Herbert and Catherine Schaible asked God to heal their 8-month-old baby son with magic while he spent days struggling to breathe. He died last week. They were still on probation for manslaughter after letting their two-year-old son die of pneumonia in 2009 under similar circumstances: they sought the aid of supernatural beings with magical powers rather than doctors with medical degrees.
Imagine Herbert and Catherine Schaible had killed a toddler in 2009 with a savage beating or by neglecting it in favor of watching Star Trek DVDs for a week straight while it coughed itself to death. Would they have gotten probation for that or would they still be sitting in prison today? How likely is it that, once placed in the hands of a jury, Herbert and Catherine Schaible will ever spend time in prison for killing the second of two small children with religiously motivated medical neglect?
You might want to Google similar cases before you post your thoughts on the matter.
When people ask me about what I've got against religion, there couldn't be a better example. There have been numerous cases of parents getting off entirely for murdering their children, for no other reason but the fact that Americans are expected to offer exceptional respect to religion because it IS religion.
Let me amend that: Muslims who commit "honor killings" in the U.S. are prosecuted and punished to the full extent of the law.
Let's be careful not to classify all religious people in the same group as the tiny minority who are this deluded. Of course this choice by parents is abhorrent.
Most religion tries to teach a moral position: love and care for your children, always. That means get them medical help when they need it as well as praying for them; work hard to provide for them and prepare for risks; be open to the Creator when a child comes because loving children should not be limited to when they are perfect or only when we have planned to.
Morality, of course, only addresses the choices we would want to encourage parents to make. It's an interesting and different social question when we consider how much we want the state to intervene in those parental choices. If we are willing to intervene in this, should we also intervene when parents choose not to pay for health insurance (potentially subjecting a seriously ill or injured child to death or long-term disability)? Should we intervene when parents don't want a handicapped child, or a girl, or the economic burden, and choose to terminate the child in the third trimester?
Religion also tells you to bomb the Boston Marathon, blow up school buses in Israel, slam fully loaded passenger planes into the World Trade Center, saw heads off with dull swords for converting to Christianity from Islam, and jabber incantations while babies die of neglect.
Good heavens, what a shallow argument. Does atheism tell you to launch the Cultural Revolution, hustle millions of people off to Stalin's gulags, or engage in eugenics experiments on human populations, just because those were actions that happened to be taken by vociferous atheists?
People make choices due to a complex interplay of competing ideas and pressures. Some cultural, some religious, some economic, some social, some personal. Attempting to treat the cause of any particular decision as though it is univariate is remarkably naive. To then take one variable, religion, and treat it as dichotomous when there is in fact a range of religious teaching on a topic is really quite irrational.
I would agree with you vis a vis manslaughter charges for parental neglect of this type, at least on an emotional level. But then I might also support manslaughter charges for terminating a 3rd trimester pregnancy while claiming superstitious nonsense like "a fetus isn't human".
What I was really suggesting, though, was that there are two levels of decision. One is the moral level, what we want to teach others. The second is the public policy question, what we want the state to punish. We can teach others that smoking weed is bad while at the same time be opposed to the public policy of punishing people for possessing small quantities of pot. We can also teach others to get their kids medical treatment while at the same time believing that the pain of losing a child might be more punishment than any prison term. We can teach others that abortion is wrong without necessarily demanding laws that punish women for making that choice.
None of these people did the things they did because they were atheists, Robert.
Sure, a few of them did. That's why religionists were the target of the persecutions. Look at the persecutions China still commits against religious people.
You want to make a case that there were other factors besides atheism in play: culture, economics, politics. You want to say that Stalin was not a "real" atheist, because he encouraged cults of personality. I would agree with that. I would not condemn or dismiss atheism because of the many historical evils committed by its more loony adherents.
The same applies in reverse, of course. You have to allow the possibility that there were other factors besides religion that can affect things, and that some people who profess religion might properly be considered not "real" adherents, but rather people using cultural religion for self-serving ends or personal aggrandizement or who are just plain ignorant.
So absolutely I'm suggesting that the same people would do the same things without religion. In fact, when they're atheists put in power, they DO do the same things without religion.
Just one more thing that gets glossed over. You would also think that child molestation would cause a much bigger noise too, if not the complete downfall. Fuckin scary shit. Makes me think how far away is any thiest from this kind of behavior? Could some kind of event suddenly push a large mass of them towards this kind of shit?
Let's be honest about the data, @Gallup's Mirror. A few clergy in the Catholic Church engaged in such things. The scale of abuse cases was on the order of those that occur in the general population worldwide, among coaches and teachers and others.
Yes, this is a problem, in youth work in the Church and youth work in the rest of society. Relatively few Jerry Sandusky types or Boy Scout leaders or ministers get jail time, and usually not all that much jail time, and usually only after serially molesting quite a number of children. To focus on just the Catholics when the problem is a broad societal one is just a bit biased, don't you think?
Let's be clear, though. Challenging your data or conclusions is not the same thing as excusing or defending the very real perpetrators of such crimes. Honestly, most of us would like to see them hung, or worse. While we are not in favor of capital punishment, I don't think any of us shed a tear when John Geoghan met his end. I know I did not.
A few clergy? I think of 'a few' as being like 3 or 4....5 tops. 'A few' doesn't begin to cover it.
The last time I called you on your bullshit about Catholic child abuse you disappeared when I asked a few hard questions. So let me repeat one: How many other organizations do you know of that have an upper level management directive to keep police out of child abuse allegations? Can you name ONE organization that has a directive from the board to be less than candid when the police come calling about a child who has been abused by a club official?
Sorry @Heather, I don't mean to "disappear." I just have limited time and can only stop by occasionally. It's also hard in these forums to find where to read or reply, because the new comments get embedded in the middle.
Your question is a bit disingenuous, because of course such a directive does not exist in the Catholic Church, and the governance structure of the church is not "management" and a board of directors.
From reading the news, apparently the Boy Scouts of America proceeded similarly; so did Penn State, where senior people kept police out or were less than candid so as to avoid negative publicity. That was the case historically for physicians and public schools, which is why mandatory reporting statutes were put in place for those professions long before clergy.
By "a few" I was of course referring to the percentage of overall population.
I was comparing how often the clergy and religious get away with their crimes or cover for each other relative to the non-religious.
That's a claim. Now you must provide evidence and reasoning. What is the rate at which other youth groups get away with their crimes or cover each other? Can you establish that you have comparable access to data to establish equivalency of rates?
No one denies that there were cover-ups. However you do need to understand a bit more about the Assemblies of the Grand Hoo-Ha before you make any more silly claims. ;)
I see - so you have some evidence that a national board of the Boy Scouts chose to keep a Boy Scout Leader on the active roster after he sexual abused a Boy Scout? Please let me know about this case - I haven't heard of it.
Did the Vatican ever put out a directive telling bishops not to cooperate with police - to avoid firing priests who had raped children? Oh yes they did. Here's just one piece of evidence http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1348298/Vatican-told-Irish-...
Please provide me with evidence that a national board for the Boy Scouts ever sent out letters telling local chapter to NOT tell police about child rapes, or directed local chapter to NOT discharge rapist leaders (just have them moved to a place where they aren't known so well).
Your church uses your money to buy the silence of pedophile priests to protect it's own reputation - regardless of the peril that might pose to your own children. You are incredibly twisted to actually defend that behavior in a public forum.
@Heather, did you read the actual letter?
The position of the Congregation on Clergy was that accused priests should be accorded due process, and if the Irish bishops failed to accord priests due process when taking action (like stripping them of their clerical status), those punishments may be reversed on appeal.
As heinous as the crime is, protecting the rights of the accused is part of common-sense jurisprudence.