly what the amendment entails.

Obama needs to go out and sell his health care reform at public events. That’s understandable. Just how to go about fixing the broken system of health care in the United States is a contentious issue with a lot of special interests, concerns for different age groups, bureaucracy, and a whole host of other things which need to be addressed as comprehensively as possible. That calls for nothing less than large-scale engagement with the public. And then there’s this issue in The Bahamas. It isn’t so complicated: Don’t rape your fucking wife, you degenerate, immoral scumbag.

In a secular society, this inanity would only be possible with legitimate instances of insanity. Religion is the pure motivation behind the efforts of those opposed to this bill in The Bahamas.

*It seems like I can give virtually every religious argument huge concessions and still make my point without injury.

Speaking of which…

Speaking of the tendency of believers to avoid responsibility for their actions, Dale Neumann is nearing the end of his trial with the jury currently deliberating.

“If I in a moment of crisis and in a moment of time, I went to anyone else but the Lord, it would not have been favorable to God,” Neumann said.

I wish I could find the better quotes I came across earlier today. Neumann wants to be acquitted of the charges because he really believed in his religion. No, he couldn’t have called a doctor for a relatively simple remedy to the problem. The audacity! That would be an affront to his particular, cultural god. It is merely his deeply held belief which deserves condemnation for being horribly wrong, not him. Christ.

I just hope Wisconsin juries know when they’re getting the wool pulled over their eyes. This guy is a danger to society directly as a result of the (especially) wacky religious views he and many others hold. Prayer does not heal. That is a lie, perhaps a delusion at best.

Family only prays for daughter; daughter dies

A wholly ignorant couple did nothing but uselessly pray for their daughter. God’s apparent response was, as has often been the case, murder.

Kara Neumann, 11, had grown so weak that she could not walk or speak. Her parents, who believe that God alone has the ability to heal the sick, prayed for her recovery but did not take her to a doctor.

After an aunt from California called the sheriff’s department here, frantically pleading that the sick child be rescued, an ambulance arrived at the Neumann’s rural home on the outskirts of Wausau and rushed Kara to the hospital. She was pronounced dead on arrival.

The county coroner ruled that she had died from diabetic ketoacidosis resulting from undiagnosed and untreated juvenile diabetes. The condition occurs when the body fails to produce insulin, which leads to severe dehydration and impairment of muscle, lung and heart function.

People like the aunt of this little girl should be praised as heroes. Her actions were unfortunately too late, but they were done with rationality and unselfishness. The parents of this little girl, on the other hand, acted without regard to reason and sensibilities. Rather than care for their daughter, they endangered her in a selfish effort to ensure themselves a place in the fictional land of heaven. People like that should be shunned from society. They are nothing but socially irresponsible. Unfortunately, it comes as no surprise that there are those who actually support such stupid actions.

A link from the site, helptheneumanns.com, asserts that the couple is being persecuted and “charged with the crime of praying.” The site also allows people to contribute to a legal fund for the Neumanns.

The Neumanns are not being “charged with the crime of praying”. They have all the freedom they could possibly desire to pray, as should be the case. What they are being charged with is the crime of indirectly causing their child’s death when they should have known better and known enough to take proper action. They do not have the freedom to be negligent parents. It just so happens their negligence came in the form of prayer.

Hopefully the other three children the article mentions the Neumanns having will not be subjected to possible death as a result of such poor parenting.

Chris Goebel, 30, a shipping department worker for a window maker, said many people in the area felt strongly that the parents should be punished.

“That little girl wasn’t old enough to make the decision about going to a doctor,” Mr. Goebel said. “And now, because some religious extremists went too far, she’s gone.”

This quote pretty much nails down the issue. These people are religious extremists. They have no right torturing their children by withholding medical care. Their actions deserve severe punishment. More importantly, their actions deserve to be recognized as activity which is to be derided and condemned as fundamentally ignorant and harmful.