Let's kill a child … for Jesus!

In our most recent S&R poll, readers were asked the following: Two children of a family belonging to the Followers of Christ Church have now died after “faith-healing” was chosen over medical treatment. What do you believe authorities should do?

The results looked like this:

  • Pursue appropriate criminal sanctions. Religion is no defense for child endangerment. (75%, 101 Votes)
  • Nothing. These kinds of cases fall under the absolute right to freedom of religion. (25%, 33 Votes)

The story referenced is here, and links to previous coverage of this sect can be found here.

I find the results of the poll (unscientific though it may be) fascinating. Specifically, I’m interested in the thinking of the 25% who believe that letting a child die of a curable condition is … well, okay. It’s okay because their understanding of the Constitution is that the worst form of child neglect and endangerment imaginable is acceptable so long as it’s executed in the name of a god.

Let’s be sure we get this part right. Say Bob lets his baby die because he’s sorry, hateful ignorant white trash. Mary lets her baby die because the Lord told her to. Bob goes to prison. Mary gets knocked up and has another baby (with the blessing of society).

Am I getting close here?

Based on assumptions drawn from a 40+ year acquaintance with the American public, let me further speculate that many of the people who are okay with what happened in Oregon probably believe it’s a horrific crime to abort a fetus. So, in this view, aborting a blastocyst – mortal sin. Letting an actual living, breathing human die – will of God.

What we have here is absorbing in and of itself, but the philosophy has larger implications that are even more important to understand. In essence, we’re being told that the call of religion supersedes the details of any crime. It’s an absolutist stance that doesn’t seem to allow for any shades of gray.

To make sure I’m not making things up or – God forbid – constructing a straw man, I’d like to ask the people who voted for the absolutist position tell me what’s wrong with these assertions:

  • if your religion condones it, it’s okay to withhold medical care from an innocent, even if it results in unfathomable suffering and eventual death
  • if your religion condones it, it should therefore be okay to kill a child for certain kinds of misbehavior
  • if your religion condones it, it should be okay to kill another human being for violating the teachings of your church
  • if your religion condones it, it should be okay to hijack an airliner and fly it into a large building, resulting the deaths of thousands of infidels
  • if your religion condones it, it’s okay to stone your sister to death for looking at a man she isn’t married to
  • if your religion condones it, it’s okay to use your position in the church to rape children entrusted to your care
  • and how about this: if your religion condones it, it’s okay to have an abortion

In short, I’d like to know what, if anything, isn’t acceptable if you have the sanction of a religious body or official.

I personally cannot conceive that the framers of the Constitution intended any such hogwash. This noble document, which stands as perhaps the greatest political framework in history, wasn’t devised as a hiding place for the most ignorant among us, and it’s impossible to imagine that the list of our inalienable rights includes the right to deprive an innocent child of the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

If it does, then we now have all the justification we’ll ever need for abolishing it as we would any other archaic, barbaric drivel.

So there it is – come tell me what I’m missing. But be forewarned – the positions as stated and as acted upon by this mouthbreathing cult in Oregon are philosophically absolute, so be careful about interpreting and drawing lines. That’s not a path that’s going to serve you very well, I don’t think.

13 replies »

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  2. I think the problem is the perception that children are the property of their parents. I don’t believe that. Parents are the stewards, not the owners, of their children until those children reach adulthood, in my view. But a lot of people seem to think they own their children.

  3. This is actually a tough question. One one end of the spectrum, we have these idiots. At the other, we have the people that keep brain-dead people hooked up to life support for ever and ever and ever even though they have no chance of recovering. Strange how both sides of this spectrum is “justified” in religious terms. There is no middle ground?

  4. I am so insulated.. I live in Austin, where the nutjobs be loathed to dwell. That said, this is the Capital but it just boggles the mind..
    the article mentions the irony of the dissenters which is ironic to me as most people associate all conservative voices (or better put, associates MOST conservative voices) as automatically dismissal-worthy.
    I’ll have to check and see if the Austin_American statesman will opine against this one although we can ‘opine’ till the cows come home.. the Texas Supreme Court gosh darnit!


  5. I was one of the minority votes. I didn’t vote that way because of the freedom of religion aspect. I voted that way because I think overpopulation is a major issue, particularly among the brain-locked. So, if any of these backwards rejects want to pull their progeny out of the gene pool voluntarily, I’m all for it.

    I don’t think it’s fair to the children, but then, raised in that household, it’s not as though they had much opportunity for reasonably useful lives anyway.

  6. In Canada, the British Colombia Supreme Court ruled in favour of the kids who needed blood transfusions over the parents’ Jehovah Witness belief forbidding transfusions. I’d imagine a similar ruling in the US if it came to it.

    “A child’s right to life trumps a parent’s charter right to guide their medical treatment in the case of four sextuplets taken from their Jehovah’s Witness parents, according to a B.C. Supreme Court judgment released Friday.

    “In his ruling, Chief Justice Donald Brenner said the seizure of the four surviving infants for blood transfusions — contrary to their parents’ religious beliefs — was medically necessary to either save the children’s lives or keep them from harm.”

  7. DR. Slammy, what happened was horrible.
    My knee jerk reaction is to press criminal charges against the parents for neglect, but the reality is that under our constitution, the greatest legal frame work set up by humans thus far into our infantile and spastic existance, allows people the freedom to believe whatever idiotic superstitions they wish. Freedom of religion also means freedom for stupid religions full of stupid people.
    Noone took an active measure in harming the children.
    The other examples you cited were all active measures of violence needing to be justified.
    Neglect is passive, purposeful ignorance.
    So this wasn’t even neglect. These people, had a beliefe that if god wanted the child healed, healing would take place. If god did not heal the child then god wanted that child to die to teach some lesson or whatever.
    Completely insane? Absolutely!
    Illegal? No way!

    This issue isn’t really about religion. It’s about freedom. It is about personal liberty and self determination.
    You can’t stop stupid from happening. You can’t protect people from being idiots. Some of them are just idiots. I prefer to think of it as built in population control. God can work in all the mysterious ways he wants. Darwin’s theory works in linear straight forward ways. And is the only of the two that produces results on a regular basis.

    From my point of view your outrage is based on arrogance. You think there should be a way to “save” these innocent children from these “god freaks”.

    God may have in fact let those children die because if they lived they would have been much worse off living and being raised by those nut jobs.

    Roy Fisher has an excellant point though. Currently, children are similar to “property”. While they are not old enough to make their own decisions, those decisions are made for them by their family.
    At the same time, I want the freedom to raise my children how I want. I let my kids make decisions about their beliefes like god and santa claus and so on. I dont want you or Ron telling me what I can and cannot teach my kids. I made them, I take care of them, I am the one who provides the things in life and through education that I think they need to be usefull good humans. So it’s my decision if I don’t want to take them to the doctor.

    This whole scenario is a large VERY GREY swamp. But you have tried to portray it as a black and white asphalt lot. You are either here, or there. When in fact most people are wandering knee deep in the grey and many of us are holding hands in mild agreement that as a group we are headed in the right direction.
    But you can’t punish those groups who don’t want to hold hands with yours as they and their members sink into the swamp and some may die.
    You have to accept that they made their choices and those choices led to a dead end for them, so learn from it and hold onto the people who DO want to share a vision of reality with you. Cause as a group, you will all have a better chance.
    Sincerely Kevin