Miscellaneous musings from the perspective of a lefty (both senses) atheist with a warped sense of humor.

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Location: Madison, WI, United States

I am a geek, but I do have some redeeming social skills. I love other people's dogs, cats, and kids. Snow sucks, but I'm willing to put up with it just to live in Madison.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Religious Exemption for Child Neglect

Rep. Spencer Black
Wisconsin Legislature

Dear Rep. Black:

I’m sure you’ve heard of the awful situation in Weston, where a 12-year-old girl died a horrible, lingering death of an eminently treatable form of diabetes while her parents stood by praying, thinking that this was somehow better than professional medical care. Even after she died, her mother said it would be only temporary, that she’d be coming back from the dead in a day or 2. All this while friends and relatives were desperately urging them to get the girl to a doctor or hospital.

Now it comes out that the parents may be able to get away completely without consequence for this appalling act of child neglect, because the Wisconsin state statutes contain an exemption for religious “treatment” of medical conditions.

This is the 21st Century. Would we write into the law exemptions for bleeding with leeches? Would we excuse such behavior if the proper number of pins had been stuck into voodoo dolls? Would it be OK if the parents said they were due to win the lottery? Suppose they claimed that healing gamma rays from Ganymede were already on their way? How is this any different?

We as a society know better than this. Why do we let parents walk away scot free from the dead bodies of their neglected children because of ignorant superstitions?

I hope you will do everything in your power to repeal this insane (literally not sane) exemption as soon as possible before the death toll mounts any higher.

With outrage,

Richard S. Russell


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