Dying to Believe

Some more of the same

It’s Tuesday again, and the names of those who died for Jesus continues to be drawn from the record of years past. This week we commemorate the sacrifice of Garrett Dean Eells to the healing power of faith:

Oregon woman fights Idaho faith healing laws

On a serene, windswept hill outside of Boise is a cemetery called Peaceful Valley. It is where some Followers of Christ members bury their dead. Of the more than 550 graves, at least 144 appear to be of children under 18 years old. At least 12 of those children have been buried since 2011, including Garret Dean Eells. The coroner said he died from untreated pneumonia. He was six days old.

KOIN Channel 5 in Portland, Oregon, reports on  a continuing issue. The story concerns members of a church in Oregon City called Followers of Christ. Oregon law previously protected parents who, for religious purposes, did not provide proper medical treatment for their children. In Idaho, where young Garrett Dean Eells died, the same church continues to practice faith healing without fear of legal retribution. Children continue to die.

Dying to Believe

Some more of the same

Tuesday again, and Jesus has taken another innocent life to quench his blood lust. This time it’s 8-year old Clayton Nixon enjoying the embrace of the heavenly one:

Blair couple’s faith healing appeal denied

Tuesday, May 01, 2001

By Tom Gibb, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

HOLLIDAYSBURG, Pa. — The U.S. Supreme Court said yesterday that it won’t hear the appeal of a Blair County couple who spurned medicine, put their trust in faith healing and lost two of their 13 children to treatable illnesses.

Barring a last-resort appeal, Dennis and Lorie Nixon will go off sometime in the next 30 days to spend 21/2 to five years in state prisons, leaving behind their Hollidaysburg-area house and 10 children still living at home.

Clayton died of a treatable ear infection. His parents were sentenced to  125 hours of community service. Blessed be the ways of the Lord.

Dying to Believe

Some more of the same

It’s now over a year since I started posting these, one each week. If a person were not cautious, a person would conclude that Jesus has an inordinate love for the young and helpless. He takes so many of them under his wing. A previous post marked the sacrifice of young Monica Johnson. Now I mark the passing of her sister:

“What seems to be happening is that the children are doing fine and then they take a turn for the worse very quickly,” said Robert Levenson, director of the Philadelphia Health Department’s division of disease control.

Indeed, after 9-year-old Monica Johnson died last Sunday, a health department doctor visited the other 11 children in the family and, while not permitted to conduct an actual physical exam, found no cause for alarm. But early this morning Monica’s 13-year-old sister, Tina-Louise, died.

Monica, Tina-Louise, plus 9-year-old Karen Still, all died in a measles outbreak associated with, and to the fault of, two fundamentalist Christian churches in Philadelphia in 1991. The New York Times reported then:

Measles and Faith Combine In 5 Deaths in Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 15— Five children have died in a measles outbreak here in the last 10 days, all of them from families that belong to two fundamentalist churches that preach a reliance on prayer, not medical care, to cure disease.

The churches, the Faith Tabernacle Congregation and the First Century Gospel Church, each run their own schools, which together have about 350 students who have never been inoculated against measles or other diseases.

[Emphasis added]

I have chosen to dribble these deaths out one at a time, week upon week, every Tuesday morning, in order to drive home a point. This problem is not come and gone. It persists. On a daily basis people are using religion as a license to kill—their children. So long as I can obtain the name or death report of a child, or an adult, who has fallen victim to this cultural monstrosity, I will post the details on a Tuesday.

Dying to Believe

Some more of the same

Poisonous spiders and poisonous snakes get our immediate attention, but nothing kills like Jesus, coupled with stupidity. It’s Tuesday again and another occasion to pay tribute to a martyr to Jesus:

The Faith Tabernacle Congregation, founded here in 1897, bases its beliefs on a strict interpretation of the Bible. Among its tenets is the avoidance of all medical and surgical practices; members believe that healing will come from God.

The other victim, Karen Still, 9, was pronounced dead on arrival Thursday at Albert Einstein Medical Center. Her parents told the police she had been vomiting for four days.

Charles Reinert, presiding elder of the church, has declined to comment to reporters but has been cooperating with inquiries of health officials.

State law requires immunization before a child enters school, but exceptions are made for religious or medical reasons.

That term, “religious exemption,” requires some explanation. It’s code for “license to kill.”

Dying to Believe

Some more of the same

Ruthless dictators come, and ruthless dictators go, but Jesus never sleeps. He is always present to welcome you into his arms, especially if you are young and helpless, and your parents are clueless. Today we honor Monica Johnson, just nine years old. She’s with Jesus now:

The most recent victim here, 9-year-old Monica Johnson, was pronounced dead on arrival Sunday at the Medical College of Pennsylvania. Police officers took her to the hospital after her parents called for help, saying she had difficulty breathing and had a rash.

Keep your young ones close to you, and cherish their lives. Jesus is at the door.

Dying to Believe

Some more of the same

They never do.

Tuesday again. Time for Jesus to take another young life. Only this was over a quarter of a century ago. Amazing how little changes:

In the early months of 1991, the nation was preoccupied with the Persian Gulf War, as the United States chased Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein from his dream of annexing Kuwait.

In Philadelphia, health and school officials were locked in battle too – against a major measles outbreak, and the deep religious convictions which fueled the spread of the virus.

Nine children would die, six of them associated with two fundamentalist churches which preach a reliance on prayer, not medical care, to cure disease.

Five of those children would die in 10 days.

This post honors the sacrifice little Jamie Jones made in the cause of what some claim to be religious freedom, actually a license to  kill. He is only one of several, and his death spurred his grandmother to push the Pennsylvania legislature to clamp down on religious exemptions. Little progress has been made since. The stupid is strong here.

Dying to Believe

Some more of the same

It’s Tuesday again, and Jesus has come to take another child:

Oregon: Faith-Healing Parents Investigated In Infant’s Death

Faith-healing kills: Infant dies after faith-healing parents in Oregon fail to get medical attention for their new-born daughter.

According to reports, Sheriff’s deputies are investigating an Oregon City couple whose infant daughter died of apparent breathing complications just hours after she was born earlier this month.

Sarah Mitchell, 24, gave birth to 2 girls at her parents’ home earlier this month. One of Mitchell’s daughters developed breathing complications and died a few hours later.

Thank you, Jesus. Thank you for not visiting our house when I  was born.

Dying to Believe

Some more of the same

Religion-WaitUntilYouAreDead

Here’s an update on a previous post. The consequences of false belief are sometimes spread around:

Alexandru Radita “lived and died very much alone,” a prosecutor noted Friday, moments after his parents were sentenced to life in prison for his murder.

Crown lawyer Susan Pepper said the fact there was no one in court to speak about the impact of the teenager’s death, save for a social worker who dealt with him eight years earlier, spoke volumes about his loneliness.

“It really highlights the degree of isolation that Alex lived in — he had no friends, or teachers, or support people, or doctors, or anyone,” Pepper said, after Emil and Rodica Radita were each convicted of first-degree murder in the boy’s death.

Justice Karen Horner accepted Pepper’s argument the parents intentionally neglected the 15-year-old for years, until he finally succumbed to bacterial sepsis related to starvation.

“Your actions in starving your son Alex to death are beyond comprehension,” Horner said, in ordering the couple to each serve a minimum 25 years without parole.

An additional news item recounts the false belief behind this tragedy:

‘They knew he was dying’: Canadian parents who starved their diabetic son, 15, to death and prayed for two hours rather than call 911 when they found him not breathing get life in prison

The time to have been concerned about young Alexandru would have been when it was first noticed his parents weighed their religious convictions above his well being.

I do one of these every Tuesday. Who is going to be the next to die to  believe?

Dying to Believe

Some more of the same

religion-faithhealingprayer

Readers, it’s not only Jesus who allows children to die from neglect. The parents of Seth Johnson believed they knew more about medicine than the doctors:

MINNEAPOLIS – A Minnesota couple face child neglect charges following the March death of their 7-year-old son, whom officials say died of pancreatitis without medical attention because his parents had “issues going to doctors,” reports CBS Minnesota.

CBS News additionally reported the Johnsons relied on prayer when young Seth’s behavior began to change for the worse. They were concerned that doctors would treat the child with medications:

In the days before Seth’s death, his parents were out of town for a wedding, leaving their son in the care of an older sibling. The night they returned, the Johnsons found their son hardly moving and said he didn’t react when they “prayed for his health.”

Jesus could not be contacted for comment.

Dying to Believe

Some more of the same

religion-faithhealinghealthrobbers

The willingness of people to suspend sound judgment in favor of belief has boundless consequences, only one of which is death. Faith healers, such as Oral Roberts, have played on this character defect to devastating consequences. Stephen Barrett and William T. Jarvis in their book The Health Robbers chronicled egregious examples, including this:

In 1983, Roberts announced, “God has called this ministry to declare war on cancer and dread diseases…. We must believe that a cure for cancer can be found through a supernatural manifestation from God and medical research.” In 1987, Roberts told his followers that God had ordered him to raise $8 million for scholarships at Oral Roberts Medical School and would “call him home” unless he did so. He obtained the money, but the appeal set off a storm of protest from television executives and religious leaders. Roberts had envisioned that his center would attract large numbers of devout Christians from across the country. But in 1989 he announced that unfilled beds—a problem from the beginning—had forced him to close the school and shut down his hospital. At its peak, the 777-bed facility had only 148 inpatients.

Stephen Barrett. The Health Robbers: A Close Look at Quackery in America (Consumer Health Library) (Kindle Locations 4513-4517). Kindle Edition.

The above is from Chapter 24 of the book, dealing with faith healing.