What should be done when parents rely on religion instead of medicine to heal sick children?
katesgram: This is very difficult. If you have watched someone go through Chemo, then how can you say that that is not child abuse? Some side effects ...
kert1: I have mixed feelings about this situation because it is dealing with 2 issues that are very important to me and probably most Americans: Fr...
daniel12: Medicine is probably one of the most important disciplines calling into question, specifically, divine intervention in human affairs. Certai...
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To On Faith: Your site is acting up again computerwise. Posts are not being allowed on the panelist's blogs. Sometimes when an attempted post is made a page comes up which says submission error or that blog owner will look over post. Other times--like today--the computer behaves as if an attempted post went through, but then when you look to see if it has indeed been posted nothing is posted.
June 1, 2009 4:23 PM | Report Offensive Comment
The fact that this is even being debated in a mainstream forum illustrated exactly why religion is a very scary thing.
How anyone could choose a course of treatment for a sick child based on 'faith' rather than science is beyond me... It is sickening that (i) someone could be so deluded, and (ii) that society would even consider giving those delusions a 'free pass'.
Anyone who opts for faith healing instead of real medicine for their child should be put in jail.
June 1, 2009 1:48 PM | Report Offensive Comment
We occasionally hear the concept of 'natural law' tossed out as something divinely wrought - when in fact the idea is just another mental construct peculiar to certain philosophers, religionists, and thinkers of the past - much like the idea of God, a Supreme Being, the Creator, the Absolute, and so forth.
Folks conjure up ideas as though there where a direct correlation between perception, experience, abstract concepts, and reality - and we really have no idea what that might be, since reality includes everything all at once and forever.....do we have a word for whatever that is?
Humans make this stuff up. How else to explain the validity of these ideas rationally by today's scientific standards? Natural law has gone the way of the aether and the dodo bird.
Natural laws are a different matter...
June 1, 2009 8:02 AM | Report Offensive Comment
IN REPLY TO (IRT)
MAY 26, 2009 10:09 AM
“At what point does "you can't prove my faith is false" become an unacceptable answer? The lives of children seem like a valid exception.”
Can a mother refuse to give her child food, or drink and cause the child’s death or injure its health? If not, why not? Because she would be causing the abuse of the child and that should be illegitimate, and is to a certain extent. There are laws against child abuse.
Denying a child treatment when without treatment will cause the death of the child is a crime of neglect and a form of murder and abuse. A mother who denies her child the chance to live under reasonable circumstances participates in manslaughter
IN REPLY TO (IRT)
“The Constitution provides that all BORN persons are equal and are entitled to the right to life, liberty, etc. The Constitutional right to life is a civil right. Interfering with someone's civil rights is a federal offense, regardless of who the offending party is, or his/her motives.”
Unfortunately, the Constitution does not say born. That is an innovation written by the Court in “Roe v. Wade.”
The IVth Amendment gives man the right to be secure in his own person, “Amendment IV: The right of the people to be secure in their persons…”
The Vth Amendment reads: “No person shall be…deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law….”
Unfortunately, the Court redefined person to circumvent the 4th an 5th Amendments. Moreover, it violated the “Due Process Clause in the 14th Amendment, and the 9th Amendment which reads:
“The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people…. “ The right denied here was stated in the Declaration of Independence (DI).
“When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
“That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it….” DI
IN REPLY TO (IRT)
MAY 26, 2009 11:20 AM
"The US Supreme Court has decided that "mothers" have the right to choose!!! End of discussion!!!"
No Court or any person has the moral right to decide that a person is not a child and, a mother in particular, has a right to have her unborn murdered.
The Court did that and rewrote the Constitution, violating the 4th, 5th, 9th and 14th Amendments, and the 5th Article of the Constitution. Moreover, it violated the Natural Law by redefining “Person” to circumvent these Amendments.
The Natural Law is the domain of God not the Court or any man. The Court had no more authority to redefine the nature of man than it does to outlaw the Law of Gravity.
June 1, 2009 7:23 AM | Report Offensive Comment
There was a time in our society when a child was considered a gift from God, and how the child turned out, how the child was treated, made the parents answerable to God. At that time, our society recognized that the basic unit of our civilization was the family, and, subsequently, the state's job was to augment the parents and their family unit. However, now that God has been reduced to a passing phase, or an old joke, our society is beginning to see the family as simply a unit to produce human bodies for the state.
If a child is held in cruel circumstances, in a torturous atmosphere, then, as a matter of human defending another human, the state should be allowed to step in. However, if the child is in a family unit in which care, love, and promotion of the child's OVERALL welfare is displayed, then the state has no business poking it's nose into a situation where parents happen to disagree with the state. What will become of the child and his/her future after the state steps in? What is that child going to feel about his parents, the state, even him/her self if he/she knows that he/she was instrumental in having the parent(s) sent to jail? What happens in the future when the parents want the child to do something in particular, like, "wear your coat, it's cold outside"? Will the child be able to ignore the parents based upon the states previous decision? Should the child even bother seeking future guidance from the parents or should the child feel obliged to check with the state for the final decision of what is right or wrong or moral or decent or good or bad? After all, after the state steps in, can the parents ever be truly trusted again? After all, the state said that the parents were trying to kill the child!
What's next? You? Me? Does the state have the right to force you or me to take a vaccination against our will because some drug company has lobbied the local judge into ordering your and my submission to some therapy because the drug company thinks it's best? Best because it makes them a profit? If you surrender the right to decide for those whom you love and for whom you are responsible, you give up the right to decide for yourself.
June 1, 2009 1:20 AM | Report Offensive Comment
June 1, 2009 1:13 AM | Report Offensive Comment
To ignore modern medicine in favor of biblical solutions to cancer is criminal. If god wrote the book and is omnipotent then why did he give the kid cancer in the first place? A test? For who? There kind of primitive beliefs must be fought at all costs.
May 31, 2009 1:37 PM | Report Offensive Comment
Some of the same people who would force the mother to agree to chemo would deny the mother of a 9 year old girl in South America the ability to provide abortion for her daughter raped by her step-father and carrying twins.
Oh how the "religious" cherry-pick their morality
May 31, 2009 12:36 PM | Report Offensive Comment
More real content, less verbiage, better spelling. Please.
May 31, 2009 11:24 AM | Report Offensive Comment
The mother did not refuse to seek medical help for her 13-year old, but rather chose an alternative theropy to chemo-theropy.
Even though I personally have no religious beliefs that would have me to refuse a physicians recommendations, I have ordered my physician to give me alternate medications that those he had perscribed and I had used for several years. The side effects of cumadin were not only drastic in themselves but required multiple of drugs to counter act those side effects, and even more drugs to counter act those counter acting drugs.
Physicians are not gods with final decisions, and second opinions also find physicians in non-hostile disagreements.
The only crime committed in the case of a minor's chemo-theropy as opposed to the minor's alternative theropy which also has a reported success rate, is the crime of a renegade judge who doesn't observe his 1st Amendment responsibility to NOT make a decision that either respects or denies the alternative treatment which suits the parents' and the child's religious conviction.
The Zorastrian goodguy/badguy boogiemans gods might cause opposing sides to lean sympatheticly one way or another, but goodguy/badguy boogiemans opinions are just as much a religion coming from the half-wit judge who can not legally exercise his religious opinion from the bench.
May 31, 2009 1:58 AM | Report Offensive Comment
This is very difficult. If you have watched someone go through Chemo, then how can you say that that is not child abuse? Some side effects are horrendous, regardless of the outcome. Also, if a childs life is to be protected at all costs by government mandate, why is esp. late term abortion allowed?
May 28, 2009 12:34 PM | Report Offensive Comment
The reason many parents find this such a difficult problem without a "yes" or "no" answer is because we believe the government should allow us to know what is best for our children. If the child that has caused all this, were my child, he would recieve the treatment as quickly as possible. I lost my second husband to cancer due to his waiting too late to seek treatment. My parents, both, have cancer...one has dementia and is not recieving treament, the other is undergoing hormone treatment, but they are adults. Children make it a totally different circumstance. Our freedom of choice is precious, but so are our children.
May 28, 2009 9:43 AM | Report Offensive Comment
the WAPO wrote a few days ago that the child has a 5% chance of surviving w/o chemo, and sommething like a 90% chance of surviving with chemo.
May 28, 2009 8:12 AM | Report Offensive Comment
To "Bigbrother" simply put, exactly what do "radical agnostics" disbelieve?
May 27, 2009 3:50 PM | Report Offensive Comment
This dear child will just as easily dkie from "chemo" than cancer. He woulld'nt be the first patient to refuse chemo either.
May 27, 2009 3:44 PM | Report Offensive Comment
The USA is a society where the "norm" requires medical treatment for deathly illness. So, these parents are committing child abuse. But, there are also other norms in our society that come close to abuse: unhealthy diet, unhealthy entertainment, unhealthy environment, inadequate education: all perpetrated by adults against children, legally. All of these end up in the untimely deaths of children, or in the delayed deaths of children grown into adulthood. So, I don't wag my finger at these religious parents any more or less than I do to others who frequent McDonalds with their kids or provide Wii games for their kids. And, being the hypocrit that I am, and as we all are upon some fairly shallow self-examination, I simply take these stories as additional learning experiences to inform my next life decisions; who I vote for, what I purchase, what I give to young people as advice, where I donate my time and money, etc. All in all, the USA has progressed significantly from those days a hundred years ago where kids who had no rights at all worked 16-hour days in sweatshop factories.
May 27, 2009 1:19 PM | Report Offensive Comment
I have mixed feelings about this situation because it is dealing with 2 issues that are very important to me and probably most Americans: Freedom and life. We all want the boy to live but there are also individual freedoms here that are also important.
I find it very amazing how quickly some people are to infringe on someone else's freedom of choice in what is supposed to be a pluralistic society. I would caution people to not be so quick to judgement. It is certainly a complicated case.
One thing this is not is child abuse. I simply can't believe that. Within an abuse situation you must have some type of intent and real harm done by the parent. The child may or may not die of this disease regardless of what the parent does. The parent seems sincere in helping the child the best way they know how, so this is not neglect. Just because we see things differently, doesn't mean this is abuse.
I just can't get to the point where I feel comfortable with government forced healthcare. That is my real problem with this. I could really see this thing taking precedent at some point and causing forced abortions, forced vaccinations, or forced procedures using embryotic stem cells. All of these could be against our religious beliefs but it is not out of the question that they could be forced on someone if they are still legal.
I think in a democratic and capitalistic society we need to remember that we need to allow people to make their own choices, even if they are incorrect. That isn't to say we don't have laws, but we need to be careful about applying laws where they weren't meant to go. I am constantly reminded that one generations common knowlege, is the next generations idiocy. We can't assume we know better than the people intimately involved and we can't just force our beliefs in every situation.
As I am saying this, I actually believe this whole situation is over. I heard last night that the mother relented and is allow the chemo and radiation, which is a relief for me and many others. From that perspective, I think this is blown way out of proportion. I'm sure people deny medical service for many different reasons, and we should keep this a personal choice. I think it is much more effective to reason with people and allow them to make the decisions. It seemed to work well in this sitation, in spite of the media circus surrounding it.
May 27, 2009 12:21 PM | Report Offensive Comment
BORN - Brought into existence; created
May 26, 2009 6:28 PM | Report Offensive Comment
Medicine is probably one of the most important disciplines calling into question, specifically, divine intervention in human affairs. Certainly for all the faith of moderns divine intervention in matters of health is more and more called into question by the success of medicine, the contrast between medicine and prayer.
But divine intervention still hangs on of course in such studies as those which say that religious people (who take medicine) are more likely to recover from, for example, cancer than non-believers (who take medicine). Strange those studies...If medicine did not exist faith would have no chance against cancer. And not having faith but having medicine is much better than no medicine and only faith. But it very well may be that having faith and medicine is better than no faith and medicine. But is it not ridiculous and contradictory to have faith and medicine? I mean someone saying God cured him when in actuality he turned to medicine? Those saying we should have faith and medicine are essentially saying that at the same time our intelligence becomes acute enough to make useful discoveries we should remain blinded by preserving a belief in God at all costs. Something has to give when one is caught between believing prayer is the cure and medicine the cure.
Of course those religious people who allow their children to die (but with prayers) rather than allow them to be cured by medicine are hopeless (although of course they have plenty of hopes in their God). They are hopeless in the faith of modern medicine. But they do provide a useful service. Their rejection of medicine gives the lie to their religious belief and certainly makes absurd all those studies which say people who have religious beliefs (but of course are simultaneously being treated by the best of modern medicine) are more likely to recover than non-believers (who of course are taking medicine). In order to put to rest those absurd studies one should just be ruthless and tell those people who believe they will recover by faith, while in actuality they are simultaneously taking medicine, to just stop taking medicine and only pray. Enough of that and they might make the connection that it is the medicine rather than the prayer which is curing them.
But in the meantime it very well could be that those who believe and take medicine are more likely to recover than those who take medicine but disbelieve. Unfortunately we cannot have both--believe in prayer and medicine. We have to move to a decisive faith in medicine. That this might be slightly detrimental to health (as the studies show contrasting believers who take medicine from non-believers who take medicine) is more than made up for by moving to medicine. The transition from faith to medicine in this sense has a slight dip as the jump is made (picture a monkey swinging from one vine to another).
Eventually medicine will be so effective no one will compare it to praying for health. However one might forever compare meditation to medicine--because meditation is obviously good for health. But then again no future meditator will confuse meditation with medicine. In fact meditators now have a pretty good record of not confusing meditation with medicine. Probably prayer contrasted with medicine will give way to meditation facilitating medicine--and vice versa: medicine facilitating meditation. But this is nothing other than exercise for the mind and medicine for the mind working together for harmony and maximization of body and mind.
May 26, 2009 5:59 PM | Report Offensive Comment
Well, Daniel, and others, the last time I looked, the supply of children in the world has outstripped the demand, for some time, now.
May 26, 2009 4:51 PM | Report Offensive Comment
I agree with BigBrother. I was just thinking, "is this really all that much of a problem?" I don't think it is.
For the most part, parents love their children and make most of their choices for them. But it is accepted and settled law, isn't it, that the government may intervene in cases of extreme parental irresponsibility.
So what is there, really to debate?
May 26, 2009 1:19 PM | Report Offensive Comment
This is just not a topic worth all the writers and e-space On Faith is devoting to it. There's nothing controversial about this topic.
Most religious fanatics don't sacrifice their own children to their faiths, and don't condone it in others. Even in the world of ritualized non-realty-based behavior, this kind of thing isn't done much.
And since an radical agnostic like myself agrees with the vast majority of devoted religious believers on this topic, I'm thinking there's not much to discuss here.
May 26, 2009 12:43 PM | Report Offensive Comment
The US Supreme Court has decided that "mothers" have the right to choose!!! End of discussion!!!
May 26, 2009 11:20 AM | Report Offensive Comment
The Constitution provides that all BORN persons are equal and are entitled to the right to life, liberty, etc. The Constitutional right to life is a civil right. Interfering with someone's civil rights is a federal offense, regardless of who the offending party is, or his/her motives.
If a minor child has this civil right to life, and I presume minor children are included, then I would think that it follows that anyone who denies a minor child medical attention is attempting to interfere with his civil right to life; if the child consequently dies, then that person has definitely denied the child his civil rights (this would be the least of the charges that could be leveled) and has committed voluntary homicide at the least. It is given that the state has a vested interested in keeping its children safe, secure and well.
It is, indeed, a no-brainer: any parent who is interfering with, or endangering, his child's civil right to life should be prosecuted, and the child should be taken from the parent and given the necessary medical treatments until such time as the child achieves his majority and can decide for himself whether he wants to continue the treatments.
May 26, 2009 10:53 AM | Report Offensive Comment
At what point does "you can't prove my faith is false" become an unacceptable answer?
The lives of children seems like a valid exception.
May 26, 2009 10:09 AM | Report Offensive Comment