Back in 2009, a 2 year old boy, named Kent, died of bacterial pneumonia, after being sick for 2 weeks. His parents, both of whom are fundamentalist Christians who belong to a Pentecostal Church, chose faith healing, as their religious beliefs deem medicine and even doctors to be forbidden. The church's website has a sermon titled "Healing – From God or Medicine?" that quotes Bible verses purportedly forbidding Christians from visiting doctors or taking medicine. "It is a definite sin to trust in medical help and pills; and it is real faith to trust on the Name of Jesus for healing," says the message, from last May. A jury found Herbert and Catherine Schaible guilty of involuntary manslaughter and they were sentenced to 10 years probation. The judge also ordered that their other children in their care must be given medical care should they require it, as a condition of their probation. During that time, they had at least one other son, named Brandon. In April 2013, Brandon fell ill and for at least a week, suffered from diarrhea and breathing problems. His parents did not seek medical care and he died. Instead, Mr and Mrs Schaible relied on their religious teachings and beliefs and thus, once again used faith healing on Brandon. As this was in direct violation to their parole, they were charged and in a statement made to the police, Herbert Schaible stated: "We believe in divine healing, that Jesus shed blood for our healing and that he died on the cross to break the devil's power," He then declared that medicine is against their religious beliefs. Their lawyer argued, after their initial hearing after Brandon's death, that they had complied to the probation and had taken all of their children (they currently have 7) for medical check ups and Brandon was apparently checked by a doctor when he was 10 days old, but there is no evidence of any other treatment or medical contact. There is no evidence that any of their children had received medical treatment during that time. They are currently awaiting sentencing. Their pastor has declared: Their pastor, Nelson Clark, has said the Schaibles lost their sons because of a "spiritual lack" in their lives and insisted they would not seek medical care even if another child appeared near death. Firstly, I need to be very honest and open here. I find this to be abhorrent. Perhaps this is my own bias speaking here, but I find this an absolutely appalling case - where the best medical help is available for your child and to lose a child in such deliberate circumstances, only to then commit the exact same act and allowing another child to die.. To me this is inexcusable. However, my own personal bias aside, does the court have a right to impose such a condition on their probation? The First Amendment of the United States Constitution: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. Is faith healing a religious practice and should they be free and protected to exercise it as they see fit? Or should the State be allowed to interfere with one's religious practice and force something they are clearly against on them in this fashion? We have seen many instances where children and their parents have refused blood transfusions based on religious beliefs. Should the same principle apply here? Or should the age of the children matter in this as they have no ability to consent to faith healing instead of medical care which would, in all likelihood, saved their lives. More disturbingly still, children do die as a result of faith healing and the family's refusal to seek medical care: An investigation led by Asser published in Pediatrics found that between 1975 and 1995, 172 children died following faith healing, 140 from easily curable or treatable medical conditions (Pediatrics 1998;101:625–9). In one case, a two-year-old girl choked on a banana and showed signs of life for an hour before dying, while her parents and other adults simply prayed. Choking on a banana ..... It is sadly ironic, perhaps, that pro-lifer's do not picket these individuals. Moving on, these are preventable deaths for the majority of these cases. While some States are moving to remove the religious exemptions to religious individuals who rely solely on faith healing, because children are falling ill and dying as a result, some child advocates deem that not enough is being done and the Courts are being too lenient. Should they be lenient? Should one's religious beliefs and convictions override the necessity of seeking care for a sick child, for example? And should parents be held criminally responsible if they refuse to seek medical care for their children on religious grounds? But most importantly, should religions that preach this type of ideology be encouraged to move with the times and embrace 'science' in the form of medical care? Should their status as a religion be protected? Or should the State have the right to interfere with individual's religious beliefs.