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Thread: Pennsylvania couple on trial in prayer death of ill son, 2

  1. #1
    Olympic Champ kr1963's Avatar
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    Default Pennsylvania couple on trial in prayer death of ill son, 2


    Pa. couple on trial in prayer death of ill son, 2

    PHILADELPHIA ? A couple who prayed for their sick toddler rather than take him to a doctor before his pneumonia death went on trial on manslaughter charges Tuesday in Philadelphia.

    Lawyers for Herbert Schaible, 42, and his wife Catherine, 41, told jurors the couple are being prosecuted because they are Christian fundamentalists who believe in faith healing. The lawyers said prosecutors cannot prove the parents knew their 2-year-old son was near death when he got sick in January 2009.


    Kent Schaible died 10 days later of bacterial pneumonia. According to prosecutors, a doctor's visit could have saved him.


    "A 2-year-old doesn't have the wherewithal to say, 'Mommy, Daddy, I'm sick. I need to go to a doctor,'" Assistant District Attorney Joanne Pescatore said in opening statements. "A simple visit to the doctor, a prescription and that little boy could have been with us today."


    About a dozen U.S. children die in such cases each year, often from diabetes, pneumonia and other treatable illnesses, according to Shawn Francis Peters, a University of Wisconsin lecturer who wrote "When Prayer Fails: Faith Healing, Children and the Law."
    The parents often claim they failed to recognize the severity of the illness, he said.
    The Schaibles have six other children and no prior contact with police or social workers.
    The couple, who quit school after ninth grade, worked as teachers at their church, First Century Gospel Church in northeast Philadelphia.


    "This case is not about religion. They didn't know that the child was seriously ill," said defense lawyer Bobby Hoof, who represents the father.


    "Even the medical examiner testified that it's a rapidly moving organism," he said after court Tuesday. "It could become manifest in one day and fatal the next."


    Kent's symptoms had included coughing, congestion, crankiness and a loss of appetite, and he was warm to the touch, the parents told police in statements after his death.
    They thought he was improving as the days wore on, but when his condition worsened, they called their pastor and then a funeral home, authorities said.


    Police asked why they didn't call a doctor. Both said they believed in God for healing, Pescatore has said.


    The city judge who upheld involuntary manslaughter, child endangerment and conspiracy charges in October 2009 called the parents loving but misguided. They remain free on $150,000 bail.


    High-profile coroner Cyril Wecht is scheduled the testify for the defense Thursday. Hoof declined to say whether his client would testify, and Catherine Schaible's public defender did not immediately return a call.


    Jurors could get the case by Friday.






  2. #2
    Ancient Arachnid Spider's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pennsylvania couple on trial in prayer death of ill son, 2

    Quote Originally Posted by kr1963 View Post
    "This case is not about religion. They didn't know that the child was seriously ill," said defense lawyer Bobby Hoof, who represents the father.
    BUT

    Quote Originally Posted by kr1963 View Post
    "Police asked why they didn't call a doctor. Both said they believed in God for healing, Pescatore has said.

    They thought he was improving as the days wore on, but when his condition worsened, they called their pastor
    Morons like this should be sterilized and churches that promote this behavior should be shut down. Freedom of religion doesn't mean freedom to criminally abuse children.
    Last edited by Spider; 12-08-2010 at 07:31 AM.
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    Default Re: Pennsylvania couple on trial in prayer death of ill son, 2

    This is one of the few religious debates that I'll enter, but I've never found it compatible with the free expression clause of the 1st Amendment for government to tell people which religious beliefs are legal and which are not.

    I use this argument in these cases of "faith healers," American Indian tribes who use peyote for worship, or any other host of things spelled out in peoples' faiths.

    To further question this, why are churches not fined for serving alcohol to minors when giving wine/blood of Christ to minors?
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    Ancient Arachnid Spider's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pennsylvania couple on trial in prayer death of ill son, 2

    Quote Originally Posted by ban basketball View Post
    This is one of the few religious debates that I'll enter, but I've never found it compatible with the free expression clause of the 1st Amendment for government to tell people which religious beliefs are legal and which are not.

    I use this argument in these cases of "faith healers," American Indian tribes who use peyote for worship, or any other host of things spelled out in peoples' faiths.

    To further question this, why are churches not fined for serving alcohol to minors when giving wine/blood of Christ to minors?
    The law of the land supercedes unbridled freedom of religion. Otherwise, any lawbreaker could claim that his act was condoned by his religion. Faith healers are not licensed medical practitioners. Adults may feel free to utilize them for themselves, but they may not rely upon them for treatment of minors in their care in place of proper medical treatment.

    As far as the church serving wine to minors, I'd be happy as can be if they were prosecuted. As an alternative, though, maybe the law should be amended that minors may receive half an ounce of wine no more than once a week. This would also get Jewish families who give the kids a sip at Passover off the hook.

    Use of illegal drugs in religious services? Probably not strictly legal, but perhaps the government chooses not to exert its power on an Indian reservation. If they were giving crack cocaine to young children, though, it would be a different story.
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    Super Moderator UGLY's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pennsylvania couple on trial in prayer death of ill son, 2

    This is a tough situation. The first amendment clearly states that the nation shall not make any law supporting or repressing religious belief. On the other hand children who do not have the ability to make decisions for themselves need to be protected from parents who might not seek what we believe to the best for the child.

    If this was a 12 or 16 year old child who had the mental capacity to make a spiritual decision for themselves then I dont see the case. But a 2 year old is fully dependent and needs to be protected.

    The spiritual belief to let God do his work is also complex. On one hand all good things come from God so in turn the ability to heal illness by medicine and Dr. must come from God and the saving of the child by a Dr is gods will. On the other hand some believe that science is the bane of faith and choose to reject it.

    My sister is a Jehovah's Witness and she has said she would refuse a blood transfusion for my niece who is 1 if she needed it. We have told her that we will get the courts to award us custody if that ever happened so we could get her the help she needs.



    I am with Spider on this, but I see that the debate is complex when looking at all circumstances.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Pennsylvania couple on trial in prayer death of ill son, 2

    To Ban, in my church they have separate lines when giving communion. One is grape juice for children or teetotalers and the other is wine. I have no idea what other churches do, though.

    As far as this case goes, it is very difficult. Especially when you read the part that says "about a dozen" children die this way every year. I don't have stats, but I will guarantee that more than a dozen children per year die due to modern medicine screw ups. So, what do you do? You can't ban modern medicine because it causes more deaths than prayer. It is tricky. I would simply let them be. I am sure they are true believers and didn't want anything to happen to their child. But atheists are true believers in modern medicine and it kills many more each year.

    But, that is just my opinion. It can be looked at several ways.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Pennsylvania couple on trial in prayer death of ill son, 2

    Quote Originally Posted by quinn14 View Post
    To Ban, in my church they have separate lines when giving communion. One is grape juice for children or teetotalers and the other is wine. I have no idea what other churches do, though.

    As far as this case goes, it is very difficult. Especially when you read the part that says "about a dozen" children die this way every year. I don't have stats, but I will guarantee that more than a dozen children per year die due to modern medicine screw ups. So, what do you do? You can't ban modern medicine because it causes more deaths than prayer. It is tricky. I would simply let them be. I am sure they are true believers and didn't want anything to happen to their child. But atheists are true believers in modern medicine and it kills many more each year.

    But, that is just my opinion. It can be looked at several ways.
    In my church (Lutheran), we have always served actual wine to kids.
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    Ancient Arachnid Spider's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pennsylvania couple on trial in prayer death of ill son, 2

    Quote Originally Posted by quinn14 View Post
    As far as this case goes, it is very difficult. Especially when you read the part that says "about a dozen" children die this way every year. I don't have stats, but I will guarantee that more than a dozen children per year die due to modern medicine screw ups. So, what do you do? You can't ban modern medicine because it causes more deaths than prayer. It is tricky. I would simply let them be. I am sure they are true believers and didn't want anything to happen to their child. But atheists are true believers in modern medicine and it kills many more each year.
    What is the cure to kill ratio for prayer and what is it for medicine? Which method would you trust for yourself or your loved ones? Don't cop out and say both. If it had to be one or the other, which one is more reliable?
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  9. #9

    Default Re: Pennsylvania couple on trial in prayer death of ill son, 2

    Quote Originally Posted by Spider View Post
    The law of the land supercedes unbridled freedom of religion. Otherwise, any lawbreaker could claim that his act was condoned by his religion. Faith healers are not licensed medical practitioners. Adults may feel free to utilize them for themselves, but they may not rely upon them for treatment of minors in their care in place of proper medical treatment.

    As far as the church serving wine to minors, I'd be happy as can be if they were prosecuted. As an alternative, though, maybe the law should be amended that minors may receive half an ounce of wine no more than once a week. This would also get Jewish families who give the kids a sip at Passover off the hook.

    Use of illegal drugs in religious services? Probably not strictly legal, but perhaps the government chooses not to exert its power on an Indian reservation. If they were giving crack cocaine to young children, though, it would be a different story.
    Not entirely true. First off, the Constitution is the supreme law of the land, which does indeed supersede other laws. Of course, human sacrifice would never be allowed, but there are many instances where we supersede laws because of religious freedom. One notable example is the Amish who are allowed to use black and white slow moving vehicle signs on their buggies, as bright colors violate their religion. For religious reasons we can also decline being drafted into the military. As for Jehovah's Witnesses, they have a host of things that they can be excluded from for religious reasons.

    As for the medical certification of faith healers, I don't think that that is ever in question; they are faith healers, not physicians. As such, believers feel that God will heal/cure their illnesses, which is an act of faith, not medical practice.

    Finally, it is also easy to look at such scenarios in 20/20 hindsight, but the fact is is that these folks' faith/belief/religion leads them to believe that God will cure all illnesses. As such, they actually never believe that their child may die from the illness, as they believe God will heed their calling. Why would they believe such things if they knew that it would lead to their child's death? That is why it is totally unwillingly that the parents are contributing to their child's death. They actually believe that he/she will NOT die.
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