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 Post subject: Faith healer parents avoid jail after son dies in pain PostPosted: 2012-09-21 05:35pm
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Title says all.

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Two parents have avoided jail after admitting they let their son, 16, die in horrible agony because they chose to 'pray away' his burst appendix and refused to take him to the hospital.

Russel and Brandi Bellew, age 39 and 36, of Creswell, Oregon, pleaded guilty to criminally negligent homicide on Tuesday and were sentenced to five years probation after reaching a plea deal with prosecutors.

The couple, who had seven children before Austin Sprout's death, are members of the General Assembly and the Church of the First Born in nearby Pleasant Hill, which shuns modern medicine and teaches parishioners that faith healing and prayer will cure disease.

It was also revealed on Tuesday that Austin died in December from a burst appendix after he suffered from appendicitis for a week, the Eugene Register Guard reported.

Appendicitis, the inflammation of the appendix, often results in excruciating abdominal pain that requires heavy doses of morphine to keep under control. However, it can be easily treated with routine surgery that removes the appendix.

Left untreated, the inflamed organ can burst and spew bile into the body, which results in dangerous infections that often prove deadly.

The couple were charged with second-degree manslaughter after authorities learned the Austin's death could have been prevented if his parents had simple taken him to the hospital.

Austin's father, Anthony, died in 2007 of sepsis, after he refused to seek treatment for an infected injury to his leg.
Faith healers: The Bellews, who have six other children, are members of the General Assembly and the Church of the First Born, which shuns modern medicine in favor of prayer

Faith healers: The Bellews, who have six other children, are members of the General Assembly and the Church of the First Born, which shuns modern medicine in favor of prayer

His mother, Brandi, later married Russel Bellew -- who was also widowed.

At the time of Austin's death, his uncle Shawn Sprout, defended the congregation's practice of faith healing.

'We trust in God for everything. We trusted him to take care of our illnesses and heal us,' he told KVAL.

Social workers removed the other six children, who range in age from infant to 17, from the Bellews home.

It is unclear whether they will be returned to their parents, though a case worker said she believes they are 'safe' in the home.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... z278sYjn7o
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Yay for religious freedom, am I right?

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 Post subject: Re: Faith healer parents avoid jail after son dies in pain PostPosted: 2012-09-21 08:01pm
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So how do they reconcile the fact that clinical medicine would have saved their son? Is it God just wanted his son early? If thats the case then wouldn't medical science fail to save him anyway? And if medical science can despite God's will, what does that say about God's powers.



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 Post subject: Re: Faith healer parents avoid jail after son dies in pain PostPosted: 2012-09-21 08:28pm
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mr friendly guy wrote:
So how do they reconcile the fact that clinical medicine would have saved their son?


They don't. If they accepted that they'd also have to acknowledge aloud that they killed their own kid. Easier to keep saying they did what God wanted them to do than to face that.

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 Post subject: Re: Faith healer parents avoid jail after son dies in pain PostPosted: 2012-09-22 04:46pm
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I'd love to get these assholes in court. "What exactly does god sound like when he talks to you and tells you what to do?"



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 Post subject: Re: Faith healer parents avoid jail after son dies in pain PostPosted: 2012-09-22 04:49pm
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Quite frankly people like this should be tried for manslaughter at the least.



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 Post subject: Re: Faith healer parents avoid jail after son dies in pain PostPosted: 2012-09-22 04:52pm
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It's easily negligent homicide. Parents of kids have been tried for shit like this before.



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 Post subject: Re: Faith healer parents avoid jail after son dies in pain PostPosted: 2012-09-22 05:13pm
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Isn't the Daily Mail a trash tabloid, and something that is generally suspect unless another more credible sources is also saying the same thing? Not that I disbelieve that the story could happen, but it might be wise to make sure it's real before getting worked up over it. Also, wouldn't criminally negligent homicide be a more severe crime than 2nd degree manslaughter? If so, it seems odd that they'd accept a plea bargain for a more severe crime.

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 Post subject: Re: Faith healer parents avoid jail after son dies in pain PostPosted: 2012-09-22 05:54pm
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This will probably be an unpopular view, but assuming they have the same feelings as any other regular parent, they've suffered enough. Return their other kids. They've suffered enough.
If their views on faith-healing haven't changed, there may be call for regular mandated medical check-ups.



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 Post subject: Re: Faith healer parents avoid jail after son dies in pain PostPosted: 2012-09-22 05:55pm
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Flagg wrote:
It's easily negligent homicide. Parents of kids have been tried for shit like this before.


That is what they got charged with and plead guilty to.

http://www.kval.com/news/local/Parents- ... =video&c=y

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RESWELL, Ore. -- Two Creswell parents pleaded guilty to negligent homicide charges in the apparent "faith healing" death of their 16-year-old son, Austin Sprout.

Sprout died after his appendix burst in December. Lane County Sheriff's Office deputies arrested Brandi and Russel Bellew (Sprout's mother and step-father) in February after a seven-week investigation into the death.

"The investigation has determined that medical professionals believe that the illness he suffered was treatable if he had been provided medical care," said Capt. Byron Trapp from Lane County Sheriff's Office.

The Bellews are members of the "general assembly and church of the firstborn," a church that believes in healing through faith and prayer rather than seeking medical care.

"That is what the arrests are based on, is the withholding of medical care in this case that allowed Austin to die." Capt. Trapp said.

Last year, the Oregon legislature changed the law regarding faith healing. Now, faith-based healing can no longer be used as a defense against manslaughter charges.

The District Attorney's office worked with church leaders over the past seven months to draft a plan on how to educate the congregation about the law.

Assistant District Attorney Eric Hasselman said that as part of the plea the couple are ordered to follow an in-home safety plan set up by the Department of Human Services to ensure their other children's safety. A probation officer is set to work with the family as well.

"We spelled out certain circumstances under which, if their child was ill or debilitated, they need affirmatively to seek medical care under the situations" Hasselman said.

Hasselman added that in the DA's meetings with the General Assembly and Church of the First Born, congregation leaders said that a person in the church would not be punished or ostracized for providing medical care for their family.



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 Post subject: Re: Faith healer parents avoid jail after son dies in pain PostPosted: 2012-09-23 07:16pm
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Korto wrote:
This will probably be an unpopular view, but assuming they have the same feelings as any other regular parent, they've suffered enough. Return their other kids. They've suffered enough.
If their views on faith-healing haven't changed, there may be call for regular mandated medical check-ups.


No. No they have not. They might as well have tortured their child to death on the rack. That is how much pain he was in. Religious freedom is one thing. If you want to refuse medical treatment, fine. No one has the right to impose death upon their children.

A six year old does not have the capacity to accept a religious belief. The solution to this is to simply treat children in need of medical care as new converts when they reach the age of majority. God will understand. If he does not, he is not a god worth worshiping.

This kid was 16. Do we have any information about whether or not he wanted medical care but was denied parental consent? 16 might not be old enough to consent to a lot of things, but it is certainly old enough to determine whether or not they want to die. The age of majority really does need more granularity than it does now.



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 Post subject: Re: Faith healer parents avoid jail after son dies in pain PostPosted: 2012-09-24 12:55pm
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So when vegans kill their kid through malnourishment due to ignorance and stubbornness , they get life in prison. (Link).

But when these people kill their kid through ignorance and stubbornness, they get off the hook with probation because its religion.

What a load of fucking horseshit.



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 Post subject: Re: Faith healer parents avoid jail after son dies in pain PostPosted: 2012-09-24 01:03pm
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To be fair, the people in that case lived in Georgia and were black.

These guys were white people living in Oregon. :P



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 Post subject: Re: Faith healer parents avoid jail after son dies in pain PostPosted: 2012-09-24 08:44pm
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Plus, that vegan thing is obviously satanic. Faith healing comes from Jesus.

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 Post subject: Re: Faith healer parents avoid jail after son dies in pain PostPosted: 2012-09-28 10:21am
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I hestitate to end up in a metaphorical war on three fronts, but a few (hopefully brief) points, which are less assertive than I might have made them to make them less contestable (again, three fronts). I've had a busy time lately, but tommorow morning I'll reply to the two other threads I'm in.

1: If these parents HAD taken him to medical care, it would have been hypocritical. It is arguable that a lot of church doctrine is self-contradictory and/or hypocritical, but the act of taking him to medical care would have clearly been hypocritical.
2: Given the beliefs these people had (which admittedly are faulty premises), their actions make perfect sense- God will take the child or not take the child, and they will displease Him but not increase his chances for survival by accepting medical care. Not to mention it is morally wrong, therefore morally wrong to aid and abet it.
3: It seems odd to punish people for acting on a religious belief but punish neither having nor promulgating the belief itself. In a state with a constitutional right to free speech this is understandable, but anywhere else it is hard to explain (and I don't see how the hell it could be on utilitarian grounds).

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 Post subject: Re: Faith healer parents avoid jail after son dies in pain PostPosted: 2012-09-28 10:39am
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1: If these parents HAD taken him to medical care, it would have been hypocritical. It is arguable that a lot of church doctrine is self-contradictory and/or hypocritical, but the act of taking him to medical care would have clearly been hypocritical.


No. It is hypocritical FOR THEM to go to hospital. A kid (younger than a certain age) does not have beliefs. A kid does not have the capacity to make a choice.

Parents have no more (moral) right to deny their child life-saving medical care than they have a right to stap me down and prevent me from going to hospital if I am ill or injured.

In this case, the kid was 16. If a 16 year old was fine with dying, he was fine with dying. He is old enough to make that choice. If he was begging to see a doctor? No. If begging to see a doctor, obviously he rejects their beliefs.

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2: Given the beliefs these people had (which admittedly are faulty premises), their actions make perfect sense- God will take the child or not take the child, and they will displease Him but not increase his chances for survival by accepting medical care. Not to mention it is morally wrong, therefore morally wrong to aid and abet it.


Arguments regarding the veracity or even theological underpinning of their beliefs notwithstanding, parents have a duty of care that overrides any and all beliefs they may have. It is the same as any professional obligation. A trauma surgeon in a civilized country who happens to be an orthodox jew may not refuse to treat a menstruating woman who comes in on an ambulance.

When they choose to have children, they assume the theological risk of having to hold the future of those children in trust until such a time as said children can determine for themselves whether or not receiving medical attention is wrong.

Besides, the theological underpinning of their beliefs does not include the rejection of modern medicine due to inefficacy (no one can reasonably think that after the eradication of small pox), but rather, is due to a positive belief in the efficacy of prayer and a positive belief in bodily purity.

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3: It seems odd to punish people for acting on a religious belief but punish neither having nor promulgating the belief itself. In a state with a constitutional right to free speech this is understandable, but anywhere else it is hard to explain (and I don't see how the hell it could be on utilitarian grounds).


There is a difference between acting on a religious belief when the consequences only affect them, and forcing someone else to abide by their religious edicts.

If a JW (or whatever) wants to convince someone to not get a medically necessary blood transfusion that is one thing. If they force someone to not get one, that is murder.



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 Post subject: Re: Faith healer parents avoid jail after son dies in pain PostPosted: 2012-09-28 12:38pm
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Carinthium wrote:
3: It seems odd to punish people for acting on a religious belief but punish neither having nor promulgating the belief itself. In a state with a constitutional right to free speech this is understandable, but anywhere else it is hard to explain (and I don't see how the hell it could be on utilitarian grounds).


By this logic, it is odd that we chose to punish the members of the Manson Family; after all, those actions were based on religious belief. Who are you to say that "Helter Skelter" is any less legitimate a belief than Christian dogma?



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 Post subject: Re: Faith healer parents avoid jail after son dies in pain PostPosted: 2012-09-28 10:49pm
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No. It is hypocritical FOR THEM to go to hospital. A kid (younger than a certain age) does not have beliefs. A kid does not have the capacity to make a choice.

Parents have no more (moral) right to deny their child life-saving medical care than they have a right to stap me down and prevent me from going to hospital if I am ill or injured.

In this case, the kid was 16. If a 16 year old was fine with dying, he was fine with dying. He is old enough to make that choice. If he was begging to see a doctor? No. If begging to see a doctor, obviously he rejects their beliefs.


I'm not talking about the merits of punishment at this point, just to make things clear- merely about whether their actions are or are not self-consistent.

Try to imagine a RAR in which the world fits the parent's beliefs (yes it is slightly self-inconsistent at least, but I'm trying to make a point here). In this RAR, God has set down rules of morality about what is right and wrong. It is comparable for the parents to break God's word by buying the child drugs for them to break God's word by sending the kid to the hospital. As you don't seem to grasp, in this RAR it makes perfect sense. Assuming their God, as he probably does, has something against drugs, both actions are hypocritical.

A child DOES have beliefs in the sense of believing things about the world, and in terms of believing certain things on faith. It is a moral statement that their beliefs have less right to be respected (I won't start tearing down your moral system as I don't think it necessary to win this one) than anybody else's.

In this case, I'm not sure about the theology of it but extrapolating from the closest thing I do know (Catholic, meaning this is a probalistic guess overriden by what others know of this particular church's theology)- they could morally open the door for him to leave, but calling a doctor or driving him to the hospital is actively aiding and abetting a sin (to use a term not in theology) and therefore morally wrong and hypocritical.

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Arguments regarding the veracity or even theological underpinning of their beliefs notwithstanding, parents have a duty of care that overrides any and all beliefs they may have. It is the same as any professional obligation. A trauma surgeon in a civilized country who happens to be an orthodox jew may not refuse to treat a menstruating woman who comes in on an ambulance.

When they choose to have children, they assume the theological risk of having to hold the future of those children in trust until such a time as said children can determine for themselves whether or not receiving medical attention is wrong.

Besides, the theological underpinning of their beliefs does not include the rejection of modern medicine due to inefficacy (no one can reasonably think that after the eradication of small pox), but rather, is due to a positive belief in the efficacy of prayer and a positive belief in bodily purity.


Whether you believe in this moral duty of care or not, it does not change the fact that for these individuals it IS hypocritical- this is simple to determine, as all you have to do is apply the theological rules they themselves subscribe to.

In addition, your claims about having children are non-obvious- if religious people thought they were part of the contract of society, they would be in uproar. As a matter of fact, your proposition is contested at best. People can't be said to sign any implicit contract or voluntarily assume any implicit risk they are in fact unaware of.

Finally, it doesn't matter WHY their God rejects modern medicine, only that he does.

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There is a difference between acting on a religious belief when the consequences only affect them, and forcing someone else to abide by their religious edicts.

If a JW (or whatever) wants to convince someone to not get a medically necessary blood transfusion that is one thing. If they force someone to not get one, that is murder.


Hypothetically speaking, although not the case in this case it might indeed be hypocritical in some cases for them NOT to force others not to get treatment. This is a matter not of morality but of the hypocrisy or otherwise of their actions.

Also there is a difference in Catholic theology, and possibly in theirs, between positively aiding and abetting an action (such as calling the doctor or driving him to the hospital) or sitting back and letting it happen (opening the door allowing him to leave, letting him grab the phone and call a doctor himself).

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By this logic, it is odd that we chose to punish the members of the Manson Family; after all, those actions were based on religious belief. Who are you to say that "Helter Skelter" is any less legitimate a belief than Christian dogma?


Probably right, although I don't know the full facts. If, as I understand to be the case, this was a case of a sudden change in beliefs thanks to Manson, it couldn't have been stopped so easily anyway. To use a hypothetical RAR I know is inconsistent with the actual facts:

If Manson had in fact been preaching beliefs involving the use of murders to start the race war from the start, it would indeed have been odd if this has been allowed to continue but the government had prosecuted people for actual murders commited. In the United States this is odd but justifiable because the Constitution- if this had been true and the Manson family had been elsewhere, it would have been very odd.

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 Post subject: Re: Faith healer parents avoid jail after son dies in pain PostPosted: 2012-09-28 11:06pm
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Talking it over with others, I'm guessing a lot of people here have enough outrage at what these people have done and it's consequences that they're mistaking the question of hypocrisy with morality. If so, I should remind you that questions of hypocrisy can only be dealt with through the moral system of the person you are judging. (or, for the other definition of hypocrisy, through their moral claims)

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 Post subject: Re: Faith healer parents avoid jail after son dies in pain PostPosted: 2012-09-29 11:54am
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Carinthium wrote:
Probably right, although I don't know the full facts. If, as I understand to be the case, this was a case of a sudden change in beliefs thanks to Manson, it couldn't have been stopped so easily anyway.


Um ... what? Did the point I was trying to make really sail so far over your head that THIS is the response you come up with?

Carinthium wrote:
If Manson had in fact been preaching beliefs involving the use of murders to start the race war from the start, it would indeed have been odd if this has been allowed to continue but the government had prosecuted people for actual murders commited. In the United States this is odd but justifiable because the Constitution- if this had been true and the Manson family had been elsewhere, it would have been very odd.


Okay, apparently the point DID sail over your head. Seriously, are you really this dense?

Let's step back a second. You made the statement:

Quote:
It seems odd to punish people for acting on a religious belief but punish neither having nor promulgating the belief itself.


And I gave you an example of people being punished for acting on a religious belief, which had nothing to do with having or promulgating the belief itself. You have to demonstrate WHY it is "odd" to punish people for acting on a religious belief, especially when such action is actively detrimental towards others. In the Manson case it was murder, in the case of these faith healer parents it was extreme negligence/manslaughter depending on how you cut it.

Now, since apparently you are utterly incapable of understanding things not laid out clearly for you, answer the question: why should actions based on religious beliefs be held in any different legal standing than normal actions? That is, if these people had done this to their son for reasons NOT related to religion, why is that morally or legally different?



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 Post subject: Re: Faith healer parents avoid jail after son dies in pain PostPosted: 2012-09-29 12:17pm
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Perhaps a better example would be a family or cult that performs human sacrifice, and claims it is legal because they are just adherents of the Aztec religion and are just expressing their religious freedoms.

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 Post subject: Re: Faith healer parents avoid jail after son dies in pain PostPosted: 2012-09-29 07:11pm
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I can't establish that actions shuold be treated differently based on religion, but that was not what I was arguing. What I was arguing was oddness based on the internal inconsistency.

By your own logic, if actions are equally criminal whether religiously motivated (legally true, as far as I know) or not then a religion which advocates said actions is incitement to the criminal acts and should be treated accordingly. Assuming a government isn't restricted by constitutional problems related to free speech, it makes sense for them to suppress the religion as well as the acts.

As for religious acts being morally different, I can see only one way in which they are clearly morally different- that if the person were to do otherwise, it would be hypocritical. It could be debated if hypocrisy is morally wrong or not, but hypocrisy can be judged objectively.

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