It's in the hands of the jury now. Those poor folks must decide whether Marci and Jeffrey Beagley who are charged with criminally negligent homicide for failing to provide medical care for their son Neil. He was 16 when he died, and he had suffered from a urinary tract blockage his whole life. It could have been corrected easily when Neil was a youngster.
Neil didn't want to see a doctor. He said he'd put his faith in God instead.
OK, but what else is the kid going to say when he's been raised all his life to see going to the doctor as a slap in God's face? After all, he'd already seen his little neice die of easily treated conditions.
Always, the parents say, "We didn't think our child was going to die." That's not an explanation. The real question is, supposing they had known their child was going to die, would they have still made the same decision to pray but shun medical help? I hope that would be their answer. Otherwise, their faith is a very sadistic double standard, a complete hypocrisy.
I'm wondering a whole lot of other things about the Followers of Christ down in Oregon City. Such as:
Do they ever go to a dentist?
Suppose a family member was choking on food and couldn't breathe. Would they do the Heimlich maneuver, or would they just pray and let the person choke and die?
Suppose they are at their friends' swimming pool watching their 10-year-old kid jumpoff the side and into the pool. All is fine until the kid hits his head on the concrete ledge as he jumps in. He's unconscious on the bottom of the pool, so someone jumps in to haul the kid out of the water. Do they begin CPR, or do they just pray and let the child die? If the latter, then why haul the kid out of the water in the first place?
Does faith only work in air but not in water?
Suppose the above scenario happened at a public pool and the lifeguard began CPR and handed the kid over to the paramedics when they arrived? Would the parents sue for violation of their faith? But the lifeguard would be fired and charged with a crime if he didn't do his duty. The pool's liability insurance would be dropped.
Could a member of the Followers of Christ render first aid to an accident victim? Could they apply a tourniquet to stop a person from bleeding to death?
Could they get emergency surgery for appendicitis? What if the surgeon was a born-again Christian whose life had once been saved by a Good Samaritan who found him by the side of the road and got professional help while praying for the victim?
What would a reasonable person do?
A reasonable person does not attempt to do the work of a 1.5-inch socket wrench and breaker bar by using a pliers instead. A reasonable person uses the best tools available and doesn't insist that it's a rejection of God or a sign of weak faith by realizing that there is a better tool than the pliers.
But even the reasonable person who chooses the socket wrench wears gloves, uses eye and ear protection. They don't just rely on the tool alone.
I'm glad I'm not on the jury. Neil Beagley's parents can be glad also. I'm glad they aren't my parents. I'm glad I'm not their son. Their grieve and mourn a death because of their beliefs. May our beliefs lead us to life, not the opposite.
Jesus said, "You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." Pray for the Followers of Christ. And all their children.