Friday, August 21, 2009

My Sixty Kids

Between one and five children in the United States die every month from medical neglect for religious reasons. On average it's about fifty to sixty kids each year. In a country of over 3 million, some might not understand why I pick these sixty kids to fight for. (What does it say about "faith healing" that all the Google results are either about trials and deaths, or advertisements promising "Faith healing works!")

I was in the faith healing movement from the time I was born (at home, with no medical assistance) through my late teens. Only one child I personally knew died during that time. But I also know that for every child who is prayed to death represents a hundred more who do not get the basics in physical care. Kids that live with asthma and no inhaler, or diabetes with no insulin. Kids that break bones or get into bad cuts or scrapes. As long as government has one set of laws for most of us, and a different set of laws for those whose religious insanity requires their children to suffer, these sixty kids will die each year and hundreds more will suffer needless pain.

But even that's not the whole story. A doctor is someone in a position of authority who is not the person brainwashing you at home. Isolationism is a major component of a cult, and ours was no different. Our government finds it perfectly legal for parents to educate their children at home, and to deny them medical care if the stated reason is religious belief. So I was home-schooled for a time, home-churched for a while, home-healed for decades, and mentally home-bound. There was no outside, disinterested third-party, like a doctor or a teacher, able to discern that abuse was going on in my home, who would be bound by law and custom to report it to authorities.

I used to babysit little girls in the cult, five sisters. They were 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9 years old - and even the oldest one couldn't read. They were being home-schooled by their parents, who had neither one graduated high school. Since they were so withdrawn from secular resources, not only did they not get a proper education (or any real education at all), they had no medical care. Add to that the fact that every one who knew them well enough to know what was going on agreed with them, and you have five girls out there who got a screwed-up start, at best.

When my brother reported our situation to HRS (now CPI) they did a slap-dash cursory investigation. No one had warned me that this was even going on. I got called to the principal's office from my second grade classroom at Riverhills Christian School. There was a police officer in Mr. Oppenheimer's office, and he asked me all sorts of questions. I had no idea what this was really supposed to be about, but when he asked me questions about Gig and how she treated David (horribly) I panicked and started confession to both my brother and sister shoplifting at the Circle K around the corner from our house (but left out my own thieving from the story). I told him my parents were good and fine and my brother was just disobedient. And without further investigation, they believed me, and we got no help. I was seven, my sister was nine, and my brother had just turned twelve. Once the "investigation' was over, my grandmother exacted revenge on David. Within two months my brother didn't live with us anymore. I don't know all the details of what went into that decision, from my mother's point of view, but I know she deeply regrets it now.

How can let someone tell you to give up your son? Why simple - follow a religion that claims that is the ultimate proof of God's love. Abraham and Isaac. God and Jesus. Killing your own child, or rather sacrificing your child, is presented as the greatest good in the Bible.
16"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son.[c] 19This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God." (emphasis mine)
Not only does this favorite evangelical passage praise God's "love" for us because he killed/allowed to be kiled/sent to be killed his son, it also confirms where the Bible says atheists are going. (Sorry compassionate Christians, but your Bible says we're condemned already.)

Don't let more kids remain isolated and ignorant. Indoctrination works best when there's no opposing views to counter. Even something as simple as an annual visit to the doctor for a physical would give these times some time with the kind of aduklt who doesn't beleive in magic faith healoing and who knows what numerous bruises are likely to indicate. Please sign my petition to get religious exemption language removed from the HR 3200 health care bill. Because sixty kids dying of witchcraft superstition in America in the 21st century is intolerable.

Dr. Stephen Barrett has excellent follow-up reading: Some Thoughts About Faith Healing.