Another innocent child has fallen victim to the irrational religious faith of her parents. The 11 year old girl died of diabetes because her parents turned to prayer as a substitute for medical treatment. The couple's other three children have been removed from the home, but the local police chief expects that they will be returned when the investigation is complete. The chief also said this:
"There is no intent. They didn't want their child to die. They thought what they were doing was the right thing," he said. "They believed up to the time she stopped breathing she was going to get better. They just thought it was a spiritual attack. They believed if they prayed enough she would get through it."
Intent or not, the parents' unconscionable ignorance and backward religious superstition is responsible for the girl's death. Religion is no excuse for an unnecessary death. Religion itself is the disease that ultimately killed this girl, and it is a preventable disease. There should be consequences for beliefs that interfere with saving any life. Justice is owed to children who are harmed by such stupidity.
Imagine this ad absurdum scenario:
Some organization, for bizarre reasons, launches a massive information campaign encouraging people to pray instead of dialing "911" in emergency situations. They have TV and radio commercials, pamphlets, newsletters, school seminars and door-to-door visits. They manage to convince a significant swath of the population that 911 is unnecessary or even harmful to the "spiritual healing" that is required.
In this fictitious scenario, the organization is spreading only misinformation designed to interfere with emergency services. There must surely be laws that can be applied to halt such harmful mischief. Regardless of their apparent sincerity, the people behind this misinformation should be held accountable for the deaths and injuries that result from their message.
This scenario may sound ridiculous, but it is not substantively different from recommendations made by many religions. One example is the Mormon healing ritual of pouring olive oil on the sick and injured. I have heard some credible anecdotes of Mormon elders delaying emergency treatment so that they can perform this absurd action. If any child were to die or suffer compounded injury due to this practice, then those elders should face criminal charges for interfering with rational and necessary care. It would be nice to see the religion itself held accountable for propagating backward, irrational and harmful practices.