It’s Tuesday again. That means somebody had to die. Whose death at the hands of religion do we honor this week, Larry? Why, it’s none other than Robyn Twitchell, who would have been 22 years old this year, but for religion:
In 1988, Massachusetts prosecutors charged David and Ginger Twitchell with manslaughter in the 1986 death of their two-year-old son Robyn. Robyn Twitchell died of a peritonitis caused by a bowel obstruction that medical professionals declared would have been easily correctable.
The Twitchells’ defense contended that the couple were within their First Amendment rights to treat their son’s illness with prayer and that Massachusetts had recognized this right in an exemption to the statute outlawing child neglect.
The Twitchells were convicted of involuntary manslaughter. They were sentenced to ten years probation and required to bring their remaining children to regular visits to a pediatrician. The conviction was overturned in 1993 by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court on a legal technicality. Robert Gittens, speaking for the prosecutors’ office commented, “the law is now clear: parents cannot sacrifice the lives of their children in the name of religious freedom.”
Glory, hallelujah, and praise be unto Jesus. Two more criminal parents were spared from the punishment they deserved by the grace of almighty God and by the ineptitude of a Massachusetts court. It is unfortunate such mercy was not extended to little Robyn:
It began with his constant screaming and vomiting. On the second day, his parents called the Christian Science worldwide public relations manager to see about getting Christian Science treatment instead of medical treatment. On the fourth day, a church “nurse” was force-feeding Robyn at his bedside. On the fifth day, Robyn was throwing up a brown goo and screaming so loudly in pain that neighbors had to close their windows to avoid hearing him. Finally, at the end of the fifth day, at age two, Robyn died of peritonitis, an abdominal infection, and a twisted bowel. His autopsy pictures show bright red chin and lips where the acid in his vomit had eaten away his skin. He was so dehydrated that his skin stayed up when pinched. Fifteen inches of his intestines were black because the blood supply had been cut off. The parents called 911 only after rigor mortis had set in.
What an inspiring and religiously uplifting scene this must have been to observe, as a young child screamed out the remaining days of his life to keep alive a two-thousand-year-old fable.