Once again, we see that religious adherence causes disaster. In England, Virginia Kunene and Nkosiyapha Kunene have been arrested and are facing manslaughter charges for the death of their 5-month old son, Ndingeko. The couple insisted on a strict eating regimen based on their religious beliefs as Seventh Day Adventists. This eating regimen resulted in Ndingeko developing rickets, a disease which has been virtually wiped out in England.
Acute rickets causes bones to soften due to deficiencies in vitamin D, phosphorus or calcium. It can also be exacerbated by lack of direct sunlight. Seventh Day Adventists practice a lacto-ovo vegetarian diet – one that allows milk and eggs, but not animal flesh. Doctors in England are concerned that the Victorian disease, rarely seen these days, may be making a comeback as religiously-mandated diets may not provide sufficient nutrition, especially for young children who require a much higher caloric and protein intake.
The Kunene’s were arrested soon after the death of their son and charged with child cruelty and manslaughter. The pair admitted to the manslaughter charge and the court agreed to drop the child cruelty charge because they had already plead guilty to the other charge. They were released on bail, but later sentenced, not only of negligence, but gross negligence in the case of their son’s death. Mrs. Kunene had wanted to call for medical care when it was clear Ndingeko was seriously ill, but Mr. Kunene had refused. He received three years in prison, she received 2 years and 3 months in prison for their crimes.
In England, there’s only been one other death from rickets in the past 30 years, a similar case where four-month-old Jayden Wray likely died of acute rickets in 2012, but it was only in retrospect that authorities came to that conclusion since most doctors have not seen a case in their lifetimes.
I don’t know that justice was really served in this case. Because of religion, a young boy is dead and while his parents are going to spend some time in prison, probably not their entire sentences, that doesn’t bring young Ndingeko back to life. How do we stop these people from practicing idiotic religious rituals and practices that seriously injure or kill their innocent children? How do we stop these religions from pushing people to be faithful by practicing these idiotic traditions? When will the world finally be safe from religion and without the need of Horror Show Sunday?