How often do we have to revisit the stupidity of faith healing and prayer instead of medical treatment? When will we, as a nation and as a planet, entirely reject the merest hint that such things ought to be acceptable in the modern world? Certainly not to day because here we go again.
Nkosiyapha Kunene, 36, and his wife, Virginia, 32, plead guilty to manslaughter in the death of their five-month old son Ndingeko. The couple, ardent Seventh Day Adventists, rejected any and all medical treatment for their son, even when friends and family members told them that he’d die without medical care. The Kunene’s said that only God can give life and their son died of rickets after suffering from severe vitamin D deficiency.
Luckily, the British are a bit brighter than some of the justices in America. Justice Singh, speaking for the court, said, “The secular courts of this country apply the secular law of the land. They do so equally to all who come before them. The law respects the right of everyone to freedom of thought and belief. However the right to manifest one’s religion is not absolute. It is limited in particular by the rights of others. The state has a particularly important duty to protect the right to life, especially when a young child is concerned.” While the judge said that the couple seemed to be otherwise dedicated and humble, he did note that, especially in Mr. Kunene’s case, his beliefs were extreme and did not reflect the official doctrine of the Seventh Day Adventist church.
Of course, this is something that should have been caught earlier. Mrs. Kunene went to the doctor in the seventh month of her pregnancy, but when doctors expressed concern over the health of her fetus, she refused a scan, saying it would be against God’s will. That’s a warning sign that should have been escalated and whatever child welfare organizations England has should have immediately become involved. Ndingeko was born premature and spent several days in a special medical unit before being allowed to go home, but that was the last time doctors saw him. According to family members, as Ndingeko’s health declined, the family would only say they were praying for him and that they refused to do anything until the lord commanded it.
Because Mr. Kunene was more culpable for the situation, he insisted that modern medicine was sinful and commanded his wife not to take their son for treatment, he was sentenced to 3 years in prison. His wife was sentenced to 2 years, 3 months in prison. I doubt any of this will do anything to diminish their ridiculous faith.
Why do we put up with this? Why do we allow the religious to kill their kids? It’s not like this is uncommon, graveyards are full of dead kids, killed by the religious beliefs of their parents. When will rational society say enough is enough and demand that one’s heartfelt beliefs are irrelevant to their responsibilities toward their kids?
I’d love to be able to stop writing about this on Horror Show Sunday.