“Eerily Similar” Circumstances

One of the great selling points of the United States is the whole “freedom of religion” thing.  While I am an atheist, I also believe that you should have the right to believe in whatever religion you wish, and that you should be free to practice that religion without constraints as long as you do not infringe upon the rights of others.

I have started this post a full 11 times so far, only to hit the backspace key and wipe it all out to try again.  I’ve been following stories like this one for over a decade now.  Unfortunately, one took place in the area that I am from, and it was also a case that had multiple victims.  It is bad enough when your belief in God costs an innocent child their life.  But when it takes the life of a second innocent child, years after the first, it is enough to anger me past any logical response.

Yes, the United States has freedom of religion.  And yes, it is one of those things that makes this a great country.  But the justice system really needs to grow a spine and start treating these cases as what they are: child abuse.  When these monsters neglected their first child to death 4 years ago, they received probation.  Why?  Because they hid behind “freedom of religion.”  I promise you that if they wouldn’t have answered “religion” when asked why they didn’t take their child to the doctor, they would have got a much stronger punishment than probation.  They should have been charged with murder the first time, and thrown in jail.  Yes, their children would have been taken away from their “parents.”  But they also would all be alive.

I’m sorry.  This shit just makes me sick.

From Philly.com: (Bolding is mine as always.)

Catherine and Herbert Schaible, the Philadelphia faith-healing couple convicted once of manslaughter for allowing their sick toddler to die, were charged Wednesday with third-degree murder in the death of another son, infant Brandon.

….

At a news conference announcing the charges, (District Attorney Seth) Williams described the child’s death as a tragedy.

“Sadly, there is only one reason for it: his parents,” Williams said. “Instead of caring and nurturing him, they ultimately caused his death by praying over his body rather than taking him to the doctor.”

Brandon Scott Schaible was 7 months and 18 days old when he died April 18 of bacterial pneumonia, severe dehydration, and strep after his parents withheld medical care for four days.

The infant first developed a rash on his head, then became irritable with diarrhea and had little appetite, according to prosecutors and police.

Two days before his death, his breathing became so labored that he was breathing out of his mouth, Catherine Schaible told police.

But rather than call a doctor – as they were ordered to do under the terms of probation in the 2009 death of 2-year-old son Kent – the Schaibles called an assistant pastor to come and anoint Brandon and pray.

When the child stopped breathing, the couple told police, they prayed for him to be revived. Then they called a funeral home.

Murder seems like the fitting charge here.  They couldn’t call an ambulance, but they sure could call the funeral home.  Let’s take a deep breath and see what the First Assistant District Attorney has to say on why he filed murder charges.  He is going to make sense.

First Assistant District Attorney Edward McCann said Wednesday that authorities “carefully considered” whether third-degree murder – which carries a maximum sentence of 20 to 40 years – was the appropriate charge in Brandon’s death.

How many kids have to die before it becomes an extreme indifference to the value of human life?” McCann said, noting the legal threshold of murder.

When you are praying over your child when your child is not breathing, when you have a prior child who died of a clearly preventable disease, and when you were required by the court to seek medical treatment if your child was sick and you don’t do so – based on all those circumstances, it was our assessment that the murder charges were appropriate.”

Before I print this next quote, let me state that I understand that these people are entitled to legal representation, and since it is coming from their lawyer, it really isn’t a surprising statement.  That being said…..

Mythri Jayaraman, an attorney for Catherine Schaible, said her client was “certainly shook up.”

“I think she’s more reeling from losing Brandon than she is from this arrest itself,” Jayaraman said.

To suggest Catherine was indifferent to her children’s lives and health couldn’t be further from the truth,” Jayaraman added. “This is a woman who is a completely devoted mother.”

Oh, fuck you.  Fuck you, fuck your god, fuck the horse you rode in on, fuck your pastor, fuck it all.  Devoted mothers do not let their children, multiple fucking children, die of easily preventable causes.  If you want to shun medical care and die of some easily curable disease because prayer is the only medicine you are allowed, have the fuck at it.  It is your right.  You are an adult, you can make your own choices.  Neither of these children ever had a choice about anything.  You took all their choices away.  Any choice they would ever get a chance to make, robbed from them because of your fringe interpretation of a bronze age religion.  Devoted mothers do everything in their power to save their children, to protect them, to give them the opportunity to live a full and rewarding life.  You know, the complete fucking opposite of what you did.

The Schaibles are members of First Century Gospel Church, a congregation of about 500 members that rejects medical care and almost all modern health and safety precautions, including dental work, toothpaste, eyeglasses, even seat belts. Trust in medicine and doctors is a sin, according to church doctrine.

When does it move from being a religion to being a mental illness?  Can anyone make one legitimate argument that every single child in this congregation is not a victim of child abuse?  No car seats, no corrective lenses, no vaccinations, no check ups, no dental work, no fucking toothpaste?  Try any of that shit without hiding behind religion, and see how long you get to keep custody of your children.

Assistant District Attorney Joanne Pescatore, who prosecuted the Schaibles in Kent’s death and is handling Brandon’s case, said Wednesday that the cases are “eerily similar.”

“I knew something like this could have easily happened,” she said of the second child to die. “I knew at their sentencing that they were not going to follow the judge’s instructions.”

The Schaibles’ remaining seven children, who range in age from about 8 to 17, were immediately placed in temporary foster care after Brandon’s death. They were allowed to see their parents during supervised visits and were permitted to attend a recent church service.

Yeah, that’s great.  So the church members can continue indoctrinating them.  “Your parents did nothing wrong, God wanted your brother up in heaven, medicine is a sin, the evil government is persecuting us all because the DA is a servant of Satan, don’t trust the police or your foster parents.”

At the Schaibles’ sentencing in 2011, a different judge ordered the probation department, rather than the city’s child-welfare agency, to supervise the children’s medical needs, a decision child advocates have criticized.

Why would that decision be criticized?  I can’t think of anyone more qualified to supervise the medical needs of children than untrained, overworked, underpaid, probation officers with heavy caseloads of non-violent drug offenders to harass.

Brandon was seen by a doctor only once, just 10 days after he was born.

With the couple now arrested for a second time for following the church’s most central tenet, the new charges seem to put First Century Gospel on the wrong side of the law.

“We’re not in the business of prosecuting people for their sincerely held beliefs,” McCann, the first assistant district attorney, said. “But if these beliefs again intersect with something like this – where it’s clear that medical attention was needed by children – then on a case-by-case basis, we’re going to have to deal with that.”

McCann would not rule out whether the church pastor, Nelson Clark, could face charges as head of First Century Gospel.

“That is something we’re going to have to consider looking into as we further investigate this case,” McCann said. “It’s not over at this point.”

Ah, yes.  The churches pastor.  Nelson Clark.  Ready for the most disgusting, disturbing, vomit worthy quote of this entire sickening article?

Clark told The Inquirer last month that the children died because of a “spiritual lack” on the part of their parents.

I can honestly not even put into words the sense of revulsion I feel towards Pastor Nelson Clark after reading those words.  Got that?  The kids died because the parents didn’t fucking pray hard enough.  Fucking human debris.

When asked Wednesday in an interview if he was concerned that he could be arrested, Clark said: “The thought crosses my mind, of course, because the buck stops somewhere. But I can’t stop preaching what I think is the truth from the Bible.”

….

For his part, when asked what he would tell his church, Clark did not hesitate.

“We have to obey God rather than man,” he said.

Oh, for fucks sake.  I’m going hiking.  I’ll be back tomorrow.  Sorry for only one post today, but I can’t even look at any other stories after this one.

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