Evolving Thoughts

As ye sow…

A woman who stabbed her entire family, killing her father and teenage sister, in Sydney, turns out to be a psychotic. She had been diagnosed and prescribed drugs to control it. But her parent, Scientologists, disapproved and convinced her to stop them.

I feel enormously sorry for this poor woman. She was doing the right thing and her stupid parents’ religion (that parses both ways, and rightly) interfered. One might say they brought it on themselves. Chalk up more deaths to this insane religion scam.

Reports here and here.

Comments

  1. #1 Duae Quartunciae
    July 9, 2007

    I’d not been following the news closely; this is the first I had heard of this dimension to the matter. I would not have thought it possible, but the horror of this tragedy has just increased substantially for me.

  2. #2 dorid
    July 9, 2007

    This is terrible… imagine the horrible guilt that woman will have to deal with for the rest of her life. It isn’t going to help to remind her she was unstable when she did it. There will always be the what if’s. It would have been a lot less likely for something like this to happen if she were stable on her meds.

    The parents brought this on themselves and their family. Mom should be jailed for this, not this poor woman. She and her husband knowingly endangered their entire family.

    It makes me sick.

  3. #3 h3nry
    July 9, 2007

    I have just blogged this piece of news myself. This is a preventable tragedy that should not have happened. We should make this insane scientology belief a crime.

    The real victim here is the woman. According to the report, she knows what she have done, and now she has to live that for the rest of her life. I feel so terrible for her tortured soul.

    Scientology, you have this to answer for.

  4. #4 Aaron Clausen
    July 9, 2007

    My Jehovah’s Witness upbringing brought me into contact with a number of people who had been effected by their insane position on blood transfusions (medically insane and theologically warped). The power of a religion to convince parents to withhold vital medical treatment from their children is extraordinary. People, in all defiance of reason, can hold and exercise such beliefs.

    I ultimately don’t know what the solution is. In our Western heritage, we believe strongly that individuals have the right to their beliefs and to act upon their conscience, and that as parents, they have the right to raise their children in their faith. I’d hate to go to the extreme of stating children can’t be indoctrinated into their parents’ faith, but when you hear stories like this, or of some brainwashed fifteen year old going to the courts to prevent the use of life-saving blood transfusions, it gets awfully tempting.

  5. #5 Chris
    July 9, 2007

    But religion is mostly harmless, right? Theists always make sure to mention all the good it does whenever you bring up the subject, but as Hitchens says, if you’re reducing it to a charity, there’s really no need for it. This is sickening and awful…

  6. #6 Azkyroth
    July 9, 2007

    I ultimately don’t know what the solution is. In our Western heritage, we believe strongly that individuals have the right to their beliefs and to act upon their conscience, and that as parents, they have the right to raise their children in their faith. I’d hate to go to the extreme of stating children can’t be indoctrinated into their parents’ faith, but when you hear stories like this, or of some brainwashed fifteen year old going to the courts to prevent the use of life-saving blood transfusions, it gets awfully tempting.

    There is no conflict between a reasonable interpretation of freedom of belief and protecting the lives of innocent children. No right is held to be absolute in cases where its exercise would cause manifest harm to others. The right to freedom of speech does not entitle one to shout “fire!” in a crowded theater, incite a riot, or give false testimony in court; the right to freedom of the press does not entitle one to commit libel or publish the details of top secret government research or military operations in the general press. Why should religious freedom be any different? If a couple were to butcher and burn their infant son as a human sacrifice, no court would accept “religious freedom” as an excuse no matter how devoted the parents were to their creed–they would be guilty of premeditated homicide. Why should reckless endangerment and/or manslaughter in cases where medical treatment is withheld for “religious” reasons be treated differently?

  7. #7 Chuck C
    July 9, 2007

    She had moved back home with her parents following a relationship breakdown and other stresses, including changing to an evangelical church.

    Out of the frying pan…

  8. #8 Russ W
    July 9, 2007

    A similar thing happened with the brother of a good friend. The brother was diagnosed with severe schizophrenia and was put in a group home. After a period of time, his grandmother showed up and took custody of him, without the consent of his mother. It was her belief that his only problems were laziness and junk food. So she threw away his meds, woke him up early every morning to do chores, and cut out junk food in his diet.

    Needless to say, it did not work. He became delusionally paranoid and killed her with a knife. It was a harsh blow to a family that had already endured more than a fair share of tragedy.

  9. #9 Dan
    July 9, 2007

    This has happened before see the story about Jeremy Perkins.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elli_Perkins

  10. #10 h3nry
    July 9, 2007

    Hi Aaron, I think the issue here is not about religious freedom – it is about saving human lives, and to me the choice is rather clear.

    At worst case you can cherry-pick the religious tennets and toss out absurdity such as the rejection of blood tranfusion. At best case – ditch the cults altogether.

  11. #11 Jon H
    July 9, 2007

    It’s remarkable that the stories note a large group of family members showing up to support her. I can certainly see the reverse happening, and the family asking for the book to be thrown at her.

    I wonder if they’d all been annoyed at the Scientologist parents.

  12. #12 David Doyle
    July 9, 2007

    Scientology isn’t actually a religion. It is a money-making scam created just a few decades ago and it irks me whenever it is included in any listing of religions.

  13. #13 Azkyroth
    July 9, 2007

    Scientology isn’t actually a religion. It is a money-making scam

    Make up your mind. ;/

  14. #14 rob
    July 9, 2007

    david, are you saying the catholic church isn’t profitable? has it always been old?

    there is exactly as much evidence to support scientology’s doctrine as for that of any other religion, which is to say none. which is to say… well, you know where i’m going.

  15. #15 Mike Haubrich, FCD
    July 9, 2007

    Rob -

    If only the adherents of any religion were to examine their own beliefs with as much skepticism as they do the cults, the Enlightenment would arrive rapidly.

    So far all of those that ridicule Mormons, Scientologists, Moonies, Church of God, Catholics, etc etc; I would say what is attributed to Jesus:

    “You hypocrites. Remove the plank from your own eye before criticising the mote in your neighbor’s eye.”

  16. #16 G. Tingey
    July 10, 2007

    Someone said they didn’t know what the solution is …

    Oh come on!

    In the case of Jehovah’s W’s …
    When the child dies, because of no treatment, the parents are prosecuted and jailed for manslaughter and/or accessory before the fact to murder.

    Ditto in this scientology case.

    If this is done a few times, peole will get the message!

  17. #17 John Morales
    July 10, 2007

    I live in Australia and, of course, it’s in our news.

    In this ABC News story, the circumstances appear slightly different.

  18. #18 Shaun
    July 10, 2007

    Cyrus Brooks, Vice President of the Australian Church of Scientology defends their beliefs about psychiatry.

    He uses standard, boring, fallacious arguments.
    E.g. that a physical disease such as diabetes might be behind psychiatric symptoms (as if medical professionals don’t ask you if anything might be causing your symptoms… like the death of a relative for depression)

    That psychiatric drugs are unproven – he cites a newspaper article and “other research”, claiming that these drugs only mask the symptoms but don’t get at the cause. Nevermind of course, that to suggest that they mask the symptoms implies that they work. He just pretends that he is trying to reform a field where professional organisations aren’t already lightyears ahead of him.

    These guys have no excuse. I hope he at least realises that anaesthetics and narcotic analgesics only mask the symptoms but don’t get at the cause the next time he needs major surgery.

  19. #19 David Doyle
    July 10, 2007

    Scientology was invented by an identifiable man who said he was making it up before he did it. And he did it within the living memory of the people now running the scam. Therefore, to me, it rises to the top of the list of false religions, ahead of its immediate predecessor in the category of “Religions Made Up By Americans When Everyone Should Know Better” – that is Mormonism. Main stream religions evolved over millenia as early Man tried to understand and control the world, and build workable societies. The fact that they too get it wrong doesn’t lessen my contempt for the dupes that follow Scientology.

  20. #20 Phoenix Woman
    July 10, 2007

    This goes back to L. Ron Hubbard’s original statement that he could “go Freud one better: invent a religion AND make money off of it.” Hubbard, the ultimate huckster, assumed that everyone who was as smart as him was as base and crooked as him, and that Freud wasn’t interested in helping people. It’s the same mentality you see in “bleed the beast” anti-government types: They rationalize their raping and corruption of government by claiming that government is inherently evil.

  21. #21 bullfighter
    July 10, 2007

    David Doyle:

    Come on, how did Christianity or Islam “evolve over millennia”? They were created by an identifiable man (in the latter case) or an identifiable small group of men (in the former) over a period of at most a few decades. Sure, they evolved later, but half a century after they were created, their characteristics were similar to those of Scientology today. The only difference is that Mohammad, Paul, John the Baptist and (if he existed) Jesus risked their lives and Hubbard was safe and comfortable. But difference in founders’ bravery has no bearing on the validity of their doctrines.

    Scientology is hogwash, but that is not an argument to distinguish it from other religions. It is a piece of evidence that religion is hogwash.

  22. #22 David Doyle
    July 10, 2007

    Christianity and Islam are the end product of development over millenia, including adoption of previous culture’s traditions, and co-option of earlier myths. (Truest line in the Bible: There is nothing new under the sun…)While I agree that both were specially created at a fairly identifiable moment in time, neither sprung whole from the mind of one person who said in advance that he was going to invent a religion to get rich. I do see your point that since it’s all bullshit, there is no real point in deciding which pile smells worse. It’s just that Scientology is our scam, a 20th century American-made scam, and that bugs me.

  23. #23 John Vreeland
    July 10, 2007

    Back around 1995 I had what today would be called an anti-scientology weblog. This recent event does not surprise me even a little. Anyway, here’s someone else’s relevant data, to which this episode will likely have to be added: http://www.scientology-kills.org/

  24. #24 The Countess
    July 10, 2007

    I dated a Scientologist when I was in college. He had to be one of the most hostile people I’ve ever met. The relationship didn’t last long. I’ve noticed that the Scientologists I ran into had a holier-than-thou air about themselves not unlike some evangelical Christians. I avoid both like the plague now.

  25. #25 Justin Moretti
    July 11, 2007

    But difference in founders’ bravery has no bearing on the validity of their doctrines.

    Bullfighter, I note that Christ emphasized charity towards others, kindness, compassion and forgiveness among His doctrines, while His miracles included the healing of the sick and raising from the dead. Even if you set aside the “I am the way, the truth and the life, nobody comes to the Father except through me” – which STILL might be taken as “by following my example of compassion, forgiveness etc.” – much of what he said, did and preached would, if carried out by the bulk of humanity, make the world a happier place. He also specifically said “Whenever you [performed certain works of charity] for [someone in an unfortunate position], [it's as if] you did it for me.” The Good Samaritan of his parable was specifically NOT a Christian, not even a Jew, almost certainly a polytheist worshipper of pagan Gosd… but had Christ’s approval because of his charitable and merciful actions.

    He also specifically rejected the methods of the Pharisees, by which human beings had to jump and dance on cue to the tune of a mass of prescribed religious observances, which is why control freaks like Ratzinger are going to scream in Hell.

    I’d be the first to say that the full, old-fashioned Catholic liturgy (for example) has its moments of cultural beauty (it was very comforting at the time of my grandparents’ deaths), and I’ve been to the odd Latin Mass, but one shouldn’t have to rely on it for one’s salvation (or lack of damnation).

    If the Scientologists ruled the world, however, it would be Hell on Earth.

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