Religion or Mental Illness

US ‘prayer cure’ couple lose appeal over child’s death

Leilani and Dale Neumann identify themselves as Pentecostal Christians

The reckless homicide conviction of a couple whose daughter died after they tried to treat her with prayer, denying her medical help, has been upheld.

By 6-1, Wisconsin’s Supreme Court ruled that a law protecting Dale and Leilani Neumann from child abuse charges did not cover their daughter’s death.

Kara Neumann, 11, died on Easter Sunday March 2008 from undiagnosed diabetes.

The couple were convicted in separate trials in 2009 and sentenced to six months in prison.

They have not served any jail time while the case went through the appeals process.

The Neumanns’ legal team argued that Wisconsin abuse laws granted criminal immunity to parents who put their faith in prayer to heal their child’s ill health.

‘Glory of God’

But government lawyers argued that such protection ends when parents realise a child is at serious risk of death.

The couple identify themselves as Pentecostal Christians and believe visiting a doctor is akin to worshipping an idol, the Supreme Court opinion said.

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This has clearly crossed the dividing line between religion and mental illness.

I am appalled that this couple only got six months in prison.

I am even further appalled that the law (Wisconsin) allows prayer healing in favour of medical treatment for any illness or condition. This is clearly abuse based on delusion.

I shudder to think that in six months or sooner, if the law allows reduction in sentences, these people will be out of jail and possibly making another child with all probability that the next child will meet the same or similar fate.

These people are so sick, that they will not recognise they were jailed for a crime, but martyred for doing ‘god’s will’. Because they were doing ‘god’s will’ they are devoid of any commonsense or remorse.

I sincerely hope that in the event of another child there are legal mechanisms in place to remove that child from their bloodied hands.



6 thoughts on “Religion or Mental Illness

  1. Alex Jones says:

    Although I would disagree that this case is an example of mental illness, I agree that religious arguments have no basis in what is a straight forward case of child neglect.

  2. American prisons are full with DUIs, petty shoplifters stealing to eat, drug “dealers” caught with 1mg of whatever over the felony limit, while these murderers went to the “church” which produced them, to enjoy the “presence of the lord” as a reward for their glorious faith, since 2008…
    Yeap, freedom and justice indeed…

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