Death by prayer.
Prayer works. Right, and I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you. Sorry, folks, but I grew up around the faith-healing hacks and know what charlatans they are and how so many believers take that stuff seriously. They are, in fact, often deadly serious.
Neil Beagley, 16, was one of those believers. So were his parents. All three belonged to the Followers of Christ cult. Neil had a urinary tract blockage. It is easily treatable. But Neil didn’t see a doctor. Nor did his parents want him to. Instead they gathered around and prayed for him.
Well, that didn’t work and Neil got even worse. So of course they did more of the same thing. Remember the definition of crazy is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. As Neil got more ill they got more church members over to pray for him.
In this sense I guess God is supposedly like a politician who ignores one person but pays attention to a petition with 1 million signatures.
When the urinary tract is blocked starts to build up in the blood and that begins to poison the body. In this case the heart failed. So a 16-year-old boy is now dead because he trusted in prayer. He is dead because his parents trusted in prayer. He had a whole group of people around him who truly didn’t lack faith in the matter. They were real believers. And Neil is really dead.
Neil was 16 so he was old enough to make his own decision, even a stupid decision to commit faithicide -- death by faith. His faithicidal tendencies were encouraged by his fanatical parents and the cult they belonged to.
The really absurd thing is that these God addicts never learn. In the case of this family a 15-month old cousin, Ava Worthington, had recently died as well. That infant, who clearly wasn’t old enough to make a decision, had bronchial pneumonia and a blood infection.
Baby Ava died because her parents, Carl and Raylene Worthington (the sister of Neil's father) refused any treatment for the child except mumbling to their imaginary friend in the sky. They claim that their defense is “freedom of religion”. I don’t care if the parents pray to they are blue in the face. I don’t care if they pray for themselves and die as a result -- it just cleans up the gene pool and wipes out another pocket of stupid. But when they refuse care for their baby, resorting to mystical mumbo-jumbo instead they they are guilty of neglecting their infant.
I don’t really care if they believe God tells them that is okay to let a baby die to prove their faith. They choose to have that child and they are responsible for giving it decent care. To neglect the medical care of a sick infant merely because they have theological delusions is no defense.