Trials for Parents Who Chose Faith Over Medicine – NYTimes.com

I remember reading about this tragic situation when it happened.

Now it appears the parents are going to trial. Good.

The short of it is that a young girl, Kara Neumann, died last year, age 11, from juvenile diabetes. As a consequence, her body basically shut down on her, causing severe dehydration. Although rescued from her parent’s “care” before death, she was too far gone:

“Kara laid down and was unable to move her mouth,” the report said, “and merely made moaning noises and moved her eyes back and forth.”

Kara had not been taken to visit a doctor since the age of 3.

All because her parents were fundamentalist Xian idiots who believed that “Jesus offered healing by one means only! Healing was by faith.” A site, presumably set up by their fellow cultists, says that the Neumanns are being “charged with the crime of praying”. Um, no – they are being charged with deliberately and wilfully allowing their daughter to suffer and die from one of the most treatable juvenile diseases ever.

The Neumanns do need help. The Neumanns I’m talking about are Kara’s 4 surviving siblings. I’d like to help them break away from their parents, who deserve to go to jail for criminal neglect at least, if not manslaughter.

(BTW, I would love to see if there was a study examining a correlation between fundamentalism and large families…)

There is less than zero evidence to show that prayer works as a method of healing. In double-blind studies, prayer has been shown to have no effect when the patient is not informed that they were being prayed for, and to be equivalent to a placebo when they were told (in that people who were told they were prayed for, but were not, were comparable to those who were actually prayed for). It’s not even a positive placebo: in one study (on terminal-care patients), the patients died faster if they were told they were being prayed for – apparently, the patients tend to feel overwhelmed when their doctor says “Good news! We’ve organised a prayer group to get you better!”

God helps those who help themselves. The Neumanns should have helped their daughter by taking her to a doctor. In what sort of arrogant self-centred world do they live where they expect their deity to provide a miracle to do what can be done by normal means?


On a less serious rant, this is one of my favourite jokes, and describes this religious stance to a tee…

A fundamentalist Xian couple are on top of their house, stuck there due to flood waters. The water keeps rising, and their portable radio says it will go up at least 4 more meters.

The couple start to pray to God to be rescued. Shortly afterwards, a rescue boat goes by, and the driver asks them if they need help.

“No thanks,” the husband says. “Our Lord will provide, and we will be saved”.

The boat driver shrugs and goes on – he’s got a lot of work to do.

The water keeps rising, and the couple keep praying. By the time it’s lapping at their feet, another boat comes by. Again, the husband says “No thanks, Our Lord will save us”. The boat driver looks like he wants to argue, but he leaves.

Now the water is over the roof, and the couple are holding on to their chimney to stay in place. A helicopter turns up, and drops a rope ladder. The couple refuse to climb. The rescue worker in the helicopter pleads with them for 10 minutes, but in the end, the helicopter has to leave – they are short on fuel.

Eventually, the water rises too high and moves too fast, and the wife lose her grip and is swept away. Clinging to the chimney with all of his strength, the husband screams out “My Lord! Why have you forsaken me?”

As he is torn away from the chimney and starts to go under, a great voice booms out: “I sent two boats and a helicopter. What did you want, a miracle?”

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Author: Robert Watkins

My name is Robert Watkins. I am a software developer and have been for over 18 years now. I currently work for people, but my opinions here are in no way endorsed by them (which is cool; their opinions aren’t endorsed by me either). My main professional interests are in Java development, using Agile methods, with a historical focus on building web based applications. I’m also a Mac-fan and love my iPhone, which I’m currently learning how to code for. I live and work in Brisbane, Australia, but I grew up in the Northern Territory, and still find Brisbane too cold (after 16 years here). I’m married, with two children and one cat. My politics are socialist in tendency, my religious affiliation is atheist (aka “none of the above”), my attitude is condescending and my moral standing is lying down.

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