The Dangers of Prayer Healing

prayerIn 2009, a couple faced charges for the death of their toddler after they decided to simply pray over the sick toddler for healing. Put on probation, you would think they would at least take any one of their other 8 children to a local menanite doctor or something if they got sick. Part of a fundamentalist church, Herbert and Catherine Schaible still decided that they knew better, sticking to faith healing.

After suffering from diarrhea and breathing issues though, their second child, 8 month old Brandon, passed away, again without any medical attention whatsoever. Their first son died of bacteria pneumonia. The way I see it, if you want to avoid the doctor, fine, but allowing your children to die because of your limited beliefs is not okay.

So far, prosecutors are waiting on the results of an autopsy before pressing any charges. Mythri Jayaraman, the couple’s attorney, encourages people not to “rush to judgement”. Personally, I don’t see it as a rush when they already let one child die and did nothing to help the second. It seems pretty clear cut to me. Yes, we don’t know what the exact illness or accident was that killed the child, but we can say that the parents took the same exact path that led to their other son’s death and previous charges. Frankly, the other children should have all been removed the first time around.

According to Jayaraman, What we do know is Mr and Mrs Schaible are distraught, they are grieving, they are tremendously sad about the loss of their most recent baby. Again, clearly they’re not sorry enough to have taken lifesaving steps to help any one of their children, including the latest.

When their son Kent died in 2009, he was 2 years old suffering coughing, congestion, crankiness, and a loss of appetite. They were convicted of involuntary manslaughter, and they were sentenced to 10 years probation. You would really think it would have been more. The judge has determined at this point that they did violate their probation. They reportedly prayed to god as opposed to seeking medical attention. Judge Benjamin Lerner stated, You did that once, and the consequences were tragic.

Their other 7 children are in foster care, which is the only reason why Lerner has allowed them to remain in the community. They are only a danger to their own children according to Assistant District Attorney Joanne Pescatore, the prosecutor who took on their case in 2010.

Their church site states, It is a definite sin to trust in medical help and pills; and it is real faith to trust on the Name of Jesus for healing.

The message could not be more clear, though the loss of one child should have changed things. After the first incident, the Schaible children went to mandatory medical checkups. However, there was no way to make sure they would seek treatment if an illness came up. Technically, Brandon had a checkup at 10 days old. No one seems to know though whether or not he got a checkup of any kind after that.

I’m not saying they didn’t love their child. They were obviously influenced by their church in a negative way. They made that kind of choice not once, but twice though. In addition, why didn’t the state have them on monthly or other frequent and regular checkup schedules? It’s a scary world when people actually believe that they can get away with killing their child or letting them die, regardless of the circumstances.

I would highly advise against it. For example though, if you have cancer and you decide you want to go with natural treatments, that’s up to you. Making that kind of decision for young children with deadly effects on the other hand, is in no way appropriate or acceptable.


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