By Bill Maher
The state Supreme Court of Wisconsin has upheld the convictions of Dale and Leilani Neumann, who, back in 2008, tried to pray their young daughter's diabetes away instead of treating it medically. Or, what's otherwise known as "the Republican alternative to Obamacare."
According to court records, the Neumanns "identify as Pentecostals" and believed that, if they prayed hard enough and got others to pray too, Jesus would intercede and cure their daughter as her condition deteriorated. Well, Jesus didn't -- he let their prayers go directly to voicemail -- and the little girl died.
Dale, the dad, testified that he never imagined his daughter would die and, even after she did, he thought Jesus would raise her from the dead, you know, like He did with Lazarus. And once or twice with Dick Cheney.
The issue in this case is that Wisconsin has a reckless homicide law, which the Neumanns were found guilty of, but it also has, along with 16 other states, a "faith healing privilege" that provides a "religious exception" to child health and safety laws for parents of faith who pursue treatment through prayer. You can be negligent as long as it's in the name of God.
What makes the Neumann's case all the more tragic is that their family pediatrician says the daughter's condition was highly treatable and that her life could have been saved "well into the day of her death."
When you see a very specific case like this where a single girl dies because denial and blind faith are substituted for science and responsible treatment, it seems like an outrage. But, when it comes to global warming, aren't we accepting that very same behavior on a much larger, much more dangerous scale?
Many global warming deniers -- even some in Congress -- do so in the name of faith. "It's all in God's hands," they say. But, just as in the Neumann case, the diagnosis has been confirmed, a treatable condition is being left to deteriorate and a reliable cure is being ignored. If we don't allow parents in this society to pray the diabetes away, why would we allow a bunch of faith-based hayseeds to pray the climate change away?
By Bill Maher