California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

Belief in faith healing leads to two deaths

Prayer and faith are powerful things to have in life, but a person’s faith can only do so much.

Parents Herbert and Catherine Schaible experienced conflict between faith and science.

The couple belongs to a fundamentalist Christian church, one that believes in faith healing.

They do not believe in the use of modern medicine. Instead they rely on prayer.

But prayer, in their case, did not help.

In 2009, the couple lost their 2-year-old son to untreated bacterial pneumonia.

The couple never took their son to a doctor or gave him any kind of medicine. They only prayed.

The couple was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter and sentenced to a 10-year probation, requiring them to have their children visit a doctor for a checkup on a periodic basis.

Unfortunately, tragedy struck again just three weeks ago, when the couple’s 8-month-old son died after symptoms including diarrhea and breathing problems were left untreated. The couple will face extreme charges pending the results of the autopsy.

CLU junior Jessi Bell doesn’t see their reasoning behind refusing medical treatment.

“I understand them having their beliefs,” said Bell. “But what I don’t understand is how the parents could have watched a second child pass away, without doing anything that could potentially save their child’s life.”

I don’t understand being against medicine, or even being against doctors.

Many medicines start from natural substances in the earth, the earth many believe God created.

How can medicine be so bad, when it has proven to be so useful?

So the question here is, who is at fault for the deaths of these two children?

The parents were given a warning after the passing of their older son. The fact that they allowed another death to occur causes me to question their methods of parenting. This is child abuse and neglect.

Jarvis Streeter, professor of  religion, teaches a faith and reasoning course at California Lutheran University.

Streeter believes that the behavior displayed by the parents is child abuse and finds their methods to be highly irrational.

“Some religious beliefs are irrational,” said Streeter. “And I think all the evidence shows this to be the case here.”

“They can act on their irrational beliefs as regards to their own health,” said Streeter. “But they are responsible for the lives of their children, where such irrational beliefs can be damaging.”

I understand that there is a separation of church and state, but there are also laws made to protect minors. These laws are meant to protect those who cannot yet make their own decisions.

“As a parent, the legal responsibilities to protect the livelihood of your child should overrule your own beliefs,” said sophomore Bethany Petersen. “Especially after the death of one child.”

Faith may be a powerful thing to have, but it can only go so far.


Graham Jameson
Staff Writer
Published May 8, 2013

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