Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Not Enough Faith: Who Is Responsible for the Death of Madeline Neumann?

Eleven year old Madeline Neumann died in March of 2008 from diabetic ketoacidosis, too little insulin in her body, because her parents relied on prayer rather than medical treatment for her illness. Her autopsy determined that her condition was treatable.

Yesterday her father, Dale Neumann, was sentenced to probation for 10 years and service of 30 days in jail a year for the next 6 years. Her mother, Leilani Neumann, received the same sentence a few months prior. According to a Fox news report:

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."

A January 2009 article in the New York Times quotes the Neumann's pastor as stating, "“Jesus never sent anyone to a doctor or a hospital. Jesus offered healing by one means only! Healing was by faith.”

Most states allow government authorities to enter homes when a case of medical neglect is brought to their attention, though intervention tends to come too late to save the child's life. Yet parents are often protected from prosecution by constitutional religious clauses, both federal and state.

Nothing can be worse than the personal hell of losing a child. But at the same time, a message needs to be sent that parents ought to be obligated to seek medical attention for their children when things go on for more than a few days. Dale and Leilani Neumann ought to serve as examples for other parents that you can’t let things go as far as they let them go while hoping that God will save your sick child. It’s sad that Madeline is dead, but I mostly blame her parents, not God.

We can’t find it in the news articles we’ve scanned, but we have no doubt that Dale & Leilani are creationists. We recognize the mentality. [Addendum: Yes, it's almost certain that they're creationists. According to the Wikipedia entry onPentecostalism: "Pentecostals generally adhere to the doctrine of biblical inerrancy, believing that the Bible has definitive authority in matters of faith, and adopt a literalist approach to its interpretation."]

Photos of the hearing can be found at GreenbayPressGazette.
A discussion on faith healing can be found at the Canadian ReligiousTolerance.



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