***Update***: I’m getting taken to task for some of the comments below. Some of it is deserved. I don’t know the histories of these murderers, and I don’t know how religious they are and if they go to church on a regular basis.
As some commenters below note, people are told by pastors often that the Devil is real and that God exists and talks to us. We’re taught to admire Abraham because he obeyed God when told to kill his son. He would’ve gone through with it if God had not stopped him. Is that different from what some of these parents are doing? What makes Abraham sane and these women insane?
I shouldn’t say the church is responsible for the deaths in the stories referred to below. Others are right in saying those women were insane, plain and simple, and religion not the problem here.
I am worried, though, that if people are taught to obey a god and fear a devil, and that is mixed with a spark of insanity, bad things could happen. To me, neither is a good thing… but together, it’s a frightening combination.
Thanks to everyone for calling me out on this.
You know, the baby thing is only funny because it’s all a joke.
When someone does indescribable things to a baby in real life, it’s horrifying.
When someone does it because she thought a devil told her to, it’s even scarier. Partly because she wouldn’t have stopped at anything… You wonder how much further she would’ve gone.
The scene was so gruesome investigators could barely speak: A 3 1/2-week-old boy lay dismembered in the bedroom of a single-story house, three of his tiny toes chewed off, his face torn away, his head severed and his brains ripped out.
Officers called to the home early Sunday found the boy’s mother, Otty Sanchez, sitting on the couch with a self-inflicted wound to her chest and her throat partially slashed, screaming “I killed my baby! I killed my baby!” police said. She told officers the devil made her do it, police said.
Sanchez, 33, apparently ate the child’s brain and some other body parts before stabbing herself, McManus said.
Sanchez had been “in and out” of a psych ward for unknown reasons.
The death is disturbing enough. But when this article mentions other incidents where a mother killed her own children, you can see the common thread:
Andrea Yates drowned her five children in her Houston-area home 2001, saying she believed Satan was inside her and trying to save them from hell. Her attorneys said she had been suffering from severe postpartum psychosis, and a jury found Yates not guilty by reason of insanity in 2006.
In 2004, Dena Schlosser killed her 10-month-old in her Plano home by slicing off the baby’s arms. She was found not guilty of reason by insanity, after testifying that she killed the baby because she wanted to give her to God.
So if this plays out in a similar way, Sanchez may also be found not guilty by reason of insanity.
You kill your child directly because God or the Devil wants you to, and you’re not guilty.
You kill your child indirectly because you think God will rescue her (Which is also insane to me, but not clinically so), and you’re also found not guilty.
I don’t know if these cases could’ve been prevented, but at some point in their lives, these killers were told that God and the Devil speak to humans. And if God tells you to do something, you’re supposed to follow it.
I’m not blaming the churches for this, but to paraphrase Voltaire, if you believe in absurdities, you’re likely to commit atrocities.