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Faith healing church parents charged over toddler's death - Comments

Sally Luxmoore's Avatar Comment 1 by Sally Luxmoore

There appears to be little danger that this particular brand of religious insanity will be spread via child indoctrination. It seems to be akin to the kind of virus that almost invariably kills its host - definitely frightening, but unlikely to be long-lived.

Tue, 01 Apr 2008 09:49:00 UTC | #145540

Prankster's Avatar Comment 2 by Prankster

Here's hoping it doesn't but this kind of case seems to be occurring more regulary as regular posters (myself included) will testify

Sick-making....It's bummed me out actually

Tue, 01 Apr 2008 09:56:00 UTC | #145545

Gymnopedie's Avatar Comment 3 by Gymnopedie

I hope those parents rot in jail for the rest of their lives.

Tue, 01 Apr 2008 10:07:00 UTC | #145552

hopeful's Avatar Comment 4 by hopeful

The sad thing is that if the parents are convicted they will undoubtedly blame everything on the devil, or god's will, or because they didn't pray enough. Others in the church will see the whole thing as another "test of faith" and use it to reinforce their delusion.

Tue, 01 Apr 2008 10:13:00 UTC | #145556

fides_et_ratio's Avatar Comment 5 by fides_et_ratio

3. Comment #153298 by Gymnopedie on April 1, 2008 at 11:07 am

Careful. If Prof. Dawkins and many other visitors here are correct in their assertion that faith is a virus, that's their defense on a golden platter.

Tue, 01 Apr 2008 10:34:00 UTC | #145571

decius's Avatar Comment 6 by decius

church that favours faith healing over conventional medicine


Absurd usage of language that sets a false dichotomy, as if faith healing had any effect whatsoever or could indeed represent an alternative to "conventional" medicine. This disgusting pandering to nonsense is a caricature of fairness and wrongfully passes as unbiased journalism.

Tue, 01 Apr 2008 11:07:00 UTC | #145598

Shaden's Avatar Comment 7 by Shaden

fides_et_ratio,

Careful. If Prof. Dawkins and many other visitors here are correct in their assertion that faith is a virus, that's their defense on a golden platter.


That's almost what they're being tried for; not treating something deadly when there is a known cure. Which would be the same in their case, since there is a known cure for faith - it's called reason.

Tue, 01 Apr 2008 11:08:00 UTC | #145600

Matt H.'s Avatar Comment 8 by Matt H.

Definitely manslaughter. Definitely a lengthy prison sentence for both of them.

Tue, 01 Apr 2008 11:09:00 UTC | #145602

notsobad's Avatar Comment 9 by notsobad

Tue, 01 Apr 2008 11:21:00 UTC | #145613

fides_et_ratio's Avatar Comment 10 by fides_et_ratio

7. Comment #153346 by Shaden on April 1, 2008 at 12:08 pm

If faith were a virus, and

If faith could be treated by reason, and

If reason were a constant, and

If all minds could grasp it,

That would mean you might have a point. But...

If ifs and and were pots and pans, well, there'd be no need for tinkers now would there?

Tue, 01 Apr 2008 11:24:00 UTC | #145620

JFHalsey's Avatar Comment 12 by JFHalsey

This story is chilling, to me. It could have been myself and my wife in this article, if circumstances had been different during our fundamentalism. And our daughter's name is Eva, too :( !
Sad.

Tue, 01 Apr 2008 11:25:00 UTC | #145622

JamesDB's Avatar Comment 11 by JamesDB

good good good good and finally

Thats all I need to say here

Tue, 01 Apr 2008 11:25:00 UTC | #145621

SweatyPalmSunday's Avatar Comment 13 by SweatyPalmSunday

While I disapprove of the parents' (lack of) reasoning, I can't say that I am fundamentally opposed to the outcome. This child died when it was fairly young. When children are intentionally killed in the womb by the choice of the parents, pro-choice people like myself do not protest. What is wrong then with parents deciding to kill their child moments after it comes out of the womb? How about days after? 15 months after?

If I call myself pro-choice (which I do) then why should I be opposed to infanticide? If I remember correctly, this system was accepted by ancient Greece, and worked well for them. Of course I am not promoting it, I am just not wishing to jail other people for it. Clearly, there must be some age where we draw the line, but why must that age be before 9 months? Please let me know if you can think of a good answer to this question.

Yes, these people should probably be ridiculed for their negligence and ignorance, but I don't see why they should be jailed for their actions. I tend to agree with the old saying, "I brought you into this world, I can take you out of it."

I'm not sure that this will be a very popular opinion, but I am interested to hear your comments.

Tue, 01 Apr 2008 11:37:00 UTC | #145636

Eventhorizon's Avatar Comment 14 by Eventhorizon

This is so sad. But I honestly think this couple believed that what they were doing was the right thing. What more proof does one need to demonstrate how this stuff erodes any sense of reality. This makes me even more confident that we need to rid ourselves of the devastating virus called faith.

Tue, 01 Apr 2008 11:38:00 UTC | #145638

Eventhorizon's Avatar Comment 15 by Eventhorizon

SweatyPalmSunday

If you really cant come up with an answer to your question or see anything wrong with your comment I can only suggest you go away and think about it a little longer!

Tue, 01 Apr 2008 11:45:00 UTC | #145647

alexmzk's Avatar Comment 16 by alexmzk

It led to the passage of legislation in Oregon that repealed the right to a religious beliefs defence in cases of manslaughter, homicide and child abuse.

now if only they could pass this legislation in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

Tue, 01 Apr 2008 11:50:00 UTC | #145651

corruptmemory's Avatar Comment 17 by corruptmemory

Granted this won't go anywhere, but can you actually call these people parents? Generally people we refer to as "parents" provide a broad spectrum of care, love, encouragement, help, support, counseling, occasionally discipline, and innumerable positive contributions to the development of another functioning human being.

Given this, in what way are these people "parents". They are progenitors, certainly, but this is not a requirement for being "parents" (ask anyone who has been adopted). Any people who would, not only entertain ignorance, but actually impose it to the literal death of another person cannot be considered parents in my book.

They may have provided some of the above laundry list in other times, but persons who consciously choose to actively harm when viable help is available need to be taken out of the pool of potential parents until they reform their views, and serve prison time for murder.

Tue, 01 Apr 2008 12:00:00 UTC | #145662

sidfaiwu's Avatar Comment 18 by sidfaiwu

Hello SweatyPalmSunday,

If I call myself pro-choice (which I do) then why should I be opposed to infanticide?


That's a very good question that I've thought long and hard about. I have an ongoing debate on abortion were I gave some thoughts about infanticide. Here's the relevant section:

...it is easy to see why a woman's prerogative does not extend to after the birth of the child, at least not in our modern society. The main suffering a postpartum mother would experience [would] result from the on-going care of the infant. Infanticide is not justifiable because our society provides an alternative that does not infringe upon the infant's interest in survival and does not require the mother to assume additional suffering; adoption or foster care.


For interested readers, the rest of the debate can be found here: http://www.sidfaiwu.com/blog/index.php/debates/abortion-debate-with-scott/

Tue, 01 Apr 2008 12:05:00 UTC | #145670

Janus's Avatar Comment 20 by Janus

SweatyPalmSunday,

secular liberals usually draw the line at the point in time when an organism attains a certain mental complexity, i.e. a set of mental functions and capabilities such as self-awareness, moral reasoning, understanding, introspection, etc. When exactly does this happen in the case of a developing human? Nearly every rational individual agrees that an organism with human DNA can't be considered a person before the 5th month of pregnancy, but that it can be considered a person around the time that it can communicate via spoken language (and most would say at birth, or a few months before birth).

Of course, if you're looking for an absolute determinant of what constitute a person, you're not going to get it. Human development is a continuum. The toddler who was so stupidly killed by her parents was 15 months old, and therefore capable of understanding simple concepts and of expressing her desires with simple words. I would say that this did not qualify her for all the rights that come with being an adult, but it did grant her the right to exist.

Finally, I find the saying "I brought you into this world, I can take you out of it" abhorrent. It is based on the assumption that parents inherently have rights over their children. Why should that be? Because they gave them birth? So the father had sex with the mother, and the mother carried the child for 9 months. I'm sure it can be a trying time, but that's not enough to grant someone the right of life and death over another person.

Parents only have rights over their children as a consequence of their responsibility to raise them to be reasonable, responsible adults. The right to spank a child (lightly) as a punitive and educational tool may logically follow from this responsibility. The right to kill a child does not.

Tue, 01 Apr 2008 12:12:00 UTC | #145678

SweatyPalmSunday's Avatar Comment 19 by SweatyPalmSunday

Eventhorizon-
I have thought about this question for a few years. I haven't found a good reason why, say, an abortion one day before birth is perfectly legal and accepted by the pro-choice crowd (myself included), but an "abortion" one day after birth (i.e., infanticide) is a capital offense which nearly all modern-day people find abhorrent.

I'm not saying I don't find infanticide abhorrent, I'm just saying that I don't see a logical reason why I should be categorically accepting of abortions, and categorically condemning of (sufficiently early) infanticide. If YOU know a (good) logical way around this, I'm all ears.

Maybe corruptmemory's comment can help here. Perhaps part of the answer lies in understanding what we mean by "parent."

Tue, 01 Apr 2008 12:12:00 UTC | #145677

Quetzalcoatl's Avatar Comment 21 by Quetzalcoatl

Good. Now what about the parents who let their eleven year old daughter die?

Tue, 01 Apr 2008 12:14:00 UTC | #145681

lrxst's Avatar Comment 23 by lrxst

I hope those parents rot in jail for the rest of their lives.


Gymnopedie, I assume you were trying to say that you hope the Worthingtons receive a fair trail and if convicted, think long and hard about what they did to their child while the serve their sentences. As western legal tradition takes into account the motivations and mindset of those who commit crimes and it's probably fair to assume that the Worthingtons were absolutely certain what they were doing was best for their son. Eye-watering ignorance doesn't necessarily equate to malice and I am sure they will be dealt with justly.

Otherwise, I'm not sure your pronouncement is anymore or less reasonable that: "I hope those two burn in hell for all eternity for what they did to that child".

Tue, 01 Apr 2008 12:17:00 UTC | #145689

Gymnopedie's Avatar Comment 22 by Gymnopedie

Sagan was one of the most eloquent defenders of reason when it came to abortion. Now, I can't recall whether he talked about it in "Billions and Billions," or "Dragons of Eden." Maybe it was somewhere else. But if you haven't read all of Sagan's works, you are hardly a skeptic, are you!? Haha...

Tue, 01 Apr 2008 12:17:00 UTC | #145688

Klaatu barada nikto's Avatar Comment 24 by Klaatu barada nikto

SweatyPalmSunday,

If I call myself pro-choice (which I do) then why should I be opposed to infanticide? If I remember correctly, this system was accepted by ancient Greece, and worked well for them. Of course I am not promoting it, I am just not wishing to jail other people for it. Clearly, there must be some age where we draw the line, but why must that age be before 9 months? Please let me know if you can think of a good answer to this question.
Being pro-choice doesn't mean being indifferent to killing of infants, children, or anyone else. No decent human beings want to run up the infant body count. You seem to be saying that this is OK at whatever age we draw the line. The line will never be drawn correctly as there is no correct answer. The distinction between pro-choice and pro-life is to me, education versus legislation, not life versus death.

Actually, I believe that the pro-life movement should change its name to the pro-birth movement until its adherents bother to consider the lives of human beings after they are born.

Yes, these people should probably be ridiculed for their negligence and ignorance, but I don't see why they should be jailed for their actions. I tend to agree with the old saying, "I brought you into this world, I can take you out of it."

To kill someone is criminal. Their inaction killed their daughter. What of the three remaining childen? If it were simple ignorance then they certainly learned their lesson. Do you think they did? Would they never do this again with one of the other kids? Or will they just let god take as many kids as it needs?

They deserve a long jail sentence.

Tue, 01 Apr 2008 12:32:00 UTC | #145700

SweatyPalmSunday's Avatar Comment 25 by SweatyPalmSunday

Janus-

Thank you for clarifying the issue a bit. I think 15 months is probably far into the realm where infanticide should be considered a crime. Thus, in response to Quetzalcoatl, my thought would be that the parents of the eleven year old probably should face legal consequences, although see my other comment about this.


I also agree with Janus that it is impossible to determine exactly where such a "threshold" or "cutoff" age should lie, and that it probably lie between 5 months after conception and say, 1 year after birth. However, our society functions on these artificial cutoffs (legal driving age, voting age, drink age, etc. are not perfect, and will vary among individuals). My question is, why the sharp transition? Why it is abortion so easily accepted by reasonable people, while infanticide is so easily (and vehemently) rejected by these same people?

About the phrase "I brought you into this world, I can take you out of it," I don't think we can automatically rule it out as abhorrent. Certainly a 70 year old parent having such an attitude toward their 40 year old child would be in the wrong, but we it doesn't seem wrong for a 29 year old parent to have this attitude toward their 1 month old fetus.

I think there is much gray area on this issue, and therefore it may be unwise to (a priori) have strong opinions on either side.

Tue, 01 Apr 2008 12:41:00 UTC | #145713

fides_et_ratio's Avatar Comment 26 by fides_et_ratio

Nearly every rational individual agrees that an organism with human DNA can't be considered a person before the 5th month of pregnancy, but that it can be considered a person around the time that it can communicate via spoken language (and most would say at birth, or a few months before birth)...

... Finally, I find the saying "I brought you into this world, I can take you out of it" abhorrent. It is based on the assumption that parents inherently have rights over their children. Why should that be? Because they gave them birth? So the father had sex with the mother, and the mother carried the child for 9 months. I'm sure it can be a trying time, but that's not enough to grant someone the right of life and death over another person.


I presume from what you've said that abortion is equivalant to infanticide at 5 months old (in the womb).

Also, given your last statement, what gives any woman the right to have an abortion?

Tue, 01 Apr 2008 12:55:00 UTC | #145732

corruptmemory's Avatar Comment 27 by corruptmemory

With regard to abortion/infanticide, unfortunately I personally cannot come up with any particularly coherent way to address this issue. Looking at the problem of killing from an absolutist point of view is a non-starter. The consequentialist approach seems like the only ethical approach (what would happen to this girl if she did or did not have an abortion... are the consequences in either case support the abortion?). This leads to a "take each case as it comes" situation, which is the closest thing I can come to in terms of being comfortable.

I am a firm pro-choice supporter. The limit when society will accept an abortion as not murder is clearly a difficult problem. I certainly take most of the argument about the fact the early fetuses have no to nascent nervous systems and "feel" the most comfortable under those circumstances. But amoebas react to their environment *as if* feeling pain, so even a collection of 150 cells constituting a human fetus undergoes at least cellular death. Should I care? Is pain/suffering the most important variable in this regard?

The reality is we kill. We kill all the time. We kill to eat. We kill to "protect" (family, war), we kill to advance (science, war). Every person will come to their own conclusions regarding their comfort level regarding what they can conscienably justify. There will much overlap in our mutual justifications. Some justifications we will collectively see as unethical or wrong, many, will be tough to accept, but at least "understandable".

There is an undeniable ugliness to being human as much as there is beauty. My personal view is in order to be a full-spectrum human you need to "engage" (not necessarily act on) the "full-spectrum" of our humanity. So, both "negative" and "positive" emotions/states need to be engaged consciously.

If some of you are at the point where you *would* accept physician-assisted suicide (I accept this is a valid option for ending one's life) what about already born infants with devastating conditions? (I struggle with this).

Here, consider a recent headline on "The Onion"

"Miracle of Birth Occurs for the 83 Billionth Time"

Should we consider the "relative cheapness" of human life in our thinking? Can it be used as a justification? In either case why or why not? Clearly, no easy answers forthcoming.

Tue, 01 Apr 2008 13:01:00 UTC | #145740

geru's Avatar Comment 28 by geru

I guess the parents defend their actions thinking that this was God's will. If they had any sense, they would probably wonder why God finds necessary to kill children of these kinds of fundamentalist Christians, while the children of less religious parents survive more often.

Their logic must be that it's better to die at 15 months, than live to be 80 years old by compromising on some religious principles.

And I can only imagine that dying of an infection isn't a very nice way to go...

Tue, 01 Apr 2008 13:06:00 UTC | #145748

SweatyPalmSunday's Avatar Comment 29 by SweatyPalmSunday

Klaatu barada nikto-


Being pro-choice doesn't mean being indifferent to killing of infants, children, or anyone else.




I am not saying I am indifferent to infanticide, just as someone who says they are pro-choice doesn't mean they are indifferent to abortions. Of course we would like to minimize the number of occurrences, but this does not mean we should outlaw such actions.


To kill someone is criminal.



Yes, but why is it criminal? Something being criminal does not make it wrong (take the easy example of a slave escaping from their owner 200 years ago). It seems that you find killing permissible in the case of certain unborn babies. My question was not whether or not such actions are criminal (they clearly are illegal), but whether or not such laws are good laws.

corruptmemory-
I think you've hit the nail on the head. The late comedian Bill Hicks has some comments along these lines, but I won't site them here as they could be taken the wrong way.

Tue, 01 Apr 2008 13:09:00 UTC | #145751

MelM's Avatar Comment 30 by MelM

Geoff posted this link (on the Dawkins.net Kara post) to an 1998 story about the "Followers of Christ". The 1999 Oregon law has done well as a deterrent until now.

http://www.positiveatheism.org/writ/deadbabies.htm

Wikipedia also has an article about this group.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Followers_of_Christ_(Oregon_church)


This local news report was linked by righton yesterday.

http://www.kgw.com/news-local/stories/kgw_033008_news_faith_healing.1742971c.html

From KGW.com (April 1)
In court Monday, the Worthingtons were charged with manslaughter and criminal mistreatment. A grand jury concluded that the faith healing couple's refusal to get medical treatment for their sick toddler caused the child's death.


As I mentioned in a comment on Kara page, Oregon passed its "Death With Dignity" act in 1994. Along with the 1999 act on religious exclusion, Oregon made great strides to lessoning the misery of religion. If you've had to witness a hard death, you should understand how benevolent the "Death With Dignity" act is and how outrageous it is that Oregon is still the only state with such a law. Fortunately, we still dont' have a completely nutter Supreme Court and Oregon was able to defend the "Death With Dignity" act against the nutter U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft.

Tue, 01 Apr 2008 13:25:00 UTC | #145766