Are the indifferent and irresponsible actions of faith-healing believers exploited by lawmakers...
as an excuse to intrude on general parental rights?
Herbert and Catherine Schaible defied a court order to seek out medical treatment for their children and now face prison terms after allowing another child to die because they believe in "faith healing" and scorn medical help. While I find their actions contemptible, I sometimes fear the government may use such extremist actions as opportunity (excuse) to remove the rights of all parents to make educated decisions regarding their children's medical treatment. What do you think?
Nobody has to qualify to become a parent. So it's only sensible to have a safeguard built in. Some parents are simply not fit to parent.
When you have people who are intentionally negligible, then it stands to say that officials should step in. The more often it happens, the more likely safeguards are to be put in. It's just the way it's going to be if we continuously have parents who harm children. It may not be fair, but it may be what is needed to protect them. I don't approve of anyone telling me how to raise my children, but if it's the law, then we must follow it or change it for the better. Either way, I agree with ray, some people should not have children.
Faith healing and alternative healing methods have a tremendously successful track record. Books by P.P. Quimby, Emil Coue, Charles Baudouin, Thomas Jay Hudson, Frederick Bailes have case histories. Spiritual teachers, gurus and countless New Thougtht teachers have constantly healed people for over 100 years or more without hospitals. Before recorded history, healers have always existed. If someone has the gift of healing and the esoteric knowledge, it can be done. Prayer alone has healed millions of people. Do these people have the knowledge or the gift? Apparently not. But that does not mean that the only way to heal people is to pay thousands of dollars or go to hospitals. Hospitals let people die sometimes. Their case is unfortunate. Maybe they should have tried medicine. But healers have great success too. The AMA, doctors and hospitals are profit driven. And their cures don't always work either. In some cases, they want the money more than to cure people!
"Prayer alone has healed millions of people"??
You can check countless churches all around the world. Each person's life has cuts, injuries, all kinds of health problems. Do these people go to the hospital every day? No. Some use over the counter medicine. Some use "hope". Some use prayer.
I believe there are worthy alternatives to Western medicine that are being discounted today by profiteering corporations; but I don't see that just calling yourself a believer in faith healing qualifies as expert knowledge in any healing practice.
Have you ever been healed without medicine? I speak from experience.
Sri T, yes I have. As Western pharmaceutical treatment failed me big time, I turned to herbs. But I wouldn't subject my children to illness by simply praying. I feel our Creator expects us to take a proactive interest in health matters.
This situation is not just about parent rights, but children and their right to be treated, especially if it is a serious illness. Children are not property, but under their parents care. In this case, the parents did not seek medical attention for their child, knowing she was not getting any better. This did not infringe on their rights, but the child's rights that died.
I sometimes think that we should have to sign a contract in order to have kids saying things like we will care for them as best we can, play with them five times a week (at least), make them eat their peas, and seek out modern medical care (or at least approved alternative medical care), etc. That way if people say they can't sign because they believe that their god Fluffybutt will heal their children, they can be prevented from ever having kids in the first place.
The problem is that we would end up in the same place we are already in: society as a whole deciding what is acceptable and then imposing that view onto everyone.
But at the end of the day, that is what a society is. You can't really avoid it. Some societies are more accepting of alternative beliefs. Others are rigid. All we can really do is try and create a system which attempts to balance individual rights with collective acceptability. We do that through our system of democracy which includes a system of checks and balances and a judicial system where we are tried by our peers.
In this case, the couple had already lost a child under similar circumstances a few years ago. The state by itself didn't step in and force anything on to them. It put them through the judicial system and had them tried by their peers (who found them guilty). They came out of that manslaughter verdict with probation and a future requirement to seek appropriate care for their other children.
I agree with the caution against state intrusion, but I would argue that the intrusiveness of the state was quite mild in this instance. Now that a second child has died, it seems reasonable to be more aggressive. The vast majority of society believes that if these parents had acted appropriately, those children would be alive. If this was some other form of negligence, say leaving a child in a car in summer,I don't think anyone would be arguing against state intrusion. Faith isn't (or shouldn't be) special permission to be negligent.
As for faith healing, well I think it is idiotic. Believing in prayer is one thing. Eschewing a specific set of tools and knowledge for no logical reason is just willful stupidity.
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