Another Child Died Because His Parents Left His Medical Care to God

A little over a year ago, 16-year-old Neil Beagley was suffering from an inflammation of his urethra. He was unable to pee as a result of this. His kidneys and bladder stopped working, he had heart failure, and he died a painful death.

This was all treatable.

So why didn’t his parents help him? Why did Neil refuse any medical help? How could presumably sane parents watch their child die slowly and not get any actual medical help?

Police said the boy and his family are members of the Followers of Christ Church, a highly secretive group in Oregon City that has been practicing a distinct brand of religion since at least the mid-40s after moving to Oregon from Idaho. They believe they are God’s chosen children and that God’s will can heal those he chooses.

Here’s the kicker: the family is directly related to the Worthingtons — daughter Ava also died of treatable conditions. They’re all members of the same church.

This whole idea of letting a child die because the whole family has been brainwashed into thinking “God will provide” when no god does anything of the sort is disgusting.

The Worthingtons were found not guilty of second-degree manslaughter, though the father was convicted of “criminal mistreatment.” What will happen to Jeff and Marci Beagley? We’ll see. Jury selection for their trial just began the other day.

They’re charged with criminally negligent homicide. They deserve to be put in jail. I fear that, like the Worthingtons, they’ll be let off the hook and the cycle will just continue in this mess of a church.

You want an example of why having more faith is a problem? Here you go.

If you’re interested, there’s more background on the Beagley family and this case here.

(Thanks to Jaysen for the link)

  • Trace

    “They believe they are God’s chosen children and that God’s will can heal those he chooses.”

    I guess Neil was not among the chosen (shaking head sadly)

  • Jim

    I wonder if anybody tried to use their arguments against them, like maybe god gave the doctors the desire and talent to become doctors? After all, they all say that god works in mysterious ways. Sadly, it’s all tragically academic.

  • Claudia

    What makes the whole matter even more infuriating is that if the parents said that they believed in spirits that would heal their son, not any organized religion but something of their own creation, there would be no controversy. They would be declared insane and/or criminal and convicted or committed. But put in a building (especially a church) with a whole group of people who share the same dangerous belief and suddenly it becomes a religious belief needing respect.

    Ugh.

  • Alan E.

    There was a Numbers episode about a similar religious group. One character found himself questioning his own beliefs (more so than usual), and had even recognized when he was projecting his doubts on particularly hard-headed individuals of said group. I think that too many people just gloss over these stories because they have similar beliefs, just not as “extreme.” It’s difficult to persuade people of other faiths who believe in the power of prayer that this is exactly what they think they believe, yet they go against it every day when they use medicine.

  • http://www.appletonstudios.com David B. Appleton

    This story reminds me of the joke about the man whose house was in a flood plain when the river began to flood. Some people came by in a jeep and offered to take him to safety. He said, “No, God will save me.” Later, as the waters rose higher, some folks in a boat came by and offered to take him to safety. He replied, “No, God will save me.” The waters continued to rise, and he ended up on the roof of his house. A helicopter came by and offered to fly him to safety. He replied, “No, God will save me.” The waters rose higher, and he drowned. When he met God at the pearly gates, he asked God why in spite of his great faith, He hadn’t saved him from the flood. God replied, “Well, I sent you a jeep and a boat and a helicopter.”

  • http://godlessartist.blogspot.com/ Kilre

    What the fuck.

    I wonder if there’s a tally out there of children killed by their parents’ silly beliefs.

  • Pingback: Another death due to “Faith Healing” | The Good Atheist

  • DGKnipfer

    Every time I read one of these stories I die inside just a little bit more. Nothing in my life makes me want to believe in God more than these egotistical bastards. If there was a God, there would be real punishment for their crimes. As it is, the other godbotherers will just sweep this crap under the rug and say, “Poor Neil just didn’t believe strongly enough.” No hell could ever burn hot enough for Neil’s parents or for any parent that will sit and watch children suffer needlessly as they pray.

  • kenneth

    These people are sick! Every member of the church needs to be prosecuted for child endangerment at the very least.

  • J B Tait

    If The Bible can be believed, their God has a history of killing or requiring the killing of children. From that perspective, this event must have been the child’s destiny and must be part of God’s plan, so let it be. Let them, nay, ~encourage~ them to practice their Faith in this way. Evolution in action. Or in this case, His Intelligent Design in action.

    {Please note the tone of sarcasm}

  • Ruru

    Why do all these people think that their god is so concerned with these tiny affairs anyway? I have an aunt who praises jesus every time she finds a dollar in her pocket. It’s pathetic.

  • LKL

    I wonder if these people have enough children to make up for the ones that die young? If not, maybe they’ll die out like the shakers did.

  • http://www.UnMailBlog.wordpress.com Tyler in SoCal

    Disgusting.

    Inspired me to include some of it in a stupid letter I wrote (url on my name).

    I can’t even begin to imagine what the pain was like.

  • Johnny

    They should stop buying food then and start praying for their god to make it appear…probably fully cooked if they pray hard enough. If you believe it will happen.

  • muggle

    There are really no words for how utterly vile these parents are. Let adults choose to do without medical care all they want (though it does bring to mind survival of the fittest) but don’t visit the insanity on suffering little children.

    The thing that really pisses you off is it’s always kids in the news dying of this. When it comes to themselves, do they bail out when the pain becomes torturous? The same people who sit by and pray little kids to death?

    I tried to do a search but I just keep getting hits with patients’ rights and about the issue of children. Anyone know if there are stats out there?

    In any case, I think they should check on the parents’ background and see if they’ve ever caved when it was themself in pain. At the very least.

    I don’t think there should be a religious exemption for this. At all. And I’m glad they’re at least starting to try these cases. (We don’t allow religious exemptions for plural marriage so why do we for denying health care to children at the price of their lives? A far greater danger.) But I’d like to see some of them go to jail.

  • Jaki

    I’m from Oregon and I’ve been following this story for quite some time. The defense attorney is actually blaming Neil. Saying he knew he could go to the hospital any time he wanted and chose not to. The followers of christ church actually have their own little cemetery filled mostly with children. Makes me SICK.

  • Jaki

    I should probably not say ‘mostly children’ – more like abnormally high percentage of children.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Beth

    @ Muggle,–I think that’s a good point, that it’s always kids that are “prayed to death” and not the adults, although it is also quite disturbing. :/

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ WMDKitty

    @kilre — Here you go

  • http://overscope.cynistar.net/ Bob

    Perhaps it is also God’s will that Neil Beagley’s parents rot in jail. For if God works at all, He does so in mysterious ways.

  • Nicole

    As someone who knows about these people quite well, I can honestly say that no, it’s not just the kids who die of treatable diseases.

    I can also say that members of FoC have been known to report some *very* remarkable, if not spooky miracles in the past, and I’m not talking about useful little coincidences.

  • anon

    This group is a cult in the worst connotation of the word, and it’s high time people started treating it that way. Could you imagine their punishment if they hid behind any religion other than christianity?


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