It is hard to imagine adhering to a doctrine that promotes the idea that God can and will heal, at will, but only through the power of prayer. That any disfigurement or death resulting from a failure to seek appropriate medical attention is God’s will.
Followers of Christ Church members prosecuted in faith-healing deaths
Members of the Followers of Christ Church have repeatedly been in the Portland-area news, as adherents face prosecution for criminal mistreatment, manslaughter, and criminally negligent homicide in the deaths of their children, all related to the refusal of medical treatment.
Most recently, Dale and Shannon Hickman, both 25, of the Follows of Christ Church, pleaded not-guilty to the charge of second-degree manslaughter in the death of their newborn infant who, due to a treatable bacterial infection, was born prematurely and died. The parents prayed but did not seek medical attention.
In June 2008, Neil Beagley, the 16-year-old son of Jeff and Marci Beagley, also members of the Followers of Christ Church, died of a treatable urinary tract blockage.
According to Oregonian reporter Jerry Casey, “Of 78 children buried in the church cemetery from 1955 to 1998, at least 21 could have been saved by medical intervention, according to a 1998 analysis by The Oregonian. “
Fighting for Faith
JoLayne and Lou Fulmer, parents of seven-year old Faith Fulmer, are not members of the Followers of Christ Church but they do believe in the power of prayer. Earlier this year, when their beautiful little redhead was diagnosed with bone cancer, they immediately went to work, praying, inviting others to pray with them, and seeking the very best medical treatment for their daughter.
It has been a long road for Faith who is still undergoing treatment. She travels with her parents from her home in Southern Oregon to OHSU and beyond, for chemotherapy, surgery, and everything else she needs medically to win her battle with cancer. She has earned the title, lovingly bestowed by friends and family, of Warrior Princess, for her beautiful spirit in the midst of all that she has endured, is still enduring.
The power of prayer and miracle of modern medicine
Earlier this summer, doctors prepared Faith and her family for the hard news that she would lose an arm to cancer. By that time, a network of Faith’s Friends had grown up on facebook; a network comprised of people of every conceivable faith and spiritual belief. This group joined with Faith and family in praying, sending good thoughts, and asking God or the Universe to intervene on behalf of the Warrior Princess. Faith’s parents also sought additional medical opinions, and Faith’s lower arm was saved.
Faith’s battle is far from over but the Warrior Princess is well armed with the combined power of prayer and the miracle of modern medicine, in this fight for her life.
It is difficult to face the truth that Faith’s life would have been surrendered so easily had she been born into the Followers of Christ Church. We, as a society, must find a way to reach past the doctrine of the Followers of Christ Church, which allows children to die needlessly. Acting after the fact does not appear to have an impact on believers. May lawmakers find a way to stop them, to that end we pray.
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