Madeline Kara Neumann
Hundreds of thousands of Christian worshippers will be trooping into their churches this Sunday. Without exception they will acknowledge the existence of an invisible deity. A deity with absolute power over the world as we know it. A network of priests, bishops, archbishops, deacons, will be on hand to help the believers. No doubt they will emphasise the power of prayer to heal the sick, and that the "desire of the righteous to will be granted".
As this claptrap pours forth from thousands of pulpits, the worshippers should think of the an 11 year old girl,
Madeline Kara Neumann. Madeline died an horrific death....not much less painful that Christians used to inflict on non believers centuries ago. She was suffering from Diabetic ketoacidosis. The terminal symptoms include vomiting, severe abdominal pain, extreme weakness and air hunger. It is a condition that is relatively easy to treat. Madeline's parents, Dale and Leilani, held a blind belief that prayer would cure their child.
"We stayed fast in prayer.... We believed that she would recover. We saw signs that to us, it looked like she was recovering"...and of course she died.
Four cheers for James Randi here
We can easily say that Dale and Leilani Neumann were simply stupid. Perhaps so, but more importantly, they – and we – have been swindled by the priests, and society continues not only to tolerate them, but to support them by granting them exemptions from the regulations and ignoring their folly and arrogance.
An astonishingly, Madeline was not the only child to be allowed to die by god fearin' folk in the US.
A few days earlier 15 month old Ava Worthington died after her parents, with the same nonsensical belief in the power of prayer as the Neumanns, refused to administer a simple regime of antibiotics to their child. Ava was suffering from bronchial pneumonia.
Her parents have now been charged with manslaughter.
But the Wisconsin statute applicable to the Neumanns is interesting.
Wisconsin state statute 948.03(6), provides against failing to act to protect children from bodily harm. It contains an exemption for what it refers to as " Treatment through prayer." To wit: "A person is not guilty of an offense under this section solely because he or she provides a child with treatment by spiritual means through prayer alone for healing in accordance with the religious method of healing … in lieu of medical or surgical treatment."
It's difficult to see either a moral or ethical argument to support this parental behaviour. But surely the Wisconsin statute belongs to another age.......!