Faith-healing parents charged in death of infant son

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The Reaper
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Faith-healing parents charged in death of infant son

Postby The Reaper » Thu Oct 08, 2009 11:56 pm UTC

http://www.philly.com/philly/news/homep ... t_son.html
On the last day of Kent Schaible's life, his parents and pastor intensely prayed over his 32-pound body, which, unbeknown to them, was ravaged by bacterial pneumonia.

When the 2-year-old boy finally died at 9:30 p.m. Jan. 24 inside the family's Northeast Philadelphia home, the pastor called a funeral director to take the boy's remains to the Philadelphia Medical Examiner's Office.

At no time that day, nor in the week-and-a-half prior, did Herbert and Catherine Schaible seek medical treatment for their son despite his sore throat, congestion, liquid bowel movements, sleeplessness and trouble swallowing, Assistant District Attorney Joanne Pescatore said in court yesterday.

"All it would have taken is a simple visit to a doctor for antibiotics or Tylenol, maybe, to keep this child alive," she said during the couple's preliminary hearing.

After the two attorneys representing the Schaibles argued for their innocence, Municipal Judge Patrick Dugan held them for trial on charges of involuntary manslaughter, conspiracy to commit involuntary manslaughter and endangering the welfare of a child.

"When you look at this case, it's obvious that what you have are loving parents who also appear to be misguided," Dugan told the couple. "Your child needed medical care. As parents, that's what your duty is, and that's why you are here in court today."

The Schaibles' case is similar to a growing number around the country in which parents are slapped with criminal charges for turning to religion rather than medical care for sick children who later die.

Herbert Schaible, 41, and Catherine Schaible, 40, of Rhawn Street near Bustleton Avenue, are free on bail and will be arraigned on Oct. 28.

They are members of the First Century Gospel Church, in the Northeast, which believes that the sick can be healed through prayer rather than by medicine, according to statements that the couple gave homicide detectives two days after their son's death.

" 'We prayed to God for victory . . . We were praying that he would be raised up, " Detective Stephen Buckley said yesterday, reading from Herbert Schaible's statement.

Herbert Schaible is a teacher at First Century Gospel Church, said his attorney, Bobby Hoof.

"They believe in faith-healing; that's fine for them," Pescatore said after the hearing. "But this was a two-year-old child."

On Jan. 13 or 14, Kent started showing symptoms of illness that at times improved but generally grew worse until his death on Jan. 24, his parents said in their statements.

" 'He was moody and demanding; you couldn't please him,' " Det. Buckley said, quoting from Catherine Schaible's statement.

Edwin Lieberman, the assistant medical examiner who did Kent's autopsy, said that he had determined the manner of death to be a homicide because the boy could have been saved with basic medical care.

Bacterial pneumonia "is very treatable," he said, but without care he "seriously" doubted if Kent improved at all, as his parents had told detectives.

Francis Carmen, Catherine Schaible's attorney, said that the couple's decision to forgo medical attention was not due to their religion, but because they thought Kent had a cold.

"The commonwealth wants to use [the Schaible's] religious beliefs as a self-fulfilling prophecy that, somehow, because they are different and because they exercise religious beliefs that are not necessarily in line with the majority of us," he said, "that is the cause of them failing to recognize that this child was as ill as he was."

Hoof, on behalf of Herbert Schaible, said that his client did everything in his power to care for his son in the days before he died - feeding him and giving him liquids.

"He cared for his child and thought his child was getting better," Hoof told reporters.

When asked why he did not call a doctor, he said: "He never said that he would not take the child to a doctor in his statement. He never said that."
:\ Poor kid. :\ parents.

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Re: Faith-healing parents charged in death of infant son

Postby MrGee » Fri Oct 09, 2009 12:13 am UTC

They thought he had a cold, yet they were intensely praying for him?

Hmmm.

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Re: Faith-healing parents charged in death of infant son

Postby BlackSails » Fri Oct 09, 2009 1:08 am UTC

Whats funny is that if they gave him a homeopathic "remedy", they probably would not be charged.

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Re: Faith-healing parents charged in death of infant son

Postby The Reaper » Fri Oct 09, 2009 1:11 am UTC

BlackSails wrote:Whats funny is that if they gave him a homeopathic "remedy", they probably would not be charged.

Yea :\ Now, if we could only start charging those ones as well.

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Re: Faith-healing parents charged in death of infant son

Postby poxic » Fri Oct 09, 2009 2:01 am UTC

The church I was in (as a teenager) believed in faith healings. The also believed in doctors, though we sometimes joked about "this house doesn't believe in bandaids" if someone cut their finger. (We then went and got a bandaid.)

We believed in faith healing because we'd seen evidence that it worked. Nothing that would satisfy Richard Dawkins, since it could all have been explained by coincidence, confirmation bias, whatever. When I asked for a healing for my frequently-aching shoulders, the congregation (it was a small one) put their hands on my shoulders and prayed fervently that they be healed. Whaddayaknow, my shoulders stopped aching then, when I was 13. They didn't start again until the last few years, around age 37 or 38.

That kind of "proof" can be enough to convince people that faith healing works. The parents in this case didn't suspect that their child had anything deadly, so they were comfortable relying on prayer. (Intense prayer for a cold, yes. Faith healings traditionally require intense prayer, regardless of the severity of the illness.)

I'm not sure that criminal charges are appropriate, but I'm not sure they aren't, either. If a non-religious parent hadn't done anything more than put the child to bed with a hot water bottle, thinking the problem was just a cold, would they be charged, too? I don't know.
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Re: Faith-healing parents charged in death of infant son

Postby MrGee » Fri Oct 09, 2009 2:09 am UTC

I saw a box of 'homepathic' cold remedy at CVS. It said on the back that it had been clinically shown in two studies to reduce cold symptoms by 45% (which is way too big for statistically cluttering). I was shocked. But then I noticed that it had a significant amount of active ingredient (>1%). So how is that 'homeopathic'? It was zinc something.


As for faith healing in general, it's bullshit. Don't hate me. But why do people try something that has never been reliably shown to work when there is real medicine available? My uncle recently died because he believed in faith healing.

I will accept, though, that there is a definite and unexplained life expectancy benefit to belonging to a church.

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Re: Faith-healing parents charged in death of infant son

Postby BlackSails » Fri Oct 09, 2009 3:08 am UTC

You can show anything with enough studies. If you do enough studies on a homeopathic medicine, eventually some will come up positive. Then you just dont publish the rest

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Re: Faith-healing parents charged in death of infant son

Postby netcrusher88 » Fri Oct 09, 2009 3:18 am UTC

MrGee wrote:I saw a box of 'homepathic' cold remedy at CVS. It said on the back that it had been clinically shown in two studies to reduce cold symptoms by 45% (which is way too big for statistically cluttering). I was shocked. But then I noticed that it had a significant amount of active ingredient (>1%). So how is that 'homeopathic'? It was zinc something.
I think I know that stuff. Zinc gluconate? Common brands are Cold-Eeze and Zicam RapidMelts. Manufacturers claim it's proven to shorten the common cold but I don't recall ever seeing good studies that supported that. Not sure where they get off calling it homeopathic though - the lozenges actually do contain a substantial amount of zinc and homeopathy usually means "so watered-down you'd need a dose the size of the moon to get so much as a molecule".

But yeah, faith healers. I ranted a bit about "mentalists" like Uri Geller trying to pass off half-ass stage magic as mental powers to sell their self-help book or whatever the hell they do as well as telephone psychics in that lottery thread a while back. Just take that and maybe quadruple the vitriol and you have how I feel about faith healers, by and large. The type that go around putting on a show are 30% staged (able people in wheelchairs pushed to the front of the line), 30% confirmation bias and placebo effect (aching shoulders feeling better after a faith healing thing? endorphins are powerful, sorry), 30% wireless earbud*, and 10% "Doctor Jesus".

The main problem I have with faith healing not in the televangelist sense (so the sort of community, church thing that poxic is talking about) is that a lot of the time it winds up being a thing done instead of proper medicine - much like homeopathy, or Scientology instead of psychiatry (though the latter is worse, because Scientology actively opposes followers seeking psychiatric help).

And then people die.

EDIT: * You walk in and write down your name and illness on the back of the part of the ticket that they keep. Performer has a wireless earbud that someone is feeding that information to, calls people out. Extremely harmful behavior because it works really well on people with diseases without any constant symptoms or with chronic diseases with symptoms that last after they are cured, like heart problems or cancer - "The doctors, they say you have a bad heart. But doctor Jesus is waiting for you at home with a new heart and he's going to make it better for you." - because there's little chance of "well I still feel sick". This particular trick has been repeatedly documented by James Randi.
Last edited by netcrusher88 on Fri Oct 09, 2009 4:52 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Faith-healing parents charged in death of infant son

Postby KestralTweet » Fri Oct 09, 2009 4:35 am UTC

I'd have to agree with the judge here. I can understand the parents' position on continually praying over there child, but they obviously knew something was wrong, even a pastor, and assumingly more than 3 people. It must have been obvious that the child was near and/or dying about 5 days into the whole thing.

I am not saying the parents are bad people, maybe a bit too stern when it comes to faith, they are (probably) loving parents, but not at least asking for an expert's opinion, or a seeking of medical help is just foolish; especially when you know the child is in a dire state.

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Re: Faith-healing parents charged in death of infant son

Postby Not A Llama » Fri Oct 09, 2009 5:00 am UTC

A child with bacterial pneumonia is pretty sick. There is no *way* it could be mistaken for "just a cold". A child with pneumonia sounds like they are drowning.

I don't care if it was a religious thing or not, any parent who would allow their child to get that far and let their child suffer for 10 days without seeing someone who has some expertise is irresponsible and should be charged. The child was not getting better and while a healthy adult can survive 10 days of illness-induced dehydration, a 2 year old cannot. Their pastor basically egged them on.

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Re: Faith-healing parents charged in death of infant son

Postby Clumpy » Fri Oct 09, 2009 8:04 am UTC

More scary context: Some senate legislation is currently requiring government reimbursements to faith healers.

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Re: Faith-healing parents charged in death of infant son

Postby tzvibish » Fri Oct 09, 2009 1:14 pm UTC

netcrusher88 wrote:I think I know that stuff. Zinc gluconate? Common brands are Cold-Eeze and Zicam RapidMelts. Manufacturers claim it's proven to shorten the common cold but I don't recall ever seeing good studies that supported that. Not sure where they get off calling it homeopathic though - the lozenges actually do contain a substantial amount of zinc and homeopathy usually means "so watered-down you'd need a dose the size of the moon to get so much as a molecule".


First of all, Cold-eeze is da bomb. I love the stuff. I swear by it. Ya, it makes everything taste horrid for a while (the zinc), but I swear it really does help with the cold symptoms. It doesn't stop everything in its tracks, but it does take the edge off. Also, if you start popping the cold-eeze when you think you're going to get sick (that itchy feeling in your throat, or a sinus headache), then it really does do wonders. maybe it's all a placebo, but it's a damn good placebo!

Second, I always waffle when it comes to the legalities behind the faith-based stuff. Yes, I think it's horrible that parents don't listen to common sense, but is it really under the jurisdiction of the government to tell you how to medically treat your kid?

The arguments for "yes" are that we have precedent in the form of Social Services taking kids away from bad parents, and that if the government thinks that that faith-based medicine doesn't work, and they have the FDA backing that up, then the parents are displaying criminal behavior. On the other hand, the FDA isn't making laws for private citizens about which treatments they're allowed to pursue. They just regulate the research, manufacturing, and distribution from the healthcare side of things. So just because the FDA says it doesn't work, that doesn't mean that parents are criminal for pursuing it for their child. If it isn't illegal, then you get into religious discrimination issues.

All in all, it's sad. The best course of action is proper education. That's the best way to stop these stories from ever happening.
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Re: Faith-healing parents charged in death of infant son

Postby Briareos » Fri Oct 09, 2009 1:17 pm UTC

Who did you want to educate in this case? The parents or the child? I suggest that neither would work.
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Re: Faith-healing parents charged in death of infant son

Postby Mega D » Fri Oct 09, 2009 1:34 pm UTC

The Article wrote:Municipal Judge Patrick Dugan held them for trial on charges of involuntary manslaughter, conspiracy to commit involuntary manslaughter and endangering the welfare of a child.


I'm sure it's just a matter of terminology, but I find the idea of conspiring to do something involuntarily amusing.

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Re: Faith-healing parents charged in death of infant son

Postby tzvibish » Fri Oct 09, 2009 1:44 pm UTC

Briareos wrote:Who did you want to educate in this case? The parents or the child? I suggest that neither would work.


When the parents are this far in to their flawed belief system, education win't do much. I mean education from earlier on, from the religious institutions.
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Re: Faith-healing parents charged in death of infant son

Postby Mokele » Fri Oct 09, 2009 2:17 pm UTC

First of all, Cold-eeze is da bomb. I love the stuff. I swear by it. Ya, it makes everything taste horrid for a while (the zinc), but I swear it really does help with the cold symptoms. It doesn't stop everything in its tracks, but it does take the edge off. Also, if you start popping the cold-eeze when you think you're going to get sick (that itchy feeling in your throat, or a sinus headache), then it really does do wonders. maybe it's all a placebo, but it's a damn good placebo!


OT but Important: Do NOT use any zinc-based "cold remedy" that's administered as a nasal spray, gel, or is in any way applied inside the nasal passage. These products will cause nerve death and permanent loss of your sense of smell. The FDA has recalled and banned Zicam's intranasal products as a result of permanent loss of smell by nearly 1000 people (130 initial reports to FDA, over 800 to Zicam, who refused to inform the FDA)

Sorry, to be OT, but some of these products are a legitimate health hazard.
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Re: Faith-healing parents charged in death of infant son

Postby crowey » Fri Oct 09, 2009 2:37 pm UTC

BlackSails wrote:Whats funny is that if they gave him a homeopathic "remedy", they probably would not be charged.

I dunno http://nz.news.yahoo.com/a/-/world/6109 ... aby-death/
Though that case wasn't in the US, obviously.

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Re: Faith-healing parents charged in death of infant son

Postby netcrusher88 » Fri Oct 09, 2009 2:47 pm UTC

crowey wrote:
BlackSails wrote:Whats funny is that if they gave him a homeopathic "remedy", they probably would not be charged.

I dunno http://nz.news.yahoo.com/a/-/world/6109 ... aby-death/
Though that case wasn't in the US, obviously.

This however was, and involved parents giving their child homeopathic remedies and "ionized water" instead of chemotherapy which led the courts to intervene and get the child chemo. Didn't even think of it until reading your link though.
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Re: Faith-healing parents charged in death of infant son

Postby tzvibish » Fri Oct 09, 2009 3:43 pm UTC

Mokele wrote:
First of all, Cold-eeze is da bomb. I love the stuff. I swear by it. Ya, it makes everything taste horrid for a while (the zinc), but I swear it really does help with the cold symptoms. It doesn't stop everything in its tracks, but it does take the edge off. Also, if you start popping the cold-eeze when you think you're going to get sick (that itchy feeling in your throat, or a sinus headache), then it really does do wonders. maybe it's all a placebo, but it's a damn good placebo!


OT but Important: Do NOT use any zinc-based "cold remedy" that's administered as a nasal spray, gel, or is in any way applied inside the nasal passage. These products will cause nerve death and permanent loss of your sense of smell. The FDA has recalled and banned Zicam's intranasal products as a result of permanent loss of smell by nearly 1000 people (130 initial reports to FDA, over 800 to Zicam, who refused to inform the FDA)

Sorry, to be OT, but some of these products are a legitimate health hazard.


I'm referring to the sucking candy version, OK??
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Re: Faith-healing parents charged in death of infant son

Postby Heisenberg » Fri Oct 09, 2009 3:50 pm UTC

The child's death seems to be more due to ignorance than fanaticism. I see this situation as more tragic than criminal.

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Re: Faith-healing parents charged in death of infant son

Postby Izawwlgood » Fri Oct 09, 2009 4:15 pm UTC

Heisenberg wrote:The child's death seems to be more due to ignorance than fanaticism. I see this situation as more tragic than criminal.


Indeed, but it is important we as a society punish those who fail so horribly at their duties as a parent. Not seeking medical treatment for your child to such a degree that they die is negligence, and people need to start recognizing that religion is not a safety net that excuses them from such behavior. Hopefully, when the community witnesses the gravity of the situation, they'll think twice before praying over their sick children. If not, then every parent who only prays for their sick children should have their children taken from them, because they are obviously unfit to raise a child, and it is the responsibility of the state to ensure that those surviving children get out of such a household.
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Re: Faith-healing parents charged in death of infant son

Postby Heisenberg » Fri Oct 09, 2009 6:41 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:Indeed, but it is important we as a society punish those who fail so horribly at their duties as a parent.
So you'd support prosecution of every mother who leaves her child in a car while she goes into the supermarket? Generally, the public sympathizes with these cases, and doesn't want them to suffer more. I don't see the merit in making an example of these people.

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Re: Faith-healing parents charged in death of infant son

Postby MrGee » Fri Oct 09, 2009 6:58 pm UTC

Heisenberg wrote:
Izawwlgood wrote:Indeed, but it is important we as a society punish those who fail so horribly at their duties as a parent.
So you'd support prosecution of every mother who leaves her child in a car while she goes into the supermarket? Generally, the public sympathizes with these cases, and doesn't want them to suffer more. I don't see the merit in making an example of these people.


How did you manage to make that comparison without your head exploding?

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Re: Faith-healing parents charged in death of infant son

Postby Izawwlgood » Fri Oct 09, 2009 7:03 pm UTC

Heisenberg wrote:So you'd support prosecution of every mother who leaves her child in a car while she goes into the supermarket? Generally, the public sympathizes with these cases, and doesn't want them to suffer more. I don't see the merit in making an example of these people.


Sure. Not charging them with reckless manslaughter or such, but yes. I'd be curious to know how these people are perceived in their community; are they hailed as unfaithful enough for God to have intervened, or are they shunned for being too zealous? The merit lies in setting a standard by which parents expected to live up to, with penalties for failing to do so; or, at the very least, because I recognize that deterrent based justice isn't applicable all the time, to provide a legal precedent to remove surviving children from the parents custody. It's messy, and I'd rather not see children taken from their parents.
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Re: Faith-healing parents charged in death of infant son

Postby Heisenberg » Fri Oct 09, 2009 7:12 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:The merit lies in setting a standard by which parents expected to live up to, with penalties for failing to do so; or, at the very least, because I recognize that deterrent based justice isn't applicable all the time, to provide a legal precedent to remove surviving children from the parents custody.

Deterrent-based justice certainly doesn't apply here, as people will clearly be more concerned with the life of their children than facing criminal charges. It'd be like me telling you to be careful with the chainsaw because if you cut your arm of I'll kick you in the shins. Not an effective deterrent.

Personally, I think you'd have a better success rate making examples of mothers who leave their children in cars. There, at least, you might be able to generate enough buzz to get people to change their ways. In the case of supposed religious fanatics, prosecution will look more like persecution to the few people obstinate enough to believe the parents were making the right choice.

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Re: Faith-healing parents charged in death of infant son

Postby Izawwlgood » Fri Oct 09, 2009 7:14 pm UTC

I agree deterrent isn't the point here. But what about the remaining, potential children (WON"T SOMEONE THINK OF THEM?!?! Ok, seriously)? What about the community in which these parents worshipped?
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Re: Faith-healing parents charged in death of infant son

Postby Heisenberg » Fri Oct 09, 2009 7:20 pm UTC

If this family has more children, Child Services should interview the family and determine if they would do the same thing again. If they have learned, and now take their children for regular medical check-ups, great. If they say "we'll pray harder next time," action should be taken.

As far as the rest of the community, if they haven't learned a lesson by now, no amount of government intervention will change their minds.

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Re: Faith-healing parents charged in death of infant son

Postby Izawwlgood » Fri Oct 09, 2009 7:54 pm UTC

If all it takes is parents saying "Oops! Won't starve my kids/neglect my kids again!", or the rest of the community saying that, then child services won't have much work to do.
Dude, you can't seriously claim that we wash the crime of neglecting a child away because a parent claims they learned their lesson?

This is abuse. We wouldn't ask a physically abusive parent whether or not they'd continue hitting their child after the kid gets taken into the ER... We'd lock those parents up ASAP (actually, not nearly fast enough, but that's the system for you)
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Re: Faith-healing parents charged in death of infant son

Postby Philwelch » Fri Oct 09, 2009 7:56 pm UTC

Heisenberg wrote:If this family has more children, Child Services should interview the family and determine if they would do the same thing again. If they have learned, and now take their children for regular medical check-ups, great. If they say "we'll pray harder next time," action should be taken.


Fuck that shit. These people have lost their parenting privileges. Arrest them, bring them into the hospital, snip snip snip, problem solved.
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Re: Faith-healing parents charged in death of infant son

Postby Heisenberg » Fri Oct 09, 2009 8:09 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:Dude, you can't seriously claim that we wash the crime of neglecting a child away because a parent claims they learned their lesson?
I'm saying we do that every time a mother leaves her child in the parking lot and he dies of heat exhaustion. Do you really think they need jail time before they are able to rejoin society? Certainly they've been punished more than we as a society ever would.
Izawwlgood wrote:This is abuse.
Ridiculous. This is not abuse. It's ignorance at the least, neglect at the worst.

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Re: Faith-healing parents charged in death of infant son

Postby icanus » Fri Oct 09, 2009 8:41 pm UTC

Heisenberg wrote:
Izawwlgood wrote:This is abuse.
Ridiculous. This is not abuse. It's ignorance at the least, neglect at the worst.

Neglect is abuse

Ignorance isn't an excuse either - no-one's suggesting that you must be able accurately diagnose bacterial pneumonia to be a fit parent. We're suggesting that they should know what most 3 year olds know: if someone is sick, you get them to a doctor.

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Re: Faith-healing parents charged in death of infant son

Postby Izawwlgood » Fri Oct 09, 2009 8:45 pm UTC

"I didn't know shaking the baby would kill it"

We have very stringent laws about abusing a child. They shouldn't be redacted, they should be increased. Increased to include the neglect of thinking prayer will cure your child.
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Re: Faith-healing parents charged in death of infant son

Postby PhoenixEnigma » Sat Oct 10, 2009 1:50 am UTC

Heisenberg wrote:
Izawwlgood wrote:Indeed, but it is important we as a society punish those who fail so horribly at their duties as a parent.
So you'd support prosecution of every mother who leaves her child in a car while she goes into the supermarket? Generally, the public sympathizes with these cases, and doesn't want them to suffer more. I don't see the merit in making an example of these people.


Actually, yes. And at least in some areas, the law agrees.
Massachusetts 102 CMR 8.10(5) wrote:"A caregiver must never leave a child unattended in a vehicle."


I know something similar is in effect here, but it's a lot harder to seach our Criminal Code then it is to search google.

So I'm not quite sure what you're trying to get at. Could you please elaborate?
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Re: Faith-healing parents charged in death of infant son

Postby General_Norris » Mon Oct 12, 2009 8:20 am UTC

Also not knowing the law doesn't make you less liable for breaking it.

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Re: Faith-healing parents charged in death of infant son

Postby Heisenberg » Mon Oct 12, 2009 2:08 pm UTC

PhoenixEnigma wrote:So I'm not quite sure what you're trying to get at. Could you please elaborate?

Even though it'd be far easier to convict someone of neglecting a child in the cases of car heat-exhaustion, we do not prosecute these people. Why not? Because it serves no purpose. I don't believe trying these parents serves a purpose either, as they've clearly paid a terrible price for their actions, and their community is not likely to listen to an authority which seems to punish prayer.
Izawwlgood wrote:We have very stringent laws about abusing a child. They shouldn't be redacted, they should be increased. Increased to include the neglect of thinking prayer will cure your child.
You're talking about criminalizing a belief system. There's nothing wrong with believing in the power of prayer, what's wrong is believing in it to the exclusion of all other forms of help.

Many children die because their parents chose not to seek medical attention for reason X. The only reason this case is a national story is that reason X happens to be religious.

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Re: Faith-healing parents charged in death of infant son

Postby Mokele » Mon Oct 12, 2009 2:52 pm UTC

You're talking about criminalizing a belief system. There's nothing wrong with believing in the power of prayer, what's wrong is believing in it to the exclusion of all other forms of help.


And? The right to believe what you want has limits, specifically in terms of hurting people in the real world. You've got the right to believe in human sacrifice, but no right to actually do it.

Children have rights, and aren't just tools for their parents to do with as they will - that's why we have child abuse laws. And motive doesn't matter - if you kill a kid due to negligence, it doesn't matter if you were doing out of deep faith or because you're an awful person, you still go to jail.

Many children die because their parents chose not to seek medical attention for reason X. The only reason this case is a national story is that reason X happens to be religious.


Source please. Remember, if the kid's life is in danger, you can take them to any hospital, and the hospital MUST treat them, even if they know you can't pay.
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Re: Faith-healing parents charged in death of infant son

Postby Izawwlgood » Mon Oct 12, 2009 3:32 pm UTC

This same point was brought up the last time a set of parents were charged in the death of their child because they chose faith based healing;

There is a world of difference between deciding to not pursue a risky/painful/unethical line of treatment when all other courses of action fail, and neglecting to provide your child with insulin/antibiotics/food/water/air because you believe prayer will suffice. What happened here was not a parent deciding that a 9th round of chemo and radiation therapy might just not be worth it to the remainder of their child's life, but uneducated and ignorant individuals deciding that words and intention were enough to stop a bacterial infection. It is negligence, I know you know this, and would appreciate if you stop putting these straw man arguments forth.

Heisenberg wrote:You're talking about criminalizing a belief system. There's nothing wrong with believing in the power of prayer, what's wrong is believing in it to the exclusion of all other forms of help.


I fully support an adults right to choose to forgo treatment in lieu of prayer or whatever, but not for children. It should be a criminal offense to neglect a child's well being, and no amount of religious belief or culture excuses one from doing so.
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Re: Faith-healing parents charged in death of infant son

Postby The Great Hippo » Mon Oct 12, 2009 3:34 pm UTC

tzvibish wrote:First of all, Cold-eeze is da bomb. I love the stuff. I swear by it. Ya, it makes everything taste horrid for a while (the zinc), but I swear it really does help with the cold symptoms. It doesn't stop everything in its tracks, but it does take the edge off. Also, if you start popping the cold-eeze when you think you're going to get sick (that itchy feeling in your throat, or a sinus headache), then it really does do wonders. maybe it's all a placebo, but it's a damn good placebo!
If it works for you, excellent; it's pretty much just a placebo, but placebos that work still work. But here's the problem: People are taking placebos in lieu of proper treatments. For instance, a woman stops taking her anti-depressants cold turkey and switches over to homeopathics at the direction of a licensed homeopathic caretaker. The result? She suicides.
Heisenberg wrote:Even though it'd be far easier to convict someone of neglecting a child in the cases of car heat-exhaustion, we do not prosecute these people. Why not? Because it serves no purpose.
Would you consider prosecuting a parent if they left them in their car not as a product of neglect, but of religion? "My religion demands that I leave my infant in a roasting hot car for an hour or so; I'm sure God will protect them from harm. If not, then God wanted to take them up to heaven."
Heisenberg wrote:I don't believe trying these parents serves a purpose either, as they've clearly paid a terrible price for their actions, and their community is not likely to listen to an authority which seems to punish prayer.
"I don't believe that we should punish criminals when they do illegal things so long as they feel really bad about it and promise that they're sorry and they won't do it again."

We punish criminals to demonstrate to everyone else what is and isn't acceptable. If a small community doesn't get the message, we'll go on punishing them till they do. If they never do, maybe they should move somewhere where their practices are acceptable social norms.
Heisenberg wrote:You're talking about criminalizing a belief system. There's nothing wrong with believing in the power of prayer, what's wrong is believing in it to the exclusion of all other forms of help.

Many children die because their parents chose not to seek medical attention for reason X. The only reason this case is a national story is that reason X happens to be religious.
Let's play pretend. Let's pretend that the parents are spiteful, bitter atheists who absolutely loathe doctors (maybe an evil doctor killed their parents, fuck I don't know). So when their child starts coughing up phlegm and making all sorts of dying noises, they respond by just patiently waiting for him to get better. They know his life may be at risk--but they value their hate of doctors over the life of their child. Because, again, they really don't like doctors.

Is that abuse? Because if it is, all I see here is you insisting that the existence of a religion makes this situation special.

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Re: Faith-healing parents charged in death of infant son

Postby Heisenberg » Mon Oct 12, 2009 3:48 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:This same point was brought up the last time a set of parents were charged in the death of their child because they chose faith based healing;
This is a totally different scenario. The other case involved parents receiving a doctor's opinion and rejecting it in favor of another option. In this case, they did not know what was happening to their child, only that he was sick. These parents were ignorant of the facts of his condition, and made the wrong choice.
The Great Hippo wrote:Let's play pretend. Let's pretend that the parents are spiteful, bitter atheists who absolutely loathe doctors (maybe an evil doctor killed their parents, fuck I don't know). So when their child starts coughing up phlegm and making all sorts of dying noises, they respond by just patiently waiting for him to get better. They know his life may be at risk--but they value their hate of doctors over the life of their child. Because, again, they really don't like doctors.

Is that abuse? Because if it is, all I see here is you insisting that the existence of a religion makes this situation special.

If they knew of a legitimate threat to their child's life and ignored it due to a belief system, then yes, that's criminal negligence. However, if any parent, regardless of religion, has a feverish, coughing child and feeds them some soup and sends them to bed, failing to recognize a serious problem, and that child dies, I don't see negligence there, I see ignorance. I see that situation here, with the difference being that these individuals went to church and said a prayer for their child.

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Re: Faith-healing parents charged in death of infant son

Postby The Great Hippo » Mon Oct 12, 2009 4:01 pm UTC

Heisenberg wrote:If they knew of a legitimate threat to their child's life and ignored it due to a belief system, then yes, that's criminal negligence. However, if any parent, regardless of religion, has a feverish, coughing child and feeds them some soup and sends them to bed, failing to recognize a serious problem, and that child dies, I don't see negligence there, I see ignorance. I see that situation here, with the difference being that these individuals went to church and said a prayer for their child.
For ignorance to function as a sufficient excuse for this level of negligence and abuse, you must demonstrate that these parents could not have understood that taking their child to the doctor would have had a good chance of saving that child's life. I find that... very hard to believe. Do you really think that doctors - antibiotics - vaccines - medicine - are all foreign concepts to these people? Do you think they're not aware, on some level, that doctors save the lives of children every day, in great number?

Unless these people lived out in the middle of a swamp far away from anyone, I cannot see this as anything beyond the parents making a choice as to which was more important - their child's life, or their religious values.

Edit: And no, "They think that praying is just as good or better than doctors" is NOT a functional excuse. You can take the child to a doctor and pray for them, simultaneously. The fact that they picked only one solution demonstrates pretty clearly what they value.


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