The children of Idaho’s ‘faith healing’ families are dying, and state Republicans refuse to stop it

After the deaths of 12 children who belonged to “faith healing” families in Idaho, state lawmakers and politicians have refused to bring any manslaughter or murder charges.

After the deaths of 12 children who belonged to “faith healing” families in Idaho, state lawmakers and politicians have refused to bring any manslaughter or murder charges.

The families belonged to a Pentecostal group known as the Followers of Christ, and members who seek modern medical care in the event of sickness are punished by the group by excommunication. According to Idaho state law, prayer can be used as a form of treatment and manslaughter, capital murder and negligent homicide charges cannot be filed if a child dies as a result.

Interestingly, the religious exemption cannot be used if a parent couples prayer with any other form of treatment.

“If the parent combines prayer with orange juice or a cool bath to bring down a fever, the parent loses the exemption,” Rita Swan, co-founder of the advocacy group Children’s Healthcare Is a Legal Duty, said.

Although a bill was put forward to change the law, state Republicans seem unwilling to push for legislation.

“This is about religious beliefs, the belief God is in charge of whether they live, and God is in charge of whether they die,” state Rep. Christy Perry (R) said. “This is about where they go for eternity.”

According to a report from KATU-TV last year, out of 553 graves in a cemetery outside of Boise, 144 of them were for children.

From The Raw Story:

Among those buried was Jackson Scott Porter, a newborn girl who lived for just 20 minutes before dying in her grandfather’s home. The girl’s mother did not receive any pre-natal care. Her cause of death was listed as untreated pneumonia.

“That’s the way we believe,” the grandfather, Mark Jerome, told KATU at the time. “We believe in God and the way God handles the situation, the way we do things.”

KATU also reported that local officials believe that another minor, 14-year-old Rockwell Sevy, had undiagnosed Down’s syndrome before he also died from pneumonia, in 2011.

Refusing to speak about his son’s death, Dan Sevy cited his right to religious freedom.

“I would like to say, I picture freedom as a full object. It’s not like you take ‘a’ freedom away,” Dan Sevy said. “It’s that you chip at the entire thing. Freedom is freedom. Whenever you try to restrict any one person, then you’re chipping away at freedom. Yours and mine.”

According to an investigation by Vocative, over the last three years, autopsies of children from faith healing families who died all could have been saved if they had been treated medically.

No charges have been filed in any of those cases.

Watch KATU-TV’s report from last year on the story:

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  1. Rob

    November 19, 2014 at 5:04 am

    Hopefully they all Naturally Select themselves for extinction.

  2. Omar Spence

    November 19, 2014 at 5:21 am

    I guess natural selection will do its job. While in the modern world, I know an excellent anatomy lecturer in one of the leading medical schools in the Caribbean who is a consultant urologist and a Preacher. Being stupid does not make you patriotic or adherent to your faith.

  3. Ron Zajac

    November 19, 2014 at 10:14 am

    Reminds me of that old joke that ends with God saying, “I sent you two boats and a helicopter! What more did you want?!”

  4. Charles McAdams

    November 19, 2014 at 12:19 pm

    No freedom is absolute. One’s freedom to swing a fist stops where my nose begins. These people should not have the freedom to kill their children through ignored

  5. jeb

    November 19, 2014 at 4:11 pm

    STUPID people and you can bet they all vote Republican. Stupid is as stupid does.

  6. Joey

    November 19, 2014 at 6:02 pm

    Forgive me the pun Rob but we can only pray. 🙂

  7. Elwood Herring

    November 20, 2014 at 3:59 pm

    So logically, someone could poison their child deliberately, then as long as they claim they’ve prayed that the child will live, they can get away with murder. A nice convenient loophole for murderers. Crazy.

  8. fierylocks

    December 25, 2014 at 5:36 am

    These are CHILDREN…not fetuses. The last time republicans gave any rat’s ass about you, you were either a zygote or fetus…after that, you mean nothing to them.

  9. oriphiel216

    January 20, 2015 at 2:44 pm

    I really hope that can be like one of those cults in the 90s and kill themselves. This is a terrible crime. I am a christian and there is nothing that says you cant use medicine and science. God does not expect us to call upon him for everything. We were created in his image. That means we are not ignorant.

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