October 8, 2009

Hot debate? Just get rid of it.

The following complete defense to felony child abuse appears in the current edition (2007-08 [A.D.]) of the Wisconsin statutes:
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.
The latter citations make reference to the exercise of so-called "Christian Science" which, under the present circumstances, is breathtakingly oxymoronic in the worst possible sense of the term.

They should be gotten rid of as well. Or else expand their language to include "Zoroastrian Necromancy" and whatever other phantasies.

The exemption applies to, among other crimes, "intentionally caus[ing] great bodily harm to a child." In other words, one may intentionally cause great bodily harm to a child and not be held accountable for that harm simply because they were "praying."

Those of us familiar with the expression "Nothing fails like prayer" might be surprised to learn that one of prayer's most formidable successes is its insulating perpetrators of intentional child abuse from criminal prosecution in the State of Wisconsin.

But I expect few voters would attribute that purpose to prayer, including most of those who are inclined to testify to its efficacy.

According to this report from WBAY, there is to be a "hot debate" in the Wisconsin legislature over this provision in the wake of the cases of Leilani and Dale Neumann. They consulted an online "faith healer" rather than submit their 11-year-old daughter for medical attention while during the course of several weeks the child became grievously sick, lapsed into a diabetic coma, and died, all before their eyes.

I can't imagine* what the "hot debate" will concern.

This might be the 21st century, but it's not the 21st century B.C.

* Meaning, of course I can imagine the imaginings. They're actually memorialized in and given binding effect by the Wisconsin statutes.

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