May 11, 2008

Christian Extremist Parents Charged For Death of Daughter

While we celebrate Mother's Day today, I ask you to remember what can happen when a mother becomes lost to the grip of Christian extremism. Back in March, we learned of the sad story of a Wisconsin couple who allowed their 11-year-old diabetic daughter to die because they preferred prayer to medical treatment. It now appears that the state has decided to prosecute the parents on charges of second-degree reckless homicide.

I am happy to see criminal prosecution in this case, and I hope it helps to remind other religious fanatics that allowing their children to die because of their delusion is not acceptable.
Family and friends had urged Dale and Leilani Neumann to get help for their daughter, but the father considered the illness "a test of faith" and the mother never considered taking the girl to the doctor because she thought her daughter was under a "spiritual attack," the criminal complaint said.
A conviction carries a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison. While I seriously doubt that a sentence anywhere close to that will be imposed, it does signal that the state is taking this seriously.

At the risk of beating the proverbial dead horse on this one, I feel the need to say that these parents represent the danger of acting on the basis of faith, the failure of the American educational system, and a culture which desperately needs to be rid of Christian extremism. No one factor, not even religion, is responsible for this, but we as a society need to do a better job of preventing this sort of tragedy.

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