Posted by: Lisa Pampuch | November 19, 2009

‘Faith-based neglect’

Constitutional law expert Jonathan Turley spotlights another case of a child dying — in this case, 2-year-old Kent Schaible — because of rejection of science-based medicine in favor of supernatural beliefs:

In the past 25 years, hundreds of children are believed to have died in the United States after faith-healing parents forbade medical attention to end their sickness or protect their lives. When minors die from a lack of parental care, it is usually a matter of criminal neglect and is often tried as murder. But courts routinely hand down lighter sentences when parents say the neglect was an article of faith. Faithful neglect has not been used as a criminal defense, but the claim is surprisingly effective in achieving more lenient sentencing, in which judges appear to render less unto Caesar and more unto God. …

Denying children critical care may be divinely ordained for some parents, but it should not be countenanced by the legal system. Until courts refuse to accept religion as a mitigating factor in sentencing in such cases, children will continue to die, neglected as an article of their parents’ faith.

Little Kent died of easily treatable bacterial pneumonia, but his parents, Herbert Schaible, 41, and Catherine Schaible, 40, of Philadelphia, chose to ignore doctors and pray for their toddler instead. The child suffered for a week and a half, then died.

(An aside: Where’s the right-to-lifers’ outrage for this boy, and hundreds of other children in the United States who have suffered a similar fate at the hands of their deluded parents?)

I’ll say it again: Religion must not be exempt from rational criticism.

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