April 29, 2008

"Christian Science"

When we don’t have faith we need the doctor and it’s obvious that most want-to-be Christians need the doctors because they have no faith in God; their faith is in man. God created good and evil. Witchcraft can heal also. Should Christians also seek witches? — Pastor Bob, Spirit 1 Broadcasting
There's a wee hubbub amongst the internets over a couple of potential affirmative criminal defenses the Neumanns of Marathon County, WI, may deploy against their twin second-degree reckless homicide charges.

The first is presented incorrectly at a website dedicated to the Neumanns' defense, a mostly incoherent morass of god bothering gibberish. Obviously religion doesn't affect everybody the way it affects Pastor Bob and David Eells or the Neumanns, but it's made these people quite. in. sane.

Anyway, there is no Wisconsin Statute § 948.04(6); it's § 948.03(6) and it says this:
Treatment through prayer. A person is not guilty of an offense under this section solely because he or she provides a child with treatment by spiritual means through prayer alone for healing in accordance with the religious method of healing permitted under s. 48.981 (3) (c) 4. or 448.03 (6) in lieu of medical or surgical treatment.
Except the Neumanns are not charged under "this section" (Crimes Against Children), they're charged with § 940.06(1), which is a crime against humans generally, young and old alike.

That statute is bad enough without the cross referenced ones, and it should be gotten rid of ASAP. But get a load of § 448.03(6):
Practice of Christian Science. No law of this state regulating the practice of medicine and surgery may be construed to interfere with the practice of Christian Science. A person who elects Christian Science treatment in lieu of medical or surgical treatment for the cure of disease may not be compelled to submit to medical or surgical treatment.
Pastor Eells likes this one because he thinks that (1) If "Christian Science," means only a particular sect or denomination, then the statute is unconstitutional because the government can't favor one particular sect or denomination (2) Because the statute cannot be unconstitutional, then "Christian Science" means any sort of witchcraft we favor over modern medical techniques, therefore you simply cannot prosecute us witch doctors. Abracadabra, biotch.

Well, it's unconstitutional because witchcraft can't be official government policy, because there is no compelling anything why witchcraft should protect the causers of death from criminal proceedings. The "practice of Christian Science" provision above actually refers to civil, not criminal, liability. Moreover it very specifically is referring to a particular sect or denomination, because the broader subject of Chapter 448 is medical and related licensing.

The Mary Baker Eddy crowd. Perhaps the Neumanns, who elsewhere are said to be Pentecostals, are planning an ex post facto conversion.

I don't like Pastor Eells's defenses much. If the free exercise of religion doesn't include the inhaling of Rastafari herb, then it sure can't include committing second-degree reckless homicide.

5 comments:

Jim Bouman said...

Lawyers? We don't need no stinkin' lawyers.

One would think that those who have such intense reliance on faith and prayer alone when one of their own encounters disease, injury and other threats to life and health might apply the same home remedy to matters of justice.

They do not trust physicians to provide healing. Why then all the trust in lawyers to justify themselves before laws made by mere humans?

If they have such intense belief in godly intervention to set them on the path to life and health, why not the same reliance on god to see them through their trials, and appeals, their hard time followed by parole supervision, not to mention CCAP and editorials and widespread derision.

Consistency would counsel them to say "Banish the lawyers. Pray and put yourselves in god's hands".

What do their preachers counsel when a kid falls off a bike and breaks an arm or a leg?

illusory tenant said...

Heh. I never thought of that.

TomJoe said...

"The scientist's condition as a sentinel in the modern world, as one who is the first to glimpse the enormous complexity together with the marvellous harmony of reality, makes him a privileged witness of the plausibility of religion, a man capable of showing how the admission of transcendence, far from harming the autonomy and the ends of research, rather stimulates it to continually surpass itself in an experience of self-transcendence which reveals the human mystery".
- Pope John Paul II, 7/17/85.

illusory tenant said...

Old Karol did make good sense from time to time.

capper said...

Abracadabra, biotch.

Bonus points on that one.