Faith healing couple convicted

The faith healing couple that was charged with felony mistreatment of their daughter last year has been convicted:

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.

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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.