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MEDICAL NEGLECT IS CHILD ABUSE! JOIN VICTIMS IN PROTEST!!! PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   

Dr. Seth Asser spoke at TAM 3 about how religious beliefs can kill children through lack of vaccination. He's asked me to share this with you:

MEDICAL NEGLECT IS CHILD ABUSE! JOIN VICTIMS IN PROTEST!!!

June 8, 2009 from 11:30-4 PM

200 Mass Ave., Boston, Mary Baker Eddy Library & CS Church HQ

Imagine you are a 7-year-old child awakening in the night with sharp abdominal pains. Your parents arrive at your side, feel your fever and look concerned. Then they tell you not to worry, that it’s all in your head, and they will pray with you to correct your illusion of illness. The next day you’re much worse and a woman from your church comes to pray with you, too. But you can no longer, doubled-up in pain, vomiting, unable to eat, crying and screaming in pain. Rather than taking you to a hospital, your parents tell you to be quiet, that if you believed in your prayers then all would be well. After you slip into a coma, you die the next morning….of a ruptured appendix. Your brother and sister are told not to cry, that you have merely passed into the next plane of existence and this episode is not to be spoken of again.


This and similarly gruesome experiences have been the fate of hundreds, perhaps thousands of children whose parents stubborn reliance on 19th century forms of faith healing to the exclusion of modern, responsible medical care. Many others have been permanently disabled with deafness, amputations, mental retardation and other sequelae of easily treatable childhood conditions and illnesses.


This horrific form of human sacrifice must be stopped. We invite you to join members of Children’s Healthcare is a Legal Duty (CHILD), Inc., the RI Skeptics Society, The Boston Area Atheists, the RI Atheists Society and many other secular and religious participants as we tell the followers of Mary Baker Eddy (the call themselves Christian Scientists, but they are neither) that the world will not ignore their indifference to the well being of their children, their elderly, even themselves and will not allow them to get a free pass just because they call what they do a religious activity.


We will march in front of their opulent church HQ on June 8th and hold a mock funeral to memorialize the children who have been so horribly mistreated. We will be joined by adult survivors and siblings of the non-survivors of this inhumane cult. As Nobel laureate Elie Weisel has said, “only the victims can speak for the victims.” We will help them amplify their voices.


With just a few weeks left, now is the time to email and network to get the word out. Additional information is below. Send all your friends and families links to this page and ask them to join the group online and plan to come out on June 8th. People from all over New England and as far as New Jersey or farther will be car-pooling and joining in. Weather is typically very pleasant in early June in Boston.


The most important thing you can do is come out and tell these folks that someone is watching them. Join the FaceBook group and/or write to Dr. Seth (below) and get on his list for updates. Next, tell others to do the same. If you would like to volunteer to help with signs and handouts, we’d love it if you do. Questions? Contact this page’s administrator or write to HYPERLINK "mailto:DoctorSeth@gmail.com" DoctorSeth@gmail.com (Dr. Seth Asser is a pediatrician who does research and advocacy on protecting children from medical neglect).

 


SCHEDULE:

The main session of the church’s annual meeting is from 1:30 to 3.

We begin picketing at 11:30 starting point, 200 Massachusetts Ave.

We will dress in black and carry signs and child-sized coffins with names and photos.

At 12:30, we will hold a press conference where our victim guests will have a chance to tell the world about their experiences at the hands of these medieval villains.

As they file in for their meeting, the members may approach you to tell you all about their stories of healing. You may not fully understand how deluded some of them are until you hear it from their own mouths.

It gets quiet on the plaza during the meeting, so we’ll break for lunch It’s a great chance to meet and appreciate the many freethinkers from around the region.

We will return just before 3 to “greet” the members as they file out, for about an hour.


Our Guests:


Several adults who were neglected and traumatized by this cult will join us. Coming from Ithaca NY will be Liz Heywood and her daughters and friends (see photo). We’ll let Liz tell her story in her own words:


I was a third-generation Christian Scientist who grew up fifteen miles from The Mother Church in Boston, Massachusetts. In 1975 when I was thirteen, a bone disease developed in my left knee overnight. At the time it was legal in Massachusetts to treat a child through prayer alone, and my parents viewed my knee's infection as "a challenge to demonstrate my true spiritual being." Consequently, although I could not get out of bed for almost a year, I had no medicine or painkillers while my infected leg drained. I spent another six months in a wheelchair and eighteen months on crutches and eventually my knee fused itself. My family and I had followed the instructions of our Christian Science practitioner--a man well-regarded by the church who later became a Teacher of practitioners--to the letter, but my leg was scarred, deformed and frozen at an angle of about eighty degrees. There was no "science" involved in the ordeal whatsoever. My practitioner later told me that I had been healed because I didn't die. At fifteen I was left limping, ashamed of my failure to "manifest my perfection" and depressed to the point of considering suicide. I was told by my practitioner, church and family that my "complete" healing would happen eventually.It was twenty years before I left Christian Science, when recurring mental breakdowns finally caused me to find a therapist. In 1995 I was diagnosed me with severe post-traumatic stress disorder; my infection had been osteomyelitis, a bone disease caused by a strep bacteria and medically treated with antibiotics. Recovering mentally was difficult; I had to re-learn how to think. My years of hard emotional work paid off: in 2007, when my physical health had become jeopardized by thirty years of limping, I was prepared to make the decision to have my leg amputated above the knee. Today I lead an active life free from shame.Most Christian Scientists never face extremely serious conditions in their children, and this has allowed the church to claim it has a viable method of treatment. But Christian Scientists do everything in their power to deny and remain unimpressed by human pain. And refusing to believe in the pain--any pain--felt by a child is pure negligence.


For more information (contact any of us if you would like to be on this list)

HYPERLINK "http://www.childrenshealthcare.org" www.childrenshealthcare.org

HYPERLINK "http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=45890093398" http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=45890093398

HYPERLINK "http://www.riathest.com" www.riathest.com

HYPERLINK "http://www.bostonatheists.org" www.bostonatheists.org

HYPERLINK "mailto:DoctorSeth@gmail.com" DoctorSeth@gmail.com

 

 

 


CHILD, Inc website:

http://www.childrenshealthcare.org/


RI Atheist Society:

http://www.riatheist.com/


An "Atlantic" article from a Christian Scientist:

http://www.theatlantic.com/unbound/flashbks/xsci/suffer.htm

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Comments (21)Add Comment
Thank you, Doctor Seth...
written by Human Person Jr, May 29, 2009
This horrific set of beliefs and practices appears all too often on the evening news, as yet another benighted nimrod harms a child in the name of Godliness.

My own daughter found herself at death's door at age 10, from a perforated appendix. Her mother (my former wife) told her that she "made herself sick" to get attention. Mommy dearest dragged her from one new-age practitioner to another, until Crazy Owl, a Chinese medicine specialist, told her to "get this child to the ER, posthaste!" She acted upon the wise man's advice and, no real thanks to her, medical doctors saved my daughter's life. My ex-wife forever-loon called me only after my daughter was admitted to the hospital.

Christian Scientists, Jehovah's Witnesses and a host of other sects (including Chinese medicine and chiropractic devotees) are routinely guilty of, at best, negligent homicide, at worst, murder.

Thank you again, Doctor Seth. This work is so important.

Again
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written by panamajoe, May 29, 2009
I'd like to see statistics on death rates for adult members of these cults. Do they only force the weak to ignore their pain and succumb to these horrible deaths only to allow themselves to follow their intellect and get help?

Legislators that produce laws that let these people off the hook for their criminal behavior should be removed from office immediately! smilies/angry.gif

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written by Willy K, May 29, 2009
I'm sorry to say this, but appealing to these folks humanity and rationality will be mostly ineffective. Why... you might ask? It appears to me as if these folks behave like irrational quasi-humans.

I would suggest that you appeal to their irrationality.

Your protest signs and placards should have pictures of dead children and provocative phrases such as “christian scientists wait until their children are older before they ABORT them!”

Fight the nut jobs with their own weapons!

P.S. At the very least, taking this wildly irrational tactic will get you more media coverage than trying to “out smart” the religo-crazies.smilies/cheesy.gif
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Appalling
written by Roadtoad, May 29, 2009
I don't know how to respond to the cited tale. Except perhaps with incredible anger. How can you call yourself a parent, and pull such a damnable stunt?

I could only wish I could do something more than get angry about this kind of idiocy.
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written by Rustylizard, May 29, 2009
While doing a Google search on Christian Science, I happened across a book listed on Amazon called "When Prayer Fails: Faith Healing, Children, and the Law" by Shawn Francis Peters. For anyone interested, it looks like it might be very informative on the subject.

I wonder if Christian Scientists will be applying for federal funds under the faith based initiatives program or if de facto child abuse disqualifies a religion from receiving a grant. Don’t snicker folks! Pat Robertson received a million and a half bucks under the Bush Administration’s watch. Barmy Pat qualified because he had enough faith to steer hurricanes with prayer (he also controlled lots of votes). And if the government tries to restrict the allocation of funds to religious organizations based on their “wackiness” index – isn’t that a form of religious discrimination and just a little bit unconstitutional? Let’s hope our tax dollars don’t wind up supporting the faithful practitioners of this kind of initiative.

Good going, Dr. Seth Asser. I wish there were more activist physicians like you.
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Where do you draw the line?
written by BillyJoe, May 29, 2009
Life threatening illness is easy.
But where do you draw the line?
What about the psychological abuse?

BJ
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written by MadScientist, May 30, 2009
It's also torture and on occasions murder. I'm glad that parents are finally being tried and found guilty and sent to jail for their cruel beliefs and that we have sensible judges who order parents to seek proper medical aid. 200 years ago we could not do much to help anyone in many cases, but denying medical progress and its results in favor of prayer is just criminal.
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written by bosshog, May 30, 2009
Although a few devotees of faith healing may be swayed by such protests I'm afraid most will only be that much more determined to stand by their beliefs in the face of perceived "persecution" by the godless. However, if legislation protecting children from deluded parents can be tightened up so much the better.
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Thanks for the support and here are answers to some of the questions
written by DoctorSeth, May 30, 2009
re: Adults; Data is difficult to come by but there is some. Graduates of an exclusively Christian Science "college" have significantly higher death rates in their 50's and beyond when compared to secular institutions as well as 7th day adventists (where lifestyles are similar, i.e. no smoking, drinking, caffeine). Death in childbirth is a rare occurence these days but at least two studies have shown that maternal death rates in some pentecostal fundamentalist faith healing sects can be 30-100 times the general population. There are also many horrific anecdotes about painful, agonizing deaths in adults who rely on faith healing. Most notable was HR Haldeman, infamous Nixon henchman, who died a painful death from untreated stomach cancer. His son wrote about it in the NY Times.

Legislators are too often sympathetic to all kinds of hogwash and bend over backwards to "accomodate" the religious practices of their constituents. Only a handful of states have removed religious exemptions to child medical neglect statutes and the US Congress has been intentionally ambiguous in it's statutes covering the issue.
While the courts have not been perfect, they are substantially better. Unfortunately, many children die before reaching the judicial level. For a good read, try Marci Hamilton's "God vs. the Gavel: Religion and the Rule of Law." Professor Hamilton, herself a cultural conservative, lays out an excellent case to dispell the notion that the courts are anti-religion and demonstrates the opposite, that they give religious organizations preferences not granted to others nor required under the First Amendment. (If the TAM program committee is reading this, Prof. Hamilton, who has a widely followed blog on findlaw.com, would make an OUTSTANDING speaker)

I like the sign suggestion and will do it. My favorite remains "This is Jonestown in slow motion." We will be doing some street theater, the mock funeral, which will generate more than just logical protest.

Shawn Peters has a good book. But if you want a really great summer read, I recommend "God's Perfect Child: Living and Dying in the Christian Science Church" by Caroline Fraser. This Harvard educated, well published columnist covers the history, law, politics, and other aspects of the rise and fall of the followers of Mary Baker Eddy. While she has a personal history, being rasied in an Eddyite household and losing a sibling, this only adds to her well-researched, carefully documented tome. I mean, I even enjoyed reading the footnotes, it was that well done.

Some ask "what else could I do?" Keep supporting the JREF and logic and reason wherever you find it. Get everyone you know to join the Facebook group for the June 8th protest, even if you can't make it in person. The media will be impressed by this and more likely to cover the event. Please also visit childrenshealthcare.org for information on the only national child advocacy group exclusively dedicated to preventing religiously motivated abuse and neglect. They have been successful advocates of improved legislation to protect children (Disclosure: I am their volunteer Medical Consultant)

Eddyites already get federal funds. They get reimbursed for prayers and custodial care in CS "Sanitoria" or "nursing" homes under the medicare program. You can thank strange bedfellows Ted Kennedy and Orin Hatch for this ludicrous taxpayer giveaway.

In Massachussetts, where universal health coverage is the closest to fruition in any of the states, the Eddyites first petitioned to be exempt from participating in the premiums while at the same time petitioning to have their fee-for-service prayer practitioners be reimbursed under the system. The hypocrisy is nothing short of mind-bending.

Thanks again to all
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written by Willy K, May 30, 2009
I like the sign suggestion and will do it.

Dr. Seth,
It might be difficult to arrange, but how about getting some anti-abortionists at the rally? They are definitely a vocal group!

If things don't get out of hand it might persuade those in power (politicians, courts, civic leaders etc.) to make a choice between different levels of religious irrationality. It also might get the various religo-nutjobs to fight amongst themselves leaving the more rational folks to quietly figure out how to deal with the complex issues of what parents can and can't do to their children in a modern society.

As for signs.... here are a few more samples from my mind. They are all meant to sway the irrational a little bit closer to rationality... I hope. smilies/wink.gif

A fetus has rights... even when it's 7 years old!

Pro... QUALITY... Life...

Why won't the religious protect the BORN as well as they protect the UNBORN?
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written by hamradioguy, May 30, 2009
When I was teen I stopped to visit friends who ran a guesthouse. I was told it was a bad time to visit- a guest had fallen in the backyard and broken her hip or leg. Indeed, I could hear her yelling in obvious pain. But the emergency phone call didn't go to 911, it went to some of her friends who would pray for her as she was a Christian Scientist. She was also an adult, so I left shaking my head. (I later learned that as night fell and temperatures headed toward freezing she relented and asked for real medical help.)

Adults are generally free to do stupid things like this. Children? No. Keep up the good fight Dr. Asser!
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The Only Real Miracle
written by bosshog, May 31, 2009
It is indicative of the true orientation of religious thought that the belief in miracle healing rejects the products of human intelligence (i.e. medical science) in favor of blind faith. Religion doesn't merely reject knowledge; it actively fights against it as THE evil of evils (the serpent proffered the apple to Adam and Eve and they were punished for taking it; the Tower of Babel threatened the ramparts of Heaven etc).
I have never heard any religious leader speak of human intelligence as a gift from God with which to better ourselves. Such an attitude would make it very easy for even the most God-fearing person to accept medical help, but the priest jealously guards his authority and will yield nothing to anyone no matter who has to suffer for it.
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written by tmac57, May 31, 2009
You have probably all heard this joke or parable in some form, but I though I would post it here again as it seems to resonate with the idea that Christian Scientists seem to overlook the possibility that if there is a God, that maybe his miracles of healing might be coming from medical science:

There was a certain pious man who lived by the river. The river began to flood so he prayed to God to save him.

The water level rose and he went upstairs to avoid the water. A boat passed and offered to rescue him. The man refused saying he had prayed to God and he had perfect faith that God would answer his prayer.

The water level rose and the man, still full of faith, clung to the chimney pot on the roof of his house. A helicopter flew down and offered to take him off. He refused. He had his faith in God.

The water arose above his head and he drowned.

When he got to Heaven the pearly gates were shut.

'Why are the gates shut?' he asked, 'I have been a pious man all my life.'

God said they were shut because the man had rejected him.

The man denied it. How had he rejected God. God said, 'I sent you a boat, and you rejected my help. I sent you a helicopter and you rejected my help.'

One could also add: " I sent you modern medical miracles, and you rejected my help"

As Carl Sagan said " Science delivers the goods."
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written by Phatchick96, May 31, 2009
IMHO, if adults want to die martyrs deaths, that's their business and I won't try to stop them. But it's child abuse of the highest order to force kids to suffer for beliefs they're not old enough to understand. Here in WI, we are dealing with this issue and I hope the woman is found guilty and put away for a good long time.
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written by BillyJoe, May 31, 2009
tmac:
You have probably all heard this joke or parable in some form
The funny part is that he actually wants to be saved and not go up to heaven where all the goodies are.
(Hey, maybe deep down you think mabe he doesn't really beleive all that $#!+)

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written by tmac57, June 01, 2009
BillyJoe,
I have also thought that the religious martyrs around the world who are 'avenging' the deaths of their loved ones, and are so concerned with the worldly concern of homeland are showing that their biggest worries are of the here and now dressed up in a phony "Holy" struggle.
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Wish I were in Boston on the 8th
written by LindaRosaRN, June 01, 2009
This is great news. I have followed the struggles of C.H.I.L.D. to convince legislators to do away with exemptions. It's hard to believe Rita Swan, Seth Asser, and their colleagues aren't able to make greater progress. I have had similar experiences opposing a highly abusive psychotherapy. Alas, "Parental rights" often is interpreted as "property rights" in the USA.

Massachusetts is a good place for championing children. This is the state that allows Holding Therapy and cattle prods to be used on children (google "Judge Rottenberg Educational Center"), two of the most horrific pseudosciences to come down the pike.
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written by knitwit, June 01, 2009
Cattle prods?! Are you serious? I always thought that Mass. was a fairly progressive place, but what I'm reading here is quite shocking.

I don't think it's possible to escape the sad result of taking religious freedom so seriously and literally in this country. Once you raise the Puritans who settled here to gain religious "freedom" to the level of saints in the national narrative, you have made it difficult to then try to restrain that freedom in any way.

On another note, why do people think that they "own" their children? This is wrong even for the religious as, in general, religion teaches that children belong to god and are sent to us to care for for the time being. Unless we deal with the absurdity of religious fundamentalism and quit giving it a pass in the guise of "religious freedom", these problems will persist. This is why I am happy to see the recent flurry of books by atheists and more interest in the subject with many "coming out" as atheists; it's a beginning at least.
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@tmac
written by Steel Rat, June 02, 2009
Lol, the way you said it, it wasn't a joke, but more of a parable. A joke would have ended more like:

"What? Didn't you see the boat and the helicopter?"
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written by tmac57, June 02, 2009
Steel Rat, yeah, that's why I said joke or parable.There are many of variations of it, and a lot of them are more 'jokey'. Just Google "I sent you a boat" , and you'll see what I mean. Cheers
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@parable
written by Steel Rat, June 02, 2009
Oops! Sorry, I read too quickly and didn't see that. My mistake!
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