Faith-Healing Parents Who Killed Son Sentenced to Prison

This is what you need to know about Jeff and Marci Beagley:

They allowed their son to die of an inflammation of his urethra because they figured a god would cure him. Instead of taking him to a doctor for real help, they prayed… and sat back idly while he suffered.

A jury found them guilty of criminally negligent homicide.

The other day, they finally received their sentence:

Clackamas County Circuit Court Judge Steven Maurer sentenced Jeffrey and Marci Beagley to 16 months in prison this afternoon, calling the couple’s decision to not seek medical care for their 16-year-old son, Neil Beagley, a “crime that was a product of an unwillingness to respect the boundaries of freedom of religious expression.”

… The sentence also includes three years of post-prison supervision.

A little over a year. They killed their own son and that’s all they have to serve for it.


I saw the video of their sentencing and I felt no sympathy for them.

I just hope this sends a lesson to other parents. Pray for your children’s health if you want, but god won’t help them as much as a good doctor will.

(via Religion Clause)

  • Ron in Houston

    Eh, I subscribe to the theory that we should incarcerate folks we’re afraid of rather than folks were mad at.

    In many ways it’s a shame that things like forced sterilization are options that aren’t on the table.

    Some folks just shouldn’t be allowed to reproduce.

  • qwertyuiop

    Travesty of justice.

  • PrimeNumbers

    Scary scary people. In this case I don’t think the sentence has enough of a deterrent effect. We shall see.

  • NewEnglandBob

    Then even by your criteria, Ron, these people should serve 16 years instead of 16 months. I am afraid they will have more children and abuse or kill them too.

  • Ron in Houston

    @NE Bob

    Hmmm, you’ve got a really good point there!

  • Lifer

    They should be incarcerated until their God tells us to release them from prison.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?ref=profile&id=100000016895400 littlejohn

    Not only is the sentence too short to have any deterrent effect, but you can safely assume they’ll actually serve less than half of it.
    Ten years – all of it served in prison – would have been more appropriate. This was second-degree murder.

  • Mike

    I would hope that the anguish of losing a child, and the guilt of knowing you were responsible for it, would be a greater punishment than any man-made prison…

  • Chas

    This is one of those cases where I might be willing to offer the option of early parole if they agreed to be sterilized.

  • Ralph

    And yet this guy stands to get two years in prison for destroying a book of fairy tales.

  • Liudvikas

    Praying may not help, but having good lawyer, stupid judge and ignorant jury sure helps a lot.

  • Lifer

    @Mike

    “I would hope that the anguish of losing a child, and the guilt of knowing you were responsible for it, would be a greater punishment than any man-made prison…”

    Do you really believe that they will not rationalize this as being indicative of God’s will?

  • http://seculardentist.blogspot.com alopiasmag

    The sentence is not enough. Judge could have sentenced them for up to 20 yrs.; depending on the state.

  • Elaine kilsh

    -Rape small children, get away with it, let your child die because you believe in an invisible person. Why are children not given the right to have justice done.
    I cannot see any remorse from these vile, cant call them humans, -things.- How many cases like this are around and what does this sentence tell them.
    Give them the book ‘God hates you, hate him back-making sense of the bible, make them readfirst chapter and see if they believe they did the right thing.
    There has been a case where a man drowned his four children and the judge has said he will be shown pictures of his children while he is awaiting his death sentence, let these so called parents have to do the same.

  • Tennia

    Wow!!! 16th months for that??? That poor kid.. the pain he must have went through. How selfish!! They chose their beliefes over their childs life… maybe it wasnt even that maybe it was just pure laziness and a complete disregard for their childs well being!! UGH.. some people are just sick.. my sister is a christian. I am an atheist.. even my sister said this is bull.. “god gave us the knowledge to have doctors” They must have missed the memo… stupid stupid people.. should have gotten life in prison!

  • http://thegodlessmonster.com/ The Godless Monster

    I know this is going to be wildly unpopular with this demographic, but this is a case in which I would wish for the death penalty. I’m not interested in deterrent. Nobody has proven to my satisfaction that there is a deterrent aspect to culling bad guys. I’m only interested in guaranteeing that they will not hurt another person again.
    However, in the real world (at least for now) it is too expensive to execute someone and the death penalty is applied in too arbitrary a fashion. So, from a practical standpoint, killing them is not the answer. Give ‘em life without parole.

  • Twin-Skies

    @Chas

    And what if they decide to adopt?

  • http://onewomansopinion.grooving2music.com Toni

    I liked Ron’s initial answer, perhaps modifying to include voluntary sterilization in return for reduced sentences. However, whatever sentence they are given, they and others like them may view as martyrdom and have the opposite of the desired effect.

    Did you not love the judge’s line “unwillingness to respect the boundaries of freedom of religious expression?” Those elusive, ever-changing boundaries– at least the judge acknowledged they do exist. Now if they just be better defined and tightened-up a bit…

  • Vatra86

    Suprising that the kid was 16, and did not seek medical care himself. Would propably explain the lenient sentance

  • Valhar2000

    Twin-Skies: Yeah, they would, wouldn’t they?

    A longer sentence might have the effect of not allowing them to have more children, by the simple fact that the older they get the less fertile they will be. Not a bad solution, if you ask me, and within the confines of the American legal system, unless I am very much mistaken.

  • Valhar2000

    The Godless Monster: Well, buddy, I know how you feel: I am partial to a little bad guy removal myself. However, given the, shall we say, inconsistencies that are to be found in the legal system, I really am forced to resist my instincts and instead oppose the death penalty, lest it result in the killing of innocents.

    Still, from what I hear, if word gets out in prison that they were responsible for the death of a child, neither one of them will have an easy time in the joint, particularly the mother. After all, even thieves and murderers have standards.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?ref=profile&id=100000016895400 littlejohn

    @Mike: While the shame and sorrow of killing your own child might be sufficient for you or me, do you really think these morons feel they did anything wrong?
    After all, they believe the child is happily playing his harp in heaven now.
    No, they have to be incarcerated, if only to reduce the odds they’ll get an opportunity to make another baby. With a longer sentence, they (or at least she) would be too old to get pregnant.
    When they have another baby – and I’d bet my house they will – they won’t take it to a doctor either. If the next kid gets seriously ill, this atrocity will happen again. If anything, these nitwits are proud of themselves.

  • Angie

    Sadly, I doubt that prison time will show them the error of their ways or shake their dangerous religious convictions.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/noblinksnake/ laviniaserpent

    Insanity doesn’t always manifest as a loony tunes character.

    They should be in an asylum. Indefinitely.

    If the parents had murdered him as a sacrifice to an obscure god?

  • Miko

    I’m guessing from the above comments that not too many here have spent any time in prison/jail. As someone whose political views and activism lead to occasional incarceration, I would like to point out that a year is in fact a very long time to be locked up in a cage. A year or more of imprisonment should not be an option for even the most serious crimes. Imprisonment as punishment is a relatively new idea and an absolutely bad one, and we should do away with it entirely.

    The U.S. has the world’s highest per capita incarceration rate. Locking people away, no matter what the reason, is not a good thing, and the fact that so many Americans are willing to tolerate it demonstrates a serious moral failing in all of us.

    In this case I don’t think the sentence has enough of a deterrent effect.

    Keep in mind that the kind of people who do this are religious zealots who care more about “god’s law” than “man’s law.” No sentence length would deter them.

  • Sunioc

    16 months doesn’t even begin to make up for such a horrendous crime. If I were in that judge’s seat, they would be serving the maximum allowable sentence. I take solace in the fact that, when these 2 are raped and beaten within an inch of their life in prison, they’ll refuse medical treatment and suffer all the longer. I despise motherfuckers like this.

  • Lifer

    Miko – what alternative were you proposing? I missed that part.

  • Ally

    So.. I was raised Christian Scientist which is one of the religions known for believing in prayer over medicine. My parents were moderate enough in it that they saw the doctor when my little sister stepped on a nail and when she got strep-throat. Also we got mandatory vaccinations, which I’m sure helped. That said, I personally had not really seen a doctor until I was 16, I forget for what. At that point I was already an athiest (lost the faith at 14).
    It’s interesting how I still to this day don’t automatically reach for the Tylenol when I’m sore, my upbringing left me with little faith in medicine.
    But luckily my mother understood the boundaries of her faith. She knew that while it was fine to pray away colds, it was necessary to see a doctor when something legit serious came up.
    These parents obviously did not understand these boundaries. I sometimes wonder if even a Christian Scientist practitioner would suggest a doctor to at least augment the effects of prayer. Though my crazy practitioner aunt believes her sister was saved from polio via the praying and that the doctor wouldn’t have healed her completely.
    As much as I respect my mother’s religion, given that it was my own for 14 years, people need to understand that there are boundaries to what “mind over matter” can do and that maybe the “material body” sometimes needs a doctor.

  • http://thegodlessmonster.com/ The Godless Monster

    @Miko
    You make several assertions that are logically unsound in order to argue against incarceration then offer no alternative. Is this just argument for argument’s sake? Are you stating that those who violate the law should just be free to prey on those unable to defend themselves? What about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for those who are disadvantaged and weak? You know..like little kids?
    As far as spending time in jail…friend, there is a HUGE difference between jail time and prison.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Beth

    Someone mentioned the possibility of adoption, but does anyone know if people who have charges of criminally negligent homicide would be allowed to adopt? Just curious.

    I have to oppose the idea of forced sterilization. It has too much potential to be abused as it has in the past to eliminate reproduction of the “undesirables.” It’s too much of an arbitrary decision who would get sterilized and who wouldn’t.

    Voluntary sterilization in this case, however, would be an appropriate course of action. But we all know how important it is to some xtians to keep breeding little xtian soldiers for god. *unhappy sigh*

    As far as the death penalty, I tentatively support it. It would be better if we had a foolproof system to protect people who were actually innocent, but that’s my only hangup on it. I really don’t care too much about people like these parents who neglected and ultimately killed a child. They made that decision, and to hell with their civil rights. @ The Godless Monster, I’m not interested in a deterrent either. Just get rid of the bastards.

  • http://thegodlessmonster.com/ The Godless Monster

    @Beth,
    Nice to see I’m not alone :-)
    and no…they wouldn’t be able to adopt….

  • Hybrid

    Stupidity and gullibility have a price, it’s a real shame that a child had to pay for the ineptitude of his parents. What makes matters worse is that they’ll likely never realize what they did wrong, or how stupid they are. In fact, they may become even more locked in their views due to this, and actually take pride in their “trusing” God even when he “said no”.

    What can we do against such utter delusion?

  • CeJuan

    Am I the only one here who has a problem with our government prosecuting people for being stupid? How is natural selection ever going to work if we do? I’ve seen no indication that they intended to harm their child. I don’t see how it can be “negligent” unless it can be shown that they didn’t even think about whether their course of action was reasonable. Its not like they were sitting around watching TV and ignoring the child nonchalantly hoping that god would take care of it. They were convinced that he would take care of it in a manner satisfactory to himself and so, felt that they were doing the best they could do. If anyone deserves more jail time, its their pastor, who may have been practicing medicine without a license.

  • ckitching

    I would hope that the anguish of losing a child, and the guilt of knowing you were responsible for it, would be a greater punishment than any man-made prison…

    I would hope that, too. Sadly, I’m not sure it’d hold up. Based on popular Christianity, all they have to do is pray, and they’ve given full forgiveness for any/all sins. Add to that the idea that their dead son is in heaven, and rationalize away his death with “God had other plans for him”, and you’ve got all the ingredients for a “get out of guilt free” card.

    Never underestimate the capacity for self-delusion.

  • http://thegodlessmonster.com/ The Godless Monster

    @Hybrid,
    You are certainly not alone in your sentiments, but I have learned that it is pointless to even discuss or ponder such matters. When someone is attempting to kill you and you take them out, you don’t always have the luxury to sit down afterwords and ask yourself if somehow you could have prevented the attack by just reasoning with him or what a shame it is that he didn’t see things your way before you took him out of circulation. You simply wipe him off of your shirt, reload and keep moving. Most Christians are decent folks and would never behave in this way. Those that do cannot be “taught”.

  • http://miketheinfidel.blogspot.com/ MikeTheInfidel

    Other Mike:

    I would hope that the anguish of losing a child, and the guilt of knowing you were responsible for it, would be a greater punishment than any man-made prison…

    In much the same way that sentimental value is not actual value, I would say that emotional punishment is not actual punishment. Within the next two years, these people will be released back into society, where they may well repeat what they’ve already done. We’ve seen it happen before.

    Miko: There’s a difference between being jailed for political views and activism and being imprisoned for murdering your child. Your comparison is way off base.

  • Lifer

    I dunno, MikeTheInfidel.. he presents a strong case for no one being imprisoned for anything, ever.

  • http://thegodlessmonster.com/ The Godless Monster

    @Lifer
    “They should be incarcerated until their God tells us to release them from prison.”
    &
    “…he presents a strong case for no one being imprisoned for anything, ever.”

    Hilarious :-)

  • Claudia

    A grandaughter of these folks was also left to die. She died just some months before their own son, in fact. Many deaths have been attributed to this church.

    We had an absolutely massive raid on the fundamentalist mormons based on numerous allegations of sexual abuse. That did not work out well due to lack of evidence, but now the children have court appointed supervisors that meet with them regularly to ensure no abuse is taking place. I fail to see how this church, responsible for KILLING CHILDREN, is any different. I’m not advocating taking all the children of the church away from their families, but they damn sure should have social workers buzzing about like flies. Any absence where the child has not been seen by an independent observer for over a week should be looked into. The time to intervene should not be when a child is dead.

    Their freedom of religion and their freedom to raise their children with their own values does not extend to freedom to let their children die or leave them horribly disabled. They have demonstrated time and again that they don’t understand that, so it will have to be imposed on them.

  • Chas

    “@Chas:
    And what if they decide to adopt?”

    They should be turned down because they’ve proven themselves unfit parents

  • http://thegodlessmonster.com/ The Godless Monster

    @CeJuan,

    Am I the only one here who has a problem with our government prosecuting people for being stupid?

    Yes, because it is homicide, not (just) stupidity. It’s about accountability for inaction that was the direct cause of the death of another human being under their care and to whom they were legally and morally responsible to provide for and care for.

  • Lifer

    We are merely playing at secularism if we continue to allow religious beliefs of the perpetrator to soften punishment. If the religious aspect of this case was removed the punishment would be wholly different.

    This does not send the correct message and it should not be allowed to proliferate. It seems like more and more of these cases are happening every year and the punishments are always ridiculously deflated.

  • http://thegodlessmonster.com/ The Godless Monster

    @Lifer
    Well, we’re playing at Republican democracy…:-)

  • http://reanhouse.blogspot.com Sarah

    WTF is wrong with the judge who ordered that sentence?! People like this make Ted Bundy look like a -hhmmm I was going to say saint but that doesn’t make any sense given what saints are wont to do – fabulous, kind, loving man.

    I think I just threw up a little bit thinking about that sentence.

  • http://reanhouse.blogspot.com Sarah

    @Sunioc:”when these 2 are raped and beaten within an inch of their life in prison, they’ll refuse medical treatment and suffer all the longer”

    I’d be willing to bet that if they were beaten/raped to the point of needing medical aid they’d be first in line to receive it. With creatures like that what’s good for the goose (their son) is definitely not good for the gander (themselves).

  • http://thegodlessmonster.com/ The Godless Monster

    @Sunioc & Sarah,
    Unfortunately, due to the low risk category they are in as prisoners and the fact that they are classified as non-violent offenders, they will most likely (although this is not guaranteed), be placed in a low security facility with other non-violent offenders. Probably no extreme buggery or ass kickings in their futures. Still, one can hold out hope…

  • Delphine

    “The courtroom was packed with Beagley supporters, including their daughter Raylene Worthington and her husband Carl Brent Worthington. Both were tried in July 2009 for second-degree manslaughter and criminal mistreatment in the death of their daughter, Ava Worthington. Carl Brent Worthington was found guilty of criminal mistreatment, while the two were acquitted of all other charges.”

    … So… I guess it’s like mother like daughter?

  • http://hegartyblog.wordpress.com/ chegarty

    This is what I would call a miscarriage of justice; I typed up a little response a few minutes ago. I think it’s ridiculous that these people are given sixteen months. I thought I mis-read the sentence at first; sixteen years is, in my opinion, too lenient. I can’t help but feel the irony; fundamentalist Christians are so against abortion but as soon as the baby’s born, it’s fine to completely mistreat it. Figures.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Beth

    @CeJuan: Ignorance on the part of the parents is no excuse. Somebody died as a result of the actions of these people. In fact,the child’s condition probably got noticeably worse as the praying for health continued, and those parents still did not seek proper medical treatment. And let’s not forget that it was a child, someone at the mercy of the people who were supposed to help him. Let them pray for their own medical mishaps, but they needed to look past their religion when it came to the health of their child.

  • Chal

    Unfortunately, due to the low risk category they are in as prisoners and the fact that they are classified as non-violent offenders, they will most likely (although this is not guaranteed), be placed in a low security facility with other non-violent offenders. Probably no extreme buggery or ass kickings in their futures. Still, one can hold out hope…

    I will never understand the admiration that some Americans have for the crimes perpetrated in their prisons…

    It’s disgusting.

  • http://thegodlessmonster.com/ The Godless Monster

    @Chal,
    I’m beyond overjoyed to have had the privilege and opportunity to disgust you.

  • CeJuan

    @Beth – I just think that unless the government can show that the parents don’t care, or care in the negative it shouldn’t step in. I don’t like to see the government stepping in and regulating parenting. If they can jail you for stupidity how about parents who let their kids get involved in dangerous sports such as football? That seems stupid to me. Should the government decide that doing so is stupid and arrest people who’s children get killed?

    Seeing the child get worse could have been viewed by the parents as god testing their faith. We hear that nonsense all the time and some of them believe it. Maybe these parents did. Their ability to reason was flawed so I wouldn’t expect them to be able to interpret the signs correctly.

    My main reason for commenting is that I think those of us who are non-religious are in the right and we have no reason to need to demonize these fools. We should be focusing on this case as an example of how religion can cause harm. I agree that it is extremely annoying that they may have gotten a break because of their religion and I do agree that we should be working to prevent such preferential treatment but I don’t think any parent religious or not who lets their child die out of stupidity alone should get a harsher sentence than this. Because I feel this way, I’m not so sure they did get a religious break. Whoever did the sentencing may have just been thinking like me.

  • http://thegodlessmonster.com/ The Godless Monster

    @CeJuan,
    Again, you’re completely missing the point. Their inactivity KILLED their child. They had a legal responsibility to take care of their child and they recklessly endangered their child by withholding medical care. By your reasoning, it is excusable to starve a child to death by refusing to feed them, if the parents believe that God will provide magical invisible sustenance. Refusing to feed a child is criminal negligence, just as refusing medical attention is criminal negligence. Exactly what part of criminal negligence do you have a difficult time wrapping your mind around? What part of “dead kid” and “they killed their kid” do you not understand? Please tell me you are not an atheist.

  • Ashley

    I read the newspaper article this is quoted from (The Oregonian) and it’s worth mentioning that the parents said they were honoring their son’s wishes by not seeking treatment. Of course the reason the son felt that way was due to them raising him in their Christian-Scientist like religion.

    Even so, I think it was right that they were punished.

  • http://thegodlessmonster.com/ The Godless Monster

    @Ashley
    Worth mentioning? A minor child’s wishes in a situation like this are legally irrelevant,so no, it’s not worth mentioning except in the tiny minds of the parents. That they could even have the gall to use this as an excuse for killing their own son is despicable.

  • aerie66

    This kid died of an untreated, out of control urinary tract infection. Painful way to go as it is not a quick way to die. Not a mistake. Negligence? yes, but that implies lack of intent or just a lack of knowledge. Willful ignorance is one idea. Brainwashing is an idea, but to me this requires compliance by the victim, on some tiny level. Not always.

    How does medical treatment with a simple first line antibiotic have the capacity to threaten or anger their big bad god. The Jehovah’s Witness blood thing…I sort of get it, if I squint real hard. But this? No. Even as a former believer, it’s impossible to wrap my mind around it.

    If it was me, as a mother, I would have secretly taken him to a doctor against the wishes of whoever, the threat of hell be damned. But, I have a rebellious streak that even jesus couldn’t stop. But this says he was 16 and didn’t want treatment. Can’t strap him in a car seat and sneak away. Physically not an option w/a teenage boy, but I would find a way. Not that his opinion or wishes would have mattered either

  • Ashley

    I agree. I meant that in response to the people who said the parents made the decision for their son, or that he had no say. Again, it doesn’t change how horrible the situation is and the fact that they should be punished.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Beth

    @ CeJuan. Again, Ignorance is no excuse. A child was killed. They deserve punishment. End of story.

  • CeJuan

    @Godless Monster,
    Sorry to disappoint you but I am. Obviously we’re not going to agree on this issue though.

    It isn’t reckless if they think they are doing the right thing. Reckless is when they don’t care if they are doing the right thing. Stupid is when they can’t figure out what is the right thing. Some of the definitions of negligence that I saw included the word reckless, but none included stupid.

    I probably agree that refusing to feed a child is criminal negligence because no child ever survived without food. However, sometimes children seem really sick and then recover. Sometimes doctors are wrong. Sometimes doctors treat more aggressively than they should. So there is some judgment required in the case of the treatment of a sick child.

    The only thing I’m having a difficult time wrapping my mind around is why you seem so hostile. Discussion is good. Of course I understand that if these people had acted differently they probably would have saved their child. I blame the religion more than the people who weren’t smart enough to ignore the religion.

  • Claudia

    It isn’t reckless if they think they are doing the right thing. Reckless is when they don’t care if they are doing the right thing. Stupid is when they can’t figure out what is the right thing. Some of the definitions of negligence that I saw included the word reckless, but none included stupid.

    I think we need to clearly distinguish stupidity from fanaticism and/or insanity, and not allow any of the three to serve as an excuse for the death of a child. These people weren’t just stupid, they were fanatics. If they were merely stupid they would have made unpredictable stupid mistakes that could have led to the harm of their children. There was nothing unpredictable about this. There is a clear bright red line between their religious beliefs and what happened.

    I probably agree that refusing to feed a child is criminal negligence because no child ever survived without food. However, sometimes children seem really sick and then recover.

    Unless I’m mistaken you are making the argument that it is more “reasonable” to deny a child medical care than to deny a child food. Well, that could be so, within the insanity of both, but I believe it does not relate to this case in two ways. 1. It assumes that the parents look to the observable reality of the world as a way to influence their decision making. I see no evidence of that in this case. 2. What they did went beyond the pale. This boy was writhing in agony and they knew he was not just a little sick. The comparison is not a child with no food vs. a child with a flu, its a child with no food vs. a child in critical condition.

    Beyond this argument however I think the point needs to be made that parents cannot dispose of their children as they see fit beyond a certain level of risk. I’m aware that deciding what is too risky is not a clear cut matter, but that doesn’t mean you throw up your hands and decide that parents are allowed to expose their children to anything since you can’t agree on gray-area cases. Parents must understand that they have a legal responsibility to, at minimum, provide basic physical needs for their children. Any parent who demonstrates that they do not understand that, whether it be because they are mentally disabled or crippled by fanatic beliefs of any kind, forfeits their right to be a parent. In extreme cases like this one parents should be sent to jail or to a mental institutions, as applicable.

  • http://www.coreymondello.com Corey Mondello

    Do You hate your Child and have vacation time saved up?

    Well I got a deal for you…..Just kill them…..well…if you are a religion freak all will work out fine for you.

    Is this what I am doing wrong?

    Should I start proclaiming my beliefs, no matter how crazy, and toss the word “god” into the mix, so I can go around and kill off a few folks?

  • http://miketheinfidel.blogspot.com/ MikeTheInfidel

    CeJuan:

    It isn’t reckless if they think they are doing the right thing.

    Can you really say this with a straight face? Honestly? Because it justifies any action taken with good intentions.

    Sometimes doctors are wrong. Sometimes doctors treat more aggressively than they should. So there is some judgment required in the case of the treatment of a sick child.

    And these people couldn’t possibly make that decision, because they never went to a doctor. Their religious delusions killed their child.

  • http://annainca.blogspot.com Anna

    I will never understand the admiration that some Americans have for the crimes perpetrated in their prisons…

    It’s disgusting.

    It’s disgusting, I agree, but what does being American have to do with it? I’m sure you could find examples of people from other countries who are every bit as vengeful and vindictive. I don’t think we Americans have a corner on that market.

    It may be that I’m just not a bloodthirsty type, but I don’t think anyone should be killed or raped or tortured either by fellow prisoners or by the government. It’s barbaric, and a civilized society (which we pretend to be) should strive to be above that sort of behavior. It certainly shouldn’t tolerate it or endorse it. Ironically, prison rape and beatings are officially condemned, but the government is still allowed to kill certain citizens, so I think we have a long way to go on that score.

  • CeJuan

    @Claudia, thanks for the response. I will have to give most of it a little more thought. I do want to say that if we know that they were “disposing” of their children then I agree that we should throw the book at them. I wasn’t thinking of this as a disposal situation.

    @Mike the infidel
    Perhaps I should have said “It doesn’t fit most definitions of reckless if they think they are doing the right thing. Most definitions of reckless involve some sort of lack of concern for what is right” And, yes I can say it with a straight face because I think it is true. Its just a definition and I’m not going to pretend its otherwise just because I don’t like all the consequences. As for it justifying “any action taken with good intentions”, such is not my intent :-) . I’m just talking about what should be the government’s responsibility, not the individual’s responsibility. We need to hold ourselves responsible even when intentions are good and we need to educate people who mean well but are ignorant. Perhaps some jail time is the best way to educate them, perhaps it is not. As a father who tells my children to question authority I have to allow them the option to not be convinced by authority. It doesn’t make sense to say, “question authority, but if it turns out they were right, you’re going to fry” I’m assuming that these people weren’t convinced by the science and the doctors. If they were convinced but refused treatment anyway, then I agree that more jail time would be warranted. The law should mostly be reserved for punishing people who don’t mean well and in cases like this, stepping in before the death occurs to prevent the death and get the children to a safe place.

  • http://www.travisjmorgan.com Travis Morgan

    Less than a year and a half for negligent homicide of their own son! What is this, Monopoly, and the religious basically get a “Get out of Jail free” card? Goes to show the things people will do (or won’t do) because of their faith. What will it take for people to see how much of a problem this really is?!

  • http://miketheinfidel.blogspot.com/ MikeTheInfidel

    I’m just talking about what should be the government’s responsibility, not the individual’s responsibility. We need to hold ourselves responsible even when intentions are good and we need to educate people who mean well but are ignorant.

    I’m assuming that these people weren’t convinced by the science and the doctors. If they were convinced but refused treatment anyway, then I agree that more jail time would be warranted.

    The law should mostly be reserved for punishing people who don’t mean well and in cases like this, stepping in before the death occurs to prevent the death and get the children to a safe place.

    Okay. Three things.

    1. It is the government’s responsibility to define the laws and punish people accordingly. Ignorance is never an excuse for the death of your child. “I didn’t know he would die” is meaningless. They should’ve known. As adults, as parents, there are responsibilities that our society expects them to assume. If they don’t, and a child dies, their intentions are utterly irrelevant. Were this flat-out murder – that is, if they were totally oblivious to the idea that we frown upon directly killing children, and they killed their child as part of a ritualistic sacrifice – their ignorance would not be an excuse. It should not be one here, either.

    2. Jail time should not be based on whether someone believes evidence or not. Otherwise, it could just as easily work the other way. A nation of religious zealots could imprison an atheist for refusing to observe some practice that the zealots believed prevented a curse from being put on their nation. The evidence alone, regardless of personal prejudice or acceptance, is what should be judged. People should not be let off easily because of their delusions. You would not see this kind of leniency for anything but religious reasons.

    3. If the law were only reserved for punishing people who didn’t mean well, we would have no laws against actions that cause unintentional harm.

  • muggle

    “Suprising that the kid was 16, and did not seek medical care himself.” No, it’s really not. I wouldn’t have known to do that at 16 and my fanatical mother did, at least, believe in medical care. Don’t forget that these kids are literally brought up under a rock and not exposed to real life.

    As for excusing it because they weren’t being intentional, gimme a break. Do you apply that same standard to a crack addict whose baby gets out and wanders into the street because she’s high and gets hit by a car? I bet not. Double standard, same difference. People driving drunk get charged with killing other peoples kids all the time. They didn’t intend to hit anyone either. Etc., etc., etc.

    Life in prision. Let them suffer and endure and be martyrs for their god and waste their lives waiting for pie in the sky when they die. I hate to sound like a savage American here but I hope to hell they get the worse we all imagine prison to be. They fucking deserve it if anybody ever did. Maybe that’s what god has planned for them. And maybe we Americans have an unhealthy zeal for that kind of vengence because the law doesn’t adequately punish the real bastards. Unfortunately, I don’t think the image that prisioners go after child molesters/killers is anything other than an urban legend and wishful thinking.

    And, no, I don’t think they’re being eat up with guilt. Please. Watch that video tape again. They didn’t start crying until the sentence was handed down.

    I don’t know if the judge gave them the maximum possible in their area or not but I’m glad he chided them in court for taking religion too far.

  • DG

    A handful of crazy religion people kill their kids. “OH NOES!!! They should turn them over to doctors immediately… who frequently screw up and kill way, way, way more people than any crazy religion has, except Islam, since the Middle Ages.”

    The problem is that a doctor killing someone ‘negligently, accidentally, forgetting to do such and such, not recommending a treatment such and such’ is so common it’s not news. Religions stuff is news and gets too much emotional power behind it, and then it gets used to mess with rights.

    Yeah, religions are doctrinally stupid. As communities, as cultures that are not government based, they’re sometimes the only thing that gets between people and the government.

    Could you imagine what would happen if the Catholic Church told the US government ‘stop taking knitting needles from old ladies, nail clippers from guys on business trips, and patting down little five year old girls who tell you ‘stop touching me!’ when dealing with airline safety?

    Religion is stupid, but governments have armies behind them. Which is also why you don’t want a religion running your government, but having both lets them take it out on each other, not you.