In the bible belt in this country there's a measles outbreak - caused by religious people who'd rather pray than have their children inoculated. Five or six children are dying of complications in hospitals. I get very angry at people who let their children die for such a stupid reason. Children are not religious and should have the chance to grow up and make their own decisions. I followed some discussions about the subject, but all I heard was a load of crap about religious freedom; even a G.P. who talked about the power of his god. If I had anything to say in the matter I'd take away parental authority from these people, because they made it clear that they won't take the responsibility for their children. And I'd take away the work permit of the G.P.

How are cases like this treated where you live?

 

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Religion should NOT be considered any more an excuse for action or inaction than hearing voices in one's head.

"Religion should NOt be considered any more an excuse for action or inaction than hearing voices in one's head."

Grinning Cat, that is an EXCELLENT way of putting it! :)

Chris, what do you suppose made it possible for you to resist indoctrination of your parents and religion? What was there in you that made it possible for you to know to escape was the reasonable and correct answer for your flourishing? Did you have, what I call a "Cookie Person", one who affirmed you and counteracted the delusions of your parents?

When I worked at the boys' ranch, those who had a Cookie Person in their lives, a grandparent, family member, neighbor, or a friend, who could see them as individuals, had a better healing rate, behaviorally, than those who had no one as their advocate. 

I am so glad you came through your childhood training with such healthy and compassionate feelings. Your warmth comes through your writing in powerful ways. You are special!

I had no one, Joan - the power of religion lies in isolation of the victims. But I saw quite early that there was a big discrepancy between my parents' lives and their statements. They talked about ´the blessing to get children´, and clearly showed that they didn't want me. There were many more of such things, all indicating that the happy xtian life did't exist and that their solutions didn't work. First discoveries when I was about 7, and from then on I led a double life: playing the dutiful girl and planning how to get away. But to discover after my escape, how normal people can love their children - I think that hurt most. And that taught me the really important things.

Chris, your experience and mine are similar. Catholicism used original sin to create guilt, and then used guilt and shame to isolate me. My parents, to silence what they didn't want to hear, used violence. I rebelled first in a school religion class when I decided that parents have to earn honor. More small rebellions followed.

While in the Navy I decided to go to college and started saving. In college I threw my parents and their religion out of my life. Two students, who were brother and sister, invited me to their home for a holiday and I saw that family life could be happy. In time I made a kind of peace with my parents but never let them back into my life.

Religion? Its slogan Hate the sin but love the sinner conceals the lie.

Tom, "Hate the sin but love the sinner" never made sense to me. Working with families in trouble, the only way out of the slime of disgusting attitudes, I challenged parents to look seriously at their beliefs and how their lives worked for them or didn't. I could not be blind and deaf to dyslogic. Some could rethink their values, others could not. Then it became a challenge to help the boys learn good communication skills and relationship skills that they could use with others than their families. 

In my case, the family rejected my rebellion, accused me of disloyalty and of being over educated. But over time, some of them have maintained a communication link with me, and I experience some rethinking on their part. They may or may not have left violence behind. I just don't allow violent words or behaviors in my presence. I do encourage expression of anger, fear, sadness, guilt, shame or whatever is bothering them. That opens the door for me to talk with them about problems, conflicts, goals, options, action plans and evaluating outcomes. 

The wounds from dysfunctional families can go on for generations. We can stop it in our line of descendants, and perhaps influence others to rethink their parenting styles. 

"Hate the sin but love the sinner" really reads more like: "we don't like what you do, but if you hang around us long enough, maybe we can persuade you over to our way of thinking."  Yeah, right.  It's the kind of condescending crap religionists specialize in, mostly because 1) they can't believe that they're not right and 2) they don't deal well with people who aren't the same as they are.

More intolerance ... just in sheep's clothing.

Oregon faith healing parents Timothy and Rebecca Wyland were sentenced to 90 days in jail and three years probation for refusing to seek medical treatment for their young daughter, Alayna.

Alayna was born with a growth on her eye that ended up taking over one side of her face. The Wylands refused to seek medical attention for their daughter. As a result, the Wyland's were found guilty of first degree criminal mistreatment of a child June 7.
The Wylands belong to the controversial Followers of Christ Church located in Oregon City. The church is notorious for prohibiting members from seeking medical attention, favoring prayer over medical treatment.
Alayna had an abnormal and deforming buildup of blood vessels in her left eye. The buildup, known as a hemangioma, would have left Alayna blind in the left eye if not treated. While the Wyland's daughter is now doing much better, a doctor testified during the trial that even with surgery the girl will probably have less than a 30 percent chance of regaining full vision in her left eye.
Even though the Wylands prayed over Alayna, anointed her with oil and used other spiritual rituals endorsed by their church, they failed to seek medical attention for their daughter's obvious ailment. From January to June of 2010 the couple did nothing while their daughter's condition deteriorated.
While on probation the Wylands will be expected to:

    Comply with all medical recommendations of the doctors treating Alayna;

    Notify the probation department of all scheduled medical appointments for Alayna and prove they attended the appointments;

    Inform probation officers of any significant injury suffered by any child in their care.

The Wylands are the third Followers of Christ Church couple to be prosecuted over the past two years for failing to provide medical treatment to their children. In two previous cases, the children died.
Followers of Christ Church members have a lengthy history of children dying from lack of medical care. The Oregon State Medical Examiner's office has estimated that in the past 30 years, more than 20 children of church members have died of preventable or curable conditions.
Earlier this year the Oregon state Senate voted to end legal protection granted to parents practicing religious faith healing. The legislation ends legal protection for parents who choose faith healing to the exclusion of modern medicine in treating their children's health.

From the Portland, Oregon, Examiner. Friday 6/28/13.

Reported in Secular Coalition for America daily newsletter.

Tom, thank you for this report. This judgment certainly was needed. However, I think the decision should go farther in penalties against parents and church communities who revert to barbarism out belief and faith so out of tune with modern medicine. 

What the courts need to define is when a person can singularly note their beliefs. Religious freedom should not extend to family but be on an individual basis. The problem with this is that there are so many pro-circumcision folk in the US that I doubt it'd fly. This is also ignoring the zealous rage from fundamentalists who see parental rights trumping basic health rights.

Alternatively, there would need to be an amendment proposed to extend basic health rights and settle the healthcare issue as well as children's health rights, once and for all (and possibly autonomy rights for women's health).. I don't see it happening for a couple of decades, though. Even if the millennials are of voting age now and outnumber boomers, they have to find their political footing and work to get things moving, which takes time. (And there's still many who are religious, even fundamentalist, even if it's less than earlier generations... they still tend to vote more than those who have lost trust and interest in the system.)

As this is a repeated behavior by the "Followers of Christ Church," I think it's time there was a general ruling drafted regarding their practices, much as Nerdlass has suggested here.  Too much time and energy has been spent on corrective action after the damage has been done.  At this point, Preventive Action is indicated and strongly so.

And while we're at it, here's yet another case of parents relying on prayer instead of medicine (with thanks to Zigmo) ... only THIS time, the parents weren't allowed to skate on their responsibility!

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