The KTBB (Tyler, TX) radio station asked for opinions this morning, "Should parents be charged in 'faith-healing' deaths?". I received no answer after the 8th phone ring, so decided to post my opinion on my blog instead.
A couple who are members of the Followers of Christ church in Oregon City, Oregon, pled not guilty to manslaughter on Monday. The charge is for failing to provide medical care to their son, who died shortly after birth. The baby was premature, weighing a little over 3 lbs. The birth was neither attended by a doctor, nor was one called. The members of this church believe in using prayer instead of medicine.
In general parents should have the right to make medical decisions for their minor children, whether they believe in prayer only, medicine only, or a combination of both. Since children are involved this becomes a very emotional issue.
We have lived in a secularized society so long that many do not believe God can heal and that medical attention is always the proper and necessary option. In cases like this one in Oregon City, most will assert that the child would have lived if he had gotten medical attention. But if we think little deeper about it we would remember that children getting medical attention die every day. Some die in spite of the medical attention, and some die from the medicines or procedures they get. Do you want to charge those parents with manslaughter too? If not, why not?
[Note: I do not endorse the religious views of the Followers of Christ church in Oregon City, Oregon, and I do not believe it is wrong to seek medical attention.]