Faith healing kills: Parents on trial after two-year-old daughter dies because parents treated pneumonia with prayers and anointing oil instead of medicine.
Reading Eagle reports:
Jonathan Foster, 35, and Grace Foster, 33, are being tried on charges of involuntary manslaughter and endangering the welfare of a child in the death of their daughter Ella Grace Foster.
The couple did not seek any medical care for their ailing daughter because of their religious beliefs. The Fosters belong to Faith Tabernacle Church, a religious sect that does not believe in any type of medical intervention, only faith healing.
Previously, Jonathan and Grace Foster attributed the death of their daughter, Ella Grace Foster, to “God’s will,” according to a police affidavit.
However, a routine course of antibiotics would have almost certainly saved the young girl’s life.
The parents were charged with involuntary manslaughter and child endangerment last year.
This is not the first time a child has died because of the dangerous faith healing practices taught by the church. In fact, the Faith Tabernacle Congregation is notorious for “faith based medical neglect.”
An advocacy group that tracks faith-based medical neglect says the church’s position has resulted in the deaths of dozens of children from preventable or treatable conditions.
In Pennsylvania, at least 10 children whose parents belong to various branches of the fundamentalist sect have died of treatable illnesses in the last several decades. Several church members have been prosecuted for failing to seek medical care.
Previously prosecutors charged the dead girl’s grandfather, Pastor Roland Foster, who is pastor of Faith Tabernacle Church, for failing to report child abuse, but a judge dismissed the case in December for lack of evidence.
The couple already surrendered their six other children to child services.
The trial is expected to last two to three days.
Bottom line: Faith healing kills. Children should not suffer for their parents ignorance and religious superstition. The justice system must protect children from faith healing parents and the clergy members who promote faith healing.