When faith goes wrong.

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by steve knight, Feb 3, 2010.

  1. steve knight macrumors 68020

    steve knight

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    Ore. parents found guilty of neglecting ill son

    OREGON CITY, Ore. (AP) - An Oregon couple was found guilty Tuesday of criminally negligent homicide for praying over their ill son instead of seeking medical help.

    The jury returned the verdict on the second day of deliberations in the trial of Jeff and Marci Beagley, both members of the Followers of Christ Church in Oregon City. Church members gasped as Judge Steven Maurer read the verdicts.

    The couple, who remain free on bail, is scheduled for sentencing on Feb. 18. Because neither has a prior conviction, state sentencing guidelines call for 16 to 18 months in prison.

    Prosecutors said the Beagleys had a duty as parents to provide medical care for their 16-year-old son, Neil, who died in 2008 of complications from a urinary tract blockage. The defense argued the teenager had symptoms more like a cold or the flu.

    The couple and other church members at the hearing declined to comment Tuesday. Wayne Mackeson, Jeff Beagley's attorney, said they would consider an appeal.

    "It's never been a referendum on the church. This case involves parents who didn't understand how sick their child was," he said.

    The Followers of Christ shuns conventional medicine in favor of faith healing. The church has been in Oregon City since early in the 20th century. Its members, by their own description and that of others, keep to themselves.

    State authorities have found that an unusual number of children whose families belonged to the Followers of Christ had died at an early age, leading to a 1999 state law that eliminated faith healing as a defense in some manslaughter and criminal mistreatment cases.

    The trial of the Beagleys was the second major faith healing trial in the state since the law was changed, although previous laws on criminally negligent homicide applied in their case.

    Oregon is among several states that limit or do not allow faith or spiritual healing as a defense in some criminal charges for the death of a child. A Wisconsin couple accused of praying instead of seeking treatment for their diabetic 11-year-old daughter was sentenced to prison in a similar case there, and a Pennsylvania couple who prayed over their toddler was recently ordered to stand trial on manslaughter charges in his pneumonia death.

    The Beagleys are the parents of Raylene Worthington, who along with her husband were acquitted of manslaughter last year in the March 2008 death of their 15-month-old daughter, Ava, from pneumonia and a blood infection. Her husband, Carl Brent Worthington, was convicted of misdemeanor criminal mistreatment.

    The Beagleys were present at the death of their granddaughter, laying on hands after anointing her with oil and praying for her to be healed instead of seeking medical care that church members avoid.

    Greg Horner, the chief deputy district attorney who also prosecuted the faith healing trial, argued that the Beagleys should have been alert to the potential for relatively mild symptoms to mask serious and even fatal disease after the death of their granddaughter.

    Defense lawyers argued the Beagleys were acting reasonably and did not believe Neil was in danger of dying.

    Attorney Wayne Mackeson told the jury that all of Neil Beagley's symptoms were "nonspecific," meaning they could have been a sign of any number of diseases, including a common cold or the flu.

    District Attorney John Foote said his office would have no comment until after sentencing.

    "The jury's verdicts of guilty are extremely important for this community," he said. "However, the cases are still not complete."
     
  2. Zombie Acorn macrumors 65816

    Zombie Acorn

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    #2
    Faith healing was an actual defense? wtf? Do we live in the middle ages still?
     
  3. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    Honestly, this should not stand. I don't see how people can be forced to use conventional health care. But I guess if it's a minor the law may see it differently than for an adult.
     
  4. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

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    #4
    They would have been acquitted in most of the US southern states.
     
  5. Zombie Acorn macrumors 65816

    Zombie Acorn

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    #5
    Brainwashing kids into dieing should not be allowed. If you are 18 and want to die believing some ******** go ahead, thats one less person to reproduce and perpetuate the system.
     
  6. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #6
    Yes, I think you're right.
     
  7. abijnk macrumors 68040

    abijnk

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    #7
    As others have said, I'd agree with you if it wasn't a child.


    We have no problem in this country letting adults die if they want to (in fact, we apparently don't have a problem letting them die when they don't want to). Kids are a different story. I'm glad these parents are being held accountable.
     
  8. steve knight thread starter macrumors 68020

    steve knight

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    #8
    this church caused a law to be made how sad is that?
    why should parents be able to kill their children because they believe in something? that is a very dangers slope.
    I have been reading about fundy wackiness.
    quiverfull is one that's popping its head up. where woman open their womb to god and let him decide how many blessings they receive.
    it can go farther where the woman is submissive to the man and her main job is to have children and raise a army for god. the only problem is that the man is supposed to stay ad home so the families are poor and home schooled and not allowed to get a real education.

    it runs in the family since these peoples own children let their own daughter die. but they only got a slap on the wrist charge. these people are evil and htere is no other way around that. when you use your believes to kill your children even when you see first hand your believes do not work that is evil.
     
  9. nbs2 macrumors 68030

    nbs2

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    From the info posted, I'm torn on this one. Normally, I would suggest that the parents were obligated to seek medical treatment for the child. When faith had reached its productive limits, medical help that is respectful of beliefs should have been welcomed.

    But, there is something I wonder about this community. The article suggests that they have limited contact with "outsiders." If their relationship with the rest of the world is such that they shun the modern existence and adhere to early 20th century methodologies, I would not begrudge them their faith healing. Dragging other nations into our understanding of civilization hasn't gone so well, why should we expect it go over better here? Wouldn't it be better to be a beacon of good and let the people draw themselves to it?
     
  10. ucfgrad93 macrumors P6

    ucfgrad93

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    #10
    Wow, this a difficult one. I believe in a person's religious freedom, however, those parents had an obligation to protect their child. However, it does make one wonder how far should religious freedom go?
     
  11. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

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    #11
    Given this too, makes it much more difficult to side with the parents. To be honest though given the parents crazy religious views have allowed their child to die twice any remaining children need to be taken into care.
     
  12. Ttownbeast macrumors 65816

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    Stupidity cannot be outlawed as much as we'd like it to be. Laws punish for actions that have occurred, they prevent nothing from being committed.
     
  13. steve knight thread starter macrumors 68020

    steve knight

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    if people can do what they want because of their beliefs then killing could be condoned because someone believes it. we should have freedom of religion as long as it does not hurt others.
    people will believe anything and sometimes they need to pay for that.
     
  14. mcrain macrumors 68000

    mcrain

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    #14
    Anyone else see the irony in this?

    Very religious people who don't believe in evolution are killing themselves off. The smart survive, and the criminally religious don't.
     
  15. Surely Guest

    Surely

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    #15
    They live in the United States and must adhere to state and federal law. It doesn't matter that they insulate themselves from the rest of the country/world. That doesn't give them the right to ignore laws.

    They know about medical treatment, but they choose to ignore it because it doesn't fit into their religious beliefs. It's not like they have no idea what a doctor is.

    This case is a perfect example of extremist religious fundamentalism right here in the US.

    As others have said, if it was an adult who died because he/she refused medical treatment, that's their own business. When it comes to a child who doesn't have the ability to decide for him/herself, that is unacceptable.

    They should go to prison longer than the state guidelines.
     
  16. Gelfin macrumors 68020

    Gelfin

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    #16
    If you were to grant some Christian sects a pass on child endangerment laws on the basis of their belief in faith healing, you'd have to also be willing to grant Satanists a pass on murder laws on the basis of their belief in human sacrifice (which is admittedly hypothetical for purposes of this argument).

    The state has an undeniable interest in protecting children from being victimized by neglectful parents whose actions can potentially or actually result in those children's deaths. The state on the other hand has no business exercising moral judgment over the rationale for the neglect. We criminalize the behavior. The belief motivating it is private and protected.

    To excuse behavior from one citizen that would be criminal when performed by another, solely on the basis of a religious belief one holds and the other lacks, is the course that would violate the establishment clause.
     
  17. Cave Man macrumors 604

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    They already do. Look at the vaccine exemptions.
     
  18. .Andy macrumors 68030

    .Andy

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    #18
    Which makes me realise we've not a thread about the long time coming and inevitable developments in the Wakefield case....
     
  19. Gelfin macrumors 68020

    Gelfin

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    #19
    Those exemptions are in my view somewhat questionable, but less Constitutionally offensive in those states that include a nonspecific "philosophical" exemption, which is functionally equivalent to simply not making vaccination mandatory in the first place.

    I am not sure how well some of those exemptions would survive a court challenge, but having established them it is difficult to argue who has standing to mount the challenge. An estranged spouse of a custodial parent who takes the exemption could manage it, but that sort of thing would tend to get resolved in family court without ever touching the Constitutional issue.

    There are certainly cogent arguments on the other side, but my position is what it is.
     
  20. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

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    #20
    That's outrageous.
     
  21. StruckANerve macrumors 6502

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    #21
    I agree, the Government has no place in this and it should respect the families religious beliefs.
     
  22. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

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    #22
    So, religion trumps life?
     
  23. Sydde macrumors 68020

    Sydde

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    #23
    Well, my cousin and her husband are Satanists, and their priest has marked their 5 y/o son for ritual sacrifice. They are down with that because their religion comes first.
     
  24. NT1440 macrumors G4

    NT1440

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    #24
    I don't think that real satanism actually incorporates any of that crap, from what I've read.
     
  25. Rt&Dzine macrumors 6502a

    Rt&Dzine

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    #25
    However, sacrificing children is in the Bible.
     

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