Kara Neumann, age 11, died on Easter Sunday, 2008 of a treatable form of diabetes. Her parents, Leilani and Dale Neumann, believe that disease is an illusion created by Satan, and that to seek treatment is to deny God. “Jesus never sent anyone to a doctor or a hospital,” wrote their pastor. “Jesus offered healing by one means only! Healing was by faith.” So, rather than take her to a doctor, who would have administered a dose of insulin and saved her life, they let her die in agony as her organs failed, one by one.
This is but one of 300 cases of the past 25 years where a parent has deemed their “religious freedom” to outweigh the healthcare needs of their child. For in their hearts, the Neumanns must have known that their child would die by their hands, but because of their opposition to science, they chose to send a message rather than prevent the disease that took their daughter’s life. This is murder at its worst.
Perhaps more reprehensible is the fact that a number of websites have sprung up in support of the Neumanns from fundamentalist Christian groups, including helptheneumanns.com. The website atrociously expresses grievance that the Neumanns “lost their little girl,” and that “God chose to take her home.”
I would beg people of all creeds to understand the lunacy in this. For even a Christian should see that the mere fact that Jesus never mentioned some action does not entail that the action is morally wrong. Jesus preached kindness, benevolence, and the extension of a helping hand to all who needed it.
By what standards is this particular brand of Christianity not a cult? And a dangerous one at that? Our government has no qualms about stopping other cults from sacrificial acts in the name of spirituality. Why should this be any different?
The Neumanns will face trial on reckless homicide charges (not murder or even manslaughter) this spring. The case is expected to set a precedent for future cases of parents endangering the lives of their children in the name of faith. If convicted, they could serve up to 25 years in prison.
For more, check out the ABC News coverage of the story.