Death by Prayer: Christian Fundamentalist Parents Denied Their Children Medicine and Watched Them Die - The Objective Standard

Seven-month-old Brandon Schaible died from bacterial pneumonia, severe dehydration, and strep—while his parents watched and prayed and, in accordance with their religious beliefs, refused to provide the child with medicine. Herbert and Catherine Schaible of Philadelphia now await trial, facing third-degree murder charges for Brandon’s death.

The atrocity is magnified by the fact that Brandon was the second Schaible child to die in this same way—from bacterial pneumonia and religiously motivated lack of medical treatment.

At the time of Brandon’s death, the Schaibles were still on probation for involuntary manslaughter in the preventable death of their two-year-old son Kent in 2009. The terms of their ten-year probation required them to seek medical care for any of their other children who might become sick.

The Schaibles are members of First Century Gospel Church, which teaches parishioners to place absolute faith in “God” in all aspects of life. The church’s online statement of beliefs includes:

Our commitment to God means that we trust God alone for physical healing without the use of medicine, drugs, prescriptions, pills, or human remedies. Jesus said to the woman (Matthew 9:22) "your faith has healed you;" and the apostle reminded those listening (Acts 3:16) "It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him [faith being the condition] that has given this complete healing." [emphasis in original]

Herbert Schaible responded to Brandon’s death by telling Philadelphia homicide detectives: . . .

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