I usually try to write with a bit of humor, but the latest case of faith healing in the news is just disgusting. There's no humor in it.
Timothy and Rebecca Wyland's infant girl was born with a large birthmark near one eye that turned into an abnormal growth of blood vessels. It swelled and grew into a huge hemangioma that covered her eye completely. Without treatment, it was certain that their baby would lose her eye, and she would have been disfigured.
Normal parents, that is to say parents not infected with crazy and immoral religious ideas, would have taken their beautiful little girl to a doctor and had the hemangioma fixed. But the Wylands are members of the Followers of Christ church, a radical sect that believes in faith healing. Their idea of medical treatment is prayer, anointment with oil and laying on of hands. They believe that if you seek medical treatment, you are rejecting faith.
In spite of their daughter's huge hemangioma that continued to grow and produce a nasty discharge, the Wylands chose faith healing over proper medical care. They put their faith in God. (Wasn't that the same God who disfigured their daughter in the first place?)
Luckily, the State of Oregon has a law protecting children from this sort of neglect. A jury took only one hour to find Timothy and Rebecca Wyland guilty of felony mistreatment of their beautiful little girl. The state intervened in the baby's medical treatment, and the little girl's eye has been saved.
By the way, this is the third time in two years that members of the Followers of Christ church have been prosecuted and convicted of neglecting their children. What a great testament to their Lord Jesus Christ.
The most telling part of this story is the Wylands' reaction to Court-ordered medical treatment. Once the Court intervened, the Wylands were 100% cooperative. They went to doctor appointment without fail and made sure their daughter got all prescribed medication.
I suspect the Wylands were relieved to have the Court's help. Churches like the Followers of Christ can virtually enslave their members with psychological and social pressure. People who join these churches tend to be followers. They're highly susceptible to religious enslavement. Think of Jonestown and Rancho Santa Fe, where religion caused mass suicides. The Wylands were probably terribly conflicted about their daughter's condition. I can't imagine any parent letting a child suffer like that without some sort of outside influence.
So when the Court ordered the Wylands to seek medical help for their daughter, it let them off the hook. They were able to get treatment, and they could claim government persecution of their religion. It was a win-win for the Wylands.