Mudcat Café message #2299174 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #109821   Message #2299174
Posted By: Stilly River Sage
27-Mar-08 - 07:17 PM
Thread Name: BS: Religious freedom, or murder?
Subject: RE: BS: Religious freedom, or murder?
Back to the original problem, the death of a child whose parents did not seek treatment in a timely fashion, thus causing her death from an otherwise treatable condition.

I heard lots of stories when I was growing up as the daughter of a psychiatric social worker (MSW) who worked for the DSHS's aid for dependent children program. Child Protective Services.

Different cultures around the world may have different approaches to treating illness. In Western cultures where it does indeed take a village to raise a child, society as a whole does not approve of this kind of death of a child. Whether the child was chained to a table and not fed or swaddled in religious hokum dreamed up by the parents, there is a basic lack of sound common sense and parenting skills. When it gets to the point of causing a death, the intent *might* be considered a mitigating circumstance, but in either case, the rest of the children should be removed from the home and these people should not be allowed to raise any more children. Jealous-food-hoarder or religious-zealot, it makes no difference in the courts. And this wasn't "child neglect." A neglected child is still alive. This is probably manslaughter.

I can't recall the name of the boy now, in Everett, Washington, from a waterfront home in the mid-1980s, a three-year-old murdered by his father after having been returned by caseworkers. He didn't get the potty training so his father kicked and beat and burned and murdered him. There are too many cases like that, and when they happen, the caseworker is blamed almost more than the parents, because that caseworker represents the law and the will of the people. My mother had to regularly remove children from unsafe homes, and there were some families who kept making babies and she had to literally pick up the newborn at the hospital to keep them out of the hands of these wildly-dysfunctional parents who were so totally unequipped and apparently ineducable about caring for children.

There were also the sad cases where something uncommon but not wrong was misread by a passionate amateur who reported the "crime" to caseworkers and innocent families were ripped apart for no good reason other than neighborly meddling. Sometimes it is a nasty trick of revenge, and it is a regular trick in divorce proceedings to report the other as an unfit parent.

Understanding the broad sweep of a public understanding and the emotions in the range of cases that are out there, one can still hold onto one's common sense as a guide. And in the case of this girl's dying, that editorialist that Kevin linked to is an apologist, not a real voice of reason. Nothing new was contributed to the story, just someone who doesn't want the religious parents jumped on right away. The bias is showing.

I have no patience for those who call to give the benefit of the doubt to the religious parents over the parents who batter and starve their children. Because they have religion, this death is different? They'll learn their lesson so a slap on the hand is sufficient? In my opinion, these parents are just as scary as the ones who chain boys to tables in the kitchen just out of reach of the refrigerator. Don't be fooled by that pious expression and hand wringing.