I read something from my local newspaper the other night that made me want to scream. The article was entitled “Parents of girl who died seek dismissal of charges”. On Easter Sunday of this year eleven year old Madeline Neumann of Wausau, Wisconsin, died because her parents chose prayer to heal her diabetes rather than modern medicine. What makes me want to scream is the fact that there is a law in this state that allows parents to actually “select prayer (in good faith) as a basis of treatment for a disease” for their children. The bottom line seems to be that Madeline was allowed to die a slow and painful death while her siblings watched and her parents prayed. There is little doubt that had they gotten off their knees and taken her to the doctor, she would be with us today.
How many innocents have to die before we all stand up and say “no more”? Children are a precious gift for which we must all be protectors and advocates, sometimes even for children who are not our own. We must insist that laws are in place for children unfortunate enough to be born into families who still prefer the dark ages to our modern day program of health and healing. No child should be subject to a preventable death because of a law designed to appease the beliefs of the religious. I have no problem with people praying. Everyone has a right to pray as they please. However, if this right endangers another human being in any way it must be revoked. Many will argue that Jesus Christ is the Great Physician and that if prayer is offered up fervently enough that God will heal. In all fairness I will readily admit that God can cure the common cold in anywhere from 7-10 days and the stomach flu in about 24-48 hours. These miracles have been proved over and over again. However, for some reason we hear less about his curing cancer, diabetes, or any number of other serious diseases? Maybe it just takes longer to heal the big ones.
David Kostinchuk, in his article called “Faith Healing: Child Abuse, Torture, and Homicide” www.positiveatheism.org/mail/eml9074.htm, gives us the tragic examples of many children who have died at the folded-in-prayer hands of their parents. These parents participated in killing their children. This may sound harsh, but any parent who would watch their child die, knowing that medical treatment could ease their suffering and most likely cure them, should be prosecuted by the full extent of the law as accomplices to murder. Further, any state which has a law which sanctions prayer as a “treatment for disease” should be held in contempt. If laws are allowed in our states that favor, in any way, particular religious practices that end up costing any one their life, the laws regarding murder and/or allowing murder, in these situations, become null and void. One set of laws are broken because of another law which cannot help but usurp it. Perhaps Madeline’s senseless death will cause the state of Wisconsin to reexamine this law. Further, our states should never make laws respecting any religion – something our forefathers tried to guarantee.
It really boils down to this – by law murder is a crime punishable by death or imprisonment and watching another human being die, when you could have prevented it, makes you an accomplice. I strongly believe that parents should have rights regarding how they raise their children. However, their rights must end when it comes to harming their children. If the parents of this poor girl had beaten her because their religion said they were supposed to, the law would have come into the home and removed her as well her siblings as beating children is not sanctioned by the state of Wisconsin. If these parents are not ultimately charged with reckless homicide, I will have to believe that our good state, while not allowing parents to beat their kids, does in certain situations, allow parents to kill them.