The parents of 13-year-old Alex Radita are on trial for murder in the death of their son. Members of the Romanian Pentecostal Church in Calgary AB, the parents had deeply held religious beliefs against seeking medical treatment for their son. Alex had Type 1 diabetes and other illnesses. His parents stopped his treatments. They declared that if he could find a way to survive without insulin and dietary regulation, he’d live… if not, they’d know that his death was God’s will. By the time of his death, Alex weighed less than 40 pounds. After his death, his family and members of the Pentecostal assembly prayed over him for some hours, expecting that God would raise him from the dead. Only after these prayers were over did they call 911 to report his death.
SOME DEEPLY HELD RELIGIOUS BELIEFS CAN BE FATAL, USUALLY TO THE INNOCENT. Remember the hieromonk who killed a young woman in northern Romania a few years ago by trying to exorcise the schizophrenia out of her. Yes, there are limits on religious freedoms, and well there should be, since we see occasions when the deeply held religious beliefs of some groups turn out to result in homicide. It does matter if it is somewhat rare for this to happen in North America, even once is too often. Alex Radita was a human sacrifice to his parents’ deeply held religious beliefs. He should be alive now and looking forward to his 14th birthday. It would be useful for someone with the time and ability to research how often incidents of this have occurred during the last century. Take into account the forbidding of blood transfusion by certain religious groups (based clearly on Scripture) and the refusal to turn to medical doctors by some others. In addition, we should review the episodes of death due to exorcisms and publish them along with the others.
Be careful with the term “sincerely-held religious beliefs”… you could end by justifying violence and bigotry. This isn’t an isolated case, sadly enough… be especially wary of homeschoolers and those who advocate physical punishment of children… they cloak evil under the guise of “Christianity”. All too many of them are “nice” and “respectable” people, so externalities often cloak a pietistic and smarmy apologia for violence and rightwing indoctrination. Have a care… we live in evil times; some of the worst sorts justify their ill will and crank notions with saccharine religious platitudes. Our children suffer…