Children are not their parents’ property

Yesterday’s post about Sarah Hershberger, the Amish girl from northeast Ohio with lymphoblastic lymphoma who refused chemotherapy, prompting a court battle that led to the appointment of a medical guardian for her to make sure she receives treatment, got me to thinking (always a dangerous thing). Actually, I had to think back over the years about all the similar cases of unfortunate children with cancer whose misfortune was compounded by having been born to woo-loving parents, such as Daniel Hauser.

These stories are depressingly similar, as are the arguments that go on over them. First, a child develops cancer. That child starts chemotherapy and does well initially. Then, the child develops side effects. The parents react quite understandably, becoming alarmed at their child’s suffering. However, because of a tendency towards magical thinking they can’t seem to see the big picture. So they stop the chemotherapy and pursue quackery. Sometimes, thinking that their child’s tumor is gone because it is no longer detectable after a cycle or two (or three) of chemotherapy, they think their child doesn’t need any more chemotherapy. They don’t understand (or accept) the rationale for consolidation and maintenance chemotherapy that lead most chemotherapy regimens for childhood malignancies to be at least two years long. They don’t understand that by stopping therapy so early they are greatly increasing the chances that their child’s cancer will return.

Other aspects of these stories are maddeningly similar. Usually what happens next is that either the hospital or the state’s child protective services go to court to make sure that the child receives proper cancer care. What follows is then usually a court battle in which the parents and their allies (and, yes, they always find allies) portray the hospital and child protective services as fascistic tools of big government doing the will of big pharma to torture an innocent child. I only exaggerate a little. Actually, no, I am not exaggerating at all. In the uncommon case in which the court actually rules that the child must undergo treatment, it is not uncommon for the parents to flee with the child. We’ve seen it with Daniel Hauser; we’ve seen it with Abraham Cherrix and Katie Wernecke; and we now see it with Sarah Hershberger, whose father is said to have taken her out of the country to avoid her receiving chemotherapy.

It is this demonization of medical professionals and case workers trying to do the right thing that reveals a very disturbing aspect of the American psyche, and that’s the attitude that children are property and parents’ rights trump the well-being of the child. For example, take a look at this comment from a commenter by the ‘nym of H323:

All of this is caused by the general rejection of Judeo-Christian values. The Bible if very clear that children are a gift from God our Creator to the parents. They are God’s and God has given them to parents as stewards. The Bible leaves no room for the state to have custody of children! I am Mennonite and of the same Anabaptist faith as the Amish. The Amish and Mennonites will simply not accept a socialistic government that takes custody of it’s children and hands them over to a medical system that has little regard for human life (abortion services are considered a medical service.) If we have too, we will leave this country before we accept this type of horror. When the mother wants to kill, the state grants the choice to the mother. When the mother wants to make cancer treatment choices, the state takes the choice from the mother! The cause for this is a society that has no regard for the Word of the Lord.

Then if you go to the Akron Children’s Hospital Facebook page, you’ll find comments like this one by a man named John Strangis (whose YouTube channel is chock full of HIV/AIDS denialism and videos on chemtrails), who writes on the ACH Facebook page:

Looks like the family won and the girl recovered with NATURAL TREATMENTS regardless of your efforts to force her into something which went against the wishes of her parents.

Then someone by the name of Elect Sys writes:

The Lord has given parents custody of children–not the state or worse yet someone who has a conflict of interest with the parents such as Akron Hospital. Flee the place at all cost!

Here’s someone named Madison Treiber:

THIS HOSPITAL IS VIOLATING HUMAN RIGHTS!!!! They are forcefully administering chemotherapy to a child who does not wish to be treated with such a method. Her parents are being legally required to allow this treatment that they, nor their daughter support.

This hospital, in conjunction with the Ohio court, are violating human rights. They are legally mandating what this girl do her body! It is not their choice. What sort of a country do we live in if the courts can decide how we treat our ailments?? They are robbing this child and her family of their freedoms. There are so many other options in treating cancer, and everyone should be able to pursue the treatments THEY prefer, not be legally required to do what the state thinks is best.

Do not support this appalling institution.

Funny how Ms. Treiber doesn’t seem to consider endangering the life of a child by withholding potentially life-saving treatment to be a violation of human rights. If you scroll back to the early part of October on the posts on the ACH Facebook page, which is around the time the ruling that Sarah Hershberger should undergo chemotherapy was handed down, you’ll find screed after screed after screed castigating ACH using similar arguments. They all boil down to outrage that any entity, be it the hospital, the courts, child protective services, or any other agency of the government, would dare to interfere with the parents’ absolute right (in their view) to care for their children the way that they see fit. It doesn’t matter that the parents are endangering Sarah Hershberger’s life by withholding the only treatment that can save her in favor of “natural healing” that can’t. While many commenters try to argue that this “natural healing” will work better than chemotherapy, more than a few of them seem to realize deep down that it won’t. They’ll qualify their statement by saying that the parent has the “right to choose” what is “best” for their child even if it’s clearly not, even as they express outrage that the state would try to intervene in the best interests of the child.

This belief that parental rights over their children are absolute and inviolate is not only common, but it takes some insidious forms, particularly when the abuse of children is based on religion. Given the strong tradition of religious freedom in this country that is inscribed in our very Constitution, it is understandable that people don’t want the government telling them how to practice their religion or interfering with their religion. However, as with all rights, the parents’ right to raise their children as they see fit has to be balanced with the rights of the child to life. When the exercise of a parents’ religion endangers the life of a child, the life of the child takes precedence—or should. It doesn’t always. It’s rare that parents who deny their children medical care suffer any penalty. (It does happen occasionally, but cases like this are rare.) Indeed, so much do government authorities bend over backward to respect parental rights that it is possible for parents who let one child die of pneumonia untreated because they believed Jesus would heal him retain custody of the rest of their children so that they could do it again and let a second child die.

We see this particular attitude among antivaccinationists as well. For instance, just the other day, the antivaccine crank blog Age of Autism published a little screed by someone named Dr. Karol Osborne entitled Concerns: UN Convention on Rights of Persons With Disabilities. Noting that the U.S. Senate has not yet ratified this treaty, Osborne is disturbed by reports that there is going to be another push to ratify this treaty, and that supporters of the treaty will try to “push it through very quickly.” Here’s the bug that’s up her posterior about this treaty:

This document is concerning on many fronts, but I believe it should be particularly concerning to any parent of a vaccine injured child, or really to anyone concerned about the skyrocketing incidence of autism (as well as a plethora of other serious chronic diseases) in our youth, and a potential link to vaccinations. The fundamental concern with this document is its adoption of the “best interests of the child” standard. With this change in language, courts and government agencies (rather than parents) would be given the authority to decide what is best for children with disabilities. This would come into play with choices about future vaccinations for autistic (and all disabled) children, decisions about medical treatments for autistic (and all disabled) children and school/educational choices.

Yes, you read that correctly. Osborne is upset because this treaty would adopt a standard that is based on the “best interests of the child,” and she fears that such a standard might interfere with the ability of antivaccine parents not to vaccinate. She also fears (with far more justification) that such a standard would make it far more difficult for antivaccine parents to subject their children to “autism biomed” quackery such as when Kent Heckenlively subjected his daughter to bogus “stem cell” treatments in Costa Rica or when parents risk the lives of their children by subjecting them to quackery like the Lupron protocol or chelation therapy.

According to Osborne, this is just the beginning:

The CRPD is just the first arm of the “1-2 punch” that is being planned. The second arm will then be ratification of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). Once the language is changed to the “best interests of the child” in the CRPD, this will grease the way to ratify the UN CRC, which, of course, is grounded in the same fundamental shift in language and approach to all of the children in the U.S., not just the disabled. Political leaders are leading with the CRPD, I believe, because they feel it stands a better chance at ratification, because parents of the disabled (busy caring for their disabled children) will not have the time to stand up against these plans.

What bothers Osborne so much is this:

What is at the crux of this is who determines what is in the “best interests of the child”? Historically, unless proven to be negligent or abusive, this authority has always rested with U.S. parents. With ratification of these two documents above, this authority will be transferred to the U.S. Government, and its health institutions (when it involves medical and health matters).

If you read the actual text of the convention, it’s nowhere near as ominous as people like Osborne try to paint it. Article 5, for instance, states that “States Parties shall respect the responsibilities, rights and duties of parents or, where applicable, the members of the extended family or community as provided for by local custom, legal guardians or other persons legally responsible for the child, to provide, in a manner consistent with the evolving capacities of the child, appropriate direction and guidance in the exercise by the child of the rights recognized in the present Convention.” I will say that parts of the document strike me as a bit utopian, but not any horrific threat to parental authority.

I actually do understand to some extent how parents might take a dim view of too much government interference in how they raise their children, particularly if government views conflict with cultural views. I also recognize that there are gray areas, where it’s not clear whose vision of the best interests of the child should prevail. I am not talking about such gray areas. I’m referring to how an utter insistence the inviolability of parental rights leads to children being harmed, even dying. It’s an insistence that has led to a Proposed Parental Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would essentially neuter the government with respect to protecting children from parental medical neglect or mistreatment. No wonder antivaccinationists like it.

It’s about more than just antivaccinationists, though. This deference to parental rights over the health of the child plays out again and again and again in these chemotherapy “refusenik” stories. Abraham Cherrix and Katie Wernecke? Their parents ran away with them. Daniel Hauser? Same thing. Now it’s Sarah Hershberger. The fact is that no one wants to take a child away from her parents, and no hospital wants to, either, the rants about big pharma profiteering as a motive for crushing parental prerogatives notwithstanding. In the case of ACH, the easiest course of action would have been for the doctors there to shrug their shoulders and mourn the lost of another child to superstition. It didn’t. It tried to stand up to defend the best interests of the child, the best interests of Sarah Hershberger.


  1. #1 al kimeea
    October 31, 2013

    Witness the oppression inherent in the system and a perfect example of running from contrary evidence while shutting down any valid criticism, as Sastra mentioned upstream.

    But I thought u found Hitler speaking his own mind, in his own words about the glories of God and how HE motivates him as HE did Luther useful?

    woo is as woo does

  2. #2 Calli Arcale
    October 31, 2013

    Ethir, are you disagreeing with Orac’s premise that children are not property, suggesting that any other impression is ungrateful? Do you think all parents are perfect? If so, you are seriously naive. There are parents who have starved their children to death. Parents who have not only failed to pay for their children’s education but denied them access to free education out of spite or because, like you, they thought children were supposed to do everything for their parents and they didn’t want to lose the free labor. Parents who did not wake up with their children’s crying because they were too drunk or stoned, or who *did* wake up, and then there was hell to pay, beating the children for having a nightmare or wetting the bed.

    Mother knows best, eh?

    There are some real horror stories out there, Ethir. And if you insist that children have absolutely no grounds to complain about any treatment they receive, they you acknowledge that you are okay with that.

    That scares me.

  3. #3 Calli Arcale
    October 31, 2013


    Neglect is not the same thing as abuse. One involves negative action (not feeding a child or giving them a medication) and the other involves a positive action (abusing and actively harming a child like giving them poison).

    The law would not agree with you on that point. Parents who have neglected their children to the point of death have been convicted of child abuse (though I find those with a religious argument find it distressingly easy to earn clemency). There is passive abuse and active abuse, but both are considered abuse.

    Mothers have been leaving infants on the steps of Churches and orphanages for hundreds of years. Should they be punished by the State?

    Actually, in most communities that is indeed illegal. Those communities which have enacted “safe harbor” provisions to allow a new mother in crisis to give her child up anonymously have laid out very specific rules for how it is to be done and where; churches and orphanages are not usually eligible in the US. It usually has to be with one of the conventional emergency service providers: police, fire department, or hospital. Abandoning your child in a basket on the steps of a church is, in the US, a criminal act. And I think it should be.

  4. #4 Calli Arcale
    October 31, 2013


    Not in any way that is falsifiable, which is, in my opinion, why it is an indeterminable idea that isn’t worth arguing about. If people want to believe it, let them alone. However, if they use it as an excuse for child abuse, God help them.

    That pretty much sums it up for me too. 😉

    To bring the religion thread back around to the notion of children as property and the problems with adoption, there is presently a trend among evangelical Christians (by which I don’t mean the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, oddly enough; I belong to the ELCA, but we’re pretty liberal as Lutherans go) of showing your spiritual greatness by adopting. Not adopting because you want to be a parent but have genetic problems or are infertile, but adopting because it’ll show other people how committed you are to spreading Christ’s Word. The book “The Child Catchers” goes into some detail on this, and it’s very very creepy.

    Upthread, I made the argument that religion is about justification, but not in the way practitioners usually say. In theory, religion tells you how to live, or at least that’s what they say. In practice, religion quickly becomes an exercise in justifying what you want to do anyway. This is not as simple as “I want to sin, so I like believing in a forgiving god!” It’s far deeper than that: “I want to believe myself superior, so I want a killer argument for why those other guys are so awful, so I can just disregard them”. That sort of thing. And when you take that sort of mindset and apply it to a religious trend of showing one’s righteousness through adoption . . . well, it should put a chill down your spine.

    For a long time, adoption in the US has been about taking children out of a bad situation and putting them into a better one. It doesn’t take much to imagine that moralizing becomes a big part of that, and of course it’s not much different from the attempt to eradicate Indian culture by taking away their children, or the eugenics activities of the early 20th Century that sterilized so many poor, unwed mothers for the crime of being poor and unwed, and taking away their children to boot. On the surface, you want kids to have a better life, so it becomes very easy to justify taking away kids because you don’t approve of what their parents do. Now, add religious fervor and a belief that you are intrinsically superior because of your faith, and it gets REALLY scary. It’s so easy to justify adopting more kids, with uncertain origins* even if you’re not a good parent to begin with, because your’e doing God’s work, and that can’t possibly go wrong, can it?

    And then you get small families with fifteen adopted children, still looking for more, in dire poverty because they cannot feed all these mouths. You get people who have no business being a parent adopting with no preparation whatsoever, taking it on faith that God will provide since this is God’s work, and then when the child arrives and is not a perfect angel they beat the child or neglect the child or abandon the child or even have an exorcism performed. And they will not countenance state interference. This is God’s work, as far as they’re concerned. And there have been horrible tragedies. And still the demand grows, because it’s God’s work, and people who believe that will not stop for anything.

    So they move on to outright theft. Procuring children in other countries by fraud, bribery, or even abduction. Consider the woman who tried to smuggle a couple dozen kids out of Haiti without the appropriate documentation; none of them were actually orphans, and in fact all had parents who were actively looking for them. But because the woman in charge believed the stereotype of neglectful Haitian parents, she didn’t care; she tried to argue in court that she didn’t know, but there is evidence she most certainly did know — she just felt that the kids would have such better lives in the US with “good Christian parents” that any duplicity was justified. The ends would justify the means.

    And of course, this isn’t all that new. The Irish workhouses and orphanges run by the Catholic Church were an anthology of horrors as unwed mothers were abused and forced to give up their children so they could be raised by the “right” parents. There is a disturbing subtext in much of adoption, especially religious adoption, that it’s not about finding a good home for a child in need but bringing the child home to the right parents, as if a child might not be born to the right parents in the first place. And thus is found a way of making even adopted children the property of their parents. And it’s not actually a thing of the past. The overwhelming demand for adoptable children in the US means that all sorts of methods are used to increase supply. Legal tricks to keep the biological parents from asserting custody. Lobbying for custody rules that favor adoption agencies. (Look at the story of the soldier who has been fighting to gain custody of his daughter, whose mother lied and told him she was getting an abortion. Some adoption agencies have been documented telling pregnant women what to say and do to derail the father’s right to custody, and even to derail their own, by keeping them from learning their own rights.) Promises are offered which cannot be enforced, and all to gain custody of the children so they can get paid for placing them. Children become a commodity — and a fungible commodity at that, which is terrifying. And because of the rise in adoption as a form of mission, many of the adoptive parents aren’t even aware of it themselves, because they’ve let “it’s God’s will” keep them from examining it too closely.

    *I don’t mean in terms of lineage. I mean in terms of whether or not their parents really gave them up.

  5. #5 Krebiozen
    October 31, 2013

    If people are born with an inherent right to own property and to defend it, surely a child is born with an inherent right to be cared for and protected by its parent(s) to the best of their ability. I don’t see how anyone could believe the former but not the latter.

  6. #6 Gray Falcon
    October 31, 2013

    @Krebiozen- Maybe Delysid sees children as unproductive little leeches who depend too much on their parents. Remember, he supports the repealing of child labor laws.

  7. #7 Marry Me, Mindy
    October 31, 2013

    OT, but re: Callie

    (by which I don’t mean the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, oddly enough; I belong to the ELCA, but we’re pretty liberal as Lutherans go)

    Isn’t the ELCA pretty liberal as all religious go? Basically, the ELCA is catholic without all the extreme lunacy of the RCC. Socially completely liberal (not anti-woman, anti-gay, not anti-abortion, even) and religiously (none of that transubstantian stuff or especially any of the goofy catholic rules)

    It is very different from the various Synods (isn’t there like a St Louis Synod, and Wisconsin version, etc), which tend to be more hardcore fundamentalist.

    My wife and I are considering switching to an ELCA church. Even she is pretty fed up with the catholic crap.

  8. #8 Krebiozen
    October 31, 2013

    By the way, I don’t believe in inherent rights, but at least some Libertarians apparently do. I believe rights and responsibilities are human creations that we decide on between ourselves.

    I do think that if parents are incapable of caring for their children properly for whatever reason, and that includes a failure to provide adequate medical care, their children should ultimately be taken away from them. In the UK we have the specter of Baby P to remind us of what can happen otherwise.

    Conversely, during the satanic abuse scares of the 80s, a number of children were taken from their parents for what turned out to be spurious reasons and, I believe, never returned to them. This was because they had been with their foster parents for so long it was in the best interests of the child to stay with them. Property does not have “best interests”.

    If you are going to take a child from its parents, or give it medical treatment against the will of its parents, I think you have to have very solid grounds for doing so. I would not be a social worker for anything; you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

  9. #9 Renate
    October 31, 2013

    @ Calli Arcale
    Don’t forget Franco and Pinochet regimes where children of people opposing the government were placed in families that where loyal to the government.

  10. #10 Gray Falcon
    October 31, 2013

    @Calli Arcade- I’ve heard of abuse by adoptive parents before, often disguised as “therapy”, I think I know a site which has several documented examples.

    @Marry Me, Mindy- Wasn’t being fed up with the Catholic crap how the Lutheran church was founded? Interesting Reformation Day fact: Just about everyone nailed things to the church doors. They didn’t have cork boards and push pins.

  11. #11 Alain
    October 31, 2013

    @Krebiozen- Maybe Delysid sees children as unproductive little leeches who depend too much on their parents. Remember, he supports the repealing of child labor laws.

    I can second that, with labor law in place in canucksland, I was able to deliver newspaper on 3 good streets and make over 180$ per week back in 1990-1993 which result in about 25$ per hour with no tax levied on this amount.


  12. #12 Sastra
    October 31, 2013

    A few years ago some atheist organizations were contacted by an association which deals with foreign exchange students. Apparently some fundamentalist host families in iirc Texas were rejecting or returning European children who were refusing to attend church and participate in other religious activities because they were atheists. The organization was having trouble placing these kids with anyone else and thought we might be able to help.

    Turns out they managed to find a few more liberal, relaxed Christian families by the time we had the volunteers, so it worked out any way. But whether you think these kids were missing out on experiencing another culture or not, a host family which refuses to respect an atheist’s right to draw lines sounds to me like another case of taking in children in order to save their souls.

    Which makes sense, from the point of view of the true believer. It’s not manipulative: it’s your job. A Christian is in the wonderful position of having a purpose-driven life. And if the child won’t follow this same purpose, then it’s your task to make sure your other children aren’t tempted and corrupted. It’s a sacred obligation.

    Within that environment of knowledge, a perfectly nice, normal, caring person would see all that. I don’t think it’s the individuals looking for excuses to be negligent or mean who are the ultimate problem: it’s the system. The world view is reframed so that everything has to be evaluated using different criteria. And science doesn’t know everything about health and healing: we consult Higher Authorities.

    After all, most religions teach that the MOST important task we have in this world is to discover and/or learn about and/or connect with and/or relate to and/or fulfill the will of and or live out the values of a supernatural realm and/or its occupant(s.) We are here to learn lessons available only through revelations, traditions, mysticism, faith, trust, and transcedence. If you take this seriously then of course it makes sense to care more about a child’s soul than their body. That’s the real child and it lives forever. We have to try to believe that as hard as we can.

    Therefore a child who dies when undergoing faith-healing is possibly more secure of heaven than one which observes Mommy and Daddy losing their trust in God when it gets difficult. Or, perhaps, the child dies a “natural” death and is able to ascend easily to the next spiritual level. Assuming, of course, that the expected outcome — the story where the Doctors Were Amazed over how powerful God and Faith could be — doesn’t happen.

    I can understand that; I can even imagine believing it, and imagine then how it would feel to ‘know’ vital, important things which people limited to the world can’t understand or accept because they’re blinded by their own arrogance and pride. I imagine that walking according to Spirit, praying, and using what nature has provided would feel extraordinarily humble and humbling. I’m a real parent.

    I think I would be astonished, incredulous, and maybe even frustrated or amused to be told that this deep sense of connection to God/Nature/Spirit was only an excuse for doing what I’d want to do any way. That would sound instead like the rationalization.

    Maybe. Maybe not — but I’d bet the other way.

  13. #13 Denice Walter
    October 31, 2013

    @ Sastra:

    A true believer once remarked to me that if people didn’t believe in g-d, nothing would prevent them from harming, raping, murdering or robbing others. I responded that I’ve never done any of that. That ended the conversation.

    Those who study the development of moral judgment might classify that interestingly.

  14. #14 Edith Prickly
    October 31, 2013

    Neglect is not the same thing as abuse. One involves negative action (not feeding a child or giving them a medication) and the other involves a positive action (abusing and actively harming a child like giving them poison).

    Neglect is indeed the same thing as abuse. There is an inquest going on right now in my home city for a 5-year-old who was starved to death by his grandparents.

    Are you ever going to come up with something resembling a coherent argument for libertarianism or are you just going to keep spitting out reflexive nonsense every time someone points out its (myriad) flaws?

  15. #15 Alain
    October 31, 2013

    Can something be said about praying for our own conception of god? In my case, when I stopped drinking, I was (and still am) an atheist and when I faced that question of finding a force more powerful than myself, I had the goal of finding a force intelligent enough to make good choices for me and I choose natural selection in the form of over 2 millions non-drinking members of that particular association who are consciously deciding they want to remain abstinent. That’s natural selection at work.


  16. #16 lilady
    October 31, 2013

    Here, a recent article about the background of the case:

    “(RNS) An Ohio court has given limited guardianship of a 10-year-old Amish girl to a lawyer who will make medical decisions instead of the girl’s parents.

    Maria Schimer is also a registered nurse and will be in charge of arranging transportation and payment for Sarah Hershberger’s medical treatments — costs that will be covered by government programs. The guardianship will last until Feb. 1, 2016.”


    “Courts usually side with the hospital in life-or-death cases that involve children, said Robert Tuttle, professor of law and religion at George Washington University Law School.

    While adults can refuse treatment for any reason, children can only be denied treatment by their guardians for non-essential medical procedures, such as braces on teeth.

    “Ordinarily parents are entitled to make those decisions, but when the decisions of the parents are not in the best interest of children, the state is allowed to step in,” Tuttle said. “Then the courts will allow the hospital with the state to intervene and take temporary custody, but usually to take temporary guardianship for the purpose of medical decisions.”

    And the Ohio Court of Appeals case that overturned the lower court’s ruling…which was in favor of the parents. The Ohio Court of Appeals decided that “Medical Guardianship” only, which does not give complete guardianship to the hospital-designated guardian is appropriate in the case.

  17. #17 Khani
    October 31, 2013

    #207 “Isn’t the ELCA pretty liberal as all religious go? Basically, the ELCA is catholic without all the extreme lunacy of the RCC. ”

    The ELCA is pretty middle-of-the-road for a mainstream Christian denomination. It is the most liberal of the large Lutheran denominations, however.

    It is definitely not Catholic. Its church leaders are elected, not selected by bishops or popes. Churches decide what pastors to call by election, as well. Individual church leaders who make the decisions for a church are also elected (often it is hard to get people to do this as serving on a church council is a lot of generally thankless work).

    The ELCA is arranged by synods, which are its political bodies (like legislative districts, really).

    Its leader, the presiding bishop, is currently female, and many of its pastors are female as well. Its pastors do get married. People who are not pastors can give communion.

    Theologically it’s pretty different from Catholicism as well, as Catholicism has seven sacraments and the ELCA has two, like most Protestant denominations. Because the ELCA is actually the result of multiple denominations joining up together over the years, many of the churches have different traditions–German, Swedish, Norwegian, etc. etc., and whether a specific body is more “high church” or “low church” really depends on the specific congregation.

    They teach that a lot of the trappings of the church service are really not that important, and can be changed out or updated when convenient. (In practice, quite a few people like their traditions and have a hard time parting with them.) They do tend to be less ‘fancy’ than Catholicism, but your mileage may vary, in other words.

    The Episcopal/Anglican churches are rather closer to Catholicism than the ELCA is, but they too vary quite a bit with regard to how high-church/low-church they are in practice.

    Likely the most important thing about Lutherans from a Lutheran perspective is the doctrine of “saved by grace through faith,” meaning that you can be as good as you like, but people are generally screw-ups and God is the one who saves you anyway, so don’t worry about it and come sit with us and have some coffee after the service.

    I paraphrase, of course.

  18. #18 Calli Arcale
    October 31, 2013

    Marry Me, Mindy:

    Isn’t the ELCA pretty liberal as all religious go? Basically, the ELCA is catholic without all the extreme lunacy of the RCC. Socially completely liberal (not anti-woman, anti-gay, not anti-abortion, even) and religiously (none of that transubstantian stuff or especially any of the goofy catholic rules)

    We are very liberal as Lutherans go, but if you’re catholic, you may be in for some culture shock, perhaps. Martin LUther was the dude who started the Protestant Reformation, after all. There are some significant differences in doctrine, and we don’t have all the same rites — we don’t do full mass (though our services have most of the same bits in them), we don’t generally use incense, we don’t use holy water, we don’t do confession or last rites. The biggest one is probably one you’ll find appealing: we believe in the priesthood of all believers. Pastors aren’t special; they’re ordained, but it’s more like a graduation ceremony. Anybody can preach or perform the rituals; a pastor is just somebody who specializes in it and who has gone to school for it. 😉 We do still do Confirmation, though, like the Catholics.

    The Wisconsin Synod and the Missouri Synod are . . . not like the ELCA. In fact, quite honestly, they think we’re going to hell. 😉 We’re not “real” Lutherans, in their view. They are indeed hardcore evangelical fundamentalists. Michele Bachmann used to be long to the WELS, if I recall correctly, before deciding they weren’t quite evangelical enough.

    Gray Falcon brought up Reformation Day, which is right around the corner. Today, in fact, is the actual annivesary of the 98 Theses. Next weekend, Lutheran churches will celebrate, probably by singing “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God”, which Martin Luther wrote and set to the tune of a German drinking song. 😀

    Khani has a great overview of the ELCA. And he is very much right about the coffee. That is probably more important than the communion wine!

  19. #19 Calli Arcale
    October 31, 2013


    I think I would be astonished, incredulous, and maybe even frustrated or amused to be told that this deep sense of connection to God/Nature/Spirit was only an excuse for doing what I’d want to do any way. That would sound instead like the rationalization.

    You have a frighteningly clear depiction there of how righteous evil can feel within the context of religion. I don’t think most practitioners are *consciously* trying to rationalize themselves. I think it happens on a larger scale. Not one person deciding “well, I think they’re stupid, so i’ll make up a religion that says that”, but a more emergent thing that gradually and organically grows over time. It’s something that arises out of many minds, some more purposeful than others.

    It’s part of why I am such a fervent proponent of public school education. In view, it is the best opportunity we have to prevent the rise of such pernicious belief systems, because it exposes children to different religions, different views, different cultures. I believe passionately in *secular* education for this very reason.

  20. #20 Shay
    October 31, 2013

    “I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do to their fellows, because it always coincides with their own desires.” ` (Susan B. Anthony, addressing the National American Woman Suffrage Association in 1896).

  21. #21 Calli Arcale
    November 1, 2013

    A very quotable woman. 😉

    Another thought occurred to me while driving in. This emergent growth of very disturbing and damaging ideas within a religion is what happens when the religion becomes an echo chamber. And it is indeed precisely what can happen with alt med, conspiracy theories, the paranormal, and so forth. Any time one restricts one’s exposure to other views, one risks getting trapped in an echo chamber.

    I’m not keen on the whole respecting “other ways of knowing” argument, but I think it’s important to learn about other ways anyway. You have to get out of your shell once in a while so that you can look back on it from the outside and make sure you haven’t just been hearing your own echoes. A sort of sanity check.

  22. #22 Narad
    November 1, 2013

    Sastra @175:

    Apologies for my tardiness, I’ve been swamped.

    I think it’s usually supernaturalism vs. naturalism — with various forms of each. What is your definition of “supernatural?”

    A good question, and I doubt that I’ve taken care of all loose threads. Nonetheless, by “supernaturalism,” I’ll say that I mean the addition to the time-space continuum of monist materialism of ontologically “real” entities (i.e., that “exist” independently of the perceiver) that are not bound by physical law.

    In this reading, “qi” is supernatural by virtue of manipulable without being measurable. McKenna’s elves are supernatural if they are claimed to be causally enabled. Mutatis mutandis mind-brain dualism.

    Do you see a relationship between the supernatural and alternative medicine?

    Not any essential one.

    Do you perceive a connection between defenses of the supernatural and defenses of alternative medicine?

    The answer is pretty much the same as the last one. There’s obviously a lot of overlap in practice, but it’s not necessarily requisite. Hence homeopathic nanoparticles, Bengston’s quantum-entanglement murine reiki cancer cure, etc. Simple orientalist appeals to antiquity needn’t invoke anything supernatural.

  23. #23 Narad
    November 1, 2013

    ^ “by virtue of being manipulable”

  24. #24 al kimeea
    November 1, 2013

    Martin LUther was the dude rabid anti-semite who started the Protestant Reformation, after all.


    Did I not tell you earlier that a Jew is such a noble, precious jewel that God and all the angels dance when he farts? – Marty Luther

  25. #25 Gray Falcon
    November 1, 2013

    I’d like to thank you, al. Several people have embraced Christianity just to avoid being associated with you.

  26. #26 herr doktor bimler
    November 1, 2013

    I think it’s usually supernaturalism vs. naturalism — with various forms of each. What is your definition of “supernatural?”

    For me, the distinguishing quality of “supernatural” is “non-lawful, unpredictable”. If a phenomenon has regularities, allowing you to make predictions, then it’s part of nature. Quantum entanglement may be “spooky action at a distance” but it’s natural.
    So if someone tries to explain some phenomenon as a ‘miracle’ — an irruption from some higher plane of reality, perhaps at the whim of some other-reality entity, with no way of predicting whether or when it will happen again — then it counts as supernatural (and it’s not really an explanation at all).

  27. #27 Calli Arcale
    November 1, 2013

    Thank you, Al, for that totally pointless addition to the thread. Luther was a lot of things; as an antisemite, he had the company of just about everybody else around him, especially when you throw in the context of the indulgence scandal. As with many of the great events in history, most of it really came down to money and power. The main reason Luther’s Reformation was successful after many others had failed (sometimes with their proponents getting burned at the stake for their troubles, or even worse — c.f. the Albigensian Crusade, centuries earlier) was that German nobles stood to gain a great deal by not having to listen to the Pope any more — or the Holy Roman Emperor, for that matter. And, of course, they’d be able to stop paying tithes to Rome and taxes to the Emperor.

    It’s kind of funny how many religious movements gain support because of people not wanting to pay taxes. 😀

  28. #28 Khani
    November 1, 2013

    And of course, Lutheran seminaries actually do note that about Luther when they have students read his works, with plenty of disapproval.

    Luther is not particularly revered by Lutherans.

    Fun fact, though–his wife (a former nun) was known far and wide for her beer-making prowess. So anybody can feel free to revere her on totally secular grounds. 🙂

  29. #29 lilady
    November 1, 2013

    al kimeaa enjoys viewing Bill Maher on his cable TV show, when Maher takes apart Michele Bachmann and USSC Justice Antonia Scalia for their strict interpretations of biblical verses. (So do I, btw)

    al kimea…Maher is an entertainer and he has “bizarre” opinions about science-based medicine:

    Would al kimea care to link to comments by any of the RI Regulars who have identified themselves as Christians, where they have posted on RI or any other science blogs any anti-science or antisemitic comments?

  30. #30 Delurked Lurker
    On the shore of a cosmic ocean
    November 1, 2013

    I have found the comment thread here totally off topic and annoying. If I want a pointless debate on religion I can go to numerous sites where christians and atheists bang their heads against a brick wall but it is so tedious I find little to amuse or educate me.

    Al I take your Hitler and raise you Kim Jung Ill or perhaps Jeffrey Dahmer or even good old Chairman Mao. But I won’t because its a logical fallacy. So stop it for dogs sake

    I am not a christian nor am I religious in the usual definition. As a Saganite I could be classed as agnostic but that doesn’t fit either but is about as close as I can get. Just to make that clear.

    BTW has Al invoked goodwins law ??? Anyone care to comment on that.

  31. #31 Khani
    November 1, 2013

    I agree, but I’m not going to let misinformation go, either. I probably could have been briefer about Lutheranism, but I’d hate for a Catholic person to expect a similar experience at a Lutheran church and get shellshocked. (Or vice versa.)


    Trying to re-rail the thread:

    It’s so strange to me that people are even framing this whole issue in terms of the parents’ rights.

    Children have rights too.

    Custody, too, can be far too preferential to birth parents, from what I’ve seen…

  32. #32 Delurked Lurker
    On a pale blue dot suspended in a sunbeam
    November 1, 2013

    Oh by the way I am not a mineral. As far as I know I am the only Saganite on this pale blue dot 🙂
    I belong to a church of 1 …suits me just fine 🙂

  33. #33 Grant
    November 2, 2013

    nz skeptic,

    “Incidentally, this is the latest madness from our neck of the woods.”

    I had a look into the media presentations of that story here – Poking needles into child’s tongue unlikely to bring back missing DNA.

  34. #34 Gray Falcon
    November 2, 2013

    One wonders how common Ethir’s (post 152) attitude is, especially amongst the more reactionary, and how much effect it has on our court system.

  35. #35 al kimeea
    November 2, 2013

    Lilady – thanks for that link to the Maher post I read when it was originally published. I don’t see a lot of Maher and that may have been the one which made me aware of his bizarre ways.

    Remember, this all began because someone claimed “a deity created reality” and that mediwoo also makes similar fantastic claims about it. Not really OT is it?

    Religion isn’t a testable claim. Sure is. People here might not make them but, millions and millions do.

    Sanal Edamaruku has been forced from his home in India on blasphemy charges for testing, yet again, the RCC “Weeping Jesus” con. One of the longer, long cons. And in one of the poorer neighbourhoods. Nice.

    My buddy married into a Weslyan family from down east. She’s a sweet girl. HIs family/friends travelled some far in most cases to meet her family and celebrate. Say a hundred or so people with aboot 15 of his guests from away

    Nice ceremony, pictures lotsa driving. Finally the meal and then the party. Nice meal. At this point most of her family says thanks and leaves. Music, dancing and hootch are the work of Satan. I saw a grown man literally recoil in fear from a bottle of wine because it emanates the power of Satan Weird. And a testable claim.

    How do I know they take Satan that seriously? From looking Wesleyanism up when we got home and reading what former members of the church had to say about what they are taught from birth. Apostates is more accurate.

    Two members of her family are ministers. The wife was horribly burned in an accident and prospects were grim. Miracle she pulled through. Metaphorically yes, but they are serious their prayers did it.

    Prayers are said to work all the time. 14(?) miners trapped, a whole state praying and Sylvia Browne on the radio in real time saying they’re alive. Tragically, no and testable.

    To the 172 kids in only 20 years who perished needlessly and very painfully, because faith healing had no luck, you can add Jean Harlow whose Mum was a Christian Scientist. No doctors for you. Renal failure. I thought she died in a car accident. The things you learn watching old Vincent Price movies.

    Testable and harmful. – John of God, faith surgeon.

    Martin Luther arguably laid the foundation for 400 years of German anti-semitism, culminating in the Godwin Gang and their solution to the problem. The near immediate result of his idea was to embroil Europe in three decades of murder, mayhem and suffering. You don’t see any of that nuance in the comments about him.

    That people today share the same faith as these grotesques from the past, isn’t guilt by association. How is that possible? Only if you’ve misbehaved as they have and it is rather silly to ask if I think anyone here condones this or state that I’m attacking their family. Having said that, there are people of faith who do condone these acts today.

    That these horrific acts can be carried out by those who – in their own words – profess divine inspiration and point to their holy scriptures for confirmation might give one pause to consider the validity of the concept they’ve learned from birth.

    And examine the evidence behind it.

    So, in a knee-jerk reaction to a claim about reality, I politely asked why the claimant, known to ask others who make similar claims, such as reiki, doesn’t consider that question in this case.

    In a roundabout way the question was answered and in an ancient and popular fashion – you prove my claim false, while for evidence I will provide: faith, popularity, antiquity and it is a pleasant idea to me, therefore it exists in reality. I will also ignore anything you might provide casting doubt on my assertions, while shifting the argument away from the claim.

    Religion is a pseudoscience with a far more pernicious grip on society and is the growth medium of the more viral strains of cultism.

  36. #36 Ed Ball
    Sidney, Ohio
    November 2, 2013

    As a County Veterans Service Officer, I’ve witnessed many a veteran endure chemo and radiation treatments, and am not sold on treatments that severely damage the immune system to the point treatments are not “one size fits all”.

    Our own government studied the benefits of Japanese Miso soup and came to the conclusion found here:

    Okinawa is known for it’s centenarians diet that results in a life style that suffers from very little cancer and cardio dibilitating illnesses. Obviously their life style is more than just diet, to include exercise and meditation. Bottom line, if something is so good for you, why does cancer claim the majority of its victims even after treatment? Their so called quack treatments with herbs, spices, and soy based products as a preventive measure appears to have a track record that puts modern medicine to shame. Perhaps we just need an open mind, and change in lifestyle.

  37. #37 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    November 2, 2013

    Ed Ball – A small correction, the paper you linked to was funded by the Central Miso Institute, not by the US government. It doesn’t seem to relate to cancer treatment, though I admit I only briefly scanned it.

    I’m not sure the point of your last paragraph. Naturally, preventing cancer is better than treating it. It seems well accepted that the risk of contracting some cancers is affected by diet, activity, smoking, and other lifestyle choices. There seems to be very little evidence that making those same choices after an actual cancer diagnosis will provide a cure.

    Cancer is, as I’m sure you understand, a very nasty thing to die of and hard to treat. Those who make a career of cancer treatment and research are, I’m sure, always looking for safer, more effective treatments. If a change of lifestyle would actually cure cancer safely and effectively, then I’m sure that someone somewhere will perform a study that will show this. If you are aware of one, please share.

  38. #38 lilady
    November 2, 2013

    @ al kamei: I believe it was you who first brought up religion and Hitler’s faith. Hitler was baptized and raised as a Roman Catholic, not a Lutheran, and used G-d in his early speeches to appeal to the masses and Hitler then thought of Jesus as a Nazi Aryan warrior (blue-eyed Jesus, perhaps?)

    You’ve been trying to derail this thread with your introduction of Hitler and his religious belief system. Hitler was raised as a Roman Catholic and used Christianity as a political expedient to gain power. He also plugged into the simmering undercurrent of antisemitism present in Germany at that time and the feeling that the Germans were roundly defeated in WW I because they were “betrayed” by the international cartel of Jewish bankers and Jewish Germans…whose “first allegiance was to their Jewish faith”.

    If you had read the link I provided to the Ohio Court of Appeals, you would have seen Sarah’s medical history and the fact that the child was brought to the hospital with multiple tumors, one of which was partially obstructing her airway.

    “…In April 2013, S.H. was admitted to Akron Children’s Hospital for fatigue and an observable mass near her collarbone. After examination and testing, it was determined S.H. has a type of leukemia, T-Cell Lymphoblastic Lymphoma, Stage III.
    She had tumors in her neck, chest (mediastinum) and kidneys.
    The most significant concern was the mass in S.H.’s neck area, which prior to initial treatment, impacted her airway and caused her admission into the pediatric intensive care unit. Sarah’s doctors recommended she undergo chemotherapy. The parents consented, but they testified the doctors did not fully explain to them the short-term and long-term effects of chemotherapy. According to the parents, the doctors also understated the risks to S.H.’s health if she underwent chemotherapy….”

    Read on, to see how the parents reacted to the side effects of the treatment, how they reacted to their child’s reactions to the treatment and how they “prayed to G-d for guidance”, rather than the advice of the child’s medical doctors

  39. #39 Shay
    who spent 3 years on Okinawa and Ed is full of it
    November 2, 2013

    Ed: speaking as a veteran, I hope you confine your activities to counselling on benefits and legal issues, and are not passing out medical advice.

  40. #40 Todd W.
    November 2, 2013

    @al kimeea

    Please stop derailing the thread. Yes, some people use religion to justify viewing children as property. But you are not discussing that aspect of the issue. You’re just being a jack*** using the comment thread as your personal soapbox to lambast religion and denigrate those people on here who happen to have religious beliefs. In fact, you have not made a single on-topic comment in this whole thread. I actually went through everything you’ve said here and not once did you discuss the issue of children being viewed as property. Stick to the topic. I’d also like to ask everyone else to bring the discussion back on target and drop the whole religion discussion. There are other places to have those discussions.

    What are people’s thoughts on how to talk to those who do view their children as property? Is there some way to educate them or convince them that they are not the be-all and end-all when it comes to making decisions for their children?

  41. #41 Narad
    November 2, 2013

    Okinawa is known for it’s centenarians diet that results in a life style that suffers from very little cancer and cardio dibilitating illnesses. Obviously their life style is more than just diet, to include exercise and meditation.

    Ryuykuan identity now involves mediation?

  42. #42 lilady
    November 3, 2013

    @ Todd W: I’ll try to bring us back on topic.

    It has been my observation that people (in the broader sense), who view their children as property view children as an extension of themselves. These “helicopter parents” who hover over their children don’t want their kids to grow up or apart from them…ever.

    In this particular case, and other similar cases, where parents deny their children medical care for serious medical conditions, the family unit lives within a closed group, set off from their neighbors…whether it is in a commune or within a religious group.

    The situation is further complicated because the parents themselves have had limited education (through 8th grade), in an Amish school which is not known for scholastic achievement or the development of critical thinking skills.

    If you open up the two links I provided to the two court hearings up-thread, you will see how both parents claim that they were unaware or “the treating doctors didn’t tell them, about the immediate side effects of the treatment and the possible long-term consequences of Sarah’s treatment”. The question is who are you going to believe…the parents…or the treating doctors?

    “Sarah didn’t want to continue the treatment”…well d’oh. Do we know any 10-year-old children who would want to undergone extensive, and at times, painful treatment? That’s why we don’t permit children to made decisions on life-saving treatment. That’s why we depend on parents who are well informed to give consent to treatment that has an 85 % chance of a complete cure. That’s why we have a system in place to examine the evidence, to weigh the benefits for the child, and to appoint a medical guardian if parents refuse treatment.

  43. #43 herr doktor bimler
    November 3, 2013

    Ryuykuan identity now involves mediation?

    If the Okinawans wanted to be recognised as having their own culture — rather than being treated by every passing nimrod as just part of exotic Japan — they shouldn’t have let themselves be annexed by the Empire.

  44. #44 al kimeea
    yawning as the wagons circle
    November 3, 2013

    lilady @238 – Adventist or Zoroastrian, a distinction with no difference – other than the arcane rituals to please their deity

    “Come to think of it, it’s usually religion that drives this attitude.”

    – our esteemed host in either the original post or early comments

    “Religion rarely drives the decision; rather, the decision comes first and then religion is used to justify it. This, of course, is a very popular use of religion — possibly it’s most popular” – Callie @ 17

    Some more back and forth with Sastra about religion, then Calli @44

    Note: I am a Lutheran, and I do believe God created the universe. But religion? That’s our doing (though in my cynical moments, I can see a strong argument for the devil’s hand in it).

    Then me first to mention religion @101 with some real denigrating prose right here:

    What I find interesting is someone can come along and claim to be able to bust clouds from poolside, and you will ask them for evidence of such.

    However, you claim a deity made this joint and that it is somehow required for daily life and you are party to its demeanor, but you don’t seem to ask yourself the same question.

    If you have, what evidence did you find of a Great Maker?

    A raptor flaps by and demands that I “prove you’re not a robot” as if that is some kind of, well I don’t know what. Later calls me a troll and melodramatically declares I attacked his family with my first comment.

    A comment anyone else here would have made if the claim wasn’t aboot religion. Irony meters worldwide are straining.

    You’re just being a jack*** using the comment thread as your personal soapbox to lambast religion Stan Burzynski and denigrate those people on here who happen to have religious beliefs. faith in him

    In fact, you have not made a single on-topic comment in this whole thread. I actually went through everything you’ve said here and not once did you discuss the issue of children being viewed as property.

    Hmmm – lilady @ 192 “Health care providers have a legal and moral duty to a child whose parents neglect their medical care.”

    And @197 I reply, off topic, that many states grant religious exemptions for faith healing and that it is a requirement for funding.

    I also provided an off topic link to a study showing the deadly consequences of parents preferring divinely inspired healing for their chattel – an idea that is well represented in the Abrahamic texts.

    I don’t think you read the same thread.

    Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.
    – lucius_annaeus_seneca

  45. #45 al kimeea
    November 3, 2013

    mea culpa

  46. #46 lilady
    November 3, 2013

    How about commenting on my comment @ 242…or are you still attempting to justify personal attacks on posters here?

  47. #47 Todd W.
    November 3, 2013

    Ah yes, one comment that addressed faith healing. My apologies, al kimeea. That makes up for all of the rest of your off-topic ranting against religion. Carry on. Teach us all the error of our ways of granting an exclusion to religion. For we are truly benighted fools.

    Seriously, though, there is a time and place to talk about religion and how skepticism can interact with that. This is neither the time nor the place, al kimeea. Your behavior in this thread is not that much different from the pot troll that tried to turn every conversation toward his own pet topic. I would have the same reaction to you if you tried to veer the conversation solely toward talking about Stan Burzynski’s nonsense without keeping it related to the topic of the OP.

    This has nothing to do with whether or not I agree with what you’re saying. Rather, it’s about the appropriateness to the topic. Now, please drop the whole generalized anti-religious ranting and get back on topic.

  48. #48 al kimeea
    November 5, 2013

    lilady @ 246 – If I read your link properly, the system seems to have worked in that case, for 172 others over just 20 years, not so much.

    Religious Exemptions to Child Neglect – National District Attorneys Assoc.(2013)

    That it happened in Ohio, which is one of the states with exceptions is promising. Hopefully, these laws will be removed from the books altogether, including the federal statute granting the same exception. They can only cause legal delays which further endanger the children.

    Lets assume your reading of Dolph Baby’s motives is accurate. Not motivated by religion, but a cynical ploy to appeal to the masses.

    It worked.

  49. #49 al kimeea
    November 5, 2013

    Todd, I’m fairly certain if I singled out anyone’s comments on a thread and read those alone, they would appear out of context.

    The subject of religion was long broached and engaged in this thread before either of us wandered in.

    @43, Sastra asks:

    “But what causes religion? And what keeps it going?”

    @44: Callie claims a deity created reality and knows that it loves us and @70 tries to conflate/equivocate faith/spirituality with reason:

    There aren’t two realms, one labeled science and one labeled religion, with all thinking neatly divided between them.

    My first comment directly addresses 43 & 44. Sure, there’s snark in my reply to Sastra. After all, we’re discussing a myth centered on an angry wizard in an enchanted garden and his zombie offspring. There is none in my perfectly reasonable query of Callie.

    Ignoring GF’s attempts to derail the conversation, I mention Rapa Nui @ 104. This directly addresses Callie @70.

    Some more philosophical back and forth with GF where he gets to quote the Bible out of context and I don’t. Interestingly, he retrofits the quote I provided to suit his personal taste while ignoring the almost 2000 years between the quote and the 1960s. Jesus could easily have been referring to the War of Northern Aggression or the Thrity Year’s War…

    Anyhoo, @132 GF further cements the dichotomy said to be false @70 by stating it is a good thing to believe in things without evidence and in having a closed mind, leaving little doubt that religion is woo…

    Many comments are made implying religion makes no testable claims – “when did the word god become a testable claim?”

    I provided several real world examples of such claims from personal experience.

    All this talk of religion is swell, and all, but could we please bring the conversation back to the whole notion of parents viewing kids as property?

    This is where you come in. At this point in the conversation, religious motivation for children as chattel is being hand-waved away as justification.for existing behaviour. Sastra has already pointed out the slippery use of language and the flipping of the burden of proof on it’s head.

    After that you personally attack me and mis-characterise my comments…

    What are people’s thoughts on how to talk to those who do view their children as property? Is there some way to educate them or convince them that they are not the be-all and end-all when it comes to making decisions for their children?

    Not if they take their holy scriptures seriously:

    Seriously, do you think one or two out-of-context verses are going to convince me?

  50. #50 lilady
    November 5, 2013

    You are still defending your personal offensive attacks on other posters here. How about commenting on post at # 242 above?

  51. #51 al kimeea
    November 6, 2013

    pls see 248, which references 246 which in turn references 242 – pls also provide examples of personal attacks

  52. #52 TERRY72763
    On My Way to Helping
    November 7, 2013

    Sounds as if the Poster of this is all for REGIS-station of your children. Reg-is referring to regal(king) station; from strata meaning (land) :Kings Land
    PARENTS! All birth certificates are an abandonment of your child to the State. ie; Kings Land and thenceforth will be PROPERTY of the STATE. And the State is Always used (legally) to refer to United States Corporation, in Washington, District of Columbia. Which owns several subdivisions known as State of (place your States name here) another Corporation. and the Evil the State does begins to sink into your Subservient little minds.
    You have No rights the moment you say you live in or are citizen of THE UNITED STATES. for that is a Foreign Corporation on a Foreign soil plot, with it’s own laws, police, rights, and ALL applies to members of THE UNITED STATES. You gave away your child at registration and the father and you were treated as minors. And answered the question “do you live in THE UNITED STATES”? with a simple Yes!
    Well Be Free and Learn how to Secede that Company. Obama is a President of a Corporation just like Bill Gates is The President of MICROSOFT, there is NO difference if you work for Bill it’s their Corporate Charter (constitution) you must abide by, and the UNITED STATES has to Read the Charter (UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION) every 20 years to Legally do business {Regulate, Mandate and Dictate, how they WILL you to comply} your silence is testament to their power over you, and that you are subject to their rules. Company rules in the form of a Constitution and acts entered in the big stage show……Wake up Ame-ricans the Money is counted by the Porto-Rican Accountant. has since we went bankrupt on debt in 33. And this poor girl will be Arrested and her parents as well.

  53. #53 TERRY72763
    On My Way To Help
    November 7, 2013
  54. #54 TERRY72763
    November 7, 2013

    If this was a BLACK girl there would be no such fight….
    And if she was MORMON the State would Not interveneStrange how MYTHOLOGY has more Law in this Land than, LAW OF THE LAND….Sad Days in this Country.

  55. #55 Antaeus Feldspar
    November 7, 2013

    Anyone else suspect that all of the new commenters, with the possible exception of Jon Lee, are all fake personalities of a single troll following a script for how to drag red herrings into an argument and disrupt any real discussion?

    Just a hunch and I could of course be wrong, but I’m just struck by what seems an underlying similarity in behavior (specifically, dropping one-more-thing-to-get-riled-about at surprisingly *regular* intervals) and a few things in the style of writing which seem very similar for what are supposedly different people…

  56. #56 Antaeus Feldspar
    November 7, 2013

    Oh, and for anyone who’s curious about #253, (second entry on the page)

  57. #57 Lawrence
    November 7, 2013

    Great, another “Sovereign Man” wacko…..

  58. #58 Lucario
    Sunny SoFla
    November 7, 2013

    AK @ 224:

    Everbody (especially in Germany) was Anti-Semitic at that time, so why single out Luther?

    Temper of the times, sir, temper of the times.

  59. #59 al kimeea
    November 11, 2013

    Perhaps because Heidi & Rolf of Dusseldorf didn’t write a paean to anti-semitism that was luved 400 years later in a similarly tempered time

    temper of the times indeed

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