Oregon faith-healing couple found guilty of manslaughter

Published September 30th, 2011 by Bobby Henderson


From kwtx:

Dale and Shannon Hickman of Oregon City, Ore., who prayed for their ailing prematurely born son rather than seeking medical care, have been found guilty of felony manslaughter.

Prosecutors claimed Shannon Hickman never sought prenatal care and the couple never considered taking the premature infant to the hospital.

The child was born with a bacterial infection and underdeveloped lungs and died within nine hours after he had trouble breathing.

The Hickmans’ attorney claimed religious persecution and said there was no evidence that medical care would have saved the baby.

Faith healing is one of those areas where I can ignore it as a so long as it’s affecting themselves.  But it’s very sad when parents are making reckless choices for their kids.  I am happy to see this case worked out and hopefully it will cause some religious groups to do some critical thinking.

Some believe this case illustrates how evil religion is. I wavered on posting the article because that is not the point I wanted to make. More to the point, I believe the Church of FSM is not just another anti-religion club. A lot of us have the view that religion is harmful and antiquated, but a lot of us also accept that a huge number of people feel they get something positive out of their faith and their religious communities.

So I am cautious about posting things that promote the idea that the world would be better off without religion. Because, more than anything, I don’t believe it’s in the scope of the Church of FSM to make that statement.

The point I want to make is this: instead of drawing the line between the religious and non-religious, let’s draw the line between the reasonable and unreasonable. Let’s criticize a culture that values faith over reason, rather than religion itself.

Why? We know plenty of religious people and we realize that the majority of Christians do not reject modern medicine for their children. We personally know people who get something positive from their religious communities and yet still act with reason.

These are the people who might believe in some scripture, but they also realize that their faith does a poor job of explaining the natural world. They are not blinded by faith, they are reasonable. We need these people to promote the value of reason within their communities.

102 Responses to “Oregon faith-healing couple found guilty of manslaughter”

  1. Metal Head says:

    ” instead of drawing the line between the religious and non-religious, let’s draw the line between the reasonable and unreasonable.”

    RAmen, big time. I think it’s much better to promote open-mindedness, rationality, etc., than to *fight* religion. Making fun of religion, however, is fair game, IMO.

    Even if given the opportunity to abolish all religion, I would not. Rationality and open-mindedness can’t be forced; people would find or fabricate other irrational belief systems.

    If anything, religion may ultimately assist in the aforementioned cause, as it may slowly become seen as the poster child for irrational beliefs and other thought structures.

  2. Metal Head says:

    Atsap Revol said, ““scientific” explanations for the plagues in Egypt and the parting of the Red Sea are silly.”

    The irony here as that establishing that these events can, and do, occur naturally, causes attribution of divine causality by the authors of the Bible, to be highly dubious.

    In other words, to prove that these events are natural, is to express that no divine influence was required, eliciting doubt as to any “God” having anything to do with them.

    To prove that events claimed in the bible did or could have happened in some form, does not, in any way, prove divinity. Rather, it paints the bible has a heavily embellished historical document.

    • Atsap Revol says:

      Metal Head, these TV productions do not prove that the events described in the Bible did or could have happened naturally. The logic in these programs is at the same level as the many productions about Big Foot and The Bermuda Triangle. I again say that “scientific” explanations for the plagues in Egypt etc are silly. Just plain silly and unscientific.

      Atsap Revol

      • Metal Head says:

        Depends on which programs you’re talking about. But the important thing is, proving events would not prove divinity, so the validity of the support data behind the assertions in these programs, is irrelevant.

        • Atsap Revol says:

          Metal Head, I’m sure you have seen programs of the sort I’m talking about. The supporting data for this nonsense is completely lacking. They prove nothing…they definitely do not disprove divinity. They are the mirror image of the silly programs that document the search for Noah’s Ark. This kind of crap is strictly for entertainment.

          To disprove divinity requires the exercise of reason, not a ridiculous string of pseudoscience and speculation. The best stuff to watch is the movie “Religulous,” George Carlin on You Tube, or Penn and Teller. The contradictions and silliness in the Bible itself offer the best evidence that there is not a god.

          Atsap Revol

        • TheFewTheProudTheMarinara says:

          Those “investigative” TV productions always start with assumptions, such as “who was the real Jesus”, as opposed to “WAS there a real Jesus”. They don’t have the stones to air that. They’re risking enough by potentially portraying Jesus as someone different from what the viewer assumes. What? No blond hair and blue eyes??

  3. Ernie Lundquist says:

    A friend of mine put what I think is your point (faith vs. reason) this way: “If you believe in a deity (or deities), and that deity created you, and gave you that brain, can you tell me how and when and why he told you not to use it?”

  4. ghostrider says:

    I have seen FSM brought up many times when reading articles dealing with religion. This is the 1st time I have bothered to actually research your religion.

    I like it. I like what you have to say. I won’t be joining your religion since I don’t do religions anymore. Unfortunately I had the bad experience of being brought up Catholic. But I can say more power to you and keep up the good fight.

  5. Chris says:

    “Instead of drawing the between the religious and non-religious, let’s draw the line between the reasonable and unreasonable.” I have been following this philosophy for many years and it works extremely well.

  6. Madatak says:

    To quote a Russian proverb ‘Pray, fine. Just keep rowing to shore’. The message in that proverb and this article is a good one, there is nothing wrong with praying, just don’t use it as an excuse to do nothing.

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  8. stevie says:

    These people belong to a church where several children have died of medical neglect. Anot her dead baby will not stop them. They will simply pray harder.

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