Friday, March 28, 2008

God Hates, Kills Little Girl

You may have heard about this story from Weston, Wisconsin: the parents of a now dead 11 year-old girl decided that praying for her to get well was a better option than taking her to the hospital when she became seriously ill. An autopsy showed that young Madeline Neumann died Sunday of diabetic ketoacidosis, a condition that left too little insulin in her body. Authorities say that the girl, who hadn't seen a doctor since she was three, had probably been ill for about a month, suffering symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, excessive thirst, loss of appetite and weakness.

The Neumanns claim that they believe fully in the Bible and that healing comes from God but that they don't belong to any organized religion and that they are not religious fanatics or distrustful of doctors or hospitals. Now it seems to me that at least one of two possibilities has to be true: 1) either they are religious nutballs and they really thought that talking to the sky was going to cure their daughter or 2) they are two of the worst parents in the world and should be arrested and tried for criminal negligence in the death of a minor.

I happen to think, however that both possibilities are correct. Now I'm all for freedom of religion and the right to believe whatever you want but when it leads to the death of an innocent, society has to draw a line in the theological sand. I can put up with these people teaching their children that evolution is false and that the Earth is only a few thousand years old; it's their right to raise their kids to be as dumb as they wish. You don't need scientific bona fides to jockey a register at the Piggly Wiggly and the "sport" of professional wrestling needs to keep an audience.

But what these people did was willful child abuse, pure and simple. I don't give a good goddamn what they believe; it's not as if they're ignorant of hospitals and modern medical science. This isn't some village dreamed up by M. Night Shyamalan. Hell, their own family members pleaded with them to take her to a doctor. And I'm sure they've noticed that the vast majority of sick and injured people taken into the big white building downtown come out looking and feeling a lot better because of it. Plus it's not as if prayer is the most reliable of options. I'd bet large sums of money that they've prayed for numerous other things before this that have never come to pass, yet they still left their comatose daughter's life in the hands of unproven myth.

The Neumanns say that they are not worried about the criminal investigation because:
"...our lives are in God's hands. We know we did not do anything criminal. We know we did the best for our daughter we knew how to do."
Bullshit. They knew what they needed to do for their daughter's well being but they chose not to, instead opting to ignore the use of responsible medical care and treatment in lieu of fantastical beliefs and wishful thinking. And as much I grieve for Madeline and feel sorry for her siblings (the Neumanns still have custody of their three other children), I hope that these two horrible people and anyone else who treats their children this way are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. It's what they deserve.

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