Two children dead from investment in belief instead of knowledge. Parents will go to prison.
Saying that it was they who killed their son and not God or religious devotion, a judge Wednesday sentenced a Philadelphia couple to three and a half to seven years in state prison for praying for their pneumonia-stricken baby instead following a court order to take him to a doctor.
Herbert and Catherine Schaible, of the [Philadelphia], each apologized for the April death of 7-month-old Brandon and said despite their religious beliefs in prayer over medicine, they would take their seven surviving children to doctors in the future.
Common Pleas Judge Benjamin Lerner also sentenced the couple to 30 months of supervised probation after they are released from prison.
They were both lifelong members of the faith-healing First Century Gospel Church. They had pleaded “no contest” in November to third-degree murder, child endangerment and conspiracy in their child’s death. At the time, they were on probation for the death of another child, Kent, who also died due to withholding of proper medical care in lieu of prayer. They were charged with involuntary manslaughter. This current charge was more serious.
Many religious and non-religious people alike, especially parents, find their crime despicable and incomprehensible, even the District Attorney who asked for 8-16 years instead. Will it deter other congregants of such churches from pulling the same thing? Yes, it may just do that. An example must be set so that the churches and their members understand that your freedom of religion does not trump the human rights of a child. This must stop.
Addition: 16-Mar-2014 Judge rejects call to increase prison sentences of faith-healing parents.