Victim of faith-healing parents wants them prosecuted

Victim of faith-healing parents wants them prosecuted April 16, 2016

A disabled 20-year-old Idaho woman who was born with a hole in her heart that was ignored by her faith-healing parents wants them prosecuted.
According to this report, Mariah Walton, above, relies  heavily on an oxygen tank and may have to undergo a dangerous heart and lung transplant – hardships that could have been avoided if her parents had allowed doctors treat her when she was an infant, or even when she was a child.
But the fundamentalist Mormon parents said no.
Walton said:

Yes, I would like to see my parents prosecuted. They deserve it. And it might stop others.

But that won’t happen, at least at the moment. Under Idaho’s child-injury law, parents can’t be prosecuted for using “prayer or spiritual means alone” to treating ailing children.
Idaho is one of six states US with such a law.
If Walton’s parents had allowed doctors to close the congenital hole in her heart after she was born, existence would have been completely different.
Instead, they prayed and relied on “alternative” medicine, believeing that faith and prayer can conquer illness and disease.
Walton did not have a social security number or a birth certificate until she left home two years ago.
After suffering many health problems as a child, Mariah was told two years ago she had pulmonary hypertension, which is a kind of high blood pressure that impacts the arteries in your lungs and the right side of the heart.
Walton recently said in a panel discussion titled “Medical Neglect and Childhood Mortality in Idaho:

When I got back to my parents, my mom didn’t even want to look at me. She said, ‘Don’t talk about it, I don’t want to hear about it.’

Mariah has spent much time in the hospital and has nearly died, but as she said in the panel discussion, her parents:

Were legally allowed to let me get to this point.

She added:

I feel it is not OK for people to be allowed to ignore modern science that saves lives.

There may be a change in the law soon, as Idaho Governor Butch Otter is calling on state politicians to examine the issue. Two children in the state died in 2012 without proper treatment.

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  • Broga

    “When I got back to my parents, my mom didn’t even want to look at me. She said, ‘Don’t talk about it, I don’t want to hear about it.’”
    This attitude of her mother sums up to perfection the means whereby the religious cling to their faith. First, ignore and reject anything that by words, deeds or evidence challenges the faith.
    Second, censor any comments that contradict the faith.
    Third, adopt a pitiless lack of concern for anyone, even your children, who the suffer as a result.
    Fourth, see your faith and beliefs as transcendent even when they so clearly fail to work and accept religious belief as superior to all science.
    This case is a grisly example of the toxic effects of religious belief and encouragement to all who fight against it.

  • Daz

    The Grauniad story goes into much more depth than the linked article. Including this remembrance of the “loving care” one young man received, after breaking some bones in his foot:

    “I would wake up to my step-dad, my uncles and the other elders of the church kicking me and beating me, calling me a fag, because I didn’t have enough faith to let God come in and heal me, while my mom and my aunts were sitting there watching. And that’s called faith healing.”

  • Broga

    @Daz: When I read about this, and much else in a similar vein, my loathing for religion is visceral. Meanwhile, our politicians are publicly funding faith schools.

  • Brian

    Aw … its ok cos she will go to heaven when she dies.
    AND HER FUCKING PARENTS SHOULD ROT … not in hell because there isn’t one … but in a prison … on life sentences.
    And people say religion is harmless. NO ITS NOT.
    It’s corrosive, dangerous, devisive and harmful to the individual and to humans in general.
    And would her mother forego urgent lifesaving medical intervention for herself? No … of course not … let her gutter and writhe in pain … and see how quickly she would demand the urgent attention of a medic.

  • Stephen Mynett

    These people should not be allowed to have children. Any child born into a sect that refuses proper medical care should be taken into care, there are plenty of couples who would happily give these children a decent home with the prospect of a bright future.
    The rights of the child must always trump the rights of the parent in situations like this.

  • David Anderson

    Six states where legislators are prepared to allow children to die for their parents beliefs. I don’t know how these people can face themselves in the mirror.
    That said, I don’t know how the vast majority of them can for many reasons.

  • CoastalMaineBird

    If “faith” can heal a hole in your heart, then I bet that the parents can use their “faith” to get out of jail.

  • barriejohn

    Stephen Mynett: “[T]here are plenty of couples who would happily give these children a decent home with the prospect of a bright future.”
    Trouble is, many of them are gay!

  • Paul Spiers

    Many gay parents would be great caregivers and more loving than these terrible people.

  • 1859

    At the heart (no pun) of this problem is the unchallenged assumption that your children, the moment they are born, are your ‘property’. As this terrible case illustrates, parents are free to fill their children’s heads with any manner of nonsense and there is nothing the state or society can do about it. Although this is a legal minefield, I feel children need protection not just from physically abusive parents but also from those parents who see it as their ‘duty’ to inculcate/inflict their own personal view of the world upon their children. These Idaho parents (above) fall under both categories – by refusing medical treatment they physically and psychologically abused/neglected their daughter. I hope she wins – good luck Mariah you deserve it.

  • John the Drunkard

    And which six states have these crazy exemptions? Ex-confederates riddled with snake-handlers?
    States where Christian Science had enough sway to influence the law 100 years ago?
    Mormon-dominated hell-holes like Arizona, Idaho, Colorado, where the ‘special’ illegal aspects of Mormonism were quietly ignored for more than a century?

  • Supposing the God of this woman’s parents existed, He would be a monster deserving of death.
    But the only monsters are those that walk among us, sacrificing children to protect superstitions conceived by illiterate bronze-age goat farmers.
    In a more equitable world, parents who make choices such as these would have medical care denied to them by law.

  • barriejohn

    Somewhat ironic when one considers all the Biblical prohibitions against child sacrifice:
    “Thou shalt not do so unto the LORD thy God: for every abomination to the LORD, which he hateth, have they done unto their gods; for even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the fire to their gods.” (Deut. 12:31)
    BTW: Although these warnings appear again and again in the Bible, many scholars have cast doubt upon them. Accusations of “child sacrifice” may have been used to smear one’s enemies; “passing through the fire” may well have been merely symbolic; and the mysterious “Moloch” may be a mistranslation of the act of causing one’s children to “pass through fire” to YHWH!

  • Brian Jordan

    So Mormons are using a law made to “protect” Christian Scientists. An unholy alliance or a marriage of convenience? It’s particularly outrageous in that both “religions”can clearly by seen to have been humanly fabricated in recent history.

  • AgentCormac

    Elsewhere… members of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster hold their first lagally recognised wedding.

  • Maggie

    Perhaps she should sue her parents for failing to pray hard enough. Surely, if they had prayed enough she would have been healed (in their pathetic minds at least), and that she wasn’t healed falls entire on them.