The Wisconsin Supreme Court last week upheld the convictions of the parents of Madeline Kara Neumann, an 11-year-old girl who died because her parents let her. Click here to read the story
The parents, Dale and Leilani Neumann of Weston, WI aren’t Christian Scientists, although that would have had no bearing on the legal aspect of the case. Nor should it have any bearing on parents’ responsibilities to ensure the health and safety of their children.
This particular couple seems to have created their own set of beliefs and practices. When the girl’s grandfather suggested giving her some Pedialyte to remedy her dehydration, the Neumann’s said that would take away from “the glory of God”. I may be the world’s biggest skeptic, but if God created the Heavens and the Earth, I don’t think a little Pedialyte wouldn’t have diminished His glory in any meaningful way.
Reading through the comments after the story can offer a scary glimpse into the minds of Middle America. A misguided, but well-represented group are up in arms about the government trying to take our kids away from us. From what I could tell, all they’re doing is trying to keep them alive.
The message from this particular group is a mixed bag of self-contradiction. They don’t think the government should have any input in the lives of America’s children, yet it should stop women from terminating unwanted pregnancies. The “all-life-is-sacred” thing only applies in utero. Once the kid is born, you can beat the Hell out him, starve him or withhold life-saving medical treatment. Or send him to Texas, where they may execute him in God’s name.
We protect our children from their own stupidity by not allowing them to enter into legal contracts before the “age of consent”, as defined by individual states. There are age limitations for drinking, driving, joining the Army, smoking and getting married. Is it any different that we do what we can to protect the well-being of children until they are old enough to make health care decisions for the themselves?
Member nations of the Geneva Convention are prohibited from withholding medical treatment from their prisoners of war. Aren’t children entitled to the same protection as POW’s?
Female circumcision, a barbaric mutilation of the female genitalia is outlawed in every civilized nation and condemned by the World Health Organization. While it is still practiced among primitive-minded misogynists for religious and/or cultural reasons, civilized nations recognize that children need to be protected from such horrendous cruelty.
Some religions, like Santeria practice sacrifice, both human and animal. Human sacrifice is, of course illegal in most of the places you would want to visit, animal sacrifice has been contested in cities like Hialeah, FL and New York City. The Supreme Court generally rules on the side of religious freedom, allowing American Indians to smoke peyote being one exception.
The point though, is that the religious freedom guaranteed in the Constitution should not put human life at risk. There is, in fact NO SCRIPTURE that suggests putting anyone’s health at risk for the purpose of religious observance. That, like the Neumann’s brand of religion is pure concoction.
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