Wis. court upholds convictions of parents who prayed for dying girl instead of going to doctor

0

A mother and father who prayed instead of seeking medical help as their daughter died in front of them were properly convicted of homicide, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled Wednesday.


Eleven-year-old Madeline Kara Neumann died of undiagnosed diabetes on Easter Sunday in March 2008 at home in the central Wisconsin village of Weston. Prosecutors said her parents, Dale and Leilani Neumann, ignored obvious symptoms of severe illness as Kara became too weak to speak, eat, drink or walk, choosing to pray rather than take her to a doctor.

The Supreme Court’s decision said the Neumanns don’t belong to any organized church but believe visiting a doctor amounts to worshipping an idol rather than God.

As Kara’s condition worsened they resisted suggestions from her grandmother to take her to a doctor. Kara’s grandfather suggested giving her Pedialyte, a supplement used to combat dehydration in children, but Leilani Neumann said that would take the glory away from God.

Written By: Associated Press
continue to source article at washingtonpost.com

NO COMMENTS

  1. How is this any different from an honor killing? It’s all about valuing a deity over another human being. I don’t fault parents who turn to prayer when medicine has exhausted itself, or even if the symptoms were hidden, but when a kid just gets obviously sick? That’s manslaughter.

  2. I doubt it will matter a jot to these imbeciles, bit perhaps others will be deterred in future from knowing that they have been held to be the child-murderers that they actually are.

    The only real crime here is that they each get to serve only six months in jail, spread over six years.

  3. The parents were aware of treatments that would work. Obviously the treatments they were using were not working. They chose to kill their daughter rather than swallow their pride. Had the parents plead insanity, perhaps they could have got off.

    Pedialyte is water, sea salt and sugar, known as ORT Oral Rehydration Therapy. It is so simple, and miraculous for dehydration. I could hardly imagine a god objecting to its use. It was known even to the ancient Greeks who used honey in the recipe. When I was deathly ill in Indonesia to my astonishment it made be feel normal in about 30 minutes.

    People make up all manner of excuses to neglect or abuse their children. God is just one of the more respectable.

    • In reply to #5 by Roedy:

      The parents were aware of treatments that would work. Obviously the treatments they were using were not working. They chose to kill their daughter rather than swallow their pride. Had the parents plead insanity, perhaps they could have got off

      I think that this sort of delusional behaviour counts as insanity. Please can someone make them see it for what it is.

  4. We also should be punishing the con men who convinced these boobs that praying had any effect, could be relied on, was not just something to occupy yourself while worrying, and that God would be offended if you tried anything else. It most cons you just lose money. In this one you lose your money, your daughter and your freedom.

  5. “the Neumanns don’t belong to any organized church”

    Would criminal irresponsibility be somehow acceptable if they had been church members?
    Will that become an acceptable defence for crimes from now on?

    Religious bank robbery? Fine.

    Sectarian drive-by shooting? Not Guilty!

    Bomb an abortion clinic? Case dismissed!

    The point about the law, is that it applies to everyone and is not negotiable. As soon as an excuse is acceptable, more and more excuses will become acceptable until you have no law.

    The Neumanns are bad parents and worse human beings, and I’m not much more impressed by the grandparents who failed to step in when the parental neglect became obvious.

  6. In the words of the parents this amounts to child sacrifice.The prayers did not work. She died. God did not raise her from the dead. Did the child have any human rights? Something about life and liberty. This was in the USA not Pakistan. And she was not the only one. Doctors as idols? Prayer as legal immunity?

  7. To be brutally honest I think this is the one instance where the death penalty should be enforced. Killing a child for the sake of your own fairy tale should be considered the most heinous crime and punished with such severity that nobody else would dare tempt it. If it was an adult being denied medical care these two would have served lengthy sentences but since it was their own child they get a pat on the bottom and a scolding. Truly, these two and all like them deserve every bit of sadness and misfortune that may ever befall them. I personally hope they wake up every day and stub their pinkie toe on an anvil, before coffee

  8. if the grandparents were so concerned at the girl’s symptoms why didn’t they call CPS when it became obvious the parents weren’t going to do a damn thing? Who stops at concern and suggestions when a child can’t eat, drink, or walk?

    People for whom reason has ceased to exist and empathy is a meaningless concept, that’s who. I can’t imagine ignoring even the slightest injury or illness to my own children.

  9. This girl died of untreated type 1 diabetes, a condition that was 100% fatal until 1923 when Banting, Collip, Macleod and Best isolated insulin- a scientific progress that was awarded with the Nobel prize. She would be alive today, taking 2-4 injections a day and every prospect of a long healthy life if she looked after herself.
    In the previous 10,000 years or more how many prayers, sacrifices, begs, propriations were made to God,spirits ancestors, genies etc.etc.etc. by parents in similar circumstances? And it NEVER worked.
    The ego of these parents to think that an exception would be made in their case, as their faith is SO strong sickens me.

    • I also wonder, why they don’t think that modern medicine is the answer to their prayers. Seriously, if I were religious I’d say that the hard work of brilliant scientists is gods answers to centuries of prayer.

      In reply to #14 by Roy72:

      This girl died of untreated type 1 diabetes, a condition that was 100% fatal until 1923 when Banting, Collip, Macleod and Best isolated insulin- a scientific progress that was awarded with the Nobel prize. She would be alive today, taking 2-4 injections a day and every prospect of a long healthy lif…

  10. Well, they have a powerful and vivid precedent, don’t they? I’m referring to Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice Isaac to prove his faith. It’s vicious lunacy, but it is also dogma. If you believe, really REALLY believe, then God will take care of everything.
    So, by that logic, their only failing was not to believe quite enough.
    Perhaps grandma’s suggestion of pedialyte was the devil whispering in their ears that broke the connection to God JUST when He was about to heal her.

    • In reply to #15 by justinesaracen:

      Well, they have a powerful and vivid precedent, don’t they? I’m referring to Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice Isaac to prove his faith. It’s vicious lunacy, but it is also dogma. If you believe, really REALLY believe, then God will take care of everything.
      So, by that logic, their only failing was..
      Now I know why, when a year or so ago, that huge jebus gathering in Texas also involving the Governor – Rick (does that rhyme with an expletive…?) Perry – a Presidential hopeful – failed in their prays to end the drought. They didn’t BELIEVE enough! In fact the drought got worse, if memory serves me correctly. Your believers
      over there need to cover their collective asses like the Muslims do by prefacing their requests with “God willing”

  11. Rep. Terese Berceau, D-Madison, plans to introduce a bill eliminating the exemption. A similar measure from Berceau in 2009 never got a vote.

    “It is a parent’s responsibility to ensure the health of their children and, as this case so tragically demonstrates, to set aside their own personal convictions in order to save the life of their child,” Berceau said in a statement.

    I agree with the Representative, but there seems to be a large piece missing from the thinking of the courts, lawyers and parliaments in this case. What were the poor girl’s teachers, neighbours, friends, friends’ parents, casual acquaintances, aunts, uncles, cousins, local shopkeepers doing? In the Land of the Free, children seem to be something like the property of their parents, and, I’m told, the State is reluctant to intervene, due to the undue weight given to the rights of the family, which are somehow bound up with individualism and the particular brand of Protestantism which informs so much of American social thinking.

    That being the case it’s unlikely that anyone reported the situation to the authorities, even less likely that anyone with the authority to intervene, would have done so. Madeline was the citizen of a republic which defers to religious madness, and does not see it as the state’s duty to protect its juvenile citizens. The nugatory sentences which the parents recieved, confirms that US law does not have a real interest in childrens’ rights as people and citizens.

    • In reply to #16 by Kevin Murrell:

      Rep. Terese Berceau, D-Madison, plans to introduce a bill eliminating the exemption. A similar measure from Berceau in 2009 never got a vote.

      Given the current political situation in the Wisconsin State legislature, this doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of passing, unfortunately. There is a very strong majority of very religious Assembly members who not only think religion can do no wrong, but also that secular government should be defunded as far as possible to the point where it barely even exists. The idea that they would ever favor any move toward more secular authority over religion is ludicrous. Rep. Berceau has put forth a good bill, but trying to get anything even slightly reasonable through this particular legislature at the moment is just tilting at windmills.

      • In reply to #20 by Steven Mading:

        In reply to #16 by Kevin Murrell:

        Rep. Terese Berceau, D-Madison, plans to introduce a bill eliminating the exemption. A similar measure from Berceau in 2009 never got a vote.

        Given the current political situation in the Wisconsin State legislature, this doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of…

        Thanks Steven for reading and replying to my post. Is there nothing that can be done to enforce the law properly? It’s hard to see much difference between what happened ihn Wisconsin and honor killings in the middle east (NOT confined to Muslims). Murder by neglect is as much murder as by any other method, and what’s the difference in merit between a motive of glorifying god, protecting a family ‘s honour, or for that matter relieving a bank of some of its money?

  12. ok just so you know, one of the rulings i’m planning when i take over is every new-born noise-ape will be rendered sterile. at the age of 18 they may apply to have the procedure reversed.

    naturally there’ll be a test to see if they’ve reached adulthood first

    and problems with that?

  13. what’s frightening is they seem to have no concern for the child whatsoever, just for their imaginary jailor.

    take the glory away from God.

    that phrase alone sends shivers. this is, as mentioned above, human sacrifice plain and simple.

    God will fix her…
    god will raise her from the dead…..
    god wants her dead….
    praise god

    would anyone let people like that watch their children for a minute?

  14. Severe retardation. they’re mentally handicapped and unfit to stand trial IMO. Blind faith is a mental condition and should be taken seriously. Forced reprogramming should be mandatory.

  15. Wait, wait, wait …. you may be looking at this all wrong. I feel sad for the girl who died but in perspective, as if looking from the moon, if we punish these Christians for doing what they believe then 1) We violate their Constitutional rights and 2) it may dissuade other Christians from doing the same thing. Look to the future and think about evolution from a social sense: If more Christians felt this way and acted on their feelings and beliefs, then we would have less Christians. That is really what is necessary to actually go forward intelligently into the future. Likewise, if we would allow more of the other religions to die for their beliefs then social evolution is again benefited. One has to get past the species-centric attitude that all human life is important; on the contrary, again standing on the moon and looking down, hu-mons are effectively acting as a virus would in any other system; replicating and taking over all resources in order to survive regardless of the life or death of the system. So, in this case, maybe something sad is really not such a bad thing and we should not punish those who are acting for the benefit of the social ecology. I’m just saying ……….

  16. Wait, wait, wait …. you may be looking at this all wrong. I feel sad for the girl who died but in perspective, as if looking from the moon, if we punish these Christians for doing what they believe then 1) We violate their Constitutional rights

    You don’t have a Constitutional right to abuse another human being, period.

    • That’s the thing. If a church student popped up that stoned kids for being disobedient would we protect that? No!
      We don’t protect the “right” or Mormon factions to marry off 13 year old girls. Why do we protect a parents right to let them die?

      I get a line has to be drawn. I don’t know if we want to go after a bris (though in ny Ilaws have been passed I think) but the line shouldn’t be where it is.

      In reply to #27 by DocWebster:

      Wait, wait, wait …. you may be looking at this all wrong. I feel sad for the girl who died but in perspective, as if looking from the moon, if we punish these Christians for doing what they believe then 1) We violate their Constitutional rights

      You don’t have a Constitutional right to abuse anoth…

  17. Yes, I remember this story making me incredibly angry, particuarly riled by the fact that the parents refused medical treatment for their kid but were perfectly happy to embrace the technologies of communication to tell everyone about how great they were at praying. The kid dying a painful death and they’re cyberchatting about the Lord.

Leave a Reply