In the bible belt in this country there's a measles outbreak - caused by religious people who'd rather pray than have their children inoculated. Five or six children are dying of complications in hospitals. I get very angry at people who let their children die for such a stupid reason. Children are not religious and should have the chance to grow up and make their own decisions. I followed some discussions about the subject, but all I heard was a load of crap about religious freedom; even a G.P. who talked about the power of his god. If I had anything to say in the matter I'd take away parental authority from these people, because they made it clear that they won't take the responsibility for their children. And I'd take away the work permit of the G.P.

How are cases like this treated where you live?


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Sad to say, Chris, there are stories like that all over the US, though mostly in our own Bible Belt.  Those stories have an unfortunate monotony to them: kids who get sick, have tumors or some other disease or disorder, parents who are so determined to prove their faith that they deny their children modern medical care in favor of prayer or anointing or laying-on-of-hands, and the inevitable outcome: kids suffer, kids die, and parents may or may not be held accountable after the fact, depending on what state they live in.

The fact is that the children in virtually all these cases are unwilling, voiceless pawns in this game.  They don't get to choose the nature of treatment they get.  In many cases, they are not sufficiently sophisticated to know enough TO choose.  My attitude is simple: for minors who haven't the means or understanding, the default choice should be the most efficacious form of treatment.  Parents who want to contest this decision can cite something more effective than a congregation chanting useless, ineffectual prayers.  It'll never happen, of course, certainly not in states where the rights of bible-believing parents are codified into law.

It's bad enough that these kids get indoctrinated into their parents' belief systems without their consent.  That children die because their parents would rather rely on that belief rather than on established medical practice is plainly intolerable.

To follow up on Loren's comment (which is quite accurate for the US), it's a codified and institutionalized form of child abuse under the phony guise of religious freedom in various states. Again, depending on the jurisdiction, the parents who engage in such maltreatment may or may not be prosecuted. Fortunately, I live in one of the more enlightened States in the US (Illinois - though that's not to say it is a bastion of enlightenment - far from it). Nevertheless, children here in Illinois can be removed from their parents care for medical neglect. Sad to say, it's not a universal position in all areas of America.

anti-vaccination attitudes are highly prevalent among the "natural" "alternative" people too. 

I believe in following doctors' advice on this - MD's not naturopaths - and getting all medically recommended vaccines, including the flu shot.  You can transmit flu even when you aren't having symptoms and even if you never get symptoms - the flu can be "subclinical". The most common reason I've heard for not getting flu shots is "I have a strong immune system, I never get the flu", but even if so, the flu shot helps protect other people.

Yes, I have a friend or rather an acquaintance who is one of these naturopath types.  There are a lot of home remedies that really do work for minor problems and I use some of these in addition to regular checkups and medical treatment when indicated.  Her husband was in the hospital recently with pneumonia so she does take something like that seriously.  However, she refuses to vaccinate her children listening to people like Jenny McCarthy.  I tell her that she is just simply relying on other people to vaccinate their children to protect hers.  She admits this is true but what if everyone did this.  She is not religious at all and I really suspect she is either an atheist or agnostic or just uninterested.

I have to rush off to get my "fix" of "Cancer Killing Chemicals", and I want to affirm what you stated. More later. 

Melinda, that's at least one small thing to be said for Illinois. The definition of a neglected minor child includes the following:

"any minor under 18 years of age who is not receiving the proper or necessary support, education as required by law, or medical or other remedial care recognized under State law as necessary for a minor's well-being..." (My emphasis).

Hey, at least it's something!

Chris, the children of parents like these, if they live to grow up, will they be able to make their own decisions?

I doubt it; their parents will have destroyed their minds.

Like their parents, they will find religious leaders they can obey.

Their mentally ill parents are doing the merciful thing, letting them die young.

I won't defend those parents, Tom, in the first place because my parents were like them. I understood when quite young their hypocrisy and patched-up truths and it made me think. Even so I almost died when in their care of a nasty flu - no MD -, escaped when I was 18 and spent half a lifetime rebuilding. I won't give up on the children.

I understand, Chris; I too don't want to give up on children who grew up with parents like mine.

My remark about mentally ill parents doing the merciful thing, letting them die young?

While in the Navy during the Korean War I saw very little combat, but aboard a ship whose first duty was to get between a torpedo and a larger ship, I knew I was expendable.

To those parents, their children are more expendable than their religion.

The parents in Oregon a few years ago whose child died after they refused medical care?

As I recall, they spent two years in prison and were released. A few months ago they refused medical care to another child, and this child died.

They see themselves as sincere Xians.

Oregon law provides for medically-assisted suicide, so seniors can choose death without pain. Maybe the state should accommodate the religious beliefs of parents, as long as their children don't die in pain.

What about laws to protect children from delusions and lies of parents and religious practices. Shouldn't a family be empowered to raise flourishing children, not by some arbitrary notion of what is good for a child, but rather by some quantitative measure such as health problems that can be treated, or behavioral problems that develop as a consequence of poor parenting skills. Just as older people need to be protected from neglect and abuse, so should children. The rights of parents and religion have to be limited.


There's poison in that tekst of jesus, when he said to abandon your family....

Religion should NOT be considered any more an excuse for action or inaction than hearing voices in one's head.


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