When Parents Call God instead of the Doctor
On Easter Sunday of 2008, Kara Neumann an 11 year old from Weston Wisconsin, lay in her bed motionless suffering from waves of nausea, too weak to walk or speak. Both of Kara’s parents were followers of the Unleavened Bread Ministries, which is an online church that shuns medical intervention. Kara’s parents prayed by their dying daughters bed, and did not call for medical assistance. A couple hours later Kara died of Diabetes, the lack of insulin in a person’s body, a very treatable and relatively common disease.
After a couple weeks the Wisconsin state attorney contacted Kara’s parents Dale and Leilani Neumann. The couple protested on their religious beliefs and religious freedoms, that this was the right thing to do. The Judge Vincent Howard ordered that Mr. and Mrs. Neumann stand trial in the spring, and if found guilty could face up to 25 years in prison. A couple days later Unleavened Bread Ministry released a statement saying that the couple is being punished unfairly for the “crime of praying”.
In the case of Kara Neumann, controversy was started around the world, between religious and non-religious people, stating various different opinions on the situation. With many different opinions spiraling the Internet on what the parents did was right or what the parents did was wrong, but at the time current Wisconsin law stated: A parent cannot be convicted of a child abuse or negligent homicide if they can prove they genuinely believed that God, instead of a doctor, was the best option available for their child. The law is part of the legacy of the 1996 Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act, which included a landmark exemption for parents who do not seek medical care for their children for religious purposes.
This kind of behavior between religious practices is traced back to the late 1800’s in England, where people would refuse treatment to illness because they thought God would help them if need be. Still to this day people refuse treatment for themselves or for their children who are in life threatening situations.
In conclusion, I found this article very interesting to read because there were two arguments one with a logical standpoint and one with religious standpoint. They both had valid points to their arguments, on why it could have been the right or wrong thing to do under the circumstances. It really depended on the audience, but to me personally I thought what Kara’s parents did was the wrong thing by relying on prayer, when she could have seeked medical attention. Diabetes is a very treatable disease, and taking her to a hospital could have saved their daughters life. This relates to our course because everyone is entitled to their own religious beliefs whether they think it was right or wrong, because religion to everyone is something different, so there is no right answer, just opinions.