February 10, 2011 by admncc
If you’ve been a reader of this blog, even for a short period of time, you know that I usually don’t publish posts about religion or politics. That’s just not my thing. When I’ve done it in the past, I’ve always worried about how many people it was chasing away verses attracting. So…normally I don’t do it.
Thus, I’m treading delicately… But as a parent, this story was so difficult and upsetting to read, that I ultimately decided to write a post about it. The Philadelphia Inquirer has been covering the story of Herbert and Catherine Schaible, the devout faith-healing couple convicted of involuntary manslaughter for praying while their 2-year-old son died of bacterial pneumonia. According to this Philly.com story, both were sentenced to 10 years probation by a judge who also ordered regular medical care for their surviving seven children to age 18.
The Schaibles were convicted by a jury in December 2010, for the January 24, 2009, death of their son Kent. According to trial testimony, Kent died after fighting what began two weeks before as a cold and progressed into bacterial pneumonia. Witnesses testified that the Schaibles prayed over their son and thought he might be getting well. Herbert Schaible was later quoted as saying, “We tried to fight the devil, but in the end the devil won.”
The article went on to say that the judge’s “10-year probationary term put strong limits on the Schaibles’ practice of faith-healing, a tenet of their First Century Gospel Church of Juniata Park, a fundamentalist Christian congregation that teaches healing through prayer and considers medical care a lack of faith in God.”
Now, this post is not a shot at anyone’s religious beliefs. It doesn’t matter to me who or what you believe in. And if your religion says that you can’t go to the doctor, and you follow that, than that’s your right. But what blew me out of the water here is that “while the Schaibles’ church considers members who get medical care to have sinned, it does not go so far as shun members who see a doctor.” And “according to court testimony, the church permits dental care such as teeth-cleaning and filling cavities.” So…basically…while they might have been frowned upon for seeking medical treatment, it wasn’t strictly forbidden. And even worse, if it had been a toothache instead of a cold, they could have sought treatment. Shouldn’t it be the other way around?
At the end of the day, it’s just upsetting to see a life lost over something that didn’t have to play out the way it did. Check out the article if you haven’t already…as it’s pretty interesting…there’s also some heat on others at the church for not recommending that the family seek medical care sooner.