I belonged to a really tiny sect headed by my grandmother that promoted prayer as the ONLY acceptable form of healing. No doctors, midwives, etc. (We were all born at home, no matter the complications to mother or child.) As a parent myself, I'm sort of shocked by the fact that medical neglect in the name of religion is still permitted in this country. A boy I used to babysit died at 2 years old from 247 yellow jacket stings. There was a huge media uproar when it first happened, but the parents were acquitted because the judge ordered the jury must find they actually "intended" for their son to die.

What can we do about this? It really kills me to think that even though my own son gets all the care he should (regular check ups, hospital birth, vaccinations, etc.) I didn't and other kids still continue to be neglected. Thoughts? Stories? Did anyone else here suffer a similar fate?

Tags: abuse, child, children, faith, healing, medical, neglect, prayer

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Replies to This Discussion

I find that most people who have not gone through or witnessed this sort of thing don't take it seriously or don't feel passionate about it. There's a huge reluctance to touch what would be called the "parental rights". It's frustrating. As for what can be done about all this, spreading awareness is the first step, make people around you understand why its worth getting disturbed over. It upsets me that these parents are put before a judge AFTER something happens to their kid. When people find out that children are being raised this way they should be able to alert child services and have something done about it. There should be a procedure to take care out of the hands of these types of parents when a child gets sick or injured. People need to get it into their heads that children have rights too. Special rights even, because they are basically defenseless.
My older brother actually called HRS when we were kids to report we were being mentally abused (him especially - my grandma hated all men and took it out on a boy). They did the most surface investigation they could, deemed we kids were fine, and then closed the case. A month later my then-12-year-old brother was kicked out of the house as retaliation for the report. "Parental choice" my ass.
Yeah, thankfully my mother's dependence on herbal medicine didn't reach so far as to keep them from taking me to the emergency room when I came down with appendicitis. But that was the only time I ever saw a doctor as a child.
Mostly they were just too cheap to take us for anything. My cat died because they wouldn't take him to the vet...even though if we had he would have been fine.
I simply cannot understand how they could justify medical neglect of their own children as a way to save money. We didn't even have medical insurance.
My one and only doctor's visit was a pap smear at age 8, part of a molestation investigation (sadly, he got off despite medical evidence and my willingness to testify - state prosecutors were lazy bastards)
My gran (like most Christians) learned to use scientific data and skewed facts to lend her religious claims an air of authenticity. She would quote stats about unnecessary surgeries, malpractice, etc.
Yeah, I suffered some of the same effects well into early adulthood (and motherhood), thinking BP was out to get me. Which of course they are, to an extent. But I try not to swallow conspiracy theories so much these days.
Angie - Your life story is fascinating as well as heartbreaking. I have been predicting a backlash from the children of the hyper-religion movement of my life-time. I am curious, did your grandmother have tax exempt status for her sect? My theory is that we have had a proliferation of religiousity since President Johnson gave tax-exempt status to preachers. My own bad religious experience as a child was directly tied to the anti-income tax movement. My parents followed a guy who called himself John Law Freeman. He dodged taxes by being a preacher and preached anti-tax sermons, for $50 per head.

I agree that child services need to be more active in saving the children currently abused. But, we need a long term goal of redefining the separation of Church and State. Currently, it is used mostly in favor of the churches, exempting them from taxes and fostering abuse by overstating a freedom to practice religion. Christianity is particularly difficult to go up against because of their persecution theology. But, I think exposing these cults as mostly tax-evaders as well as child abusers causes the general public to feel cheated, rather than just sorry for the kids.
We were 501(c)3 - I filed the paperwork myself. She was a narcissist. She was in it for the attention; money was just a bonus. Honestly she didn't want to work a normal job; she thought she was special; and she wanted everyone else to act like she was special too.

I think you also have to remember that the average cult follower doesn't know that they are in a cult, and is usually a perfectly nice person who has just lost their fucking mind. I was that crazy myself once, and I got over it. With help, they can too.

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