Mirrored via God Discussion and Banned by HWA!
Years ago, my brother almost died because of a ruptured appendix. This was not the fault of the local physicians. It was the fault of the Worldwide Church of God, which at that time was headed by Herbert W. Armstrong. Because of the church’s stronghold on my parents’ intellectual reasoning, they and the minister prayed over my sick brother for months, putting stupid little “anointing cloths” and oil described in the bible on him. He became sicker and sicker, wasting away to nothing except for a grossly bloated stomach. He was so weak he could not walk. He suffered tremendously.
Fortunately, my parents allowed reason, love and compassion to prevail and took him to the emergency room, despite the instructions of the church. They did so in the nick of time. The appendix had ruptured and my brother hovered near death. My parents felt guilty about this for the rest of their lives. In fact, my mother manifested appendicitis in her late 50s.
Other parents, however, resist reason and logic and continue to follow the dictates of their churches and/or faith. The recent Neumann case that has been reported on here at God Discussion is an example. In this case, the Neumann’s 11 year old daughter died from a treatable form of diabetes. Both parents are facing trial in Wisconsin.
Christians have rallied around the Neumanns’ cause and have set up a website requesting donations and prayers. Their message is this:
We ask that you pray for them as they are representing the rights of Christians to live the Gospel according to the law and the Constitution.
The Constitution not only guarantees freedom of religion, but it also guarantees the right to pursue happiness. In fact, I’ve heard this argument used quite often by pro-lifers, who claim that abortion takes from the developing fetus’ right to pursue happiness.
Religious organizations have had legal standing to allow children to die without medical help because of religious belief. This “right” has been slowly eroding. Religion may not agree with the moral standards that are accepted by the rest of society.
What is more important, religion or societal morals?
Is it morally correct to allow a child to die from a treatable disease because of faith?
CHILD, Inc., doesn’t think so. “Children’s Healthcare Is a Legal Duty” (CHILD, Inc.) is a non-profit national membership organization established in 1983 to protect children from abusive religious and cultural practices, especially religion-based medical neglect. CHILD opposes religious exemptions from duties of care for children.
CHILD’s website has an outstanding collection of resources — and disturbing look at childhood deaths associated with religious belief. CHILD published a partial list of religions whose members have let children die since 1980 because of their religious beliefs against medical care:
- Faith Assembly
- Followers of Christ
- Christian Science
- Church of the First Born
- Faith Tabernacle
- End Time Ministries
- The Believers’ Fellowship
- Faith Temple Doctoral church of Christ in God
- Church of God of the Union Assembly
- Church of God Chapel
- Jehovah’s Witnesses (Their only objection today is to blood transfusions.)
- Jesus through Jon and Judy
- Christ Assembly
- Christ Miracle Healing Center
- Northeast Kingdom Community Church
- “No Name” fellowship
- The Source
It is ironic that in today’s society, a teacher at a public school cannot even pat a child on the back without a potential abuse lawsuit; yet, Christian or other faith-based values will permit parents to allow their children to die, often in slow, painful deaths.
It is ironic that Christians have been throwing a fit over President Obama speaking at Notre Dame because of his pro-choice stance; yet, some amongst them feel it is perfectly acceptable to allow a conscious child to die because of prayer vs. medicine.
People should have the right to practice their religion and, if they are adults, chose to die because of conflicts between religious belief and their faith. They have the life experience, information and legal authority to make such a decision based on their own free will.
Children, on the other hand, are innocents who do not have free will, let alone the intellect or life experience to make faith-based decisions about whether they should place their lives in the hands of the church or the hands of medicine.
Having seen firsthand the damage that faith vs. medicine is capable of inflicting, I think that commonsense and reason dictate that when a condition appears to be serious, that it’s time to call the doctor. In American law, there is a “reasonable man” standard. Shouldn’t reason — not religion — be the ultimate measure of the law?
If religion makes you happy, fine … you have the Constitutional right to pursue happiness and to practice whatever religion you want.
Let the kids grow up and decide how they shall pursue happiness.