Faith Healing is Child Abuse

Or, more accurately, it is the rubber-meets the road part of the broader abuse known as religion.

OREGON CITY — A Beavercreek couple who left their infant daughter’s fate to God rather than seek medical treatment for a mass that grew over her left eye will face charges of first-degree criminal mistreatment.

Prosecutors revealed Thursday during a custody hearing that a grand jury has indicted Timothy and Rebecca Wyland, members of Oregon City’s Followers of Christ church.

more, details

Comments

  1. #1 Szwagier
    July 27, 2010

    Good. Hope they’re convicted. Arseholes.

  2. #2 mxh
    July 27, 2010

    Glad to hear they’re being prosecuted. Reminds me of the parents who prayed for their daughter while she died an agonizing death with diabetic ketoacidosis. Luckily, they were found guilty (bad news is that they got off pretty light – 6 months in jail, I think). I’d love to say they meant the best for their child, but ignorance is not an excuse.

  3. #3 Dave
    July 27, 2010

    have a feeling that this is tip of the berg stuff.how many suffer with “tummy aches” and get a bible reading and not medical care,no matter how simple.

  4. #4 Keith
    July 28, 2010

    The suffering of anyone, especially children, is heart-wrenching. More needs to be done to heal and help all sufferers. However, there is two sides to every pancake. How about the children cured through responsible spiritual care when doctors have all said there was no hope? I have witnessed this several times.

  5. #5 sinned34
    July 28, 2010

    Umm, Keith – what do you mean by “spiritual care”?

  6. #6 Susan
    September 3, 2010

    As a Christian and a mother with a chronically ill child, I have several thoughts about this article. Yes, ignoring life-saving treatment for your child is without a doubt abuse. That being said, I wonder what your position would be in the case of a dead child whose parents ONLY took them to the doctor but failed to pray?? Medical treatment is a necessity, but for those of us with sick children, so is seeking & expecting Divine Healing.

    I can tell you first-hand that doctors do not always have the answers, usually make more mistakes than they are willing to admit, and often treat based on what they “hope” will work while practicing very little compassion. Most doctors do not deserve that title and should be called mere medical scientists. On that thought I must ask, where do you suppose the scientists that actually deserve to be called doctor got their talents?

    Many doctors at some of the nation’s best hospitals said my son would not recover after the 1st of many surgeries. When he did, many doctors told us he would not survive without a transplant. Yet he has. Not only has he survived, but with the power of prayer he has exceeded the expectations of even the best doctors that we have found. These are all miracles, not science. I continue to take my son to the doctor the same as you put gas in your car to maintain it. But when your car breaks down do you take it to the gas station or do you take it to a mechanic? I don’t think I will trust a scientist for my son’s recovery. His Creator has already proven that He alone holds the miracles.

  7. #7 Stephanie Z
    September 3, 2010

    Susan, I’m glad your son is doing well. However, until the body of studies that have been done show that prayer is actually effective (which they don’t), no one is doing anything wrong by not praying.

    “But how can you not do something that might work?” I hear you asking. Sacrificing a goat might work. Burning sage in and around the patient’s room might work. Both of those have their proponents. I’m guessing you don’t do either. I just add praying to my list.

  8. #8 Susan
    September 3, 2010

    As a Christian and a mother with a chronically ill child, I have several thoughts about this article. Yes, ignoring life-saving treatment for your child is without a doubt abuse. That being said, I wonder what your position would be in the case of a dead child whose parents ONLY took them to the doctor but failed to pray?? Medical treatment is a necessity, but for those of us with sick children, so is seeking & expecting Divine Healing.

    I can tell you first-hand that doctors do not always have the answers, usually make more mistakes than they are willing to admit, and often treat based on what they “hope” will work while practicing very little compassion. Most doctors do not deserve that title and should be called mere medical scientists. On that thought I must ask, where do you suppose the scientists that actually deserve to be called doctor got their talents?

    Many doctors at some of the nation’s best hospitals said my son would not recover after the 1st of many surgeries. When he did, many doctors told us he would not survive without a transplant. Yet he has. Not only has he survived, but with the power of prayer he has exceeded the expectations of even the best doctors that we have found. These are all miracles, not science. I continue to take my son to the doctor the same as you put gas in your car to maintain it. But when your car breaks down do you take it to the gas station or do you take it to a mechanic? I don’t think I will trust a scientist for my son’s recovery. His Creator has already proven that He alone holds the miracles.

  9. #9 Susan
    September 3, 2010

    Stephanie, when you say that prayer is not effective, you believe that this is the truth. Truth means that whatever you are stating excludes the opposite. I can show you just as many articles, studies, and live testimonies that show that prayer is, in fact, effective. This makes your argument not truth. What the website you provided fails to acknowlege is that prayer is NOT putting your faith in the words that you are speaking. Prayer IS putting your faith in Whom you are praying TO. If you put praying on your list (and actually do it) and your prayers are not answered, maybe your faith should be not so much in the words you are speaking or a study disproving its effectiveness, but to Whom you are praying to. Faith is acceptance of what you cannot see but feel deep within your heart. Not a study of someone else’s views. Faith is a way of life based on the truth of the Bible. I invite you to listen to the teachings (not studies) of Ravi Zacharias with discernment and not your own biases or those of the views you suppport, and examine (if you truly have tried prayer for yourself) why this method has failed you. There is an excellent link on this site to a page called “Does Prayer Make Any Difference?”. Spend some time on his website, what do you have to lose? I’m not asking you to sacrifice a goat.
    http://www.rzim.org/

  10. #10 Stephanie Z
    September 4, 2010

    Susan, goats have the advantage of being yummy. Also, they don’t redefine words to try to make their points.

  11. #11 Susan
    September 5, 2010

    Stephanie, maybe your disagreement here is not so much in the definition of these words but the point that is being made. Goats may be yummy but they do not bring you peace or joy or answer questions for you that even science cannot; God does. Goats do not answer your prayers; God does. Goats will not get you into heaven; God and Jesus Christ will! Goats don’t love you just the way you are or no matter what you have done, nor are they compassionate and merciful. People do not even do that for one another unless they have the love of God within them. Every person on this earth will one day have to make a decision concerning eternity and his or her salvation. I would rather put my faith in God for those things than goats and science, trusting that God does exist, than die one day and stand befor my Creator knowing that I had the choice to believe and chose not to.

  12. #12 Wowbagger
    September 6, 2010

    Susan, you’ve obviously not been hanging around the right goats – because we can get everything you get from your god (and more, esp. if it’s an Angora – that stuff’s quite valuable) from a nice, friendly goat.

    And no-one doubts that goats exist. Gods, on the other hand…

  13. #13 Mike Hanson-Haubrich
    September 6, 2010

    I have yet to meet a goat that would consign me to hell for choosing the wrong goat. I have yet to meet a goat that rejected me for being curious about the nature of sex and reproduction. I have yet to meet a goat that would make my child sick just to test my faith it it. I have yet to meet a goat that refused to give milk to a people that were not of its choosing. God is very selective in who he loves. Gotta follow the right church, or read the right bible, or have faith in just the right way or “Boom! Boom! Out Go the Lights.”

    The goats that we saw yesterday at the fair were incredibly cute, I will have you know.

    Further, I would get gas in my car and if the car had problems I would take it to a mechanic rather than pray over it, Susan.

  14. #14 hoary puccoon
    September 6, 2010

    I feel for Susan as the mother of a chronically-ill child. But why would a loving god make a believer’s child chronically ill– while my daughter, who is a firm atheist exactly because she can’t conceive of a loving god who would inflict suffering on innocents, has radiantly healthy chidren? In fact, across countries, a high rate of atheism is a good predictor of low child mortality. What does this say about the power of prayer?

  15. #15 Julie Stahlhut
    September 6, 2010

    Susan, what you have done for your son is not faith healing. You’ve obtained the best possible medical treatment for him. You have also prayed for him, as is your right. But you have not used prayer as a substitute for medical care.

    The details in the story about the Wylands are truly frightening. This is Timothy Wyland’s second marriage. His first ended when his wife died of breast cancer — after forgoing medical treatment in favor of faith healing. I can only be grateful that my own family doesn’t share this attitude; if they did, I’d have buried my 60-year-old mother instead of joyfully celebrating her 90th birthday with her.

  16. #16 Susan
    September 8, 2010

    I would like to first begin with addressing the case of the Wyland’s and the particular religion that they practice. Just because they practice faith healing does not make them Christians. The Followers of Christ Church is particularly known for its cult-like practices and shunning of its members specifically for seeking medical care. It is churches like this that paint a pretty gruesome picture of the God of true Christianity. The Followers of Christ Church would have people believing that God rejects people, but the truth of the matter is that our loving God is not a dictator. He is just that – a loving God who gave us free will because He wanted us to choose to love him and not dictate us. God does not reject people, people reject God. He is not selective in who He loves, rather man refuses God’s love. Just because man refuses God’s love does not mean that God does not love them. It only shows that man refuses to acknowledge that love The God that I serve loves all of His creation not matter what any of us have done. That’s the beauty of the Cross, that what is horrific to man is beautiful to God and regardless of what you have done or what you have believed, He is always there waiting with loving arms for you to receive Him. He is eagerly waiting for us to choose Him so that He can love us, and His heart is in anguish when we do not. That’s a pretty unselfish God if you ask me. Have you ever heard the saying “if you love someone let them go”? Why would this not apply to a loving God if he really is a loving God? He loved us enough to give us free will. We misused that free will during the Fall of Man, that’s why and when evil and suffering entered the world. This was never God’s plan for us. His will was for us to choose right and not wrong. Our earthly parents hope that we will make the right choices, but they cannot force us to. And when we do choose to do the wrong thing even when we know it’s wrong, we are punished, but still loved. Yet even when man chose wrong anyway, God still had a plan to win us back to Himself for eternity because He loved us so much. He loved us so much that He stepped down from His Almighty throne and came into the world through His Son Jesus Christ. There is more evidence, even before the Bible, for the life of Jesus than any other historical figure. Jesus was a servant and 100% sinless while on this earth, yet it was evil people in this world that beat Him half to death and nailed Him to a cross. He did not deserve it, but in those beatings and shedding of His Blood Jesus took the penalty for all mankind. Why did He endure all of this if He did nothing wrong? Because He loved us – all of us, and there is nothing any of you can do to make him not love you. All we need to do is choose and believe in Jesus Christ and the work that He did on the cross for us.

    One of the most amazing things of the cross is that God used the evil of the world to accomplish the work that He needed to accomplish, to accomplish a greater good. If Jesus had not endured the suffering of the cross, there would be no reconciliation to the relationship with our loving God that the Satan tried to destroy in the Garden of Eden. For those of us who choose to believe, suffering is priceless, and we are blessed because of suffering. Only that Blood could and still does take away feelings of shame, guilt, hatred, despair, and restore it with hope and peace.

    For those of you who do not believe, until you know what it is to be in a pit of despair with no apparent way out other than to take a chance and call on God and hope that He hears your call, and I can tell you He will, you won’t know or understand the power of His love. When you dance so close to the edge of death with your own child, you begin to question what is the purpose of life. You can either turn to God or get mad at him. Initially, I got mad at Him, and it was not until I stopped looking at our suffering as suffering that I finally saw the blessings in all of it. And when I finally took the hand of my Heavenly Father and climbed up out of the pit of despair and self-pity, my son started getting better. Shortly after his premature birth, my son had to have most of his small bowel removed. The best medical care I can find has no other way of meeting his nutritional needs than by an IV solution that causes liver damage and liver failure.. Just before I accepted Christ, the transplant team move my son up on the transplant list because his liver was not getting better, he was getting worse. Six weeks ago, they moved his status back down. You may assume that my son suffers, but I will tell you that despite some temporary discomforts, he is one of the happiest and most loving children that you would ever meet. He has touched the lives of so many people just because of his happiness and sweetness, lives that he would not have touched had it not been for his illness. Everyone who meets him, regardless of whether they share my faith or not, believes that my son is here for a reason.

    Several times I have watched my son drift in and out of conciousness because his blood sugar has plummeted to levels such that by all medical definitions he could and should be dead. Meanwhile, his doctors were trying to get me to handle it from home, insisting that we could recover his glucose levels with their recommended home treatments that were failing before my eyes. Medical studies prove that when blood glucose drops below 20, the neurons in the brain start to become electrically silent. When his blood sugar dipped to 30 and was still dropping, my 22 month old son looked past me with glazed eyes, reached out and said simply, “Jesus”. Faith did not put that name into my child’s mouth, and since his brain was beginning to shut down, the only force powerful enough to put that into the mouth of such a young child was God. I did not rely on God to bring his blood sugar up from its lowest reading of 7, but I did rely on God to keep my son alive until we could get him medical treatment. I also relied on God to give me the peace that I needed to get through it by knowing that He is in control, and that no matter what happened I would be ok and so would my son. If God had chosen to take my son’s life during these times, I would have been ok because even if he had died he would only have been delivered back to the hands of his Creator. He would have been rejoicing in heaven waiting for me to one day be reunited with him. But I knew that death was not part of God’s plan for my son that day, because the full glory of God has not yet been revealed through him. My son is being healed as we speak, in God’s timing not mine, and when he is fully healed and topped off with a miracle I believe that souls will be saved because of it, quite possibly the athiest souls of the daughter and granddaughter mentioned in the comment above. Non-believers will be shocked to know that although they themselves do not believe, it may very well be the power of intercessory prayers of believers that get them into heaven. Physical health is nothing compared to eternal salvation. No animal on earth has this kind of power.

  17. #17 Andrew
    September 8, 2010

    Susan, how do you know?

  18. #18 Wowbagger
    September 8, 2010

    One of the most amazing things of the cross is that God used the evil of the world to accomplish the work that He needed to accomplish, to accomplish a greater good.

    But any evil that existed only existed because God created it. Why couldn’t he just snap his fingers and dispel it? Why did anyone need to get nailed to anything? It just makes no sense except – as you’ve so aptly demonstrated – as the basis for transparent appeals to emotion.

  19. #19 10,000li
    September 8, 2010

    Uggh!

    You can predict the way these conversations go from the first post by the believer:

    Believer: Real medicine/science is great, as far as it goes, but you need God to go farther.

    Questioner: What about X, Y, Z?

    Believer: Can X, Y, Z save your soul?

    Questioner: We weren’t talking about souls, we were talking about medicine/science and prayer healing. What about case Q where prayer didn’t work?

    Believer: The folks in case Q were not True Christians like me. Prayer only works for True Chrisitians who follow the Council of Ancient Greek City of AD 492. Everyone else’s children will die slow, agonizing deaths, until they repent and become True Christians.

    Questioner: Um. I thought we were talking about medicine/science and prayer.

    Random Interloper: Hey, Believer, didn’t you know that the members of Council of Ancient Greek City were all shown to be sheep buggerers? Hmm? What’s your God got to say about that?

    Another Random Interloper: Hey, Believer, according to suparagraph J, section I, line 3 of Awesome God’s Contract with Lowly Man: God says he’ll heal anyone, even those not of the Council of Ancient Greek City. How do you reconcile that passage with your beliefs?

    Believer: Awesome God’s Contract with Lowly Man was written for a simpler people. Council of Ancient Greek City doesn’t contradict Awesome God’s Contract with Lowly Man, it adds to it.

    etc.