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.
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
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.