Thursday, March 27, 2008

Dial 911, Ask for Jesus

I'd love to expound on this, but it's just too fucking infuriating and I feel like I've said it all before.

What I'll suggest is to first read this story, then (if your brain still functions) take a look at the calendar on your desk and note the year.

(Milwaukee JS Online: Young Girl Dies of Diabetes While Family Prays/3.26.08)


Manny said...

*Peels brain off of desk*

This is horrifying. I read reports about medical neglect everyday and this still disgusts me. As a parent, it's your responsibility to take every measure possible to ensure the health and safety of your child. I am not saying that prayer should not be allowed, but it damn well better not be the only type of care your child is allowed. You want to pray? Fine, it's a free country. Just let the doctor’s do what they can while you sit in the corner and pray to whatever deity you see fit. However, if you sit just sit there holding a rosary while your child is laying in a hospital bed suffering, you had damn well better be prepared for any consequences. If I had my way, parents like these two bumblefucks would be locked away and their remaining kids put up for adoption.

Anonymous said...

Hmm. Well, I can safely say that I know what it feels like to have a parent care more about "God" than about their own child's well-being.

Unfotunately, this is not so uncommon. Just rarely ends in a child's death. So, so sad.

What shocks me is that they said they would take the same course of action, given a second chance at the situation.

Um, yes, they ARE sick.

Lily's Mommy said...

It just boggles my mind that in this day and age, and in this country, that people are going to put their faith before science. And if all healing comes from god, why was the life expectancy for people so fucking short before penicillin??? Or vaccines?? Or before any other medical treatment not involving leeches???

achem My other favorite story on parents being dickheads, is the lady who is HIV positive (but believes that HIV does not lead to AIDS) and refused treatment during her two pregnancies. Her daughter died at age 3. To the best of my knowledge, the HIV treatments prevent the fetus from getting HIV, so in my mind, that lady signed her kid's death warrant and it makes me want to hang her upside down, skin her alive and then give her a bleach shower.

Prophet of Ra said...

I dunno, I'm not really shocked or horrified. I have no problem letting people live the way they want to live. I fact, the only problem I have with most of the major religions out there is the need to spread. So long as they leave me alone, I don't really have any feelings towards what the do on the inside.

It is impossible for someone from the outside to understand those on the inside. It just wont happen. It has never happened.

My feelings on it? Let the family and the community grieve their loss, and leave them alone. By demanding that they use your technique to cure sickness when theirs failed is the same basic idea that has led the spread of the Christian juggernaut for centuries.

Darkshrike said...

"These people are not crazy"
Um, I'm fucking sorry praying for some person you have never met, to save your child because some book that some guys wrote a while back is FUCKING CRAZY!

My question is how can the state say its okay, look your cooky religious believes are fine for you, until they start to kill people, and like it or not these fucking nut balls killed their daughter.

jen said...

'They aren't crazy people'

"They said it was the course of action they would take again," Vergin said. "They firmly believe even if they had taken her to a doctor, if this was the time God had chosen for her to die, she would die regardless of medical interference."

i agree with darkshrike, these people are totally f'n lunatic. letting your child die when you had every opportunity to save her is insane.

i have never been able to comprehend "parents" who treat their children poorly, much less abuse, et al. now that i have a child of my own, my brain literally shuts down at the thought of something like this happening to my son, because i can't possibly even consider my son being harmed to such an extent. i would not, could not allow it. i'm pretty sure i would destroy everyone in my path to ensure he is happy and healthy (i understand perfectly how a mama bear feels when she protects her cubs). so to hear of parents doing the opposite of this makes me sick to my stomach.

The Freelance Guru said...

I heard this story on the Skeptics Guide to the Universe and was infuriated by it. My Parents were very religious when I was growing up, happy clappy chrsitian sort but at least they still took me to the doctors when I didn't feel so good.

tamara said...


I thought we exited the Dark Ages about 500 years ago. Am I wrong?

b80vin said...

Uh, Jen..You would destroy anyone in your path to ensure your son's "happiness"? I understand the healthy to an extent (but wonder if you would, say, sacrifice elite child health care for the sake of those children with NO health care?). Personally, I get sick to the stomach when I think of all these kids, who are told they are special and that their happiness is the main functioning reason of the universe, growing up to be hedonistic cultural leaches convinced that their every whim should be catered to, and the slightest disappointment should be rectified. My children weren't always happy, they got sick and they are functioning adults used to things not going their way. What's more they understand empathy, and the idea that they can sacrifice for the good of those who have much less.

I'm pretty sure you wouldn't destroy someone because your child was merely "unhappy", and you are not one of those types who believes the concerns of the world should start with, "think of my children". But writing that makes you sound sort of "lunatic" yourself, you know?

Alex said...

It just goes to show that individuals are pretty good at misunderstanding or misinterpreting their faiths. I mean come on, even Scientology says go to a doctor if you are sick.

Anonymous said...

Could it be that perhaps God became a little busy doing other Godly things, so he made some human beings a little smarter than the rest in the hope that these humans would become doctors and do the healing for him?

-a Christian with a brain (there are still a few of us left)

em said...

I couldn't even read the whole article. I just want to know how the parents of this child were OK with watching her slip away each day and having their daughter die little by little from something that is fucking treatable. Ketoacidosis shows like a motherfucker (quick dehydration, being tired all the time, and, uh, yeah, basically everything that presents itself with diabetes), and there's no way this girl was going around acting like a "normal" child.

Nathan said...

Oregon may be prosecuting a case like this.

Yay Oregon!

Vermillion said...

Shit. Shit shit shit.

Seriously, I would like to think that a parent who truly cared for their child would be willing to do anything in their power to keep them alive and healthy. No matter what.

And I was under the impression that the fundies were really big on the whole "no dying AT ALL" thing. So to rationalize your stupidity (because not noticing such blatant symptoms as something bad is really fucking stupid) by saying you THOUGHT your particular deity was going to part the heavens and layeth the healing down on the kid is fucking nuts.

And that entire fucking neighborhood should be run out on the rails, because how could they not see it? How could they not call the authorities? Even if there were going to be First Amendment issues, at least the kid would have gotten an exam or some attention that would have revealed this, right?


Anonymous said...

I hate wading into an internet discussion as I at times find it hard to articulate exactly what I am trying to say.

Why are “we” so right about this? Let’s say (and I am not saying it is) that their religion preaches that no medicine is to be used if there is an illness. Who’s to say that our beliefs should trump theirs? I think it is unfortunate that a young girl has died, but if that is what her family believes is the right course and that their faith demands that they do nothing, then why should the child be forced to take the medical care?

Religion is a tricky thing. To merely dismiss this as religious mysticism, or some sort of flaw in their faith is incredibly arrogant on our part. Who are we to decide what their beliefs are supposed to be? Why do we get to interpret what their faith is?

When I attended college and a member of the cross country team we had meets with Principia College. They were a Christian Science school. Meaning that their ideas about medicine included that if something was wrong with a person’s health it was a spiritual problem rather than a medical one. I was aware that if I tripped and broke my leg I would not get medical treatment. We were always concerned that we could get hurt but we had to respect their beliefs while we were at their school.

And not to be snaky but the Dark Ages probably ended closer to 1000 years (sorry the history teacher in me is coming out)

Master Mahan said...

V-Opposition: The key difference here is that the this was not an informed adult who died, but an 11-year-old child. No one expects an 11-year-old to be able to take care of themselves, to be a completely independent, self-reliant individual who holds down a decent job into order to pay for their food, rent, utilities, and insurance. Would you really expect a typical preteen to be capable of making informed decisions about their own life and death? There's a certain point where someone is too young to let them jump in front of a train.

If it was an adult, fine. If you've lived long enough that you can take care of yourself, you're free to chose otherwise, although I'd still consider it crazy. I'd argue that in the very least, medicine already is is the healing miracle that God already provided. Jesus didn't simply wave his hand and wish for 5000 people to stop being hungry - he gave them food with the expectation they knew how to feed themselves.

There may indeed be a heaven, a hell, and a loving God who condemn children to eternal torture because their parents gave them cough syrup. There *is* a dead child.

Deacon Blue said...

You know, just in case anyone wants to blame religion for this, let's remember that crazy is crazy and neglect is neglect and these parents were adults who are supposed to act with some level of responsbility. I've heard enough stories of folks who believe in holistic remedies and herbs who have let their children become sick (and I'm sure die in many cases) because they don't believe in mainstream medicine. It ain't Jesus, folks. It ain't religion. It's parents who shouldn't have had kids to begin with.

Sheriff Bart said...

The biggest tragedy here? These idiots have three more children who are going to grow up (if their parents don't let them die) to be just as stupid as their upbringing. Then they will probably reproduce as well.

On a related note, I've been to Wausau a few times. Only a crazy person would willingly move there from California.

VOTAR said...

v-opp, wrong on two counts.

The comparison here is not between two belief systems. It is between a belief system (which can and is consistently demonstrated to be wholly unreliable and increasingly irrelevant, a FACT that few people have the intellectual honesty to admit) and a body of scientific knowledge consisting of provable, demonstrable, cause-and-effect phenomena that are -- thanks to several centuries of empirical progress -- no longer a mystery to the even moderately well-informed. The only way your excusal of these medieval zealots makes any sense is in a world where we could settle on a debate concerning the sunrise either being caused by Apollo in his chariot versus Vishnu vomiting a ball of fire across the sky each day.

"[if] their faith demands that they do nothing, then why should the child be forced to take the medical care?"

I can't believe I've actually just read that sentence. And the expectation that you would not receive proper medical care in the event of an injury while on the campus of that barbaric "christian" academy is not only absurd, it is actually criminal.

Second point. The university that gave you a history degree may need to have its accreditation revoked. 1000 years ago the western world was still quite deeeeeep in what we today call the "dark ages." In A.D. 1000 they were NOWHERE near an end, which was (perhaps) centuries to come later, after a few mass murdering religious crusades, near-extermination level pandemic plagues exacerbated by a ubiquitous ignorance of basic hygiene and sanitation, and, oh yeah, that whole church-sanctioned burning people alive after accusing them of witchcraft thing.

The American continents were discovered, colonized, and raped for resources while the "dark ages" were still quite alive and well in Europe, by people who were just beginning to demonstrate the fallacy of the commonly held belief in a disk-shaped planet at the center of the universe. The Renaissance began primarily as a fragmentation in religious thinking, long before it became the cultural precursor for the industrial revolution. The "pilgrims" we dress our kids up as in November each year were not a brave band of enlightened and noble pioneers, but a cult of closed-minded intolerant religious fanatics and political separatists seeking to escape the post-Elizabethan Anglican Church. It took a horrific civil war in this country to BEGIN to shed away the very dark ages acceptance of slavery, something we still can't shake out of the closet completely.

To get a pretty good glimpse of the "dark ages" you really only have to look over your shoulder. Sad and embarrassing stories like this one suggest this Age may not be so bright after all.

Paul said...

This reminds me of a great parable. I love parables.

"A man hears on the radio that a flood is coming and he should evacuate. He refuses, instead he prays to God to save him.
As the waters flood his street two men come by in a boat and offer to take him to safety. He says no, he'll pray to God to save him.
The waters come into his house and he goes up to his roof to pray.
A helicopter comes by and drops down a rope ladder. He refuses and prays to God to save him.
He drowns, and when he dies, he meets God and says, 'I was a good person all my life, I prayed to you, why didn't you save me?'
God said 'I sent you a radio report, a boat and a helicopter.'"

jen said...

b80vin, my comment about "happy and healthy" was meant to imply the two hand in hand... quite obviously, life isn't a utopia, and i'm not so delusional that i think my son will always be happy (or healthy for that matter). my comment was meant to communicate the inherent maternal urge that i feel (ie, mama bear): i DO want him to be happy and healthy at all times, and i will do what i need to do to help him be so. this is not to say that i think he'll never get a cold, or cancer, or that he'll never, for lack of a better word, deserve to be unhappy. i don't envision him being the paragon of perfection and god-like, thus entitling him to a happy and carefree existence. i fully expect him to screw up, get hurt, hurt others... that is, be a totally normal human being. but as a mother, my heart's desire is for him to have the best life possible. and i'll do my best to teach him to live that way, and to provide for him as best i can. i don't think any of these feelings are "lunatic" - i think it's pretty normal for a parent. i wish he could get through life never having to experience pain, but i know that as a mother to a son, i'll have to get over that, as i'm sure i have my fair share of scraped knees/broken bones/thingsonfire coming my way. :) i would destroy anyone in my path who would try to inflict on my son the kind of pain described in the news article (there's that mama bear again)... and i would expect all parents to feel the same way (knowing full well a good number of them don't). so for people to do this to their own children is far beyond my comprehension (see also: Lily's Mommy's comment about hanging/skinning the HIV mother). THAT'S my point.

regarding your comment on health care, i believe all children should have health care, and i don't believe anyone's care should have to suffer because of it. how do we do that? i don't have the final answer; i'm not going to pretend i know everything about health care and thus can solve that one. i'll leave it to brighter minds. this issue is also why i'm having a hard time determining who i'll vote for in the next election. the candidate i prefer on the majority of the issues is offering a health care policy i really can't stand behind. it's an important one to me.

and i agree with you regarding society's coddling of today's youth. kids need to have a little humiliation and unhappiness in their lives to make them balanced individuals. kids mess up, it's kind of what they do, and they shouldn't be made to feel like they never do. like all the parenting magazines which are now saying "try not to use the word 'no'". puh-f'n-leeeeez. my kid isn't going to kill himself because i tell him no, you can't have that candy bar. he's going to learn to be responsible, do things for himself, and that you're entitled to nothing in this world. you have to work hard to be successful. but that doesn't mean that i can't desire him to be shielded from unnecessary pain and unhappiness. i'm not delusional about it. i just want the best for him. you have children so i'm sure you understand: a parent's love for their children is like nothing else.

isfahan said...

I agree that the parents are stupid, wrong, and should be prosecuted with everything they possibly can be. However, most people---most Christian people--- do go to doctors and don't leave the healing of themselves and their children to faith. Being completely objective, it's unfair to characterize all Christians as being nonsensical enough let their child die like this---even if they may be nonsensical enough to believe in God in the first place.

That's like characterizing all scientists based on Mengele.

VOTAR said...

I think I saw that episode of The West Wing too. Good show.

Deacon makes a good point as well. There are lots of weak-minded gullible people on this planet, billions of them. Some of them surrender their intellect to an ancient book of jewish fables; some light candles in front of a smear of dogshit on the sidewalk that looks like a woman's face; some rattle eagle feathers and crystals they bought at the corner head shop; some blow up buses in Tel Aviv for the privilege of raping virgins in their make-believe version of an afterlife; some accept without question the absurd idea that our human bodies are infested with the ghosts of dead aliens that live in volcanoes. And so on...

Superstition, in all of its sad and ugly guises, is equally deserving of derision.

Agent Scully said...

What do you expect? It's WISCONSIN.

Anonymous said...

Master Mahan:
I understand that this child is not of age to make the decision about whether or not she should receive medical treatment. Her parents are. I would not expect the child to make the decision. I would leave that up to her parents who should have the final say in how their child should be raised. You are correct that the child is too young to make the decision herself. Her parents making the decision based on faith is theirs.

You can easily debate YOUR belief as to what the parents SHOULD do but this argument is not about rational thinking. It is about faith. If the faith of the parents tells them to not seek necessary medical treatment do we have a right to not only tell the parents so, but intervene in their rights as parents? From a legal standpoint, there may be a case. From your or my religious standpoint you may have a case. But we cannot dictate what their faith means to them or what their faith tells them to do. Religion is a funny thing as faith is different for each person that has it. We can debate the finer points of theology and the Bible all day. We can argue all we want about what we believe the Bible says on any particular issue. We cannot argue what it tells the parents to do.

The fact that there *is* a dead child is unfortunate but not the argument I was addressing.


You seem to mistake “facts” for faith. It is nearly impossible to separate facts and faith. I agree that much of religion is hokey and doesn’t stand up to the rigor of scientific analysis. That’s why its *faith*. You can dismiss my argument because simply because you think that religion is the great lie, however, you are missing the point. Just because a belief system is flawed doesn’t always convince people to abandon that belief. Plus I’m excited to bet on my boy Apollo getting that sun deep across the sky tomorrow. Just because the evidence is there to make these zealots look like idiots doesn’t necessarily mean that they are going to accept the rational and right thing to do.

The problem here is not really fundamentally about faith though. It is about choice. Who has the final say about what treatment the child should receive? Even though the parents may follow a religion that I would agree makes them “medieval zealots,” I would argue who are we to force them to do things differently? Although I think it is dishonest to invoke a slippery slope, where do we draw the line? If parents teach their children religion and make them go to church can we take them away because you have deemed their faith false and irrelevant?

Instead of actually taking my argument on you simply attack the idea that you cannot fathom that I would make a remark like I did and then call a school criminal for doing something that is in fact not criminal.

I could still receive medical care; I just could not receive it while I was on their campus. Just like when you are 18 at you parent’s house. Their house, their rules. If I want to get medical treatment I can get it, they’re just not going to facilitate that for me. They won’t call an ambulance and they won’t have any medical staff look at me while I am still there.

As for the “dark ages” you once again went for the Ad Hominem again by calling my education into question because I stated a belief about the “dark ages” which many historians (myself included) use as another name for the period of the Early Middle Ages (roughly from the fall of Rome until the start of the Crusades). Yes, we can make the argument that the dark times are still at hand or ended at any other time between then and now. I was merely stating my belief. No need to punish my alma mater. They get enough flak as it is.

There are all kinds of wrong that the family has done to this child. I merely think that it is their wrong to make.

VOTAR said...

v-opp I'm trying very hard to make sense of your assertions.

"It is nearly impossible to separate facts and faith." Huh? I'm begging you to demonstrate how "faith" is factual in any way. It is, by definition, a reliance on assumptions that cannot be proven as fact, otherwise no faith would be required to accept them.

"much of religion is hokey." Which parts aren't?

"just because the evidence is there...doesn’t necessarily mean that they are going to accept the rational and right thing to do." Nope. Just makes them gullible and ignorant. And in this specific case, criminally negligent.

"If parents teach their children religion and make them go to church can we take them away[?]" Of course I could be snarky and reply by saying "oh if only it were so, what a wonderful world this would be," but you may be surprised to know that I have no real beef with what people want to believe privately. I may grieve for them, but so long as such beliefs don't intersect with the common good of humanity (and sadly they almost always do) I say hey, whatever gets you off. But this story -- and the examples you provided in support of your excuse of the behavior of the parents -- does not stand up to the test of societal responsibility. The irrational acceptance by those parents of a fairy tale, resulted in the needless death of their child. Likewise, the refusal of medical assistance to someone injured on their property by an institute of higher learning (I'm choking back the laugh)... is a CRIME.

I'll rescind my criticism of your alma mater. I already expect to get an earful from Chez about fanning a flame war on his site -- and boring the piss out of everyone with a history debate -- but, you went to the effort of admonishing a poster by declaring the end of the dark ages 1000 years ago, which simply isn't correct. And I was bored.

I'll sign off for now. It's Friday night, time to get drink on and anally rape my six year old step daughter in the privacy of my home.

jen said...

forgive me Agent Scully, but i live in wisconsin and we're not all dumb hicks, tyvm.

Deacon Blue said...

I'm pretty good about making light of my own religion and taking a few jolly jabs here and there...and I wasn't remotely offended by the Zombie Jesus Day thing the other day here at Deus Ex Malcontent. But I do wish the comments about how we Christians and others believe in "fairy tales" would come to an end. It's really not very far removed from calling us a bunch of raving loon idiots and, well, I'm not a loon, I'm certainly not an idiot...and I've never been to a rave.

Trust me, if such comments irritate me, they are probably a bit beyond the call of duty even for a dedicated atheist...because I've got a pretty thick skin overall.

VOTAR said...

I highly recommend raves, Jimminy. There's a GREAT rave here in Miami next weekend. Crystal Method, BT, Underworld, Tiesto, Rabbit in the Moon, Sasha+Digweed... basically, uh everybody will be there.

Sadly, my tribe has disbanded, and it's no fun to roll alone.

Share the love.

Deacon Blue said...

Ok, Votar, I give you massive creativity points for the Jimminy Cricket nickname you've saddled me with. I don't mind an indirect fairy tale "when you wish upon a star" reference. But did you have to pick what is quite likely the smallest Disney character on record? Let me keep a little of my pride, man. ;-)

By the way, child welfare services should be over in a few minutes to talk to your stepdaughter. Just in case you want to slip out the back window...

Anonymous said...

"The comparison here is not between two belief systems. It is between a belief system (which can and is consistently demonstrated to be wholly unreliable and increasingly irrelevant, a FACT that few people have the intellectual honesty to admit) and a body of scientific knowledge consisting of provable, demonstrable, cause-and-effect phenomena that are -- thanks to several centuries of empirical progress -- no longer a mystery to the even moderately well-informed. The only way your excusal of these medieval zealots makes any sense is in a world where we could settle on a debate concerning the sunrise either being caused by Apollo in his chariot versus Vishnu vomiting a ball of fire across the sky each day."
This is going on my tombstone!