A Wisconsin jury has convicted a couple of murder after they allowed their 11-year-old daughter to die right in front of them:
Dale Neumann, 47, was convicted in the March 23, 2008, death of his daughter, Madeline, from undiagnosed diabetes. Prosecutors contended he should have rushed the girl to a hospital because she couldn't walk, talk, eat or speak. Instead, Madeline died on the floor of the family's rural Weston home as people surrounded her and prayed. Someone called 911 when she stopped breathing.
Neumann, who once studied to be a Pentecostal minister, testified Thursday that he believed God would heal his daughter and he never expected her to die. God promises in the Bible to heal, he said.
"If I go to the doctor, I am putting the doctor before God," Neumann testified. "I am not believing what he said he would do."
No, if you go to the doctor, you're saving your daughter's life. Or put another way, Proverbs 16:18.
Seriously: praying is fine, especially if it makes the supplicant or sick person feel better. I believe this even though I think prayer acts through a placebo effect (when it works at all, which is usually no more often than random chance). Praying for someone's recovery at her hospital bed is positively admirable, as it combines a demonstrated placebo effect with actual medical care.
What is not acceptable, what is actually kind of depraved, what I hope outrages my Christian, Jewish, and Muslim friends as much as it does me, is to have a prayer group stand around watching your own child die in agony on the floor of your house.
I find it odd that Wisconsin Public Radio's report used the word "unrepentant." I'm absolutely sure he fully repents his sins within his understanding of his religion. He just doesn't think letting his daughter die horribly while he and his friends watched qualifies. Fortunately for the last glowing embers of the Enlightenment, the people of Wisconsin think it does.