Kara lost the strength to speak the day before she died

Responsible, careful, sensible, loving parenthood.

Kara Neumann, 11, had grown so weak that she could not walk or speak. Her parents, who believe that God alone has the ability to heal the sick, prayed for her recovery but did not take her to a doctor. After an aunt from California called the sheriff’s department here, frantically pleading that the sick child be rescued, an ambulance arrived at the Neumann’s rural home on the outskirts of Wausau and rushed Kara to the hospital. She was pronounced dead on arrival. The county coroner ruled that she had died from diabetic ketoacidosis resulting from undiagnosed and untreated juvenile diabetes. The condition occurs when the body fails to produce insulin, which leads to severe dehydration and impairment of muscle, lung and heart function.

Severe dehydration and impairment of muscle, lung and heart function – meaning that was one sick kid, one very visibly, obviously, unmistakably sick kid, one suffering sick kid. And all her parents did for her was to pray, despite of course knowing perfectly well that there are such things as telephones and ambulances and doctors and medicines. For days and days they hung around with a sick, wasted, feeble child, and did nothing about it (prayer doesn’t count).

About a month after Kara’s death last March, the Marathon County state attorney, Jill Falstad, brought charges of reckless endangerment against her parents, Dale and Leilani Neumann. Despite the Neumanns’ claim that the charges violated their constitutional right to religious freedom, Judge Vincent Howard of Marathon County Circuit Court ordered Ms. Neumann to stand trial on May 14, and Mr. Neumann on June 23.

So they killed their child, by refusing to get her medical help which would have saved her life, and they’re defending themselves by talking about their ‘religious freedom.’ They’re not lying on the ground banging their heads and wailing, they’re not crying aloud ‘How could we have been so stupid and callous?’, they’re not sobbing and telling their dead daughter how sorry they are – they’re insisting on ‘religious freedom.’ Freedom to what? Freedom to watch your 11-year-old child become unable to walk or breathe or move or speak and do nothing to help her because you have the freedom to believe that ‘god’ will rescue her even though you refuse to avail yourself of the actual tools to help her? That’s a pretty strange sort of freedom to defend, especially after such an outcome.

“The free exercise clause of the First Amendment protects religious belief,” the judge wrote in his ruling, “but not necessarily conduct.” Wisconsin law, he noted, exempts a parent or guardian who treats a child with only prayer from being criminally charged with neglecting child welfare laws, but only “as long as a condition is not life threatening.” Kara’s parents, Judge Howard wrote, “were very well aware of her deteriorating medical condition.”

Well that’s great! Wisconsin law allows parents to treat a sick child with only prayer as long as the sickness is not life threatening! So mere suffering or pain is not reason enough to make medical treatment mandatory. How disgusting. The ‘religious freedom’ of parents is more important than the relief from suffering of their children? Brilliant.

Investigators said the Neumanns last took Kara to a doctor when she was 3. According to a police report, the girl had lost the strength to speak the day before she died. “Kara laid down and was unable to move her mouth,” the report said, “and merely made moaning noises and moved her eyes back and forth.”

Yet her parents still did nothing.Like the Oregon parents who ‘were charged with criminally negligent homicide in the death of their 16-year-old son, who died from complications of a urinary tract infection that was severely painful and easily treatable.’

As Lucretius said (as I’ve quoted before), tantum religio potuit suadere malorum.

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