When it comes to Jehovah’s Witnesses and their religiously-motivated reasons to deny blood transfusions, the argument usually goes like this: If adults want to let themselves die for dumb reasons like that, let them. When they let their children die for the same reasons, they’ve gone too far.
A group of Amish men are currently in court because they refuse to install smoke detectors in their New York homes:
[Amish resident] Andy Miller explained that it would be against their Christian beliefs to have something so modern in their homes.
It did not wash with the judge. Miller and the other Amish men were fined.
They refused to pay — pointing out that that would imply they had accepted that obeying God’s laws was wrong — and how could God be wrong?
Mr Ballan persuaded the judge to stay the case and contacted a religious liberty law firm that has taken it to federal court, where now it sits waiting to be heard.
“I use this,” he said pointing at his nose, “or him,” and his finger pointed upwards. “I don’t need a devil on the wall to tell me if my house is burning.”
I asked him what would happen if he did not wake up and all his children were burned to death.
“If God does not wake us, well, that must be part of his plan,” Mose told me.
In other words, if something happens to my kids because of my own negligence, it must be part of God’s will.
It’s the same argument used by Christian Scientist parents who refuse to take their children to a hospital in an emergency because they wrongly think God will just magically fix everything.
It’s a bad argument and the safety of others ought to come before the irresponsible habits of deluded people.
What does all this have to do with blood transfusions?
When a blood transfusion is needed, it really only affects the person needing the blood and that person’s family.
When a house catches fire, it can quickly spread to neighboring homes in the community. Failing to detect fires early isn’t just a personal decision — the ramifications are huge.
The Amish deserve to lose this case.
Belton doesn’t think they will:
The chances are Mose and his recalcitrant friends will win their battle — they usually do.
For the sake of everyone else in that community, I hope Belton is wrong.
(Thanks to James for the link)