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Is God Against Medicine For Kids?

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A little girl's abrupt death generates debate.


An 11-year-old girl died from complication of diabetes after her parents refused to take her to a doctor, stating that "healing comes from God."

Mom Leilani Neumann says she didn't know Kara had a terminal illness, but autopsy results showed that the girl most likely suffered for a month with nausea, vomiting and excessive weakness. It's reported that Kara hadn't seen a doctor since she was 3 years old.

Respecting others' religious beliefs is important, but when do you think the line is crossed and it becomes child abuse and neglect? 

next: Barefoot is NOT an Option: Round Three
40 comments so far | Post a comment now
Mary March 27, 2008, 5:59 PM

Children do not BELONG to us, they come THROUGH us. She had the right to be able to live, and to live her own life. God has allowed Man and given Man the intelligence and curiosity to evolve and create cures.

I recall often this analogy: A town floods, and a man is trapped on the roof of his house. A raft floats by, and those survivors aboard tell him to come down and they will save him. He says “No, I’m waiting for God to save me.” The water gets higher and a rescue raft comes by. The responders tell the man to come down and they will save him. He says, “No, I’m waiting for God to save me.” The water gets almost up to the man, and a helicopter comes by overhead and drops a ladder. He hears, “Grab the ladder and we’ll save you.” He waves them away, because he’s waiting for God to save him. The man drowns, and goes to Heaven. He asks to see God and is taken before His Presence. “God,” he asks, “I have loved You, tithed to You and preached Your gospel all my life. I have gone to church every Sunday to worship You. Why didn’t you save me?” God answers, “I sent you a raft, a boat and a helicopter…what were you waiting for?”

The Hammer March 27, 2008, 6:21 PM

I would place the blame of abuse and neglect on these people. God gave man/woman the intelligence to create and provide cures for ailments either through natural remedies or created in a lab. These people are stupid enough to think that prayers alone would help!?! There are very few miracles, and that is when all else fails. They didn’t try anything else. Fools, they cut this girls life short. Throw them in prison, and cut their lives short.

Anonymous March 27, 2008, 6:29 PM

Respecting others’ religious beliefs is *NOT* important. Religion is pure foolishness, and when it results in the suffering of innocent children, those responsible should be punished without a shred of mercy.

dola March 27, 2008, 6:32 PM

Idiotic… just idiotic. The analogy recited by Mary is a good one and The Hammer’s position is one I agree with. I’d say arrest the parents, send them to trial and, assuming they are convicted, let them look to God to save them from being sodomized.

john t. March 27, 2008, 6:46 PM

Since god doesn’t exist the question is Moot.

New Mom March 27, 2008, 7:04 PM

I’m outraged that people still have the right to allow their children to die in these emergency medical situations. The parents should be charged with profound neglect and manslaughter. They’ve created their own personal hell with no deity to save them now. We live in a country that allows freedom of religion, but when a child’s life is in danger there should be approprite intervention. I’m guessing even if the authorities had intervened, the parents would have caused a ruckus even if their daughter had been saved by medical staff. How shamefully tragic is the manner that this lesson has been learned.

rick March 27, 2008, 7:11 PM

If you believe in a personified god, you must see that humans are the vehicle by which that god is manifest - in the form of hospitals, medicine, science, knowledge and judgement. If you refuse these direct manifestations, then you are divorced from the reality dancing right in front of your eyes.

Your god has provided the means through you, yet you said “no” to the means while you waited on your god.

Angela, CA March 27, 2008, 7:26 PM

I think respecting other’s religious beliefs is VERY IMPORTANT especially for those who are ATHEIST which is defined by the dictionary as “the doctrine or belief that there is no God.” Atheism is a religious belief. And I’m sure that the commentators who doesn’t believe in God would like to receive respect for this particular point of view. Case in point, when unwelcomed Mormons arrive at the door you’d want them to respect your privacy and leave.
I’m a born-again Christian and I believe in miraculous healing, and trust that when I go to the doctors that I’m in the hands of professionals whom God has placed into my life. I’ve personally experienced miraculous healing, and been assisted by doctors when I needed medical attention.
The tragedy of this family’s story is that they did not open themselves to the possibility that perhaps God wanted them to take their child to the doctor and the healing will occur there. I’ve had a friend whose parents prayed earnestly for healing for her spine to straighten, but after prayer felt God lead them to turn to medical help. Seeking medical help does not make a believer less faithful or devout.

Anonymous March 27, 2008, 7:27 PM

We all wish for a more tolerant world, but when it comes to respecting someone’s religious beliefs over the safety of a child (or anyone), respect must take a back seat. Religious people such as this, who stood by watching their daughter die, are delusional. Had they said, “Healing comes from Santa Claus,” no one in his or her right mind would suggest tolerance for this point of view.

Toan March 27, 2008, 7:44 PM

It’s ironic that surgery saves lives. Surgery requires knowledge of human anatomy, which can only obtained by satanic doctors who dissected human beings (surgery is a gift of Satan, not God!).

Stem cell researches save lives as well. Support science!

Jon March 27, 2008, 8:40 PM

Religion is just glorified superstition, and should receive NO RESPECT. Its force comes only from the number of thoughtless people who are intelectually weak, lazy or coward to face reality.In more ways than one it has held mankind back and caused untold suffering. This little girl’s ordeal and death in the hands of her mentally ill, superstitious parents is just one more illustration of that point.

Jiminy March 27, 2008, 8:42 PM

Story said :”Mom Leilani Neumann says she didn’t know Kara had a terminal illness”

That’s because she didn’t. She had an easily treatable illness. You can die from an infection from a splinter if you ignore it long enough.

Meri March 28, 2008, 12:04 AM

These people’s actions killed a child. They are simply criminals. Their other three children must be taken away and protected from harm by the authorities.

MoonDog March 28, 2008, 12:41 AM

Ignorant, superstitions fools! Maybe their “god” would have listened to their pleas for help if they had sacrificed a goat to him or something.

While this is certainly a terrible crime for which the parents should be arrested, tried and imprisoned, it makes me think the crime isn’t just killing their daughter. While I have no way of knowing, I am sure that they spent all eleven years of her life filling her poor defenseless mind up with all manner of vile, delusional, superstitious garbage.

“There is an invisible magic man watching your every move (even in the bathroom!) and listening to your every thought! If you do or think anything that HE doesn’t like, you are going to a horrible place called HELL to burn and suffer forever and ever and ever!”

That, folks, is child abuse. In my opinion it is as bad, if not worse, than sexually abusing your children. Religion is in slow decline in the US. I hope that I live to see the day when parents who mentally and emotionally abuse their children with that superstitious tripe are treated with the same contempt and disgust by society as pedophiles.

kb March 28, 2008, 11:00 AM

quote from different article that doesn’t allow comments: “Her mother, Leilani Neumann, told The Associated Press she never expected her daughter, whom she called Kara, to die. The family believes in the Bible, and it says healing comes from God, but they are not crazy, religious people* and they have nothing against doctors, she said.”
**********If they aren’t crazy religious people, then who the heck is??

naless March 29, 2008, 9:55 AM

I don’t agree with what the parents did but I do agree with their rights to do it. As long as they did provide the child with care which in this case would include prayer, I don’t think they committed a crime. Yes this is an easily treated situation but at the same time it could have been more serious and once you let medical professional in you lose a lot of your rights as a parent on when they are to stop. Neglect would be it they just left the child in a room to die which from the stories I read is not true. They provided her with all of the care they believe the Lord provided them except professional medically attention and while I would have done differently I don’t put this in the same catergory of abuse or neglect.

Karen April 2, 2008, 12:40 PM

Is respecting others’ religions beliefs important as so far as letting them die as a result of those beliefs if they so choose? Absolutely.

I have some questions though. What were the child’s religious beliefs? Who has the power to determine a child’s religious beliefs? Did the child choose not to seek medical attention? If the child did choose not to seek medical attention, who has the right to override that? If the parents had believed in hospitals and the child didn’t, who decides? If the child believes in hospitals and the parents don’t, who decides? Is it the same person it both instances? What is the determining circumstance? If the child’s life is what has value, as most seem to maintain, to whom does this value belong? Who gets compensated for the loss of this value in the event of the child’s death?

These questions are important to answer before it can be determined whether, and what, is child abuse. If the child’s value belongs to society, then society, in the form of the state, can receive compensation as a result of others’ actions contributing to the child’s death, but if society, in the form of the state, deprives the child of life then they are the only ones deprived of value. If it is held by the parents, then the parents have sole discretion in the matter of medical care, and if others seek to take the child’s life the parents are the aggrieved party. If the child’s value is held jointly by society and the state, then you have a more complicated question.

I haven’t seen anyone else asking whether the child agreed with the parents beliefs, so I’ll just assume that no one here thinks the child has power to decide those until they are 18.

And, to be perfectly honest, I’m more concerned with the mental and emotional abuse that comes from telling children that they are only worth what other people think of them, than the mental and emotional abuse that may come from telling them that there is someone out there who loves them always. Sometimes you see both in the same family.

As a disclaimer, if you can prove that medical science has effected every cure that has ever come about, then I will accept that there is no possibility of God intervening. However, if there is so much as one unexplained recovery, then there exists the possibility of God and denial that such could possibly exist is just as superstitious as not walking under ladders. Since a negative is impossibly to prove, there always exists a chance new information could prove it true. I’m not saying that logically one must believe in God, just that, logically, there is no, and can be no, basis other than faith that he does not exist. There is only the basis for “he doesn’t seem to.”

shelley April 3, 2008, 9:31 PM

god gives us all that is good and all that is not. he has reasons for what he does, but not taking a child to the doctor when they have a sever injury or a bad illiness, that is not your choice you just do it! No where in the bible does it say medical treatment is bad.
prayer is good yes! and i agree it does amazing things but if a kid is diabetic, you give insulin and pray that it keeps the sugar levels where they need to be.
i personaly have witness the power of pray there was a boy at my church who had a rare blood deises and a very rare type of cancer he had a 2% chance of living and the doctors told his parents to say good bye. they contiued with the medical treatments, but they also prayed our entire church prayed or months on end. we prayed for wisdom, healing and a doner and god came through, he is now 6 healthy.

Cbqglpbc May 15, 2008, 6:16 AM


Kussbqkx May 15, 2008, 10:21 AM


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