A fundamentalist Christian couple convicted of involuntary manslaughter and child endangerment in the 2009 death of their 2-year-old son whom they had tried to cure with faith healing, are again under criminal investigation in connection with the death of their 8-month-old son Thursday.
At their trial medical professionals that Kent Schaible, who died after a two-week battle with bacterial pneumonia, would would almost certainly be alive had he received routine medical care.
The terms of their probation require the couple to schedule regular in-person meetings with probation officers for two years, followed by three years of regular phone meetings and then five years of non-reporting probation. Part of this sentence requires that the Schaibles schedule regular medical appointments for all their children and release their children’s medical records to probation officers.
Brandon Schaible was born on August 31, 2012.
Noting that it is unclear if the child had medical problems, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports
Around 8 p.m. Thursday, the couple called the John F. Fluehr & Sons funeral home on Cottman Avenue and said the infant had died, according to a police report.
The funeral home notified the Medical Examiner’s Office, which informed police. Paramedics who responded to the Rhawn Street house pronounced the child dead at 8:35. Investigators processed the house as a crime scene, according to the report.
Homicide detectives questioned the Schaibles at Police Headquarters Friday, said Capt. James Clark of the Homicide Unit.
The couple were released pending the medical examiner’s ruling on what caused the child’s death, he said.
Pending the outcome of the investigation the child welfare agency of the Department of Human Services has removed the Schailbles’ seven remaining children from the home.
First Century Gospel Church shuns doctors and medicines
The Schaibles are lifelong members of the First Century Gospel Church in northeast Philadelphia. The church, which has about 500 members, opposes the use of doctors and medicines.
The church’s Statement of Beliefs says (highlighting by Religion News Blog):
The Philadelphia Inquirer in a December, 2010 article titled, First, do no harm: Prayer or medicine? said
Pennsylvania is not among the 19 states that allow religious defenses in cases involving felony crimes against children, according to Children’s Healthcare Is a Legal Duty, Inc. (CHILD), a Sioux City, Iowa, nonprofit “dedicated to stopping child abuse and neglect related to religious beliefs and cultural traditions.” [...]
Pennsylvania does not exempt parents from prosecution based on religious beliefs, but those parents are not always prosecuted, Swan said.
The term ‘faith healing’ refers to healing that occurs supernaturally — as the result of prayer rather than the use of medicines or the involvement of physicians or other medical care.
But while faith healings do take place today just as they did in the early Christian church, the teachings of some churches, movements and individuals on this subject amount to spiritual abuse.
Legitimate churches and movements do not equal using drugs or receiving proper medical attention with unbelief, insufficient faith, or otherwise sinning against God.