Logic and justice prevailed in Oregon this week as a jury found Travis and Wenona Rossiter guilty of manslaughter in the unnecessary death of their 12 year-old daughter, Syble who died February 5, 2013 as the result of ketoacidosis – after the parents withheld “necessary and adequate” medical attention for her Type 1 diabetes. The parents are members of Church of the First Born in Brownsville, OR (a congregation that believes in the practice faith-healings) and were arrested last August.
This is not the first child to die at the hands of the belief systems taught by the Church of the First Born. 16 year-old Austin Sprout died of an infection from a bust appendix after never receiving medical care in 2012. Newborn baby David Hinkman died of pneumonia, nine days after birth after his parents refused medical care in 2011. 9 year-old Aaron Grady died after have standard treatment for his diabetes denied by his mother Susan Grady who testified, “I felt like God would heal him.” 17 year-old Zachery Swezey died in 2009 after his appendix burst and his parents called church elders to pray over him with anointing oils (instead of a trip to the emergency room). 16 year-old Neal Beagley died of a simple urinary tract infection just a year after his older sister Raylene was charged with the death of her own 15-month old daughter, Ava Worthington (who simply needed mild antibiotics). And don’t even get me started on Schaibles who killed TWO of their children before being stopped.
QUESTION: Why are we only prosecuting these parents and not the churches that indoctrinate their minds in the first place? I’m sorry, but this is not religious freedom – it is a cult of death! Yet, instead of vigorously denouncing these acts, moderate Christians are quick to play semantics and label these parents as “fringe believers” or “not true Christians” – while attempting to distance their own (eerily similar beliefs about faith and prayer) as far from these situations as possible.
Do they really not see the striking similarities and slippery slope between these faith-healing parents and the actions of a devout (albeit delusional) mother like Pamela Christensen or Jessica Murphy?
Well done, Oregon – on calling it like it is. Manslaughter of their own child – relying on their faith and hopes of pleasing a 2,000 year old preacher they’ve never even met (instead of simply administering well-proven standard medical protocols that could have given their daughter a very normal and happy life). Meanwhile, it’s 2014 and we have this thing called medicine now. We are no longer part of an ancient culture that was afraid that thunder, volcanoes, earthquakes, and floods were all signs of god’s wrath. We have grown out of such naively superstitious ignorance, haven’t we? Apparently not.
Their sentencing hearing is set for Dec 7. While the parents are being prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, their church continues to hide behind religious freedoms and freedom of speech – regardless of the completely avoidable deaths of several children in recent years. Shame on the church. Shame on the legal system. Shame on any parent than that tortures their children by withholding basic medical care. ENOUGH!
That said – I don’t think manslaughter is a stiff enough conviction, as it speaks to a tragic accident that was out of someone’s control. These deaths were no accident, but planned and controlled based on their religious beliefs, “If our child gets sick, then we will withhold treatment.” That’s no accident, it’s negligent homicide – all taught by their church, using the Bible as an instruction manual. Again, why are these churches not being charged for negligence or even fraud? If a pharmaceutical company or hospital is found to be deliberately distributing false treatments, they are prosecuted. Why are churches above the law? (Oh, wait – that’s right, Christians are horribly persecuted in this country. You know, aside from literally getting away with murder.)
– Horus Gilgamesh
P.S. (Eery note: These are just the cases that made the headlines, not the deaths that got covered up as “tragic natural causes”… Arrian Jade Granden, Micah Taylor Eells, Preston Bowers, Rockwell Sevy, Pamela Jade Eells, and many more…)