I've started threads on two deaths connected with the Followers of Christ. Now it looks like their days of relying on prayer only for sick children will end. I'm certain there will be a hot debate on this. Even I have mixed feelings but the children who died suffered so greatly. Many of the child deaths within this group have been highly preventable. This is NOT declining care for a terminal illness. This is attempting to rely on prayer to treat diabetes, epilepsy, asthma, and serious infection. Child safety must come first.
Oregon lawmakers appear ready to end legal protections for faith-healing parents
"Oregon lawmakers will take the first step today toward ending legal protections for parents who rely solely on faith to treat their dying children.
The bill targets the Followers of Christ, an Oregon City church with a long history of children dying from treatable medical conditions. A previous crackdown restricted but did not eliminate religious immunity from state criminal statutes.
Rep. Carolyn Tomei, D-Milwaukie, said deaths of three Followers children in recent years – all without medical intervention – prompted her to introduce the bill. "Such gross and unnecessary neglect cannot be allowed, even if the parents are well-meaning," Tomei said...."
more at link
The earlier threads:
[ame="http://www.websleuths.com/forums/showthread.php?t=97430"]Parents sentenced for teen's faith-healing death/Oregon - Websleuths Crime Sleuthing Community[/ame]
This is why I said it would be a hot debate. I happen to live in Ashland, which I believe has the highest number of unvaccinated children, per capita, in the US. Most of my children and grandchildren are unvaccinated. This is why I have mixed feelings.
I can't recall any child in the Jehovah's Witness faith in Oregon who has died a preventable death. Correct me if I'm wrong. I strongly suspect that this has been brewing for a long time and now that Gov. Kitzhaber is back in office (and is a physician) that this will sail through.
I, myself, have refused all but palliative treatment for my disorder but I'm an adult. I can't be quite as accepting about a teen who died from a bladder infection because he didn't have access to a $10 antibiotic or a baby with a disfiguring growth on her face.
I firmly believe in and readily use prayer but if I would have relied on it alone, I would not have seven of my 14 children. That's a sobering thought. I've not read of a single five year old with Type 1 Diabetes who was correctly diagnosed and cured by prayer. Same goes for epilepsy and severe asthma. My 25 week gestation twins would not be with us. My sons with Multiple Sclerosis and bipolar would be far more unhealthy. My daughter with cerebral palsy would not be walking or hearing today if it weren't for multiple surgeries and hearing aids. And believe me when I say I've prayed for them all.
I'm very open to listening to other options. This is quite the moral and ethical conundrum. What do other states do?
I think it is WRONG to force parents to seek western medical intervention for their kids.
Surely an all powerful deity can heal a body without any human assistance. I think these cases show that while lots of folks claim to believe in such a deity and claim to believe in the power of prayer, they are really just giving lip service to these beliefs.
We don't for one second believe that God will really heal our sick child - we have much more faith in the doctor. And then we tell ourselves that God sent us doctors who heal so we are really just taking advantage of God's special agents.
I personally take my kids to the doctor when they are sick. But I marvel at the faith of people like the Followers of Christ
I agree that this is a sticky issue.
I do not intend to tiptoe through life only to arrive safely at death!
southcitymom--Prayer is central to my life. I've given up on western medicine as it did nothing to heal my body. I've been to the Mayo and to OHSU and to UCLA. I do firmly believe that God can heal me but must be taking his/her time. I also realize that this must be his/her plan for me.
However, I truly don't believe that a 5 year old can make that informed decision.
Our society has required us to place children into approved car seats, to use seat belts, to have medical check-ups before playing sports, prohibits drinking and smoking by children, and has set up a mandated reporting system for child abuse. While I have no interest or ability to debate the wisdom of any of these other rules and laws, they do exist.
I know many many families who birth at home and whose children have never seen a Western doctor. That does not mean, though, that the children have been without medical care. The families utilize naturopathy, homeopathy, chiropractic and/or accupuncture. Herbs/tinctures and teas are prescribed quite frequently in my town, long before an antibiotic. However, in my research of this group, I'm not seeing where they employ other medical traditions for sick children. I believe they rely on prayer only.
I fully agree with you that there is no single way to look at this issue. I happen to believe it is abusive to withhold insulin from a diabetic child just as it would be to withhold food and water. Within 4 days the child will die. Do you believe that families have the right to decide whether to feed and clothe their children or to decide to discipline them in ways that damage their bodies?
Just for clarification:
"....a former Oregon state medical examiner claims the infant mortality rate within the Followers of Christ community is 26 times greater that of the general population...."
"....Unlike many other churches which include faith healing as part of their doctrine, the Followers refuse all forms of medicine and professional medical care. The church practices shunning of those who violate or challenge church doctrine, including those who seek medical treatment; it has been alleged that many Followers clandestinely see doctors in defiance of church teaching...."
This is a harsh comparison but if we allow the Followers of Christ to permit their children to die from preventable diseases, why is Angela McAnulty facing the death penalty for disciplining her child as she saw fit? Children are not chattels to do with as we wish, IMO.
Children shouldn't have to suffer and lose their lives because of their extremist "parents". These people pray when their children are sick, and then their children die, you would think they would realize that hmm, maybe just praying, doesn't work. Many people use medical treatment AND pray. This is a group of child abusers hiding behind a church. If someone over the age of 18 doesn't want medical treatment, that's their choice, but children shouldn't have to suffer and die because of their "parents".
Last edited by eileenhawkeye; 02-22-2011 at 03:40 PM.
I truly believe the parents (wrongly) believed they were doing the absolutely only faithful, correct thing they COULD do.
Hindsight, as is often said, is 20-20.
I do not agree with their religious teachings. But I am loathe to interfere.
Why are parents in quotes? If children are born to or adopted into a mom and dad (or variations) the adults are the parents.
Maybe they feel that God is saying no to their prayers.
These children are hardly abused because they aren't taken to the doctor. It is unfortunate that the parents won't allow medical treatment, but it's not the state's call, it's the parents.
I have been watching this thread for a few days, and I do not mean to leave you guys on eggshells, but I have a story about this.... i am from Oregon, and have had first hand expierences with this belief... And after watching firsthand the affects on children and young adults, I think a law should be in place.
I do not agree with mandatory vaccination, I feel parents should parent within their own belief system, and I am no one to judge.... That is left up to God.
However. The "followers of Christ" in Oregon, are a special group, and I believe they are a danger to our society. I will try to be back later tonight, or tomorrow with my story.
The issue then becomes if it is sincerely held religious beliefs (which are constitutionally protected) or a scam that people are afraid to leave.
The government can not single out a particular religious organization and tell them they can't practice their religion.
There is no way to make the law where it couldn't be used against other parents.
If your religious beliefs cause someone besides yourself to suffer or die, then that's a problem. Children should not have to live their lives in pain or die because they were born into a freakshow. We constantly hear about parents on this forum whose actions caused their children to die, so what's the difference between them and the followers of this church?
I sort of saw this coming, I am sure many of you did as well, but like Mizissy, I feel this is going to open up a big ole can of hotly debated worms.
Here it comes, the ole slippery slope.
Every single time I get frustrated, some WS member or a group of them reminds me of exactly why this is the best true crime forum on the web.
Ava succumbed on March 2 to bronchial pneumonia and a blood infection, problems easily treated with antibiotics. But Ava’s parents, Carl and Raylene Worthington of Oregon City, Ore., do not believe in antibiotics. As Ava struggled for days to breathe, her parents prayed, never calling a doctor, an ambulance or 911.How is that not abuse?Madeline Neumann, 11, of Weston, Wis., died March 23 from an easily treatable form of diabetes after her parents chose to rely on prayer. According to news reports, Madeline spent a month suffering from nausea, excessive thirst, vomiting and and loss of mobility before she died.
nationwide how many children are there in this sect? How many recover from their illness with the treatment of prayer? there's a lot of unanswered questions. Besides 21 died that could have been saved. Nationwide how many children die that are not part of THIS religion that could have been saved with antibiotics?
If it's abuse, the abuse will manifest itself in more than medical decisions and the parents should be held accountable.
There are about 1,200-2,300 members of this church. It doesn't matter how many recover from their illness because of prayer because there's no proof that prayer is the reason they recovered. I'm sure that plenty of their children have recovered from colds, sore throats, etc but that wasn't because they were praying. Unfortunately, they believe that so when their children get a more serious illness that requires hospitalization, they figure that they can just pray again this time and the diabetes will go away just like the cold did. The sad thing is they don't even realize that their ignorance caused their children to suffer and die, and probably think it happened because they didn't pray hard enough.
As tlcox says, this is a can of worms. I'm surely not a mod (bless their hearts, I don't know how they do it) but I did start this thread knowing full well how polarized the debate would be. This is a pertinent and timely topic and extremely important for parents to consider. I implore everyone to be kind and respectful of other's positions. I seriously doubt that there will be a consensus on this issue.
I think it is imperative that the children's comfort, safety and health, rather than the parents' rights, be considered first as we carry on this debate.
I really look forward to hearing from mommy23.
There is a huge difference between driving drunk (something you are responsible for doing) and allowing nature to take it's course.
Because one person chooses to not believe in a higher power, or personal God - does not take away another's right to believe in it or the power of prayer. The founders were VERY specific on the right of freedom of religion.
I think what constitutes a religion could be valid - but not singling out one religion for their beliefs.
Female genital mutilation is far more common in those of African and Middle Eastern descent and yet it is illegal in the US. Infant masturbation, for purposes of calming infants, is practiced in certain areas of the Asia. It would be judged to be sexual abuse in the US. Both of these issues seem to be far more common within a certain group of people and yet the US has made laws prohibiting them without an outcry of discrimination. Marking, scribing and scarification are common in Africa and yet US children cannot legally be marked in this way. Thirteen year olds may not marry. Children are prohibited from certain workplaces and their labor is strictly controlled. The types and levels of discipline is regulated. Children are required to wear clothing to school and to conform to dress-codes.
I do think that these precedents and hundreds of others certainly apply to the issue at hand. The American people have chosen to set laws controlling, limiting, and prohibiting many actions practiced by people of many different religions and cultures throughout the world. It seems to me that our legal system is designed in such a way that the best interest of the child--his/her health and welfare--carries more legal weight than the child's culture or religion.
Just found this blog and posting it for consideration. I have not read the entire thing but it seems to bring up several arguments. Once again, it is not a full reflection of my personal views.
Letting Children Die for the Faith
by Rita Swan