The trouble with democracies and religious parents

I traveled to Central America when I was in college. It was quite an eye-opening experience when it came to healthcare. They had socialized medicine, where the state handled everything: the hospitals, clinics, who got to be a doctor, and how much doctors could charge for taking care of you. It seemed to work better in the smaller countries because a centralized healthcare system is more closely overseen by a centralized government. Also, the people had little to no say in their care. Whatever the doctor said was done, and woe be upon the patient that refused. You’re very much willing to accept any intervention if you’re threatened with the bill if you refuse.

There was also the matter of education. Physicians and nurses were the most educated people around, so their patients deferred to them when it came to care. Patients had no access to websites to tell them that all physicians are in the pockets of Big Pharma. Or, rather, “Grande Farma.” They were also not fed lies about other things like vaccines or chemotherapy. Unfortunately, there was also not a lot of oversight when it came to quacks. The quacks would just label themselves “traditional healers,” and the government pretty much left them alone. I remember seeing a homeopath’s office with a line that went around the corner because he would see you the same day, as opposed to waiting for months under the government care plan.

I wonder how many people ended up losing limbs or dying because they chose to take care of their diabetes with homeopathy? But I digress…

In the United States of America, we have a problem in that we’re a democracy where “Free Speech” is held in high esteem by everyone, and the cranks and quacks (and other hacks) quickly grab onto the First Amendment when it comes to the government trying to regulate them. They claim that the government is being oppressive or censorious if anyone in an official capacity tries to correct their misinformation. Or they claim that, as “faith” or “traditional” healers, their patients are not being allowed to practice their religious rights.

Heck, anti-vaccine groups give plenty of advice on how to fake a vaccine exemption form on religious grounds, even to people who are not of a religion that prohibits vaccines. But that’s for a later post.

This post is more about the very sad and very maddening story of the children of two people who believe that prayer will heal, not medicine. From

“A Northeast Philadelphia couple sentenced to probation for practicing faith healing after the 2009 death of their ill toddler son are again under criminal investigation in connection with the death of their 8-month-old son Thursday.

Herbert and Catherine Schaible – members of a church that shuns medical care – were convicted of involuntary manslaughter for failing to bring their 2-year-old son to a doctor when he was sick with bacterial pneumonia. The couple had prayed over the sick child and called a funeral director when he died.

A judge ordered the Schaibles to arrange care for their seven other children by a “qualified medical practitioner.” Now, with the death of another child, the Schaibles face a court hearing next week for possibly violating their parole as well as additional criminal charges.”

In essence, these two idiots have decided that God has wasted away the lives and careers of medical professionals and, instead, instilled in them the ability to heal their children from some very serious diseases. Religion aside, this is madness! But, because we’re so touchy-feely about the First Amendement’s protection of the State’s intrusion into matters of religion, we now have an additional child who is dead. I hope it was worth it.

And they’re not the only ones. This happened last year:

“Russel and Brandi Bellew were sentenced to five years of probation on Tuesday after they pleaded guilty to negligent homicide in the death of Brandi’s biological son, Austin Sprout, 16. An autopsy found Austin died of an infection caused by a burst appendix.

The couple, along with their six surviving children, belongs to the General Assembly and Church of the First Born, which eschews modern medicine. The group takes its belief from a New Testament passage in the Gospel of James that says the sick should be prayed over and anointed with oil, according to Rick Ross, an expert on cults.”

Yeah, you know why James wrote that? BECAUSE THERE WEREN’T MANY HOSPITALS AROUND. I’ve written before that I have no problem with religion, but I have an enormous problem with people who apply Biblical principles in a modern frame of thought. Sorry, folks, but the Bible was written in a time not like our own for people not like ourselves. It had to have all those fantastic stories in it because there was no better way to describe the world around the authors’ times. Moses couldn’t have told you about the Big Bang, so he wrote about the creation of the world in the best way he could explain it to his people. The same goes with James. He was basically saying, “Look, there’s no EMS, no hospitals, no clinics, no x-rays or antibiotics… Your best shot right now is prayer. If it’s survivable, you’ll live. If not, you’ll at least go to heaven.” That’s not the current state of medicine anymore. We have ways to treat antibiotics and to operate to remove appendices.

Jesus said something about opening your eyes and seeing things for what they were.

The worst thing about this is that it happens, seemingly, all the time. A couple in Baltimore was also convicted in 2010:

“A fundamentalist Christian couple who relied on prayer, not medicine, to cure their dying toddler son was convicted Friday of involuntary manslaughter and child endangerment. Herbert and Catherine Schaible of Philadelphia face more than a decade in prison for the January 2009 pneumonia death of 2-year-old Kent.

“We were careful to make sure we didn’t have their religion on trial but were holding them responsible for their conduct,” jury foreman Vince Bertolini, 49, told The Associated Press. “At the least, they were guilty of gross negligence, and (therefore) of involuntary manslaughter.”

The Schaibles, who have six other children, declined to comment as they left the courthouse to await sentencing Feb. 2.”

And, again, we as a society act timidly against these people because of that touchy-feely approach to religious matters. We also stay quiet when idiots post misinformation anywhere because, hey, they have First Amendement rights to say stupid things. And so on.

It’s maddening, and it doesn’t seem that many in positions of authority are doing anything about it. I hope they are, but it doesn’t seem like it. There are still exemptions on religious grounds to vaccines, to blood transfusions, and to other medical interventions.


One thought on “The trouble with democracies and religious parents

  1. “It’s maddening, and it doesn’t seem that many in positions of authority are doing anything about it.”

    Sorry, they’re busy trying to push through intelligent design into our educational system, speaking about how this is a “Christian nation”, rambling on about biblical things, obstructing any science possible for a variety of non-reasons, telling the CDC to not conduct research into certain violent deaths, ad absurdium.

    To be honest, I have very little hope for this nation that I spent nearly three decades in military service defending.
    Some of those years spent peacefully in nations with socialized medicine that are a bit less restrictive on who becomes a physician, but give a superior level of care universally to all and for far less expense than we do.
    Some of whom perfected cardiac procedures that are “experimental” in the US. A decade and change later.

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