Parents Who Committed Faith-Based Crime Given Only Light Prison Sentence October 8, 2009

Parents Who Committed Faith-Based Crime Given Only Light Prison Sentence

We now know how much time you have to spend in jail if you kill your own child:

Six months.

Last time we heard of the saga of Madeline Kara Neumann — the 11-year-old who died from untreated diabetes, after slipping into a coma, because her parents prayed instead of calling a doctor — both her parents were found guilty of “second-degree reckless homicide.”

They faced up to 25 years in prison.

Today, we learned they would only be sentenced to six months of that. (Plus 10 years probation… just in case they go all prayer-y against their three other children?)

It’s not even six months in a row. It’s one month a year for six years… with only one parent gone at a time.

The judge was entirely too lenient with them:

In sentencing the couple, Marathon County Circuit Court Judge Vincent Howard said the Neumanns were “very good people, raising their family who made a bad decision, a reckless decision.”

“God probably works through other people,” Howard told the parents, “some of them doctors.”

At least there’s some hope for their remaining children.

As part of their probation, the parents must allow a public health nurse to examine their two underage children at least once every three months and must immediately take their children to a doctor for any serious injuries.

Sadly, it’s too late for Kara. And the message other ultra-religious parents will get from this is that when you place your trust in a god instead of with people with actual knowledge, the punishment is far from severe and you’ll be seen as victims instead of killers.

I predict it won’t be long before it happens again. Without harsher penalties, these parents won’t learn anything.

(Thanks to Skunque for the link)

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  • bill

    god probably works through other people? REALLY?! seriously. GOD DOESN’T WORK THROUGH DOCTORS! knowledge of the human body and how it works based on a real education and many many years of scientific research “works through” doctors. not that any of you don’t know this already, but this all is just extremely frustrating. things such as this always remind me of the lyrics to “like spinning plates” by radiohead:

    While you make pretty speeches
    I’m being cut to shreds
    You feed me to the lions
    A delicate balance

    And this just feels like spinning plates
    I’m living in cloud cuckoo land
    And this just feels like spinning plates
    My body’s floating down the muddy river

    just thought i’d share that.

  • happycynic

    I dunno about getting off light. Their kid DID die when they thought prayer would fix it. I’d say that they learned their lesson from that, and it’ll certainly be a wake-up call to their own kids. After losing a sibling, I can pretty much guarantee that they’ll be actively against others doing the same thing as their parents. This has to be a faith-shaker for whole family.

    And anyhow, what’s the purpose of punishment? To act as a deterrent, also to make sure that the offender can’t/won’t do the same thing again.

    The jail sentence is pretty negligible, being a felon is pretty bad for you in general though, so there’s a small example to others right there. But the people who do these sort of crimes generally aren’t worried about the secular world or its authorities–God will protect them for their faith, after all :/

    As for preventing a recurrance, I really don’t think these people are about to make the same mistake twice. No matter how strong your faith, if taking it too far gets your kid killed, you’re going to re-think things. They’ll change their interpretation enough to send for a doctor next time their kids are deathly ill.

    So, bottom line? I think the judge made the right call. Religious nutjobs they may be (IMO) but nothing would be gained by locking them up for 25 years.

  • Gabriel

    They killed their daughter and got 6 months. They don’t think they did anything wrong. They think they are being persecuted. Given the chance they will pray the other three children to death.

  • Jeff


    Those were my thoughts exactly. I thought I would be the only one. I think the key decision by the judge is the mandatory public health nurse checking in on the kids. This will prevent this from happening again and is the right call in this situation. I think our society is too quick to throw a person in prison for whatever crime and not think about the best and most fruitfull way of making the consequenses follow rationally from the crime. We try to establish natural consequences for our children so they will learn yet somehow we don’t require the same of our justice system for adults. I say “Bravo” to the judge in this case.

  • David D.G.

    A sentence of only 6 months, to be served in convenient bits and pieces?!? This is just mind-bogglingly outrageous. That judge is entirely too sympathetic to these child-killers, as his comment about “God working through doctors” further confirms.

    This is an absolutely disgusting ruling.

    ~David D.G.

  • Jon

    @jeff and happycynic –

    These people learned nothing. They have no remorse, no guilt, they feel like they’ve done nothing wrong.

    These people have cemented my de-conversion.

  • If anything the kids need to be pulled from the friggin house. Cripes.

  • I agree somewhat with happycynic that the parents did suffer and perhaps regret their actions, but I don’t think the punishment was anywhere near the severity it should have been. Regardless of whether they suffered from the death of their child, they also CAUSED the death of their child and that fact should really be the main focus. They didn’t accidentally let her fall down some steps… or forget to make sure she wore warm clothes in the winter. They played an active role in causing her death.

    This verdict basically shouts, “It’s okay to kill your kids if your religion tells you to.”

  • H

    Not only is it ok to brainwash our children into religious dogma, with it’s fear of hellfire, imaginary gods, wilful dismissal of reality, hatred of gays or anyone who is different, etc. etc. – we all know the drill, I’m sure.

    But now it’s also ok to kill them or let them die in the name of the same dogma.

    We live in such civilized times, don’t we?

  • Polly

    They faced up to 25 years in prison.
    Today, we learned they would only be sentenced to six months of that.

    I never understood the craving for revenge on the part of society. That’s all a 25 year sentence would amount to. On top of that, it would wreck the lives of the remaining children.

    The function of deterrent certainly wouldn’t apply in this case. I seriously doubt anything meted out to the parents could be worse than losing a child.

    Obviously, these parents aren’t going to kill another child and in case there’s any doubt, the court has mandated a stupidity-vigil.

  • The parents loved their belief system more than their child. I wonder how their love stands now? If it still sides on their belief system, then the other children are at risk. Who knows…

  • theBlakKat

    I’m not sure how “convenient” those bits and pieces will be, DG. It’ll likely be tortuous. Get out after a month in prison only to have to go back next year and the next… At the very least, it will serve as a good constant reminder of what they did, and at the most, it’s an unusual way of toying with someone’s life, which may be a fitting punishment. Imagine trying to hold a job to support those kids in that situation. A good 2-3 year sentence tacked on to the beginning of that would probably be better.

    I think we have to bear in mind that there was no malicious intent to kill (religion does equal insanity), and as such, a long prison sentence won’t fix the problem as well as the nurse visitations and even the judge’s comment that god works through doctors. He could just as well be talking to them as if they were children (they share that mindset). If they end up believing that god does indeed work through doctors, it’s a step in the right direction toward ending needless death. They’re still insane, but they’re a less dangerous version of insane.

    Of course, Tyler’s suggested punishment of taking the remaining kids might be the best yet. That would certainly sting.

    Sorry, Kara.

  • bill

    For me this isn’t about revenge or punishment, but for these parents to be treated the same as other negligent parents who cause direct harm and death to their children. What they’ve done is no different than shaking a baby to make it stop crying and ending up killing the child. These parents should be seriously considered for losing custody of their children completely as other ignorant and negligent parents are. Yeah the nurse visiting is nice, but if another child gets seriously injured or sick are they going to try to pray it away and the child will have to wait up to 3 months for help?

  • Miko

    Yeah, if only we’d lock them in prison for a long time, then surely they’d learn their lesson, right? Is there any problem facing society that can’t be fixed by throwing people in cages for long periods of time? I doubt it, but we could probably arrange for a public stoning just in case. Better yet, maybe we can also take the other children and make them wards of the state, since that has such an excellent track record!

    They don’t think they did anything wrong. They think they are being persecuted.

    If so, they’re wrong about the first thing and right about the second.

    They played an active role in causing her death.

    No, they just didn’t play an active role in not causing her death.

  • llewelly

    I can’t come down too hard on the judge here. These people have other children – and most foster systems are grossly overloaded. If the state is not willing or able to take the children away from the parents, they can’t go much farther without unduly punishing the children as well.
    The fact is – with America’s shoddy social welfare programs, there’s just not much more the judge can do. The structure necessary to deliver a sentence the parents deserve is just not present in this nation. (It’s amazing, sometimes, the number of different ways that America’s “you deserve to suffer” approach to social welfare helps religion.)

  • Miko

    For me this isn’t about revenge or punishment, but for these parents to be treated the same as other negligent parents who cause direct harm and death to their children.

    Those other laws are about punishment and revenge, so pushing for equality is de facto pushing for revenge. For example:

    What they’ve done is no different than shaking a baby to make it stop crying and ending up killing the child.

    Not quite true, since acting and failing to act are morally distinguishable cases, but close enough. But do you really think the only thing stopping most parents from shaking their babies to death is the fear of long prison sentences? Removing this law entirely would have absolutely no effect on the number of children injured/killed in this manner.

    The thing to remember is that all violations of the principle of equality have at their root a violation of the principle of liberty. If you fix the underlying violation of liberty (in this case, by getting rid of the other law), the violation of equality fixes itself. If you instead try to directly ‘fix’ the violation of equality, you instead end up making the original violation of liberty worse, which in turn makes the violation of equality worse (for example, by sending the other children to an orphanage and seriously impairing their future options).

  • bill

    Would a closer analogy be watching their child bleed to death after being injured? Not that it really matters. Anyways, then i guess there is no real solution here. More severe jail time doesn’t help, and taking the children out of their hands really doesn’t do much either with the shoddy system we have. All we can do is hope something gets to these parents or at least these children manage to grow up as healthy as they possibly can with the damage already done.

  • Colin


    Is it just me our does their domain name sound slightly… obscene?

    They had better be careful if they ever let their claim to the domain lapse, lest it be snapped up by someone with a more carnal intent for the site!

  • Digsusting… this is just as delusional an act as any person who thinks that cold-blooded murder is a good thing… ugh! As sorry an excuse as “the devil made me do it.”

    But, hey… next time I kill someone I will be sure to lie and say that God told me to… nice way to not have to face justice 😉

  • JulietEcho

    I felt sick reading this on their website:

    Madeline Kara understood fully the value of the spiritual; she lived for God to her fullest. She waivered not in her faith, so much so she became well-pleasing to God, and God held firm to his appointment and took her.

    Regardless of your viewpoint, even if she would have been taken to the hospital, there is only hypothetical speculation as to whether she would have lived. The doctors have no special powers; they are mere men, they are subject to mistakes, just like the rest of us. The message is clear, when it is the appointed time; nobody has the power to save unless it is the will of God to do so.

    They are clearly *completely* unrepentant, and they’re even proud of what they did.

    I disagree with those who argue that it wouldn’t serve a purpose to imprison these parents. It would send a message to other parents who share their beliefs: it’s NOT OKAY in this country to let your children die while you sit back and pray.

    There are parents who might have taken their children to the hospital, at least out of fear of spending years in prison, who will now know that “obeying God” and praying instead will have very light consequences if their child dies.

  • There are really only two words I can think of to describe this: Disgusting bullshit.

    Imagine if they told the judge they’d been wishing on a magical amulet and doing a healing dance. They’d be in for a much more reasonable sentence.

  • Jeff

    There is no legislation or amount of jail time that will change the mind of a religios fanatic. A longer jail sentance would do nothing more than set these parents up as martyrs in the minds of those that would do the same thing.

    If they had in fact told the judge that they were wishing on a mandatory amulet then the correct response would have been the same – mandatory supervision by a medical health professional. Religion really doesn’t play in here one bit. It’s about finding natural consequenses for actions and not throwing people in jail and overcrowding our prisons for no benefit to society.

  • MeagD

    For the justice system to serve us all to the best of its ability, it needs to be equal and fair for all people. Since we know this to be an impossibility, it needs to be at least as fair as possible. In this case, it seems the judge has failed on this mark.

    It is very clear to me, and should be to everyone else, that if these parents were non-theists and felt their child would get better through holistic medicine, supplements, vitamins, and the like, and their child died – they’d be thrown in prison and all of America would be disgusted. And so they should be. Neglecting your responsibility to care for child when it’s obvious that medical intervention is absolutely necessary — IS ALWAYS NEGLECT — regardless of the reasons for doing so.

  • Gordon

    They learned no lesson, they still claim that what they did was right.

    The father claimed he was “content”

  • happycynic

    Hm. Seeing their website, I have to change my opinion–they obviously did not learn their lesson. I was running on the assumption that they were more-or-less sane, just under the influence of religion. Now? I just think they’re crazy.

    In cases of insanity causing the death of someone, you send that person to a mental institution, get them some counseling, and try to get them fit for normal society. If they aren’t fit for society, they can stay in the asylum.

    And even with our crappy foster care system, I’d think the kids would be better off with pretty much anyone else.

  • sven

    if anyone, in the position, would claim the space bunnies where going to cure the child, would the judge have ruled the same?

  • John L

    And in California we have a case going on that I’ve heard bits and pieces of. Basically, a couple is being charged for giving their 7 year old a quarter size tattoo on his hip. The starting sentence that the prosecution was going for was life in prison for child mutilation and it’s now down to about 7 years. Granted that this was a bear paw tattoo which is the symbol of the gang that the dad belongs to but still.

  • Hannah

    I entirely agree that six months is too light for people whose negligence resulted in the death of a child. However, I don’t think that giving parents like this stiff punishments will do anything to deter other parents like them. The reason they don’t seek medical help for sick children is that they honestly believe god will intervene. They aren’t thinking, Well, if my child dies, I’ll only have a light prison sentence! I think the only way to deter such behavior is to try to eradicate mindless faith and educate people. Publicizing stories like Kara’s may help other brainwashed parents see the light.

    On a side note, I find the judge’s comment that “god probably works through doctors” both inappropriate for a courtroom and irritating. I hate it when people say things like this. If god “works through” doctors, then why has he only started doing so relatively recently, and only in certain parts of the world? Why has he been getting better and better at it through time? Does he simply like modern people in wealthy countries much better than everyone else? In fact any time anyone says something about how great it is that god did such-and-such for them, for example let them escape a dangerous situation unhurt, I want to punch them in the face. I can’t understand how someone can believe in a god that has the power to intervene in people’s lives, and know that there are so many kids and adults dying of starvation and AIDS and excruciating diseases every day, and still actually WORSHIP that god. I know I’m preaching to the choir here. But it just makes me sick to think that people can worship a being that, they believe, has the power to stop the suffering of children and chooses not to.

  • muggle

    Pardon my language but —

    What fucking planet are we living on wherein parents can kill off one child and not have the others removed!!! What fucking planet are we living on that they don’t do serious jail time for murdering a child!!!

    This is a fucking outrage!!! What a load of crap!!!

    And, yep, it is sending a message to other nutter parents that this is your religious freedom. It does extend to human sacrifice, as long as that sacrifice is the child you made.

    And, frankly, all of you who think the judge was right? What Koolaid did you drink? NO, SHE WASN’T!!!

    Those other three kids should be in protective custody crappy system or not. Bad odds but the odds at home are even worse.

    Let me tell you something as a formerly abused child. Like fuck it doesn’t act as a deterrant. Parents face charges for abuse or even know they can, they’re more careful in said abuse. Yes, they have mental issues and still will abuse but, fuck’s sake, it might lower it to something the children can survive.

    Trust me, I know. First hand. My parents feared social workers. They had reason to. It was the strong arm of the law that made them take me for glasses when I was 10 after 3 years of needing them. It was the strong arm of the law that made them finally take us to a dentist. Strong arm of the law made them provided minimally, not adequately, for us. And, yes, that includes medical care though, fortunately, my mother’s cult wasn’t into faithhealing to that extent so she didn’t refuse when ordered to take us by interfering social workers or when it was a really life-threatening emergency.

    And it was the strong arm of the law that kept them from only acting so far in their abuse. From beating the crap out of me but not killing me. I say this as someone who had a mother who literally ran around the house when I pissed her off in my teens shrieking “thou shalt not suffer a witch to live” (No, I am not stealing this from Stephen King but I sure as hell wonder if he knew someone like her; if I ever meet him I will ask him.)

    It was the strong arm of man’s law and not God’s that I owe my survival too. Foster care was the boogie man when I was a kid. We were threatened with it to the point of not realizing it was a tool. One sister did have the sense to have herself put there.

    I wish to hell I had. I wish to hell someone had taken us all the fuck away from those two maniacs. Wish someone had asked me how my brother’s collarbone got broken on my birthday one fine year and I wish to hell they had acted on it.

    My father should have done fucking jail time on that. Okay, bro got him in jail for nonsupport later on over my mother’s protest. Yay, bro!

    Am I bitter? Fuck yes. I didn’t choose my parents. Falling through those cracks really fucking hurts and only one of eight siblings would have said they wanted to be taken away from our parents. That’s how much a boogie man they made out of foster care.

    Do I sound pissed? Sorry. I am. Sorry. I can’t be sane about an outrage like this. I wish there was a hell. Jail wouldn’t serve. Like fuck! They deserve the punishment. They deserve the abuse they inflicted. They deserve to burn. Fine, if you insist all calling that — they deserve the fucking revenge. Their children deserve the closure of it.

    They lost a child?! Sob. Boo fucking hoo. A child they didn’t give two shits about. Their children lost a sibling — at the hands of these people who you are saying it would be traumatic for them to be removed from??? What are you smoking? Have you not considered the remaining three children’s fear and grief? Do you have any idea of the horror they must be living? I do.

    And the deterrant of what the law could do to them just might be the only reason I’m here to tell you this bit of anedoctal evidence.

  • muggle

    One last thought, it will happen again. Put bluntly, it will because the state failed to intervene.

    Oh, and as for my siblings and me now in our ’40’s and ’50’s, some have survived, some have been on drugs and alcohol, one is lost in the wind unable to be found, some are wrecks of human beings, some are okay. None are great, even the one who went in foster care. Couple of us managed to end the cycle of abuse with our own children, one didn’t though she wasn’t quite as bad as our parents and she had her first two in her teens. Rest, last I saw them had no children. None of us are in healthy adult relationships. None of us can really seem to make them work.

    Bill, I appreciated you leading off this thread with those lyrics (thank you) so I’ll post a bit of a 3 Dog Night song in regards to me and the siblings I’ve had no contact with for decades (last I spoke to any of them was about 15 years ago, so I couldn’t update you on that):

    “When the father and the mother
    Fight all the time,
    Leave the sister and the brother
    No time to rhyme.”

    And I’ll end there on that note because this, as I’m sure you can tell, is really upsetting me and just about has me in tears. I wish to hell I could get those kids out of there.

  • This is a supreme example of why the DSM should be changed to allow “mainstream” religious belief to be categorized as a mental illness (namely, “Delusionsl Disorder”). These parents’ actions are classic examples of delusional behavior, with horrific consequences.

    If these parents belief system included seeking help from fairies who live in the clouds by humming a mantra repeatedly, they would have undoubtedly been sentenced to psychiatric care (possibly in-patient). Because they prayed to the Christian god, however, they were merely admonished by the judge.

    We should not, as a society, accept that such beliefs (when leading to actions like these) are acceptable or healthy. They are sick…they need treatment.

  • Okay, i read about the first ten or twelve posts then just couldnt take it anymore. You idiots preach double standards i guess. Now you care about the kids so much and want stiffer sentences eh…

    @H, stop your hatred of anyone and anything religious for a sec, and realize this is still probably a rational injustice. The judge and prosecutor in this case should be looked at/investigated to assure that allowing them to keep the kids and serve non consecutive months is the right thing to do.
    Any RATIONAL religious person which is 99% of them is not against doctors, they are clearly a rogue sect or way out there fundamentalist denomination of something, but you sound like a smug arrogant god hater with your generalizing comments.

  • H

    @H, stop your hatred of anyone and anything religious for a sec, and realize this is still probably a rational injustice. The judge and prosecutor in this case should be looked at/investigated to assure that allowing them to keep the kids and serve non consecutive months is the right thing to do.

    Maybe if you had read more into this you’d realize that the parent’s haven’t learned a damn thing. So you think leaving the kids with these LUNATICS is the right thing to do?

    My so called hatred of things religious stems from abuses like this. They shove their crap down our throats, poison the minds of children into believing in it, they openly hate groups without consequence (gays and atheists mainly), they get offended at the drop of a hat, they want everyone to live as they say, etc. etc. the list goes on for a very long time. Now, if they had the class to keep it to themselves (and only themselves) I’d have no problem with them.

    But please, keep labeling me or anyone who is sick of these kind of people getting away with shit like this a hate monger, etc. That way you can simply dismiss everything I say outright.

    PS: I found it very difficult not to resort to using the F word in my reply to you. That’s how apologists like you make me feel.

    Look up the term “useful idiot”. It’s what you are.

  • MacGregor, what the bloody hell are you talking about?

  • Polly

    Fine, if you insist all calling that — they deserve the fucking revenge.

    The thirst for revenge on the part of society makes no sense. But, I expect and completely understand it from the people directly injured.
    I’m sorry for what you went through. And, emotionally, I’d like to see those who abused you and your siblings punished.

    Not knowing anything about the parents from the post, however, I really can’t make the quantitative calculation of whether the foster system or they are the better option for the remaining children. And, thankfully, it’s not my decision. Each situation has its own variables. I can only hope the judge was competent to assess the situation accurately.

  • muggle

    Okay. I wanted to start out today apologizing for being so emotional when I posted last night and that still goes but…

    Polly, are you kidding me? As others have said, if these weren’t religious nutters but other abusers, no one would have a problem with jail time. The double standard for allowing religious cruelty is astounding. Adults over 21 are free to imbibe (or not) in this country. It is not unfettered. The same thing goes for religion. And, religious freedom should stop short of human sacrifice.

    As for the three remaining children, they are now being forced to live with the very adults who murdered — yes, murdered, let’s not sugar coat it just because it’s candy-coated in Jesus’ name — their sibling. You may not know what its like to live with the fear of knowing the parent housing you and under whose rule you must live until 18 is capable of killing you but I do. And by killing, I mean either by direct murder or this kind of negligent homicide. To a child incapable of taking care of themself, it is the same thing. I know what fear I lived in and these kids certainly have a much more direct threat of it than I did.

    I was very much afraid my mother might one day act on that witch suffering threat. When I was around seven, I asked about the story of Isaac and would she sacrifice me if God asked her too repeatedly. I never got a no answer. All I got was God would never do that and all I thought was he’s done it before, how do we know he won’t again and I was not reassured.

    This is the terror these kids are being forced to live in day in, day out. The knowledge that their caregivers are very much capable of killing them either directly or through cold, indifferent negligence. I guarantee you they are afraid, whether they say they are or not.

    I wouldn’t have said it to an outsider either. Because I was that afraid of the boogie man my parents made social services, or any outsider, out to be. It never even occurred to me to go to the minister (he might have been shocked honestly because I never heard him preach that kind of nonsense), a teacher or other. I knew to find a cop if lost. I didn’t know to go to a cop and tell him about my parents hitting me.

    There’s more about it in school these days but who knows what these freaks are countering what’s taught there. I’d bet you dollars to doughnuts, they’re filling the kids’ heads with dire doom and gloom should you go to anyone you might turn to.

    Abused kids are in a very, very bad situation and when it does come to light, the state should take action — not return them to known abusers. What this judge did was reprehensible.

  • These people should serve their entire sentence given their refusal to treat their child to the best of their ability.

  • muggle

    I’d also comment that I think, it is a deterrant. We cannot know how many babies are not shaken, etc. because their parent(s) feared jail. You’d be surprised. I do know that my abusive parents (thankfully dead and can’t bother me any more) restrained themselves in fear of the government at times.

  • Polly

    Sorry muggle, but my only response is what I wrote above: I don’t know the parents. They could be psychos or they could be deluded people who are otherwise normal parents who reject doctors. If the latter is the case, regular visits by social workers should help much more than jail sentences.

    If the judge would’ve sentenced them more harshly if they were non-Xians but everything else were the same, then (s)he’d be wrong.

    btw – I have no doubt that my mother would’ve at least tried to pull an Abraham-Isaac if YAHWEH told her so.

  • AnonyMouse

    I feel kind of wishy-washy on this subject. On the one hand, I believe that parents should have certain freedoms with their children – they should be able to care for them in the way they see fit, express whatever worldviews they desire, and teach them how they best feel they should be taught – as long as no damage is done to the child. And there is the other hand – I do not believe that parents, who have made a conscientious decision to bring a child in the world, have the right to do just whatever they want with that child. They created a human being; it is their responsibility to care for that human being to the best of their ability.

    Gambling with your child’s life is not included in that statement.

    Of course, the fundies will never see it that way. My mother calls it “putting her faith in God instead of man”; it’s the ultimate act of faith, which is the ultimate virtue of the Christian: the most righteous is the one most willing to believe things for which there is no evidence, and the most willing to do crazy things for that belief. For us, allowing these children to die is a horror. For the Christian, it is an honor.

    Yet we must not believe that this does not hurt them. Despite their dedication to God, even Christians become distraught at the loss of their children. And why not? Their faith tells them they will meet again, but it is their senses that rule – and deep down, they know they have no proof. They console themselves by imagining their deceased children living in comfort with Jesus, but it cannot truly ease their pain.

    But the ability to feel remorse is not a justification for cruel behavior. And cruelty is defined by its results, not its intentions. A parent can beat his or her child into a bloody pulp because he or she loves the child and wants to save its soul, but this is still held as abuse in a court of law. Why is medicine any different? Why are parents allowed to choose whether their child lives or dies?

    Now, I am not a “sanctity of life” kind of person. I believe that a person has a right to take his or her own life if he desires, or to end the life of another if justifiable benefit can be demonstrated. (An example: self-defense. Another example: a life-threatening or incredibly traumatic pregnancy.) Some may take me to task for supporting the right to abortion but not the right to deny medical attention, but these two issues can hardly be considered the same. Someone who is pregnant and seeking an abortion has made a mistake – or is the victim of someone else’s mistake – and must now pay for it with her own body. A child, on the other hand, is a willful occurrence – except in rare cases, its mother made a conscious choice to keep the foetus and bring it to term. By doing so, she has officially declared her decision to care for the child, or to transfer it to someone who is capable of caring for it.

    Is it not her right to care for it as she sees fit? Why should she be forced to treat her child the way the government believes is best instead of following her own instincts? We do not dictate how people raise their children, why should we dictate how they treat them?

    Again, I refer to the punishment-as-abuse example. We allow parents to raise their children as they wish up to the point when it endangers their welfare. And that is exactly where the cutoff should be made. A woman may abort her foetus (within certain limits) because it is a part of her body, and has no life of its own. Once that foetus leaves its mother’s body – generally as a newborn baby – it ceases to be a part of its mother. It is no longer utilizing her resources from necessity, and therefore its welfare can safely be prioritized without inhibiting hers. Since there is no longer a justifiable benefit to the destruction of the child, she has lost the right to do as she likes with it.

    Do I feel that the parents should have had their kids taken away for allowing the first one to die? The jury’s still out on that one. I do believe that their sentence was not harsh enough – at the very least, they should serve more jail time and do it all at once – but if (if!) they follow the terms of their probation without issue, then I believe it is enough to protect the welfare of the children without destroying what is likely a very close-knit family.

    Why do I give them this? Because, thanks to our lax legal system and their own shoddy upbringing, the parents had no way of knowing that their actions posed a problem for their children. Now, they do – and, as it says in their Bible, they are “without excuse.” If they ever attempt something like this again, their children should be taken away, NQA.

  • Regretably I don’t think that a harsh sentance will persuade them of the illogicality (not to say the (unethical)choice they made.

    They have choosen to act on ‘belief’ rather than ‘knowledge’ to trust metaphysics rather than physics.

    If their daughters death wasn’t a good enough experiential exercise then perhaps we could offer them the opportunity to sit in the gas chamber and they can ask to be let out when they realise that The Enlightenment wasn’t just for fun it was to stop making people base their actions on Ju Ju.

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