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POLL Should this girl's parents be prosecuted?

This girl's parents refused her medical help and relied on prayer instead:

Mariah Walton’s voice is quiet – her lungs have been wrecked by her illness, and her respirator doesn’t help. But her tone is resolute.

“Yes, I would like to see my parents prosecuted.”


“They deserve it.” She pauses. “And it might stop others.”

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By silvereyes
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Neglect in the name of religious freedom is still neglect. Abuse is still abuse. People need to understand that religious liberty doesn't grant the right to disobey other laws, but I'm afraid this is an area of justice that's lacking sound judgement. As a society, we can't seem to reconcile rights and responsibilities when it comes to emotional topics like religion.

resserts Level 8 Nov 10, 2017

There is no excuse to allow anyone to die, especially children for lack of proper treatment. Neglect, which this certainly is, should not be exempted for any reason. This applies to anyone, and the penalties should not be light.

evidentialist Level 7 Nov 10, 2017

As others have stated, if drug or alcohol abuse isn't a good enough excuse for neglect, why should belief?

AndrewM Level 4 Nov 10, 2017

I have just read the article from start to finish, and can't believe that such "shield laws" actually exist. No child should be subject to the whims of such religious neglect. The parents of this girl most certainly should be able to be prosecuted. Here in Australia, if parents attempt to have this sort of medical influence, like trying to prevent blood transfusions as some religions do, the child safety laws mandate immediate removal of the child from the family and they become a ward of the state.


In Canada their prosecution would not be in question at all, it is child negligence.

HeathenFarmer Level 8 Nov 10, 2017

I voted yes. Sadly, the young woman probably won't win. People literally get away with neglect and murder in some states in the name of religion. Canyon County Sheriff Kieran Donahue launched a campaign to change the law, and remove any religious exemptions for the legal obligation to seek medical care for children. But he faced a lot of opposition. It boggles my mind.

Quote: "“Do you think that bill is going to pass?” Majority Leader Bart Davis asked on the Senate floor during debate later that month. “It won’t. Because this body is reluctant to punish people criminally for a firmly held religious belief.” Like previous attempts to change the legislation, the bill was killed on the Senate floor."


VictoriaNotes Level 8 Nov 10, 2017

What these parents did is immoral. Their parental rights do not supersede the rights of their child to good health. Parents have the obligation to love their children and care for their physical well being to the best of their ability.

I_dont_know Level 7 Nov 10, 2017

I've seen too many--and even one is too many--children die from lack of proper medical care denied to them by parents such as this young girl's.

tioteo Level 7 Nov 10, 2017

The girl's right to life, which includes by necessity adequate healthcare, is superior to her parents' right to "sincerely held religious belief" (being generous there). They have a duty to care for their daughter that supersedes their rights to avoid cognitive dissonance.

NerdyOkieDude Level 7 Nov 10, 2017

I voted yes but if I recall correctly there have been cases similar to this that went to court where the court actually decided in the parents favor because they were practicing the beliefs of their religion and the court ruled it had no jurisdiction on the matter because of the separation between church in state.

SamL Level 7 Nov 10, 2017

That sounds like a bias judge and a load of hokey. Because if I kill someone and say it's because Allah or Jesus or human sacrifice to Quetzalcoatl... am I off the hook? Where do you draw the line? And who's doing the drawing? If I start praying for my baby to feed itself - for the food to fly right into its mouth, I'm not hurting anyone directly, but I am doing it out of neglect. Am I off the hook then? I need to be admitted into a psych ward and relieved of custody at least, if not prosecuted as a violent criminal.

You have to be practicing the beliefs of a recognized religion in order to get away with it. What you're describing wouldn't fly being there's been no human sacrifice for centuries and the other things you suggested aren't practices of any known religion.

Here in Australia, the child is just immediately made a ward of the state and then the parents wishes become irelevent.


We are all responsible for our behavior and its consequences, regardless of why we chose to act in that manner.

wordywalt Level 7 Nov 10, 2017

I didn't even need to read much past the headline.
I voted yes because I've already heard way too many stories about children dying because their parents think some invisible buddy of theirs will save them.

This goes way beyond criminal negligence the way I see it. This is cruel torture.

Paul628 Level 8 Nov 10, 2017

@silvereyes I was referring to other cases where the child has died, but her chances of finding a heart and lung match and surviving the surgery are extremely rare. smile016.gif


Clearly a case of child endangerment. Killing people should not protected by the 1st Amendment. Funny how a fetus is sacred, but a live born child is disposable.

CozmikCharley Level 2 Nov 10, 2017

I saw a story recently where the parents were being prosecuted after they tried to pray jaundice away from an infant. The cops arrived, I believe after the uncle called, to find a bunch of the parents church members praying for a resurrection.


mt49er Level 6 Nov 10, 2017

I maybe a terrible person but, the parents need to be sterilized to prevent them from ever breeding again. No child should have to suffer this level of stupid again.

While your praying to god, he's preying on your mind. If you pray to someone other than god, your prayers will be answered at the same rate. The only thing that possibly works by praying is that you are thinking about your problems and people should do that, but without the imaginary friend.


It is amazing to me how those who are "pro-life" seem to end concern as soon as birth takes place. If all life is precious, then preserve the lives that are here, at least as much as the lives that have yet to begin (the Bible defines life as begining with the first breath, "the breath of live".&quotsmile009.gif If they are so concerned about protectignlife, that their own holy book says does not yet exist, and want to codify that in law, then the law shoudl protect the life that is already here even more.

snytiger6 Level 7 Nov 11, 2017

hell yes. why these people need to be treated as mentally ill . they need to stop the taboo that they can hide shity ideas in a religion.

MichaelSpinler Level 7 Nov 11, 2017

Of course they should be prosecuted .They are basically abusing the child .

MarcIveson Level 6 Nov 11, 2017

In my opinion this type of behaviour is child abuse. The child should be taken into protective custody and the parents prosecuted.

Veronica Level 3 Nov 16, 2017

Yes.....ignorance must be stopped.

DUCHESSA Level 7 Nov 16, 2017

Just as other freedoms stop at the point of harming another person/s, freedom of religion should as well. We can't yell fire in a movie theatre, we can't commit libel, because those actions harm or have the potential to harm other people. Religious people should not be allowed to harm their children because of their religion. What is the saying? Your freedom to swing your arm ends at the tip of my nose.

Nicsnort Level 6 Nov 29, 2017

Attempted Voluntary manslaughter, sure, I can see that

Psilovybin Level 5 Nov 26, 2017

No person's beliefs should prevent another person from seeking aid of their choosing to address their health. The US protects life, liberty, & the pursuit of happiness, all of which were denied by this girl's parents. It should be clear that parents, and concerned members of society, should be free to add their own means of assistance as long as it does not interfere with the chosen aid, or even step in to prevent harm if there is objective evidence that the aid being sought may cause harm, but in no case should they prevent them from seeking medical help. I believe this is even settled law - that a person's religious views cannot be used to justify child endangerment.

11Novelist Level 5 Nov 16, 2017
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