'God makes no mistakes' pair charged over baby's death

'God makes no mistakes' pair charged over baby's death September 28, 2017

A Christian couple – Rachel Joy Piland, 30, and her husband, Joshua Barry Piland, 36 – have each been charged with a single count of involuntary manslaughter arising out of the death in February of their newborn daughter.

According to this report, when the infant became ill, the mother, from Lansing, Michigan, refused to have her medically treated, told the midwife her baby was fine, and that:

God makes no mistakes.

Two days later the infant was dead.

At the time of their daughter’s death, the Pilands appear to have been involved with a Lansing-based Bible school called Faith Tech Ministries, which describes itself online as nondenominational but similar to other “full gospel” or “Pentecostal” organisations.

Joshua Piland has posted online videos of missionary trips to Kenya with the group, and in 2016 he was listed as a speaker at a Divine Healing Conference, organised by Faith Tech Ministries.

The woman, 30-year-old Rachel Joy Piland, and her husband, 36-year-old Joshua Barry Piland, have been charged with involuntary manslaughter.

The midwife, who had previously helped deliver two of Rachel Piland’s children, expressed no concerns about the child’s health when she and an  assistant delivered baby Abigail.

But when the midwife saw the baby on February 7, her assessment changed.

Abigail appeared jaundiced, and the midwife advised Rachel Piland to take the child to a pediatrician or an emergency room. She told Piland the baby could suffer brain damage or die if not properly cared for.

Lansing Police Detective Peter Scaccia said:

Rachel declined to seek any medical treatment for Abigail, stating God makes no mistakes. She indicated to the midwife that the baby was fine.

When the child died the couple reached out to friends and fellow church members to come to their home and pray for Abigail’s resurrection, but never called the police.

Scaccia added:

When police later arrived at the home they went upstairs and found a baby that had passed away and three other people praying for it.

Dr Patrick Hansma, a medical examiner at Sparrow Hospital, later conducted an autopsy and found that Abigail died from unconjugated hyperbilirubinemia and kernicterus. Both conditions are related to jaundice.

Hansma reported said:

If treated, most likely she would’ve been alive.

The husband and wife were each charged with a single count of involuntary manslaughter and released after posting $75,000 bond on September 21. Their next hearing is scheduled for October 5 in Lansing’s 54A District Court. They face up to 15 years in prison if convicted.

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  • Broga

    What we have here is a nightmare where religious indoctrination blunts all pity and replaces it with heartless cruelty. They believe that the cruelty is what God wants and thus are created two ogres. The victim of these two grotesque caricatures of parents, who follow the loving Jesus, is a helpless baby.
    The parents also are victims. Fools seduced by the stupidity of religious belief into killing their own baby.

  • barriejohn

    If God makes no mistakes, why the need for “divine healing”? Their thought processes are seriously screwed up.

  • 1859

    ‘God makes no mistakes’. Then, since mistakes clearly happen on earth, presumably it is men and women who make the mistakes. Mr. & Mrs Piland are man and woman, ergo they are capable of making mistakes. Their decision to let their baby suffer and die must surely be classed as a colossal mistake. And since their god is, in their eyes, blameless, they must for the rest of their lives carry the guilt of letting their child die of something which could easily have been medically treated . Instead of bringing joy into their lives religion has condemned them to a life of misery. No surprise there then.

  • barriejohn

    @1859: It’s really complicated. The reason that God had to allow “sin”, sickness, suffering and death in his world was that he didn’t create Adam and Eve as robots – he wanted them to worship him of their own free will. If that’s the case, and everyone in Heaven is worshipping him “of their own free will”, then how can anyone claim that “sin” will not appear again? It must; after all, angels sinned in the first place, and they lived in Heaven. These explanations provide more questions than answers!

  • Q

    The parents are to all intents and purposes partially brain dead. Their capacity for rational thought and their basic animal instinct to protect offspring have been excised as if by lobotomy. Their only remaining brain functions are the unconscious electrochemical functions monitoring and controlling the bodily functions. The God Virus at work for all to see.

  • L.Long

    “charged with a single count of involuntary manslaughter ” What!!! These dimwitted aholes VOLUNTARILY refused treatment for a child!! It was pure blooded MURDER!!! Plus they are lying hypocrites as well as child killers. Infect either one of those aholes with typhus and they would be at the hospital in seconds!!!

  • Schwadevivre

    Involuntary Manslaughter?? Willful child abuse

  • Brian Jordan

    The child would probably have needed an exchange blood transfusion. Even if they had taken the baby to hospital, maybe they would have refused that too, so nutty do they seem.
    Would they be allowed to do that, too, in the US of A?

  • Faith healing appeals to those who need and want simple answers to their health problems instead of the complexities of medicine. That is why even if healers help some the good they do is overridden by the risk they create.
    No faith healer or Catholic shrine that promises people they can feel better intends it to be all about supernatural help. They admit they are aware of the placebo effect. Many however try to make out that the benefits of the placebo are coming from the supernatural.
    Pain and suffering sometimes are telling you something and in that case a placebo whether it helps you to feel physically or emotionally better are risky and often result in worse harm. The warning is deafened by the placebo.
    Healers and shrines always claim they never promise supernatural healing but does that matter as much as promising a placebo or an attempted placebo? And healers often do promise supernatural healing and lie about it. The Christian Church often promises indirectly. For example, Jesus would not help cure a pagan woman’s daughter. He said the cures were for the Jews. The woman said her and her daughter were dogs and dogs deserve scraps from the table. Jesus then told her he would cure the girl because of her great faith in saying that. Jesus did not cure her because she trusted him for she had been making it clear long before she spoke that she trusted him. No it was because she expressed a belief that Jesus WOULD HAVE TO give her scraps from the table. It was about the content of her faith not her faith. It was having the faith to demand a miracle. Jesus told her that her daughter would be free there and then. The message is that you should trust God and demand miracles and get them. Anybody reading such a story and going to a Christian healer is urged to have false hope and to blame herself if nothing happens! Its malevolent. If God does not heal then he has a spite at the victim or the victim is not really expecting a cure when he should. Either way the belief has bad implications.

  • barriejohn

    Patrick Gormley: Having been both a fundamentalist believer and sufferer from depression, I lump “Positive Thinking” in with “faith healing”. It seems so sensible and innocuous, but is fraught with dangers because of that self-same idea that the cure is in the hands of the victim, and if their condition does not improve – or if they are ill in the first place even – then that is THEIR fault. Not only is it incapable of dealing with serious psychological problems, but it can make them far worse, yet it is interesting to note that its arch-proponent – Norman Vincent Peale – received hearty endorsement from none other than Billy Graham!

  • Broga

    barriejohn: “The Antidote: Happiness for people who can’t stand positive thinking” by Oliver Burkeman. Lively and helpful book on the subject. I was impressed by it.

  • barriejohn

    Broga: Many thanks. “Positive Thinking” APPEARS to be very similar to CBT etc., but is fundamentally different. In many ways it is similar to the AA approach to managing addiction, with its emphasis upon following a formula and tuning in to a “higher power”. Of course, the person who profited most from The Power of Positive Thinking was the unqualified and deeply religious Norman Vincent Peale himself – possibly the most successful snake oil salesman in human history:
    Note: Donald Trump attended his church!

  • Broga

    The book I read persuades me that it is positively harmful. People like George Bush makes loads of money from it by appearing for a couple of minutes, mouthing some platitudes and a couple of well worn “jokes”, and leaving.

  • barriejohn

    Broga: I found the following link, which others might be interested in.

  • Broga

    barriejohn: It is a treat for me to read that review as it reflects what I think about the book. My copy is heavily underlined and I keep dipping into it. It is a bit of a treasure trove for me of observations I find helpful. I noticed also the accurate comment in the review about the way The Daily Mail keeps its readers anxious.
    Many thanks. Much appreciated.

  • Teresa

    With reference to the article I would like to tell this story. Dr Gloria Polo is a dentist in Bogota. On May 5, 1995 she was struck by the lightening which left her body partly carbonized. The lightning bolt entered from her shoulder, burning terribly the whole body, inside and out; in short her flesh disappeared including her breasts, especially the left one, leaving a hole. It caused to disappear the flesh of my abdomen, of my legs, of the ribs; it carbonized the liver, it gravely burned the kidneys, the lungs, the ovaries… and came out through the right foot. Here is a very short piece of her long testimony. I believe you will find it fascinating especially the passage describing what happened in the operating room:
    “My scientific and intellectual mind, now did not help me at all. I went around in the room, I was trying to get back into my body, but this flesh of mine did not receive me, and the scare was terrible! I ended up fleeing as fast as I could, I passed through, I do not know how, the wall of the operating room, hoping to be able to hide myself in the aisles of the hospital, but when I passed the wall… Down! I made a jump into emptiness…! I headed toward several tunnels which went down toward the bottom. At the beginning there was still a little light, like beehives in which there were so many people: young ones, old ones, men, women, who were crying, and with frightening screams they were grinding their teeth… And I, ever more terrified, continued to descend, seeking to get out of there, while the light was going away diminishing… I carried on roaming in those tunnels in a frightening darkness, until I arrived to an obscurity that cannot be compared to anything else… I can only say that, in comparison, the darkest obscurity on earth is not even comparable to the full sunlight at midday. Down there, that same obscurity generates pain, horror, shame, and stinks terribly. It is a living obscurity, yes, it is alive: there the mind is dead or inert. At the end of my descent, running along all these tunnels, I arrived to a level place. I was frantic, with a will of iron to get out of there: the same will that I had to ascend in life, but now it did not help me at all, because there I was and there I remained. At a certain point I saw the ground open up, like a great mouth, enormous! It was alive! Alive! I felt my body empty, empty in a startling way, and under me an incredible frightening abyss, horrible; that which chilled me the most was that, from there down, not even a little drop of hope. That chasm had something that sucked me into it. I cried out like a mad women, terrorized, feeling the horror of not being able to avoid that descent, because I realized that I was irretrievably sliding inside. All of the sudden I saw that the demons existed, and how, and they came to seek precisely me! They came to present to me the bill, one could say, since I had accepted their offers of sin! And these offers are not free! One pays!! My sins had their consequences…” What do you think of it?
    @ barriejohn, remigius, Broga, Daz, Cali Ron, Paul, L. Long, David Anderson, dog 1859, AgentCormac, Matt, Angela_K, & by all means the Editor of the FT – Most Rev. Barry Duke
    Dear overseas Friends, please, do not be dangerously deluded by Satan. Do not give in to his evil ways, for he is the serpent of lies. Do the opposite of what Satan is telling you and be willing to stand up for the truth. All must live God`s laws, otherwise you will be lost forever. Please take time now to examine your conscience. Take time to repent of all wrong doing. Each passing day gets you closer to Eternity. You shall not get off with it. To sum it up “There is no death, only a change of worlds.” Do not be bloody cowards and read carefully the testimony above! I am looking forward to your relevant comments (counterarguments) not a bucket of primitive insults.

  • Daz


    “Dear overseas Friends, please, do not be dangerously deluded by Satan.”

    Don’t worry. We won’t be. Since Satan does not exist, it is hardly a problem.

  • Stephen Mynett

    Fuck off you stupid bitch. Teresa your pathetic piece of unsubstantiated crap deserves no other response. Have you not noticed the only internet references to this “incident” are on religious sites, ie people out to promote pathetic ideologies or scam others, there is nothing from a reputable source.

  • Broga

    Teresa: I started reading your sermon but soon ran out of patience. Have you some objection to paragraphs? I have a busy life to lead apart from writing on this site with its informative and rational people. I am not suggesting I fall into that category but only that I try to keep an open mind and do my best.
    I’m afraid any kind of open mindedness and rational thought is alien to you. Your God is vanishingly unlikely to exist. If he did exist then, according to the behaviour described in his Bible, he would be a monster and a grotesque parody of a civilised human being. Amongst his many crimes he tortured his own son and at length.
    Do try to wake up and see the light.

  • barriejohn

    I only needed to read a few words of that drivel to see where it was going. I did, however, spot a mention of my username, followed by a reference to Most Rev. Barry Duke. Laughing my fucking socks off here!

  • Daz

    “Most Rev. Barry Duke.”
    Revolutionary? Revolving? Reversible? Revoked?

  • barriejohn

    For one awful minute I thought you’d said “revolting” there!

  • Daz

    Heh! I fondly remember the cheap laugh my History teacher got from the line “The revolting Cornishmen…”