Christian Couple Kills Their Second Child… with Prayer

In 2009, Kent Schaible, the two-year-old son of Herbert and Catherine Schaible, contracted bacterial pneumonia. Kent could have been saved by doctors, but his parents didn’t give him that chance. Instead, they prayed for ten days… and, to nobody’s surprise, that didn’t help. A few doses of Tylenol could have saved Kent’s life, but his parents decided they had a better solution in mind.

Herbert and Catherine Schaible

The Schaibles belong to First Century Gospel Church of Juniata Park, Pennsylvania. It’s a place where the pastor preaches the gospel of faith-healing — if you have enough faith, God will heal you and those you love. You don’t need a doctor if you just believe hard enough. And if you don’t, you’ll be punished…

Medical insurance, hospital fees, and prescription costs today are enormous, but a believer receives healing for free.

If anyone has more faith in doctors and drugs, than they have in the living God and the risen Savior, their salvation would be in serious jeopardy.

Someone should tell the church that one interpretation of the Bible is that God gave people doctors to help heal them. God’s giving you medicine; take it!

After Kent died, the Schaibles were found guilty of involuntary manslaughter and endangering the welfare of a child. In all, they could have served up to 17 years in prison. But that’s not what happened:

Pointing out that, according to Pennsylvania state law, “religious freedom is trumped by the safety of the child,” [Judge Carolyn] Engel Temin handed down her sentence: 10 years probation, the terms of which include a requirement that the Schaibles schedule regular appointments with a “qualified medical person” for all their children and release their children’s medical records to probation officers.

Not only did they receive a slap on the wrist, they were allowed to continue caring for their seven other children. But what about the court’s orders? Would they comply?

[Herbert Schaible] explained he will do his best to comply with the orders of his probation, which require that he and his wife allow their children to be checked up on by medical professionals.

“We’re not trying to live 10 years at one time,” he responded. “And when tomorrow comes, God will be with us. So that’s the way we look at it. He will show us what to do.”

Of course, I bring all of this up because of horrific news that was reported yesterday: The Schaibles have killed another one of their children in the same manner.

Brandon Schaible, only eight-months-old, spent the last weeks of his life breathing with difficulty and suffering from diarrhea. His parents watched him deal with this yet failed to take to heart the lesson they should have learned years ago: Take the child to a goddamn medical professional.

You want to pray? Fine. Pray. But do something useful while you’re at it.

At a hearing Monday, Philadelphia Judge Benjamin Lerner said the Schaibles violated the most important condition of their probation: to seek medical care for their remaining children.

… charges could be filed once authorities pinpoint how the boy died. An official cause of death is pending an autopsy, according to police.

Even if the official cause suggests he would’ve died no matter what the parents did, it wouldn’t take away from the fact that his parents did nothing of value.

Even the judge was blunt about what that meant:

I am sorry for your loss. Deeply sorry,” Judge Benjamin Lerner told the couple. “But in all honesty, I am more sorry for the fact that this innocent little child will not be able to grow up to be what he wanted to be.

“You are not a danger to the community,” Lerner said. “You are a danger to your children.”

The seven other Schaible children are currently in foster care while the parents are still free. The Schaibles now face jail time, a sentence they deserve now even more than they did years ago. Prosecutors are waiting to get the autopsy report before pressing criminal charges.

I have so many questions…

How many times does their imaginary God have to send them a message before they get the hint?

When is their pastor going to admit he’s preaching something dangerous and some of the blood is on his hands?

If the Schaibles were the ones who were sick, would they have denied themselves proper care, too?

We don’t know the answers to those questions, but we do know that the Schaibles didn’t make an honest mistake here. They saw the consequences the first time around and went down the same path this time.

Part of the problem is Pennsylvania law, which states:

If, upon investigation, the county agency determines that a child has not been provided needed medical or surgical care because of seriously held religious beliefs of the child’s parents, guardian or person responsible for the child’s welfare, which beliefs are consistent with those of a bona fide religion, the child will not be deemed to be physically or mentally abused.

In other words, child abuse to the point of death is awful… unless it’s done in the name of religion, in which case the state promises to look the other way. That needs to change. Religion shouldn’t be a “Get Out of Jail Free” card.

And we shouldn’t have to wait for a third Schaible child to die before the parents are punished for their faith-based homicide.

On a side note, a lot of Christians will go to great lengths to protest abortion rights because they oppose “killing innocent babies.” But those same groups are basically nowhere to be found in cases of faith-healing deaths.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Lurker111

    “a lot of Christians will go to great lengths to protest abortion rights
    because they oppose ‘killing innocent babies.’ But those same groups are
    basically nowhere to be found in cases of faith-healing deaths.”

    Shortened a little, that’s almost worth a billboard.

  • Michelle

    Puhlease. They don’t give a damn once the baby is born. They just wanna restrict women’s rights.

  • primenumbers

    More Christian privilege at work. Sickening.

  • Sarah

    “Bona fide religion”. So, once the belief is tied to a religion, it’s A-OK. If it’s just a belief, you’re in trouble (as you should be).

  • Birdie1986

    The pastor should be brought up on Solicitation charges. The parents should go to jail for the rest of their lives. They can sort it all out with their god later.

  • Alexander Ryan

    The guy preaching that needs to be charged too, for teaching that… when it’s blatant that what you’re preaching is causing deaths and you continue to do it and just probably go “Oh well, they just didn’t pray hard enough.” then you need some time behind bars.

  • RayM

    “Bona fide religion” a textbook example of an oxymoron.

  • Sickofthiscrap

    If you ask me, this is Evolution at work….Some genes should not be passed on

  • Alexander Ryan

    I’d personally beg to differ. I come from a very religious family, but I’m certainly nothing like my parents. Screwed up parents doesn’t mean the kid(s) will also be batshit insane.

  • Baby_Raptor

    Straight white men and fetal tissue: The only “people” with rights in Christianity.

    And I saw someone on another blog saying that the other 7 shouldn’t be taken away from their parents “because their parents are all they have.” I can’t get my mind around that. These creatures have *murdered* two of their kids already!

  • Rod

    These people should not be called Christian. They do not deserve it.

  • Jett Perrobone

    The greatest lie ever told:

    14:13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.14:14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.

  • Fed Up

    The State and the Court System is as culpable in this needless death as the church and the parents. The first judge should face charges and anyone who gave this set of monsters (parents) access to the kids. Seriously. It is more than the parents who are culpable criminally, I say get a DA with some balls, charge the charge as an accomplice to juvenile homicide and let the chips fall where the may.

    Sickening. I did not need to see this.

  • b0b

    I’m the same. If anything, I’m a bit wiser from it, but also healthily more open-minded. I spent my childhood among some seriously weird people and that’s helped me learn how better to understand and get along with people who have different ideas to my own. So I’m sort of the opposite of a religious nut, now.

  • m6wg4bxw

    I’m paraphrasing: “All prayers are answered with ‘yes,’ ‘no,’ or ‘wait.’”

    It’s somewhere in the book of Confirmation Bias, a page or two after the part where Jesus argues with his detractors, shouting, “okay, so I can’t prove I’m god, but you can’t prove I’m NOT god!”

  • ElizabethS

    That poor baby suffered for HOW long? Where is this mother’s (or father’s) compassion? I can’t stand to see my kids in any pain let alone struggling to breath. What has your religion done to you when you are willing to let your children die?

  • TerranRich

    Why not? No “true” Christian would pray instead of seeking medical attention, like it says in the Bible (John 14:13-14)? No “true” Christian would put that much faith in their god?

  • Gail

    But they are exactly what a Christian is called to do – have complete faith in Jesus and his Father.

  • m6wg4bxw

    To be fair, many of them refer to the Father as “God,” and to the Son as “Jesus.” I certainly don’t claim any expertise in this area, but I know their respective names are more like YHWH and Yehushua.

    It would be completely consistent with the character of the Biblical deity to deny a prayer request because the petitioner got his name wrong.

  • Geoff Boulton

    Not to mention the lessons being taught to those remaining children. I really hope that in another 20 years from now we aren’t reading that one of those kids has now killed one of their own children, thanks to the indoctrination they received from their parents.

  • beatonfam

    I don’t think solicitation charges are appropriate. Criminal negligance? accessory to manslaughter?

  • beatonfam

    Don’t take it out on the kids. It is not their fault. Do something to protect them instead of calling them worthless and on the wrong side of evolution.

  • m6wg4bxw

    False advertising.

  • Mick

    My prediction: The judge will decide to give them one more chance – and then order that that their children be returned because they need a loving mother and father.

  • Gus Snarp

    We cannot have a just society while the law does not apply equally to everyone. There can be no religious exception for child abuse, nor for any other crime. Acts that harm other people, especially children, are crimes for a reason, and your right to practice your faith ends when it interferes with the rights of others, including your children. These people should never have custody of a child again.

  • rhodent

    Even if one ignores the obvious point that religious belief is not genetic (the number of atheists with fundamentalist parents should make that point quite nicely), there’s the fact that the couple’s seven surviving children are in foster care. Even with a child mortality rate of 66% they’d have more kids survive to adulthood than most American couples.

  • Loki

    I’m not religious but I heard this great story somewhere (no idea where, may not be word for word).

    ‘A man was drowning in the ocean, so he prayed to god to help him. A man in a canoe rowed up and said “do you need help”, and the man replied, “no thank you god will save me”. A fishing boat came along and said “do you need help?” and the man replied, “no thank you god will save me”. A helicopter landed next to him and asked “do you need help”, and the man replied, “no thank you god will save me”. The man drowned, and when he arrived in heaven he asked god “why didn’t you save me” and god replied “what are you talking about! I sent a canoe, a fishing boat and a helicopter!”‘

    While this is a tragic story, I’m glad that fellow commenters have recognised that this is the work of a terrible christian sect and that generally, half intelligent religious persons would seek medical assistance in this scenario.

  • Yoav

    If You’re Preborn, You’re Fine. If You’re PreSchool, You’re Fucked.’-George Carlin

  • EpicusMontaigne

    I have to agree with this.

    I am religious, but I don’t all religions are equally good. There should be no “religious exception” in a case like this where the couple was clearly negligent.

    Any half-way decent religious person would take their child to a doctor, and _then_ pray. Maybe pray on the way to the doctor’s.

    This is wholly unacceptable. Though I will say, the bunching together of the pro-life movement with fundamentalists like this is unfair. Anyone who is truly pro-life is pro-life across the board: against unjust war, against the death penalty, and against leaving children to die when God gave us the ability to study medicine and get really really good at it.

  • BrianUtterback

    The law may be on their side with the first child because of that stupid statute about religious beliefs, but they violated the terms of their probation and need to go to jail now. It doesn’t matter about the statute in the new case.

  • BrianUtterback

    The law may be on their side with the first child because of that stupid statute about religious beliefs, but they violated the terms of their probation and need to go to jail now. It doesn’t matter about the statute in the new case.

  • Lurker111

    I respect your opinion, but I fear you are redefining the pro-life movement to your own interpretations. Sorry.

  • fsm

    Oh how far we’ve come since the phrase ‘drink the Kool-aid’ was coined.

  • digitalatheist

    Gawddamn morons! Ignorance above and beyond the call of stupidity. Intentional criminal negligence.

  • EpicusMontaigne

    Well, no. I’m defining it according to it’s own standard, even if many people don’t live up to that standard.

    Anyone who calls themselves pro-life and is pro-death penalty or pro-war always, is hypocritical. We all agree on that, right?

    I’m just saying, to lump all people who disagree with you and label them all assholes is exactly what atheists dislike when the religious people do it. And what every dislikes when someone does it to their group.

    Just trying to maybe show that generalizations aren’t always good sometimes (was that an ungeneralized enough statement?)

  • SeekerLancer

    Ugh, Pennsylvania, defending your “South of the North” title pretty strongly on this blog lately.

  • Cynical Bastard

    My cousin’s parents got him medical treatment.

    The doctors killed him with Medical Malpractice. They should be in prison.

    He actually might have survived if he’d just stayed home and prayed.

  • Stev84

    Then they should have been sterilized the first time this happened. Note that this child was born after they killed the other one.

  • C Peterson

    Anyone who calls themselves pro-life and is pro-death penalty or pro-war always, is hypocritical. We all agree on that, right?

    I wouldn’t say that. Being “pro-life” with respect to human fetuses is a perfectly reasonable philosophical or moral position, and can reasonably coexist with support for the death penalty or for war. To argue that “pro-life” requires a believer to always argue for the view that preserves or extends life is really to force a fallacious reductio ad absurdum.

    Your standard of definition is a fine one, but is so far from typical as to have little meaning.

    Personally, while I consider as irrational the belief that an unwanted fetus has value, or that prayer is more effective than medicine, I would not prevent people from engaging in practices following from those beliefs, to the extent that nobody else was directly impacted. But when people are harmed- children die because of faith healing or pregnant women lose access to abortions- that’s something no moral person should stand for.

  • Librepensadora

    This is a parable for those Christians who do not believe their god works through other people. Back in my believing days, the head of my city’s largest Episcopal church always started his sermons with a funny story. This was the most memorable. The version he told had the man on the roof of his house after the dam had burst, flooding the town. First came the emergency crew to announce evacuations, but the man said God would help him. Then came the boat to take him off the roof, but he didn’t go with them either. Last of all, as the man clings to his chimney, the search and rescue helicopter comes by.

  • Jeff P

    Moral Christians are those that cherry-pick the bible to only follow the moral aspects of the bible and disregard those passages that say stupid things like trust only in prayer. In fact the best Christians are the Christians in name only – those that base moral decisions on what is actually good, not what some people happened to write down in a book long ago.

  • JA

    “It was just God’s will.” they’ll say.

  • The Other Weirdo

    “creatures”? Let’s not dehumanize people, no matter their crimes. That’s a slippery slope and plays into the “No True Human” Fallacy™.

  • Conspirator

    Seriously? Charge him what? Speaking? You can’t charge someone like that for giving bad advice. The parents shouldn’t have listened to him, it’s their own damn fault. Yes this guy is evil, and he should be mocked, and his people should leave his church, but what he is doing is in no way illegal. There is no reason anyone should take any preachers advice, there’s no governing body that states they are qualified to give the advice, so there’s nothing he’s violating.

    The only time you can charge someone with giving bad advice is if they have some real authority and violate the rules, laws, etc., in that field. For instance tax preparers, if they blatantly lie to their customers, they can be liable for that. Or at least they should be. Doctors, lawyers, CPAs, and others, those who have some sort of certification that sets out legal responsibilities of those in the field, are liable. But if some random schmoe gives you advice, and you take it, it’s really your fault if it ends badly.

  • Ida Know

    I question the statement that they are “not a danger to the community”. Perhaps not directly, but who knows what those kids could have contributed when they grew up, if they had been allowed to do so?

  • The Other Weirdo

    Why? Theiir beliefs are exactly Christian. Albeit, Christian stuck a 1,000 years ago sans the Enlightenment, but still. What’s more authentic than true Biblical Christianity?

  • The Other Weirdo

    Cool story, bro.

  • njew84

    I do believe God works miracles but I also believe he works through us. “Us” in this case meaning doctors. Maybe I’m a nut job for believing in God but I know that when my kid is sick he/she needs medicine or medical attention.

    Normally when I pray God provides me with a solution that I then have to act on. You all would probably just call it coincidence but I cannot deny the power of prayer as I have seen it work.

    However I have never seen, after praying for someone who is deathly ill and not seeking medical attention, suddenly become healthy. It just doesn’t happen. Whether or not that means God does or does not exist is a completely different subject. This is simply an act of neglect.

  • LesterBallard

    How about rancid, maggot infested pieces of cockroach shit?

  • guest

    Time to spay and neuter these ass hats. Then lock them up and throw away the key. Refuse them food and water and medical attention because after all, their Lawd and savior will provide everything they need in their 6 x 6 cell. If they die of starvation or sickness, it was obviously their lack of belief and Gawd’s will.

  • Mairianna

    Medical Practitioners are not gods (though sometimes they act like it); they are human. They make mistakes. I’m very sorry your cousin died.

  • JET

    In addition to fully prosecuting the parents and removing the remaining children from harm’s way, maybe there will be enough publicity to get this disgusting law taken off the books. I can’t imagine more than a handful of people, religious or not, supporting it after seeing these results.

  • LesterBallard

    Put simply; I hate religion; I hate faith. And I often hate my fellow human beings.

  • guest

    The world is over populated as it is and only getting worse. Giving birth to rape babies and unwanted and deformed children should not be mandatory. And a woman’s decision to have a child or abort an unwanted pregnancy should definitely be THAT WOMAN’S choice.

  • guest

    The world is over populated as it is and only getting worse. Giving birth to rape babies and unwanted and deformed children should not be mandatory. And a woman’s decision to have a child or abort an unwanted pregnancy should definitely be THAT WOMAN’S choice.

  • John (not McCain)

    Not only that, but it implies the government gets to decide what is and what is not a “bona fide” religion. If that’s not a violation of the 1st Amendment, it ought to be.

  • Rich Wilson

    a lot of Christians will go to great lengths to protest abortion rights

    And a lot of Christians will claim that same sex marriage is bad because it’s not “an ideal family”.

    Let me know when a same sex couple lets their kid die.

  • Jett Perrobone

    Make sure you pronounce it right too! I hear God is very picky. ;)

  • Tom

    How do you distinguish between God providing a solution that you then have to act on, and just suddenly thinking of a solution that you then have to act on all by yourself?

  • Psychotic Atheist

    Incitement is a crime in many places. And the sometimes vague ‘conspiracy to murder’ can be proven on speaking alone. So, while it may not exist, ‘Incitement to neglect children’ might be the kind of thing one might charge him with.

  • Barry Evans

    “I do believe God works miracles but I also believe he works through us. “Us” in this case meaning doctors.” Right. So your supposedly “omnipotent” God needs a proxy to be able get anything done, and when Doctors save people they don’t deserve any credit, it’s all God “working through them” ?

  • Jason A. Quest

    Even if their superstition were true, it would be painfully obvious (even after the first death) that they have “insufficient faith” to be entrusted with the care of their children.

  • Darrell Ross

    Not a true Scotsman.

    You seem to be talking about the difference between being anti-choice (as much of the pro-life movement folks are) and being anti-abortion but still pro-choice.

    If you identify as pro-choice, you should identify that way and then describe to folks why you are anti-abortion – a possible combination. This would produce conversations and get somewhere.

    Redefining the pro-life movement so that you can call yourself pro-life only gets you branded as a loon like most of the pro-life movement and doesn’t help push back against the crowd which you seem to disagree with and yet claim to be a part of.

  • ShoeUnited

    More importantly, when the solution God provides is wrong or outright endangers people, then what? I would think that these people prayed to God and got told what to do to help their child (this would be typical in this circumstance). God told them to violate their parole because God told them that all they needed was more faith. So they prayed for long periods of time to come to the solution that they should pray for the baby to get better and the baby died. Why didn’t God step up to the plate and tell them under no uncertain terms to have the baby sent to the paramedics? Why was God so murky that people could get his message so wrong? Why doesn’t God just leave post-it notes like “Take Baby to Doctor, Pick Up Eggs, Tape Oprah”? It’s hard to miss little yellow post-its.

  • ShoeUnited

    Could argue Herd Immunity if it wasn’t for the damn anti-vaxxers. I doubt those children ever got any shots, were probably home schooled, and are walking measles and whooping cough factories.

  • Carpinions

    They also don’t give a damn about all the “adoption is an option!” babies that have/will flow into state-run facilities if they get their no-birth-control-of-any-kind future.

  • Carpinions

    Explain the medical malpractice you speak of. Do you know for a fact it was intentional or due to lax standards? What were the complexities of the procedure? How did your cousin arrive at his condition? We’d need to know a lot more before we can accept what you claim, especially when you are charging doctors with actively killing him.

  • Carpinions

    By what right can you tell them they aren’t? How are you going to ensure they are not able to call themselves that? What law or supervisory organization determines what is and isn’t Christian behavior?

    Like it or not, these people are no more or less Christian than anyone else. No True Scotsmen is not a defense.

  • Carpinions

    Exactly. What would you say, Sickofthiscrap, about someone like Nate Phelps, who escaped his father’s mendacious indoctrination and activity?

  • Kevin_Of_Bangor

    You silly goose. Same sex couples can’t have kids.

  • Houndentenor

    This is child neglect. If they had prayed and their child had gotten better (even coincidentally to their prayer) we wouldn’t be discussing this. But their child died. They had a remedy and they chose not to use it and their child died. They should be prosecuted. Religion is no excuse. If what they believed were true, their child would still be alive.

  • Spuddie

    And yet there is no reasonable or rational pro-life position.

    The idea that a fetus is of greater importance or consideration than the mother who is the only one capable of keeping it alive is deeply irrational.

    There are plenty of emotional appeals, religious arguments, name calling, shaming tactics and outright hostility towards the considerations of women.

  • Carpinions

    OK so what if the doctor in your scenario turned out to be the worst one locally in his/her area of expertise, and your kid’s condition gets worse, or the child even dies? Whose responsibility is it then? God’s or the doctor’s?

  • Houndentenor

    “We cannot have a just society while the law does not apply equally to everyone.”

    Exactly. Just last week I was called racist because I insisted that it’s not okay to beat your wife even if your religion (in this case Islam) says that you should. In our country (and many others) that’s assault and you should be prosecuted and moreover that conviction may be used against you (in that case to deny citizenship to an immigrant). The same laws must apply to everyone or they are meaningless.

  • Spuddie

    Anti-abortion but still pro-choice is such a minor minority that their views are an irrelevance. They are simply pro-choice.

    Pro-life is a misnomer since the concern for life is only when someone is gestating. They tend to be Anti-life for the born. Pro-life is anti-life when it comes to the concerns of pregnant women.

  • Spuddie

    Anti-abortion but still pro-choice is such a minor minority that their views are an irrelevance. They are simply pro-choice.

    Pro-life is a misnomer since the concern for life is only when someone is gestating. They tend to be Anti-life for the born. Pro-life is anti-life when it comes to the concerns of pregnant women.

  • baal

    Yes med mal happens. The problem here is that 2 kids are dead due to totally fucked up religious beliefs. That 0.01% of patients have med mal and .001% of them die isn’t an argument for letting your kids die when they are easily treated by medicine.

  • Spuddie

    You sillier goose, they not only can have kids, but do.

  • Spuddie

    Probably not.

    If the doctors were given a pass by authorities because they made a religious appeal, you would be mad as well.

  • peon


  • Kevin_Of_Bangor

    Don’t let the secret out. Some people just might start to think the gays are normal people.

  • baal

    While I agree that children protective services should have been doing follow up with this family and jail time for the first death, I do not agree that forced sterilization is ever called for. The problems that’s intended to solve are better handled via other solutions.

  • njew84

    This is one of those hypothetical questions that I honestly cannot answer unless it happened to me personally and would require much more detail to determine.

    However if my child’s condition was that severe I wouldn’t put my kids life in the hands of one doctor alone.

  • decathelite

    Why did God let the doctors kill your cousin? The Christian dilemma is that if you pray for something, it is supposed to come true, but it often doesn’t.

    You realize that the parents likely prayed for your cousin to get better, and the result of the prayer was the kid dying. What happened there? How were they to know that God really wanted your cousin to stay home? It’s God being as vague as possible, and then blaming you when you don’t do it exactly as He likes.

    It’s like a kindergarten teacher telling her pupils, “I really need you all to paint me a picture” and when they do so giving their best efforts, she spanks half of them because they didn’t draw the picture to her liking.

  • Spuddie

    I think its a little too late. Elton John is already on kid number 2

  • m6wg4bxw

    Absolutely. I should tell you that, according to some, we’re both in trouble for typing “God” instead of a censored version like “G_d.”

    Beware of Gunderscored!!!

  • njew84

    If you read the Bible you would know God created doctors.

  • Agarnier

    This idiot is no passing schmo giving advice. He is a spiritual advisor and responsible for his clients just as any pedophile leaning clergy are responsible under the law.
    This shithead preacher should be charged with accessory before, during and after the fact to the death of both children. Refusal to protect a human life by not reporting these sickos to authorities. He can also be charged with complicity in endangering a child’s life.

  • Glasofruix

    Funny, because a vast part of medical knowledge has been lost when the catholic church was in charge…

  • Conspirator

    If he was there in their home and saw this then sure, he’s an accessory. But preachers say shit all the time, there’s no reason to believe one over the other.

    And pedophile clergy are something different altogether. They commit the crime. Now if this guy was a medical doctor, and the people came to him with their sick child, and he said “in my expert medical opinion all we need to do is pray” then yes, he should be charged with a crime.

    Blaming the preacher is just passing the buck and excusing the parents’ behavior. They are the problem. Yeah, the preacher is an asshole and is peddling dangerous information. But much like Jenny McCarthy the real problem is with and lies with the people who listen to them.

  • Sven2547

    “Anyone who is truly pro-life is…”
    I smell a No True Scotsman coming on.
    “…against unjust war, against the death penalty…”


  • Sven2547

    To these people, their preacher is a higher authority than any doctor, lawyer, or accountant.

  • Agarnier

    Yes but your including all believers in religion. All Christian sects are terrible, some worse than others. If they were half intelligent, as you say, they would not believe in such nonsense. Medical refusal is only a small portion of atrocities committed by Christianity.

  • Kenneth

    These guys aren’t the first either. This is a pattern.

    In March 2008,15 month-old Ava Worthington passed away from bacterial pneumonia. Ava’s parents were Raylene and Carl Worthington. Raylene’s maiden name is Beagley, and her parents are Jeff and Marci Beagley. Raylene also had a brother, Nathan. He died horribly in June 2008 when he succumbed to a urinary tract blockage. It allegedly took up to two weeks to kill him. He was 16.

    In both cases, the respective families just prayed…

    I hope that Madeline Neumann’s parents don’t end up in the news again as well for something like this…

  • Conspirator

    Adults have the right to believe what they want. This is America after all. What the fuck kind of country would this be if every belief was regulated by the government?

    It just sickens me to see people jump on the “throw the guy I disagree with in jail” bandwagon. He’s a fucking preacher, that is all. People choose to submit to his authority. It is their choice. It is ultimately their fault. And in this case the parents already knew the consequences of listening to this liar. He didn’t hold a gun to their head. The parents are the criminals here. The preacher is an asshat, but all his followers are just incredibly stupid and gullible if they still listen to his bullshit.

    Separation of church and state is a fundamental part of our country. Unless you show that this preacher actively prevented the parents from taking action, or somehow lied to them about the baby’s condition, then there’s no reason to call for his arrest.

    And by the way, if the preacher was arrested it would just aid the christian persecution complex that is already prevalent in our country. Does anybody really want that? Don’t make this preacher a fucking martyr.

  • Mario Strada

    Somebody will have to explain that silliness to me. I can understand if someone deity should not be named. And by ‘understand’ I mean “force my mind through their irrational thought process” and try to see things through their eyes.

    But if my god is omnipotent, omnipresent, eternal and such, would he be really fooled by writing G_d? Is that the aim? Is dropping a few vowels really the best strategy to avoid pissing him off?

    Can somebody explain it to me?

  • Mario Strada

    They actually do.

  • Lindsey Burns

    I feel horrible for all involved, including the parents. I am sure they loved their children. They were just victims (who do not even consider themselves victims) of a mind set that has convinced them that the God they consider the most important element of their lives and existence requires faith in him to the point of not seeking secular medical treatment. They have been fearmongered regarding their souls which they place ultimate value on. It is really like a mental illness. Very tragic. Our government should punish not only the parents, but the fearmonger (like that will ever happen in a nation where freedom of religion is everything.)

  • njew84

    In past experience when I have prayed about something I’d been struggling with, meaning I’ve tried to fix it on my own, he had provide a resource or a solution. On several occasions the very next day.

  • C Peterson

    And yet there is no reasonable or rational pro-life position.

    Rubbish. Philosophically or morally, placing the same value on a fetus as on a baby, or on an adult, is as defensible as any other viewpoint. That includes placing more value on the fetus’s life than on the mother’s comfort. That’s certainly not my viewpoint, but I’d not fault somebody for having that view, any more than I’d fault vegans for considering it immoral to kill animals for food, or some Buddhists for considering it immoral to accidentally step on an ant. These are all ethically reasonable views. I think they only become indefensible when those with the views use the law in an effort to impose those views on others in the absence of any societal consensus about the implied morality.

  • Feminerd

    The Hebrews (and some modern Jews) believe that the word itself is sacred, because God is so sacred that a bit of that sacredness attaches even to his name. So you can’t erase the word God, you have to treat documents with the name specially, and I don’t even know how it works on the Internet. It’s not supposed to fool God or avoid pissing him off, just … be absolutely sure you’re not accidentally demeaning or erasing him.

    I mean, the Torah is always handwritten, even today, on lambskin parchment. It’s a very time-consuming process. If the writer messes up on a word, he can just scrape it off and redo it. If he messes up on God’s name, he has to burn the page because you can’t erase God’s name. So some people take the “inherent sacredness of God’s name” very seriously.

  • m6wg4bxw

    I think it’s similar to the way some Muslims find it disrespectful and blasphemous to depict Muhammad. The name of God is so holy that it shouldn’t be spoken. Like you, I can make some sense of it, except that “God” isn’t its name!

    “YHWH” has been treated similarly. I’ve even heard that, when vowels were later added, it was done deliberately incorrectly so as to mislead anyone trying to pronounce it.

  • Spuddie

    “Rubbish. Philosophically or morally, placing the same value on a fetus as on a baby, or on an adult, is as defensible as any other viewpoint”

    Yet you don’t actually give a rational or reasonable position or any reason why such a statement should be considered true.

    It is not ethically reasonable at all to place a fetus’s life over the mother’s in any situation because it is physically not possible. The fetus being dependent on the mother to survive will always be subordinate to the mother.

    The fact that you characterized the mother’s situation as her “comfort” is really part of an emotional appeal and in some ways a subtle appeal to name calling and shaming tactics. All done to consider the mother’s choice in a negative or shameful light. It is also an inherently dishonest characterization done to minimize the role of the mother in the discussion. She is only looking for convenience and comfort, so it is not worthy of consideration.

    I would fault such a point of view because it is irrational and based on emotional appeals.

  • Spuddie

    The smell is somewhere between a No True haggis and the inside of a set of No True bagpipes

  • Agarnier

    As I said before he is culpable under the law. He is a spiritual leader accepting profits from his ministry and responsible for his teachings. He does not have to be present under the law. It can be shown in a court of law that his knowledge and complicity in the refusal of proper child care and refusal to notify authority when he became aware of the children’s lethal illness. He is ultimately responsible for brain washing his sheep into endangering the lives of the children of his followers.
    No one is excusing the parents and no one should excuse the preachers complicity in this human tragedy.

  • Agarnier

    This preacher is no martyr, and never will be. But, he should be made a deserving victim of our justice system for promoting dangerous and faulty beliefs that ultimately endanger human life throught neglect and wanton endangerment..

  • Ethek Aardvaark

    You can convert me to your religion if you pray jars enough. If you fail, it’s because you’re a BAD PERSON with insufficient faith.

  • Sven2547

    Excuse me? We need to straighten some things out because you have posted a grotesque and shameful misrepresentation of my opinion on this matter. This is NOT a case of “throw the guy I disagree with in jail”. Let’s make this abundantly clear. This is not a matter of me merely disagreeing with the preacher’s OPINION, here, and F-U for suggesting so.

    To use the clichéd example of shouting-”fire”-in-a-crowded-theater there are common-sense limitations to free speech. One of those limitations is when that “speech” starts to accrue a BODY COUNT. People, plural, are dying.

    Yes, let’s lock up those parents. They let their kid die. But those people are not the only sheep in this dangerous preacher’s flock. This preacher sells himself as an authority on medical decision-making. How long until another one of those people lets their kid suffer and die? What’s the acceptable threshold, here? 2? 10? 100? How many funerals later can we hold the puppeteer accountable for his lies (not opinions, LIES)?

  • sane37

    do not have children please

  • sane37

    They have already demonstrated that they are inhumane. Is pointing that truth out that bad?

  • sane37

    Either the mother has rights or she doesn’t.
    Apparently you believe she doesn’t.
    Move to Pakistan

  • Alisa Penmane

    I thought they were just following the recommendations of their state’s legistlature….

  • Rich Wilson

    “Having rights” doesn’t mean nobody else has rights. Some people think that a fertilized egg has rights and that those rights have to be balanced. I don’t think fertilized eggs have rights myself, but saying that people who point out that other people view it that way should move to another country is stupid.

    Both ‘sides’ would do well to scale back the demonizing just a bit.

  • sane37

    I was merely suggesting that C Peterson would be happier in a country where the law supports its views.
    Believe what you want, restrict yourself all you want. Leave the rest of us alone (i.e. do not try to turn your religious beliefs into law).
    Your Rights end where you stand as do mine. Let women make their own decisions based on their beliefs. Once born, a child has their own rights, not before.

  • C Peterson

    A reasonable position? All life is of equal value. One need not agree with that, but I think it’s as defensible as the opposing view. How do you assign value to that which isn’t material, except by personal philosophy? What is wrong with “emotional appeal”?

    It is perfectly ethical for a mother to place the life of her own fetus over that of her own. Similarly, it is perfectly ethical for a person to believe that someone who doesn’t is immoral. What I’d consider immoral is for somebody else to make that decision for the mother. And I’ve never remotely suggested otherwise.

  • C Peterson

    I never suggested anything other than that a mother should have the absolute right to decide whether she carries a fetus to full term. That right has nothing to do with the right of anybody else to legitimately consider a woman who doesn’t to be immoral.

  • Alicia

    I’m amazed these people were allowed to walk free the first time. It would be unjustifiable if it happens again. I can’t feel bad for these people. They knew what they were doing, and went into it with their eyes wide open. They allowed their two children to suffer. They are despicable. They are murderers. I hope their surviving children will live long and happy lives away from these monsters. Belief is never an excuse to kill helpless children.

  • Stimmy

    I guess you call this “Pulling the Jesus Card”

  • Rich Wilson

    do not try to turn your religious beliefs into law

    You know, I sorta get it when people miss my sarcasm. But I’m dumbfounded by how you can think anything either C Peterson or I have said qualifies as either ‘religious beliefs’ or wanting to change any laws. We’re both pro-choice atheists FFS.

  • rwlawoffice

    As someone who opposes abortion and is pro life I get so sick and tired of this ridiculous argument from the pro abortion crowd. Thousands of Christians foster children, adopt children, fight against child abuse, fight to stop child sex trafficking, build orphanages, give to food banks for children to be food secure, open family homeless shelters, etc… Its outright nonsense just being said to make those that support abortion feel better.

    Now as for these people, they are despicable and do not represent mainstream Christianity. They deserve to be in jail.

  • David Kopp

    Calling it the “pro abortion” crowd is your first mistake. I’m not in favor of abortions. I just realize that they will happen, and would rather them be safe if they do happen, and that women get the resources (sex education, contraception, etc.) they need so they don’t get put in those situations.

    I do agree Christians do a lot of good for children. But I’m not willing to sacrifice my or other people’s personal rights because of that.

  • Carmelita Spats

    A few Christians adopt. So what? Christians also rape children, abuse, molest, resist holding their bishops accountable for the sexual torture of minors, marry young girls to twisted old men in their cults, foment levels of raging MISERY in my country through opposition to birth control since the “pill kills” which means they condemn women to a livestock version of compulsory reproduction.



    Liar for Jesus, have YOU adopted a special needs child? Do you know the divorce statistics for couples with special needs children? Come back and bray when you’ve adopted a special needs child and let us know how the adoption has impacted YOU and your family.

    Hell, since you are “pro-life”, you can volunteer a female of child bearing age (your teenage daughter, wife, niece, mother) to carry a leftover IVF “snowflake baby” in her uterus. She would be opening her vulva to Jesus in a beautiful act of “sacrificial love”…


    Until then, STFU.


  • TheAnti-Coconut

    If it was a choice between securing my spot in Jesustown and saving my child’s life, I’d be going to hell in a fast cart, church theology be damned!

  • wmdkitty

    Unauthorized practice of medicine.

  • wmdkitty

    No. The only victims here are the children.

    The parents knew better. They were on probation for, wait for it, previously killing one of their children with prayer.

    They willfully, maliciously, and deliberately withheld care from these two children, resulting in deaths.

    These “parents” are criminal scum.

  • N McKenzie

    In some cases I would be Pro Vasectomy and hysterectomy as a form of punishment. Just goes to show how damaging Religion is and how it messes with peoples heads.

  • Stev84

    In places where these cults operate there are small graveyards filled with young children. No exaggeration.

  • Spuddie

    But that isn’t the actual POV of the pro-lifers. To them preborn life takes precedence over the born. The born life is cajoled, insulted, minimized, shamed, attacked in general. Plus it is not rational either, as I stated, the unborn is never equal to the mother because it has no actual independent life. Reasonable only as far as one feels polite towards the speaker. You can argue it, but it won’t be a rational argument.

    “What is wrong with “emotional appeal”?”

    As long as you recognize it is not a rational or reasonable argument, nothing. =)

    “It is perfectly ethical for a mother to place the life of her own fetus over that of her own.”

    It is entirely unethical to force such a situation

    It e

  • Valancy Jane

    Oh, so you’re saying that doctors didn’t exist before Judaism and Christianity? Because that’s flat-out false. Or are you claiming that God created everything in the world, including doctors (a claim which is demonstrably either false or unverifiable depending on what goofy creation account you’re going with)?

  • Valancy Jane

    I don’t believe that your prayers give you any solutions that you wouldn’t have been able to come up with by yourself. “My kid needs a doctor” is not some flash of blinding brilliance out of the sheer blue sky. And I notice you don’t mention any out-and-out miracles like “god regrew my kid’s severed limb” or “god made peace in the Middle East” or anything that couldn’t possibly have happened without supernatural intervention. Where’s your faith, njew84? The Bible says like half a dozen times that WHATEVER you pray for, you WILL get. No weasel words, no half-assing it, no fine print. YOU WILL GET IT. Why are you settling for such measly pablum as a still small voice telling you, by wildest coincidence, what you were already leaning toward when you could be out there leveling mountains and curing paraplegics? (Fair disclosure: realizing that the Bible flat-out lies about the power of prayer is what led to my deconversion.)

  • Valancy Jane

    That isn’t true. There is no “balance of rights” when it comes to an individual’s right not to be enslaved to another. There is no overriding the rule of consent to any and all uses and harvestings of another person’s body. You don’t get to force me to donate a kidney to you, you don’t get to force yourself on me sexually, and you don’t get to crawl up into my body for almost a year and subject me to unimaginable torture, pain, and risks (up to death!) for your sake against my will. I have the right to consent to all of it, and I get to withdraw that consent at any point, for any reason I wish–even no reason at all. Your supposed “rights” end where my body begins. You can’t “balance” slavery like that. There is no “balance” that makes enslaving someone okay even if it’s for a good cause, even if it’s just for a little while. I own my body. You do not. Simple, isn’t it?

  • Valancy Jane

    It’s so funny when Christians attack each other for not being TRUE CHRISTIANS. It becomes so glaringly obvious that none of them actually has the faintest idea what that term even means. Apparently a TRUE CHRISTIAN is one who believes the right way (like the person making the accusation), who does the right amount of stuff demonstrating loyalty (like the person making the accusation), who hangs out with the right people (like the person making the accusation), and who is fervent enough (about like the person making the accusation). It’s little wonder there are so many tens of thousands of denominations–there is absolutely nothing divine about the religion at all; it’s all just people twisting the source material to fit their own comfortable worldviews and attitudes and declaring that THIS is the ONLY TRUE WAY to do it.

  • Valancy Jane

    If you actually look at figures for poverty levels among women who breed too early and too much, you’ll realize how pathetically inadequate Christian charity efforts are. It’s a drop in the bucket of need. And yet these are the same people who demand women do precisely that, and who try to make unapproved sex so terrifying and risky that they hope women will stop having it.

  • Rwlawoffice

    Way to go off the rail like normal. The post was that it is a lie to contend that pro life advocates do not care about children once they are born and you talk about the Catholic sex abuse scandal. Horrible to be sure but off topic. But if you need to use that to support your views on abortion then I guess you can.

  • Rwlawoffice

    Christians typically advocate for children be born to a couple in marriage, not young girls having children out of wedlock. The fact that so many do is despite the teachings of Christianity, not because of it.

  • wmdkitty

    Not at all — it’s pointing out the inconsistency of the “pro-life” position.

    The only life they give one single solitary fuck about is the fetus’. Women, children, brown people… we don’t count as “life” to these assholes.

  • Pirate Froglet

    Before I was born, my dad got prison time for mentioning to his buddies ‘dude, this guy just offered me money to burn his place down’ and someone overheard that, burned the place down, and my dad got jail time for conspiracy.
    He didn’t tell the guy to do anything, he didn’t have any authority over the guy, he didn’t even go with him to point out what was to be set on fire.
    And this guy is selling himself as a voice of their God, the ultimate authority to them, and saying ‘if you turn to medicine, you turn your backs on me and your God.’ How is that NOT worse than what my dad was in prison for?
    Some ‘preachers’ tell their flock to hoard guns and shoot anyone who is coming to take your God away from you, mostly wearing uniforms’. They also tend to go to jail, or burn to death with the flock.
    And lets not even get started on the ‘come with me to my asteroid spaceship, just take this sleepy-time pill!’ crowd.
    You say he has no authority? Authority is in the eye of the followers.

  • Pirate Froglet

    Sorry, North America got over the eugenics idea in the mid-1900s. It just wasn’t what they thought it was, and that seems to be the case here.

  • C Peterson

    You’re talking about something different. All I’m saying is that you can’t dismiss the views of those opposed to abortion as irrational or immoral. They are neither, and making that characterization simply shuts down the discussion. The focus needs to be on the poor ethics of the anti-choice position, and the immorality in general of restricting individual liberties without strong societal consensus.

  • C Peterson

    I think the demographics argue that a significant minority of those who oppose abortion remain pro-choice. Surveys consistently show a large spread in numbers between those who are opposed to abortion and those who think it should be made illegal.

  • Baby_Raptor

    You know what? Nobody here gives two rats asses what you’re sick of. You’re a known liar who espouses sadistic, Fucked up views. You would willingly turn millions of women into complete slaves simply because you can’t let go of a stupid heart-string pulling notion. And you would do so HAPPILY, because it won’t ever happen to you so why do you care?

    You are not a good person. You’re not a decent person. You’re not a loving person. You deserve every ounce of crap you get and then some. So feel hated. That’s what you should be. As should every other person like you who would willingly condemn all women with this bullshit.

  • Baby_Raptor

    Yeah, and guess what? Your side keeps forcing it to happen. Why? Because you oppose the things that would make it STOP happening. Christians oppose sex ed. They oppose birth control. They oppose abortion.

    And WTF does what your religion thinks have to do with it, anyway? I know you really dislike the fact that you cannot force everyone to live by your notion of God, but you can’t. Please get that through your head.

  • Baby_Raptor

    Why? Because their actions disagree with your version of Christianity?

  • Baby_Raptor

    Yeah, your entire argument is fine…Assuming you continue completely eradicating the woman from the picture.

    The mother’s “comfort”? Yeah. Her life, her job, any other children she may have, her family, any partners she might have, her bodily autonomy, her mental and physical health, her financial situation, how she got pregnant in the first place…Those are all her “comfort.”

    When you look at it as merely an inconvenience then sure. It may be real easy for someone to say that a clump of tissue should outweigh the person its enslaving. But that’s not reality.

  • C Peterson

    I’m not sure what you think you’re responding to, but it’s nothing I’ve said.

  • sane37

    I just re-read your comment from above and have come to the realization that I misunderstood/misread what your wrote.
    I stand corrected and I apologize for my stupidity.

  • sane37

    I did mis your sarcasm and misread C Peterson’s comment from above. I apologize for my stupidity.

  • Sandy Kokch

    It must be nice to have a divine get out of jail free card.

    I can not help but wonder though what the Judge would have done had the word “God” in “God told us to do it” were replaced with Allah…or Vishnu/Ganesh/Shiva/etc….or Buddha…..or Satan????

    I wonder how effective that same card would have been then?

  • Lindsey Burns

    You sound no better or more understanding than any other conservative group unwilling to understand and attempt to change the cause of the crime rather than hate the criminal.

  • Lindsey Burns

    It is not advice; It is brainwashing. You are evaluating the behavior of the parents using your own standard of how you would respond to being told that seeking medical advice is against God…. As a rational person who considers evidence and probably does not believe in God. These people obviously have a belief structure that does not work that way.

  • Kenneth

    Emphasis on young children, with extra emphasis on infants as well. In Oregon, the church to which the Beagleys and Worthingtons belonged, the Followers of Christ Church, were subject to a state investigation in the late ’90s after an unusually high mortality rate among its children finally caught attention. Similar numbers have been seen among Followers of Christ congregations in Idaho and Oklahoma.

    The discovered cases in Oregon prompted the Oregon legislature to in 1999 repeal the “religious beliefs” defense to medical neglect cases.

    The sick thing about all of this is that religious groups actually attempted to argue that the congregations freedom of religion overrides the State’s interest in protecting the children. Thankfully the Supreme Court of the United States said back in 1944: “The right to practice religion freely does not include the right to expose the community or the child to communicable disease or the latter to ill-health or death…”

    Unfortunately too many States tiptoe around religion when it comes to children and health.

  • Kenneth

    Emphasis on young children, with extra emphasis on infants as well. In Oregon, the church to which the Beagleys and Worthingtons belonged, the Followers of Christ Church, were subject to a state investigation in the late ’90s after an unusually high mortality rate among its children finally caught attention. Similar numbers have been seen among Followers of Christ congregations in Idaho and Oklahoma.

    The discovered cases in Oregon prompted the Oregon legislature to in 1999 repeal the “religious beliefs” defense to medical neglect cases.

    The sick thing about all of this is that religious groups actually attempted to argue that the congregations freedom of religion overrides the State’s interest in protecting the children. Thankfully the Supreme Court of the United States said back in 1944: “The right to practice religion freely does not include the right to expose the community or the child to communicable disease or the latter to ill-health or death…”

    Unfortunately too many States tiptoe around religion when it comes to children and health.

  • Spuddie

    Balance implies an equality of merit here.

    It is not the case. The rights of a fertilized egg will always be subordinate to its mother because everything about a fetus will always be subordinate until it is born.

    Those who claim a fetus has equal or greater rights are not making a meritorious or rational argument.

  • Spuddie

    The use of the word “comfort” is already an attempt to skew the conversation towards emotionality and irrationality.

    It inherently implies that an abortion requires some kind of socially accepted justification to be a legally valid decision. It is not a rational argument to make.

    Such conversations are irrelevant to the issue by nature. As long as a fetus is entirely dependent on the mother’s body and will to survive, her choice must always take precedence. One doesn’t have to agree or understand it.

  • Spuddie

    Not if you take into account how people vote on the issue.

  • AtheistPowerlifter

    Hemant you Christianophobe!!
    Oh, right – sorry. You only get called a ‘phobe’ if you criticize Islam. carry on.

  • MJD

    Critical thinking test……….what are the cons of opposing abortion?

  • Guest

    And I hate, I HATE….PETER PAN!

  • wmdkitty

    So, you want them to be able to kill more of their children? Nice…

  • marilove

    I’m pro-abortion. Not ashamed of it, either.

  • Lindsey Burns

    Not what I said…. Read my original comment “Our government should punish not only the parents, but the fearmonger”.

  • C Peterson

    Nationally, the right to abortion doesn’t seem at much risk due to any popular vote, partly because there is no national vote on issues, and partly because the popular position skews strongly towards legal abortion. The problem is certain states, and the states’ rights fanatics, who believe something like this shouldn’t be dictated solely by federal policy.

  • Rwlawoffice

    If standing up for the rights of the unborn make me hated by somebody the likes of you, trust me I can handle that.

  • njew84

    I can respect your view and since I visit this website knowing that the vast majority of people who come here are non believers I don’t expect the same respect.

    However in defense of my faith, Jesus also said come to me and you will never be thirsty again. Should I never drink fluids since I am a follower of Christ?

    I am truly sorry it is so difficult for you to believe in God because He doesn’t work in the way YOU think He should.His will is not our will, His plan is greater than our plan. He truly knows what is best for us.

    A good parent doesn’t give their children everything they want do they? If we gave our children everything they wanted they’d be spoiled rotten ungrateful little brats.
    God will give you everything you need if you ask for it. I believe that. If you don’t get what you ask for could it possibly be that He wants you to work through that difficulty to help you grow in your faith? It takes a lot of trust and determination not to give up. I struggle too but I’ll never give up.

  • Barry Evans

    God didn’t create anything, he does NOT exist.

  • Barry Evans

    But just out of curiosity, where in The Bible does it say Sky-Daddy worked his pixie-magic and abracadabra .. Doctors ? And why do we have so many people studying medicine and training in the medical profession, when apparently, “Doctors are made by God” ?

  • Spuddie

    State’s rights is a byword for saying that some people have trouble with the concept of equal protection under the law.

    When given the opportunity, anti-abortion politicians will game the system to institute end runs around abortion rights, despite general unpopularity of such measures. It doesn’t matter whether the majority disagree with these things if the minority votes more consistently and often as a bloc.

  • Rich Wilson

    A good parent doesn’t give their children everything they want do they?

    Are we then comparing God to a ‘good parent’? Just above you said “He doesn’t work in the way YOU think He should” One of the reasons I would reject your god even if I thought he existed is that he is not at all what I would consider a ‘good parent’.

    It’s not about giving me whatever I want. But I don’t require my child to love me. Hope he does, but I won’t beat him if he doesn’t. And there is nothing he could do that would make me want him to suffer for eternity. And I would never ask him to kill his own child as a test of his love for me. And I would expect him to be responsible for his own transgressions, not pay for it through the death of an innocent animal.

    And I would never condone him thinking he could own another person, and pass that person on to his own children as property.

    I could go on all day listing the ways in which the god described in the bible is a horrible parent. It is not from vanity or pride that I say I am a better parent than God. It is from reading the bible that I say I am a more truly loving parent than God.

  • njew84

    This convo is getting too squished on my iPhone, I will respond at the top.

  • Adrian Warnock

    This Christian agrees with most of the sentiments of your post Hemant, and I have blogged about it here on Patheos:

  • njew84

    @Rich Wilson

    ‘It’s not about giving me whatever I want. But I don’t require my child to love me. Hope he does, but I won’t beat him if he doesn’t.’

    First of all God doesn’t require you to love him, he created you to love everyone, in a perfect world everyone would love each other especially their creator! If you do not love EVERYONE you cannot be in a perfect relationship with God or anyone else.

    ‘And there is nothing he could do that would make me want him to suffer for eternity.’

    God doesn’t want you to suffer for eternity. He has given you your whole life to make that decision, you are choosing eternal seperation.

    ‘And I would never ask him to kill his own child as a test of his love for me.’

    I am assuming you’re talking about when God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son?
    You know this story obviously so I’m sure I don’t need to tell you God intervenes and doesn’t allow for this to happen. I believe this is more of a parable type story, as is A LOT of the stories in the Bible. While I believe it is a true story there is a deeper message behind it. I believe he is telling us this world is temporary and nothing here matters more than eternal life, and even though I don’t believe God would ask you or me to kill our sons, we must be willing to give up our most prized possession even our first born son because not our sons but this world, is temporary.

    ‘And I would expect him to be responsible for his own transgressions, not pay for it through the death of an innocent animal.’

    You, your son, everyone IS responsible for our transgressions. Animal sacrifice was just a symbolic ritual for how we must live. Jesus’ death was also symbolic. We must deny ourselves and our ways and follow the perfect example that Jesus set for us. As we see in Luke 9:24 “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake (meaning do whatever it takes to follow his example, no matter what!) he is the one who will save it.

    ‘And I would never condone him thinking he could own another person, and pass that person on to his own children as property.’

    Many incorrectly assume that the slavery in the Old Testament was like the modern western slavery of the 1700′s and 1800′s. Western slavery primarily benefited the rich, but Israelite slavery primarily benefited the poor. You see, slavery was almost always voluntary…the basic types of “enslavement” are known as self-sale, family sale, and indentured servitude. These relationships were usually initiated by the slave as a remedy for poverty.
    Poor families would sometimes sell their children as slaves. Were this situation like modern western slavery, we could justifiably condemn the practice…but the reality is that this was of great benefit to the child.

    If a master beat a slave and the slave died, he was to be killed. If he caused any sort of permanent damage to the slave, the slave was to be set free immediately. Note that “permanent damage” included such things as knocking out a tooth! This was a stark contrast to other near-eastern cultures, where a master was allowed to put out the eyes of his slaves with no consequences. An Israelite master had incentive to avoid striking a slave in the face, which was considered a civic wrong.

  • Rich Wilson

    First of all God doesn’t require you to love him

    Different Christians interpret it slightly different ways. Accept, believe, trust. Whatever you want, there is something required of me in respect to God, or I go to hell. Period.

    God doesn’t want you to suffer for eternity.

    And abusive husbands don’t want to hurt their wives. The wives are choosing to disobey. They know how mad it makes their husbands when they disobey, but they choose to do it anyway.

    He has given you your whole life to make that decision, you are choosing eternal seperation.

    I’m ‘choosing’ eternal separation in the same way that you choose to not receive 20 million dollars from a Nigerian prince. Or a million dollars for kissing Hank’s ass

    Or if that was too light hearted, please try this one

    Do I sound smug and arrogant comparing God to a 419 scam? That’s how your “you are choosing eternal separation” sounds to those of us who see it as a fairy tale to scare primitive people into obeying arbitrary rules.

    I appreciate that you use “I believe”, as opposed to “I know” when it comes to what the bible is saying. That’s a good start. I hope you’ll consider the fact that other people read the same thing and believe something different. Which means we are all applying our own biases. Your God isn’t a bad guy, so you’ll always find some way to excuse his behavior. To you what is important is that God intervened. To me what is important is that God asked- no demanded- in the first place. And also that we are supposed to respect Abraham for having the faith to agree.

    John 20:29, right?

    Do you think Andrea Yates did the right thing? She obviously has a great deal of faith. Is your faith that strong? If God asked you, would you run the water? Would you fetch your children? And if an angel didn’t come to stop you?

    As Christopher Hitchens said, the correct response to “Gut your kid for God” is “No, Fuck You!”

    Animal sacrifice was just a symbolic ritual for how we must live.

    Symbolic? Tell that to the animals. Or do you not think that people at the time weren’t saying that God was calling for the killing of animals to atone for various sins?

    Many incorrectly assume that the slavery in the Old Testament was like the modern western slavery of the 1700′s and 1800′s.

    Many incorrectly assume that because there were cases of biblical slavery being voluntary limited time servitude that all cases ‘benefited’ the poor. Here’s where I point out how the voluntary only applied to men. And how the voluntary wasn’t always so voluntary if you were decimating other nations. And how it wasn’t voluntary, or limited in term, for children born into slavery. And how so long as your slave lives after beat him is still barbaric. And you’ll tell me I’m not reading with the proper context. And that those bad nations had it coming, every wicked one of them, even the babies. And that these were all man’s sinful choices. God was just making things a bit better. Because God isn’t omnipotent or anything. It’s not like God can declare that women have the same rights as men or anything. No, God is limited in making absolute rules to things like what you eat, or what fibers you weave, or who you have sex with. Really important things.

    An Israelite master had incentive to avoid striking a slave in the face, which was considered a civic wrong.

    And today we’ve mostly managed to develop a morality that doesn’t include keeping slaves in the first place. Fancy that.

  • Aspieguy

    I wish we had a time machine. We could transport these parents back 10,000 years ago so they could live in caves and draw on the walls.

  • Mark Riley

    ‘build orphanages’ – that is ABSOLUTELY the wrong thing to do…. orphanages are the worst possible place for a child as decades of research has proved. In additional Intercountry adoption is also fueling child trafficking Why do Christians build orphanages and fund orphanages. But yes I agree that these people are not really Christians at all.

  • Adrian Warnock

    As a Christian may I say that I do not see these comments as a criticism of Christianity. Just a sensible criticism of a few people who don’t understand that you can be a Christian, pray to God, and still benefit from medical care!

  • Adrian Warnock

    You really can’t say that this proves that Religion as a whole is damaging. All you can say is that the kind of teaching this couple received is damaging. BIG difference!

  • Adrian Warnock

    But there isn’t such a choice. Jesus welcomed little children, and said that those who harmed them would be better off putting a millstone round their neck and jumping into the nearest sea.

  • Valancy Jane

    Don’t be sorry. God doesn’t work at all, much less in the “way I want.” He told you to go to the doctor. Yay hurray. Now why didn’t he heal the billions of kids who were on the verge of death over the years? Why does he allow starvation and hideous atrocities worldwide, but he’s extra-sure to tell someone in a first-world country with a working understanding of medicine and ostensibly love for his/her children to GO TO THE DOCTOR? Do you realize just how self-important, entitled, and arrogant that sounded? “Yeah, God, I know you’re oh so busy, but Ricky is all sick today and God, I just know you’ll want to take time out of your busy schedule staring at sparrows, letting villages of women in Africa get raped, and making lilies grow to tell me what to do about it.” Is this really what Christianity’s come to? A “miracle” is a still small voice telling you to do what any parent would do naturally? Just sayin’, you’ve been had. Cheaply.

    Very telling that you used a passive-aggressive non-apology to snidely tell me you thought I was doing something very wrong in my walk with Christianity. I wish you wouldn’t. For someone who says s/he wants respect, that was really disrespectful of you to say. I don’t abdicate my human discernment and capacity for good just because a god’s involved. Yahweh is evil, pure and simple, and there is no justification that makes something like the Fall or the worldwide genocide of the Flood okay. There’s simply not going to be a rationalization that works to tell me why a five-year-old got raped in my hometown and then killed not long ago, what she needed to “learn” from that or why her parents “needed” to be plunged into that nightmare without end.

    And as others have said, Yahweh is an absolutely HORRIBLE parent! If anybody parented their kid the way Yahweh parents you, that person would be in prison! Yahweh punishes people infinitely for finite crimes (Hell). He punishes the innocent so the guilty can get off scott-free (the crucifixion’s current fashionable interpretation). But on the other hand he blames the innocent for stuff their fathers did and holds them so responsible for it that billions of women have died since the Eden thing through his curse. He drowned the whole world in a snit because his children weren’t obeying him. He “tests” people constantly (Eden, Job, etc) by putting them through horrific trials just to see what happens, or to win a bet. He doesn’t communicate with his children at all except through very vague, poorly-understood feelings and impressions, and when something weird happens, be it good or bad, he doesn’t actually say for sure why it happened or what his follower is supposed to get out of it. He left a book of instructions that can be interpreted any one of tens of thousands of ways, and doesn’t intervene at all when conflicts between his followers gets violent. When one of his followers hurts a non-believer, he certainly doesn’t intervene at all. Actually it doesn’t matter *what* happens to *anybody*, he doesn’t directly intervene. A child gets raped? Too bad, so sad. A tornado? Some might live, some might die, and there’s no rhyme or reason to who he decided to spare and who he didn’t. It’s not that he doesn’t give his children *everything*… he doesn’t give them *anything* at all that they couldn’t have gotten on their own. He gets a big party every time someone squints and looks fuzzily at any given thing and thinks it might have been a “miracle”, like a baby that’s (in Maher’s awesome term) made a boom-boom in its diaper. For a god, he’s a pretty piss-poor one! And you’re all lofty there going “Well, *I* am certainly happy with what *I* get from him.” Goodie for you. I’ve got higher standards. Got ‘em from the Bible. The bare minimum is “fulfills his damn promises.” If he lies to me about something as easy as prayer, what else is he lying about?

    So yeah, that bit of apologetics backfired really badly for you, njew84. Yahweh is a horrible god, inactive at best and downright malevolent at worst, and comparing him to even the most incompetent of parents just highlights how bad he is to his people.

  • BB

    Last time I looked we have sex ed, birth control, and abortion in spite of Christian opposition. But yet it hasn’t stopped it from happening as you seem to think it would. A bit of a disconnect there, I’d say.

  • BB

    A good article, though I don’t necessarily agree with all of your views. For certain, this couple has done an injustice to a helpless child. Bad things often emerge from good causes. That doesn’t render the whole of the “good” worthless. A few Christians doing wrong doesn’t make Christianity the evil empire. The ironic thing I see here is how an article from a “friendly atheist” can spawn so much hatred. The comments here are quite vile.

  • splashy79

    Yes, that is the point with the forced birthers. Once the birth has been forced on the girl/woman, they don’t care what happens to the born child. In fact, they really don’t care what happens to the fetus, as long as that sinful girl/woman is forced to give birth to it.

  • splashy79

    Even the preborn aren’t fine, considering these folks will do nothing about pollution, shelter, food and health care for the pregnant person. They don’t care about the fetus, all they care about is forcing that “sinful” girl/woman to go through the entire process, including birthing, so she can suffer as much as possible. That’s why I call them forced birthers.

  • splashy79

    That’s because they aren’t pro-life. They are forced birthers. There is nothing about them that is pro-life.

    They ignore pollution, try to defund programs that supply food, shelter and health care to pregnant mothers, and do their best to take away all support after birthing.

    Basically, they want the girls/women to have to go to men with money to survive, being forced to do whatever those men want, no matter how sick or depraved it is.

  • splashy79

    On a mother’s “comfort?” Bearing a child is more than discomfort! It can kill or maim the mother for life, causing much suffering.

    It should only be a voluntary thing, giving birth. Otherwise you are putting the mother into slavery of the worst kind, having her life’s blood sucked out of her, with the fetus taking what it needs regardless of how it hurts the mother.

  • Stunned

    Tylenol does not cure pneumonia. The way you phrased that was very misleading Hehmat. You say you were in medical school?

  • Stunned

    Being for it is contemptible.

    You are lucky your mama didn’t abort you.

  • Stunned

    So Christians are rapists. Yeah, and Blacks are criminals and Jews are swindlers.

    You like to kill all the Christians wouldn’t you?

    Bad news. They having a LOT more children than your kind. You aborted yours, didn’t you?

  • Gerry

    It would be more accurate to say “pro-choice” and “anti-choice” since that is what is at issue. Try it, you’ll see what I mean!

  • Gerry

    Surely you know your point of view causes a great deal of pain to people. But when you hear it expressed you dismiss it.
    I know you will want to go sideways and talk about fetal “pain”, but that’s been debunked, and fetuses are not people. Simple facts, but twist them as you see fit.

  • Gerry

    I believe this is the first time I’ve heard someone who identifies as anti-choice say that part of the “pro-life”* stance is being against war. I’m sort of surprised, actually.

    *Seriously, what does “pro-life” mean, anyway? Is anyone “anti-life”?

  • Gerry

    I agree, it’s more like “pro-fetus”, but after that, you’re on your own.

  • Gerry

    Your cavalier reference to the mother’s “comfort” is absolutely despicable. You no longer have a valid argument, so just stop, please.