Pharyngula

A little justice in Wisconsin

Last year, Kara Neumann died of juvenile diabetes. Her death was slow and painful, and entirely unnecessary — her parents believed in the power of prayer and allowed her obvious symptoms to go untreated except for entreaties to an invisible and inert god. They weren’t opposed to technology in general, since they did sent out an email to an online ministry requesting ‘emergency prayer’, but they did neglect the only technology that mattered, a simple injection of insulin.

There was some concern at that time that there was actually a loophole in Wisconsin law that seems to say that Christianity was a treatment comparable to modern medicine. Fortunately, the jurors in the trial of the parents saw the neglect that led to the death of their daughter, and convicted the Neumanns of second-degree reckless homicide. I don’t think the father helped his own case with his sincere testimony.

Neumann, who once studied to be a Pentecostal minister, testified Thursday that he believed God would heal his daughter and he never expected her to die. God promises in the Bible to heal, he said.

“If I go to the doctor, I am putting the doctor before God,” Neumann testified. “I am not believing what he said he would do.”

He believed. He was theologically informed. He was a member of a church (even if it is an insane organization). He was missing one important thing: the awareness to question. And for that, a young girl died. Religion matters, all right, it matters in an evil way.