It’s such absurd and yet common practice of religion among several others which makes religion unattractive to increasing number of people—and also places a duty on all of us to question the doctrines of religion.
This is not a case in isolation, we hear about numerous cases where parents deny their children the needed medical care because of some weird and sometimes legally permitted religious views. Jehovah Witness proscribes its members from blood transfusion and mostly courts have to force the hands of parents to allow transfusion for their children.
The recent case of Herbert and Catherine Schaible, a devout Christian couple in the United States whose faith healing beliefs led to the death of two of their children shares resemblance with this case of Dale and Shannon Hickman.
Dale and Shannon Hickman are both 30 years old, sound in mind—capable of making valid judgement yet when it comes to religion, like most people do, they throw away reason and employ faith.
The couple who live in Oregon, USA watched while their home birthed new baby died—instead of calling 911 for help when the baby was dying, they prayed and rubbed olive on their dying son, because their religion teaches this as the best way of doing things. The baby-David died of staphylococcus pneumonia, which could have been treated.
This is not just an eccentric conduct but also cruel: how two parents would watch a child to die without calling trained experts for help and rather sit and pray is shocking but under the conception of faith, this is somewhat normal.
Divine healing is the backbone of the belief these two wicked parents shared—and guess what, it’s just not them. They belong to a church-The Followers of Christ Church which teaches this in a 21st century America and the church is legally allowed to impact such diabolical ideas.
After the death of the child, Dale and Shannon Hickman were sentenced to 6 years in prison each for manslaughter. They appealed their conviction, an appeal which was dismissed by a US judge last week.
According The New York Daily News , Dale and Shannon Hickman who are members of a controversial faith-healing church in Oregon appealed their conviction, on the grounds that the prosecution had the burden to prove the couple knew their religious beliefs would cause the death of their child.
Though a doctor had testified during the 2011 trial that their son-David would have had a ’99 percent chance’ of surviving had the couple called 911, the two seem to argue that, they did not know and could not evaluate that their sick son needed help beyond their prayers and oil rubbing.
The Followers of Christ Church, a Pentecostal in orientation believes in literal interpretation of the Bible, including the power of faith healing.
Pentecostal Christianity teaches that prayer and laying hands by the elders on the sick can cure illness. This is what killed the couple’s new baby—born with a bacterial infection and underdeveloped lungs.
The connection between the faith of the couple, its practice and the death of David could not have been missed during the initial trial.
During the 2011 trial, prosecutors said: “Mr Hickman said he didn’t call 911 because he was praying. The couple never considered taking the baby to the hospital,” reports Daily Mail.
And for Shannon Hickman, she said she must defer to her husband because of church rules so she could not have also called 911. She added ‘I think it’s God’s will whatever happens.’
Judge Robert Herndon at the time said “as the evidence unfolded and the witnesses testified, it became evident to me and certainly to the jury … that this death just simply did not need to occur.”
It’s atrocious that such incidents continue to happen but as long as we have religion opting out of the reason discourse and believers failing to evaluate beliefs handed down from Bronze Age civilization, we sure can’t get ride of these heinous conducts.
If you didn’t get it, this is a clear case of child abuse sanctioned by faith.