A major problem with religion is that it causes believers to accept nonsense over reality. Sometimes, it’s just silly. Other times, that can lead to disaster.
Take a look at what happened to 8-month-old Alayna May Wyland:
I don’t care if that makes you uncomfortable.
The Wylands’ daughter, Alayna, had a small discoloration over her left eye when she was born.
The area started swelling and the fast-growing mass of blood vessels, known as a hemangioma, eventually caused her eye to shut, pushed the eyeball down and outward, and affected the eye socket, said Dr. Thomas Valvano, a pediatrician at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital at Oregon Health & Science University.
“This was medical neglect,” said Valvano, who testified at the hearing. Alayna could lose vision in her left eye and probably will need surgery, he said.
The worst part is that this may have been preventable had Alayna seen doctors.
But even if it was absolutely preventable, her parents, Timothy and Rebecca Wyland, wouldn’t have cared.
The Wylands said they never considered getting medical attention for the growth and would not have if DHS had not intervened.
Attorneys for the Wylands said the couple weren’t given a chance to obtain medical care after DHS got involved in the case late last month and have been largely excluded from medical appointments.
[Deputy district attorney Colleen] Gilmartin asked Rebecca Wyland why she didn’t take Alayna to a doctor.
“Because I believe in God and put my faith in him,” she replied.
“If DHS never came into your lives … at what point would you have accessed medical care,” Gilmartin asked Timothy Wyland.
He did not answer the question directly and said he puts his faith in God. If his daughter did not improve, “that’s his will,” he said.
And take a wild guess where all this took place.
As Susan Nielsen of The Oregonian points out, there may be punishment in store for the parents:
Over the past three decades, more than 20 Oregon children whose parents belong to the Followers of Christ church have died of treatable illnesses, according to the state medical examiner’s office. Yet Oregon grants special leniency to faith-healing parents, singling them out favorably in state policy and protecting them from being charged with certain crimes.
In a 1999 compromise, the Oregon Legislature stripped away some of those legal protections but gave judges the authority to give lighter sentences to faith-healing parents. In recent years, Clackamas County authorities have successfully prosecuted two couples for the preventable deaths of their children. Things are moving in the right direction.
Still, Oregon remains a national outlier for its level of deference toward faith-based crime.
These parents are dangerous. They may not come to their senses until their daughter dies. And even that would be “god’s will” in their minds. That’s what their faith teaches them.
It’s not just mindless nonsense. It’s dangerous extremism.
Ugh… I hope they pay dearly for this.