IN WHICH I CRY FOR ANDREA YATES AND DENA SCHLOSSER AND RAGE AT THEIR RELIGIOUS SPONSORS
Texas is full of loonies, and I don't mean just Republicans. I refer to the pathetically mentally ill women who kill their children because they're trying to "save them from sin" or from a sinful world. These are unspeakable tragedies, not just for the children but for their mothers as well.
Now that I've officially branded myself as one of the demonic leftists who have some compassion, and thus culpability, for these murdering moms and their despicable acts, permit me to question why the very communities, families, and churches that are harshest in condemning these women fail to recognize their own contributions to the problem.
When we lived in rural Arkansas the precious wife of the pastor of a local non-denominational charismatic church called me one day in confidence. Her newborn was suffering from an elevated bilirubin count (jaundice), and she was getting increasingly worried as his condition failed to improve. She was aware that all our five children had experienced the same thing, and that our oldest had become slightly brain-damaged and partially paralyzed as a result (not for lack of medical help, but as a result of bad doctoring), leading us to develop a certain knowledge and expertise of our own on the subject. The reason for her call soon became clear: her husband's congregation, believing prayer to be the only correct action, would look upon her critically if she sought medical help for her infant son. Her husband, the pastor, and his family were also opposed.
What she wanted from me was validation in doing just that. She knew I was a so-called "spirit-filled Christian" and was desperate for a like-minded mother to tell her to get the lead out and get expert medical aid for her child.
If that baby, as a result of lack of treatment, had died, become retarded, or experienced any of the other tragic consequences of unrelieved high bilirubin levels, I would have likened that story to that of Andrea Yates or Dena Schlosser. I would have blamed her family and congregation every much as the mother, if not more so.
Prayer doesn't work miracles. God works miracles, and we petition Him to use His power on our behalf THROUGH our prayers. I'm a firm believer in the "wonder-working power" of our Lord. I have reason to be. If I keep on with this blog, sooner or later I'm bound to recount some of the amazing miracles our family has experienced, and by "miracle," I do mean "unable to be explained by science or reason." But having said that, I must state, with emphasis, that nowhere in The Bible does God indicate that His children should just make prayer or reliance on Him a panacea for everything. We're not told to quit our jobs and rely on God to put food on the table. We're not instructed to become irresponsible robots doing nothing to improve our lives or the world, trusting in God to do all the heavy lifting. On the contrary, we're supposed to be workers, doers, laboring TOGETHER with God, supported by Him in our endeavors but not supplanted by Him.
Yeah. Conservatism sure is "compassionate." More likely, "hypocritical." Andrea Yates was a well-documented sicko, yet her self-righteous husband sought no help for her and offered no protection for his at-risk children. Is he in jail? Is he ostracized for life? No, he's free and experiencing the "love and support" of his fellows, seeking a new wife and more children.
Is this the new conservative mantra? Not "kill a Commie for Christ," but "kill a baby to prove the power of prayer" and then execute the poor demented mother or lock her away for life. Seek professional help to prevent a tragedy? Hell no! After all, everyone knows that psychiatrists and medical doctors are only for heathens and going to one demonstrates a lack of faith.
UPDATE: A couple of e-mails have persuaded me that I should state emphatically that I don't endorse letting child-killers of any ilk get a "get-out-of-trouble-free" card. My points in this post were that (1) others share culpability, and (2) that the conservative/Republican religion crowd are first to cry for the heads of these women, while fully supporting and endorsing the institutions that first inspired these horrendous acts through false or misleading teaching, then failed to assist them and their children.