Thursday, February 21, 2019

What In God's Name Were You Thinking?

by nhemerson (writer), Portland, March 31, 2008


Police: Girl died as parents prayed instead of seeking help

I'd like to start this article out on a personal note to explain the wonders of faith and love. The therapeutic qualities that a hug has on us during our worst times. The inspiration that religion brings to millions of people all over the world. The profound insight that this planet's top spiritual advisors share with us day in and day out. I am a firm believer that love cures all. Well, except one thing...ACTUAL DISEASES.

In the small town of Weston, Wisconsin a community was recently shocked to find out about the death of a local, young girl, Madeline Neumann (Wausau Daily Herald, WI, USA Mar. 25, 2008). The death, however, was not the most disturbing detail of the tragedy. It was the way that the girl died. It was not at the hands of a deranged transient, or serial killer. It wasn't due to an unknown sickness or misdiagnosis from a doctor. Instead, the girl died from untreated diabetes. Why untreated? Because her family chose to pray instead of seek medical help for her. THAT'S RIGHT, THEY CHOSE TO PRAY.

When police asked the girl's parents what had happened, the parents, Dale and Leilani Neumann, believe she died because they apparently didn’t have enough faith. As absolutely baffling as that sounds, it was their honest, official answer. Police said the cause of death was diabetic ketoacidosis, which develops when a person has too little insulin in their body. Left untreated, diabetic ketoacidosis might cause a person to lose consciousness and die. The girl had been sick for an estimated 30 days. It wasn't until the child's aunt, who lives in California, got worried and contacted authorities to go to the home and check on her.

The girl has three siblings, ranging in age from 13 to 16, both currently still in the home. The child's family had no history of abuse with any of the children and reportedly had not taken any of the children to see a doctor since they were 3 years old. There is a current investigation going on into the family’s religious and personal practices and ethics. Leilani Neumann said she and her husband are not worried about the investigation because "our lives are in God's hands. We know we did not do anything criminal. We know we did the best for our daughter we knew how to do."

I can't decide which is scarier, the thought that someone would choose to pray as opposed getting medical attention for their dying child, or the fact that even after her death they could not comprehend that she died because of their neglect. And while I do enjoy religion in a scholastic format, this instance only strengthens my assumption that truly religious people are in a state of psychosis. Why don't we just let religion handle the emotional healing, and let the medical professionals do all the physical healing...please?

About the Writer

nhemerson is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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4 comments on What In God's Name Were You Thinking?

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By Glenn T on March 31, 2008 at 06:19 pm

Thanks for writing about this NH.  I was raised in Christian Science, a cult not unlike the one that little Madeline was forced into.  I used to have to sneak off to my friends' houses to get aspirin or cold medicine.  All I was allowed to do at my house when I wasn't feeling well was to sleep or call someone to "pray on my behalf."  It was horrible, and I knew that it was nonsense before I even knew any Alegbra...

This is child abuse, and in addition to being morally reprehensible, it's criminal.  We must take parents like this to task - because ignorance is not an affirmative defense for criminal behavior (I'm a lawyer... and I looked it up).  They ought to end up in prison, and suffer the same fate as most criminals who commit crimes against children... look it up, it's bad.

If you want to practice one of these religions, you ought to be forced by the state to have your child medically evaluated on a periodic basis...  That or just don't have kids, and keep your crazy to yourself.

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By nhemerson on March 31, 2008 at 06:24 pm

I agree and believe that if you feel that prayer is the best you could for your child then you are considered an unfit parent.  Regardless if your intentions are good with prayer, it is no less neglect and in this case, manslaughter.

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By nhemerson on March 31, 2008 at 08:02 pm

To me, this topic only continues to underline the hypocrisy of fundamentalist religion.  This is not a reflection of moderate and liberal religious belief, but this really brings to the forefront with how insane the views of these types of people are.  THEY ARE AGAINST ABORTION, but are not willing to take their child to be treated for disease???  WTF is the difference then???  The fetus has a right to life but the child doesn't???  It is completely ludicrous.  Abortion is murder, but allowing your child to die of treatable disease isn't.  I am a parent and this rocks me to my core.

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By nhemerson on June 23, 2008 at 01:54 am

I disagree.  I DONT think most Americans know that christian science is WHAT it is.  If most did, I think many would be more vocal about this extremist concept.  On the contrary, like most, we live in an ignorance and play these incidents off as "outliers" in American cultural phenomenon.  This is not the case. 

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