We’ve talked long enough about faith healing in Oregon. We’ve shared countless earnest conversations about religious liberty and parental rights.
The time for words is over. Now it’s time for pictures.
Another couple from the Followers of Christ church in Oregon City stand accused of criminal mistreatment for deliberately withholding medical care from their child. Timothy and Rebecca Wyland of Beavercreek believe in treating sickness with prayer rather than medicine, even when prayer doesn’t work.
Their infant daughter, Alayna, has a serious eye problem, which they chose not to treat. Someone notified authorities and the state intervened, and now the Wylands are trying to regain custody of their daughter.
Those are the words, wholly inadequate.
Only the pictures do the story justice.
Photographs obtained from the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office show Alayna as a sweetly chubby baby with a grotesque protrusion on her face, distorting her eye. The mass is angry and purplish red and painful-looking with the radius of a tennis ball. In the grocery store, it would be visible from five aisles away.
A reasonable person wouldn’t keep this child from a doctor.
A reasonable person would break down doors to find a doctor.
Medical experts describe the eye problem as a hemangioma, a fast-growing mass of blood vessels. Normally the condition could be diagnosed and easily treated at the first signs of swelling or discoloration. Left untreated, the mass pushed Alayna’s eye down and out, placing profound pressure on her eyeball and eye socket, as The Oregonian’s Steve Mayes reported.
It’s not clear whether Alayna will go blind in that eye or somehow recover. The only certain thing is that the Wylands deliberately withheld medical care, and admitted in court to doing so, from a baby whose injury was painfully obvious.
This is a not a sad instance of an unanswered prayer. This is a textbook case of medical mistreatment and neglect, with photographs to answer the questions that words cannot.
Over the past three decades, more than 20 Oregon children whose parents belong to the Followers of Christ church have died of treatable illnesses, according to the state medical examiner’s office. Yet Oregon grants special leniency to faith-healing parents, singling them out favorably in state policy and protecting them from being charged with certain crimes.
In a 1999 compromise, the Oregon Legislature stripped away some of those legal protections but gave judges the authority to give lighter sentences to faith-healing parents. In recent years, Clackamas County authorities have successfully prosecuted two couples for the preventable deaths of their children. Things are moving in the right direction.
Still, Oregon remains a national outlier for its level of deference toward faith-based crime.
Oregon should get rid of its remaining double standards. Juries have proved themselves to be fully capable of taking faith into account as they weigh criminal intent, much as they consider addiction and other factors in other sad cases involving children.
Meanwhile, maybe we should spend more time studying the photographs of these kids. The smiling ones, now gone. The injured ones, now recovering.
These children might not fully appreciate Oregon’s treatment of faith healing as an abstract intellectual issue, one requiring lots of discussion plus the perfect blend of libertarian distance and liberal tolerance.
Given a choice, they might prefer more action, fewer words.
CREATIONISM and intelligent design will be taught in Queensland state schools for the first time as part of the new national curriculum.
Creationists dismiss the science of evolution, instead believing that living things are best explained by an intelligent being or God, rather than an undirected process such as natural selection.
The issue of creationism being taught in schools has caused huge controversy in the US, where some fundamentalist religious schools teach it as a science subject instead of Darwin’s theory of evolution.
In Queensland schools, creationism will be offered for discussion in the subject of ancient history, under the topic of “controversies”.
Teachers are still formulating a response to the draft national curriculum, scheduled to be introduced next year.
Queensland History Teachers’ Association head Kay Bishop said the curriculum asked students to develop their historical skills in an “investigation of a controversial issue” such as “human origins (eg, Darwin’s theory of evolution and its critics”).
“It’s opening up opportunities for debate and discussion, not to push a particular view,” Ms Bishop said. Classroom debate about issues encouraged critical thinking – an important tool, she said.
Associated Christian Schools executive officer Lynne Doneley welcomed the draft curriculum, saying it cemented the position of a faith-based approach to teaching.
“We talk to students from a faith science basis, but we’re not biased in the delivery of curriculum,” Mrs Doneley said. “We say, ‘This is where we’re coming from’ but allow students to make up their own minds.”
But Griffith University humanities lecturer Paul Williams said it was important to be cautious about such content.
“It’s important that education authorities are vigilant that this is not a blank cheque to push theological barrows,” Mr Williams said.
“I would be loath to see it taught as theory.
“It’s up there with the world being occupied by aliens since Roswell.”
Ms Bishop said there were bigger problems with the national curriculum.
History teachers are planning to object to repetitive subject matter, such as World War I being a major part of the Year 10 course and repeated in Year 11.
Scientists have identified areas of the brain that, when damaged, lead to greater spirituality. The findings hint at the roots of spiritual and religious attitudes, the researchers say.
The study, published in the Feb. 11 issue of the journal Neuron, involves a personality trait called self-transcendence, which is a somewhat vague measure of spiritual feeling, thinking, and behaviors. Self-transcendence “reflects a decreased sense of self and an ability to identify one’s self as an integral part of the universe as a whole,” the researchers explain.
Before and after surgery, the scientists surveyed patients who had brain tumors removed. The surveys generate self-transcendence scores.
Selective damage to the left and right posterior parietal regions of the brain induced a specific increase in self-transcendence, or ST, the surveys showed.
“Our symptom-lesion mapping study is the first demonstration of a causative link between brain functioning and ST,” said Dr. Cosimo Urgesi from the University of Udine in Italy. “Damage to posterior parietal areas induced unusually fast changes of a stable personality dimension related to transcendental self-referential awareness. Thus, dysfunctional parietal neural activity may underpin altered spiritual and religious attitudes and behaviors.”
Previous neuroimaging studies had linked activity within a large network in the brain that connects the frontal, parietal, and temporal cortexes with spiritual experiences, “but information on the causative link between such a network and spirituality is lacking,” explains lead study author, Urgesi said.
One study, reported in 2008, suggested that the brain’s right parietal lobe defines “Me,” and people with less active Me-Definers are more likely to lead spiritual lives.
The finding could lead to new strategies for treating some forms of mental illness.
“If a stable personality trait like ST can undergo fast changes as a consequence of brain lesions, it would indicate that at least some personality dimensions may be modified by influencing neural activity in specific areas,” said Dr. Salvatore M. Aglioti from Sapienza University of Rome. “Perhaps novel approaches aimed at modulating neural activity might ultimately pave the way to new treatments of personality disorders.”
VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican newspaper and radio station have called the film “Avatar” simplistic, and criticized it for flirting with modern doctrines that promote the worship of nature as a substitute for religion.
L’Osservatore Romano and Vatican Radio dedicated ample coverage to James Cameron’s big-grossing, 3-D spectacle. But the reviews were lukewarm, calling the movie superficial in its eco-message, despite groundbreaking visual effects.
L’Osservatore said the film “gets bogged down by a spiritualism linked to the worship of nature.” Similarly, Vatican Radio said it “cleverly winks at all those pseudo-doctrines that turn ecology into the religion of the millennium.”
“Nature is no longer a creation to defend, but a divinity to worship,” the radio said.
Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi said that while the movie reviews are just that — film criticism, with no theological weight — they do reflect Pope Benedict XVI’s views on the dangers of turning nature into a “new divinity.”
Benedict has often spoken about the need to protect the environment, earning the nickname of “green pope.” But he has sometimes balanced that call with a warning against neo-paganism.
In a recent World Day of Peace message, the pontiff warned against any notions that equate human person and other living things. He said such notions “open the way to a new pantheism tinged with neo-paganism, which would see the source of man’s salvation in nature alone.”
The Vatican newspaper occasionally likes to comment in its cultural pages on movies or pop culture icons, as it did recently about “The Simpsons” or U2. In one famous instance, several Vatican officials spoke out against “The Da Vinci Code.”
In this case, the reviews came out after a red carpet preview held in Rome just a stone’s throw from St. Peter’s Square. The movie will be released Friday in Italy.
Best part of the article: “Webb says she has no regrets about leaving him in that recliner.”
COLUMBIA, South Carolina (NBC) — Believing his faith would heal him, a Greenwood County, South Carolina man sat down in his recliner after an injury in March and never got up.
On Thursday, his wife explained why he stayed in the recliner until shortly before he died.
“The man totally believed in God and his healing,” said Ada Webb.
In March, Webb’s 550-pound husband, Tillmon, sat down in a recliner inside their trailer in Greenwood. Wearing nothing but a blanket, the 33-year-old didn’t move from that recliner for the next eight months.
“He couldn’t do nothing for his self and I couldn’t do but so much,” Webb explained.
Webb says Tillmon tore his ACL in March and drove to a doctor’s office.
“They were gonna give him an appointment, but they wanted $300 up front, and we didn’t have the money,” said Webb.
Webb says he returned to the recliner, picked up his Bible and became determined that faith would heal his leg.
“He read his Bible daily, he spent his full focus on God,” said Webb. “And he was literally waiting and praying for a Job miracle. If anybody knows the Bible and knows Job, he really and fully believed that God was going to heal him just like he did Job, because he said he couldn’t think of a better testimony to go out and to tell people.”
For eight months they had no visitors. Webb rarely left his side, and she tried to keep him clean.
“I couldn’t get him rolled over to use a bedpan,” said Webb.
Other than eating and reading the Bible, she says Tillmon posted sermons online and texted messages of faith through his cell phone.
“He wanted so much to get up and you know, he wanted to tell everybody what Jesus done,” said Webb.
Webb says Tillmon consistently told her not to call for help. She says Wednesday morning he was in so much pain that she finally called an ambulance.
Greenwood County authorities say they found Tillmon covered with sores, and that he appeared to weigh about 800 pounds. They say he was stuck to his chair, and they had to saw the recliner apart. They cut a large hole around the front door to get him out.
He died at the hospital.
Webb says she has no regrets about leaving him in that recliner.
“If I feel anything right now, it’s envy for him because I wish he had taken me with him,” said Webb.
Greenwood County deputies will not charge Webb with a crime. They determined she had no malicious intent of neglect.
Neighbors at the trailer park said they had no idea Webb had a husband inside that trailer the whole time.
Jesus has come back! In cow form!! Everyone, praise our lord and cow-savior!
Moses, who has been hailed as a “holy cow”, was born last week at a dairy farm in Sterling, Connecticut, a small rustic town on the Rhode Island border.
The mostly brown calf is half Jersey, half Holstein. Local children gave him his Biblical name.
His owner, Brad Davis, told WFSB-TV he thought the marking may be a message from above, though he is still trying to worl out what that message might be.
Ric Grummer, the chairman of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Dairy Science, told the Norwich Bulletin newspaper it is not unusual for a Holstein cow to have a white marking on its head.
But Mr Grummer said the cross shape is unique.