Friday 15 May 2009

Death by superstition

Different superstitions, same effect. First from the US:
A two-year old baby girl, dies of a treatable lung infection, as her mother "...follows church guidelines..." (Insight, June 20, 1988, p. 57). In Florida, a family withheld "insulin" from their "diabetic daughter" which resulted in her death (El Paso Times, December 6, 1988, p. 6-A). In 1984, Natalie, an 8-month-old child died "...of complications from a virulent flu-like illness..." and in March of the same year a 4-year-old girl "...died of meningitis..." (The Press Democrat, Santa Rosa, CA April 12, 1989, p. B-3). These are but a few of the countless cases, in which members of this nationally recognized Church, have died as a result of refusing to seek medical treatment.

In the 20th Century, an age when science is making such strides in medical technology, why would people refuse medical treatment for their own children? Because the Church of Christ, Scientist, better known as Christian Science, denies the reality of sickness.

And now in New Zealand:
A teenager has told how she was pinned down, and water poured in her eyes and mouth to free her of the demon insider her.

She remembered saying, "I'm gonna die," before blanking out in a ceremony in which another person is alleged to have drowned.

One of the 14-year-old's eyes was still bandaged when she was recorded talking to police about events two days earlier on October 12, 2007, at Wainuiomata.

The recording was played in the High Court at Wellington yesterday where nine people are charged with the manslaughter of mother-of-two Janet Moses, 22, who the Crown says drowned during the same water-based exorcism ritual.

Although the girl spent five days in hospital with eye injuries and a possible lung infection she told police the people involved had not meant to harm her.

"The cold water in my eyes ... I think my, I got my injuries because it took them longer to get the demon out of me," she said.

The 14 year old who survived believes the procedure got a demon out of her.

It's 2009.


Would it be culturally or religiously insensitive for schools to, umm, teach kids that superstition is at best silly and at worst deadly?


  1. At least it doesn't seem as grotesque as Mr Lee, the Korean exorcist.

    For instance:
    On the last day of the trial, Lee, Bible in hand, pleaded with Justice Paterson and the jury to give him more time for Joanna to come back to life, prophesying the resurrection would occur before the following Monday. It was now almost a year since Joanna’s death, her body had been cremated, and two earlier dates Lee had predicted for her resurrection had passed uneventfully. Nevertheless, Lee likened himself to the great Biblical prophets whose faith had been tested. The devil, he said, killed Joanna. This seemed only to confirm Perkins’ statements to the jury that Lee had lost touched with reality.

    [36] Detective Sergeant Hooper was called to the address by Sergeant McPhee. Mr Lee told him that Joanna was not dead and that she was in fact going to come back to life and asked if he wanted to see a video. The video was played and Mr Lee pointed out that Joanna’s skin was peeling away in one part and was a pinky colour underneath which meant that she was regenerating. He also said that her fingers were moving, but Sergeant Hooper noticed that another person had hold of Joanna’s hands and was moving her finger. In the Sergeant’s view, Joanna had been dead for some time at the time the video was filmed.

    depressing is certainly right..

  2. One of the accused was discharged this morning..

    Hopefully they still get 8/9 though!