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Prosecutor: Parents' belief in faith healing led to infant's death
May 24th, 2013
05:22 PM ET

Prosecutor: Parents' belief in faith healing led to infant's death

By Sarah Hoye, CNN
[twitter-follow screen_name='SarahHoyeCNN']

Philadelphia (CNN)–When Brandon Schaible got a rash, his parents prayed.

When the 7-month-old became irritable with diarrhea and lost his appetite, his parents, Catherine and Herbert Schaible, prayed again.

When Brandon had trouble breathing and gasped for air, his parents called a pastor - this, in spite of the fact that a judge had ordered them to call a doctor.

Brandon Schaible died on April 18 from bacterial pneumonia, dehydration and strep, according to the district attorney’s office – all treatable with antibiotics.

On Wednesday his parents were charged with third-degree murder.

The Schaibles are lifelong members of the First Century Gospel Church in Philadelphia, one of several religious groups in the U.S. that relies on faith, and eschews most medical care.

Founded in 1925, the First Century Gospel Church is an offshoot of Faith Tabernacle Congregation, also in Philadelphia. Both churches believe that God - and God alone - heals the sick.

“Herbert’s a father like anyone else. He’s hurt and he’s mourning the death of his son,” said Bobby Hoof, Herbert Schaible’s attorney. “He’s not snubbing his nose at the court. He’s incarcerated because of his faith.”

Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams says the Schaibles’ failure to seek medical attention resulted in the death of their son.

“Instead of caring and nurturing him,” Williams said, “they ultimately caused his death by praying over his body instead of taking him to the doctor.”

The Schaibles are also charged with involuntary manslaughter, conspiracy and endangering the welfare of a child. In April, the couple admitted to police that their son had exhibited symptoms for several days before he died.

On Friday, Court of Common Pleas Judge Benjamin Lerner ordered the Schaibles held without bail out of fear they were a flight risk.

“When this happened the first time around, the Schaibles had every reason to believe that, because of their faith, they had done nothing wrong,” Lerner said. “I know they’re not ‘sophisticated criminals’ … but the circumstances have changed.”

The Schaibles are already on probation for the 2009 death of another son, Kent, who died from bacterial pneumonia. A jury convicted the couple of involuntary manslaughter and sentenced them to 10 years probation.

Lerner said he was concerned that pastors and members in “churches like the Schaibles” would harbor them.

In a media interview last month, Pastor Nelson Clark of the First Century Gospel Church, said the Brandon and Ken Schaible died because of their parents’ “spiritual lack.”

Mythri Jayaraman, Catherine Schaible's attorney, called her a "completely devoted mother."

“The charges suggest a level of callousness that doesn’t fit who Catherine is,” Jayaraman said.

In addition to Pennsylvania, faith healing deaths have been prosecuted in Michigan, Indiana and Massachusetts.

According to Children's Healthcare Is a Legal Duty (CHILD), a nonprofit child advocacy group, at least 30 children have died since 1971 in Pennsylvania as a result of a parent's refusal to seek medical treatment because of their belief in faith healing.

Among the 30 are six children who died in 1991 from a measles outbreak in Philadelphia, all whom were born into families that belonged to either First Century Gospel Church or Faith Tabernacle.

“It’s a terrible conflict for these parents. They love their children and can see their child suffering,” said Rita Swan, president of CHILD. “If the laws were clearer, many of these parents would be relived of the pressure. As for the Schaibles, they are remarkably stubborn and extreme.”

Swan began advocating for the removal of religious exemptions from immunizations and parental legal requirements after her son Matthew died in 1977 from bacterial meningitis. She and her husband had relied on Christian Science practitioners to heal him.

“The poor child couldn’t lift an arm,” Swan said. “We prayed, we went to the practitioner. We trusted them.”

For members of faith-healing sects, it is common to believe that sickness is a result of unresolved sin or lack of faith, said Anthea Butler, a professor of religious studies at the University of Pennsylvania.

Faith-healing sects often interpret the Bible literally, citing, for example, Psalm 103: “Bless the Lord, O my soul … Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases.”

First Century Gospel Church’s website reinforces that theme, citing the New Testament’s Book of Acts, “By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus' name, and the faith that comes through him that has completely healed him, as you can all see.”

Other religious groups believe that God can heal the sick, and many believers pray to be delivered from illness. The difference is that they, unlike the Schaibles, often seek medical attention in addition to prayer, Butler said.

First Assistant District Attorney Edward McCann says the Schaibles’ actions, not beliefs, are the problem.

“How many kids have to die before it becomes an extreme indifference to the value of human life?” McCann asked. “They killed one child already.”

If convicted of third-degree murder in Brandon’s death, the Schaibles could face a maximum sentence of 50 years in prison, Lerner said. They also face an additional 7 to 14 years if a judge decides to revoke their probation in Kent’s death.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Christian Science • Christianity • Crime • Culture & Science • Faith & Health

soundoff (2,002 Responses)
  1. Bostontola

    Development of germ theory, vaccines, insulin for diabetes, blood transfusions, organ transplants, uncounted medicines, surgery, ...

    To eschew all that for prayer is pathological.

    May 27, 2013 at 11:57 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      We don't have a cure for that yet.

      May 28, 2013 at 12:06 am |

  2. Well it was an unsightly page with faith calling on the blood of Jesus and all that.

    May 27, 2013 at 11:40 pm |
  3. Observer

    As the Memorial Day weekend draws to a close, we need to keep in mind all we owe to those who have given us our freedom.

    It is pathetic that so many people (often Republicans and religious) are such INGRATES that they don't think ALL of these heroes are worthy of the same rights that the ingrates have.

    May 27, 2013 at 11:11 pm |
  4. Bostontola

    Pray or do what millions do every day, get a doctor's help?

    “An Atheist believes that a hospital should be built instead of a church. An atheist believes that deed must be done instead of prayer said. An atheist strives for involvement in life and not escape into death. He wants disease conquered, poverty vanished, war eliminated.”
    Madalyn Murray O'Hair

    May 27, 2013 at 11:11 pm |
  5. focus

    It's all about Jesus Christ of Nazareth, his dying for the sins of those that would believe him. Read the bible, the New Testament is where it's at, last half of the bible. Hurry.

    May 27, 2013 at 10:36 pm |
    • LinCA

      @focus

      You said, "It's all about Jesus Christ of Nazareth, his dying for the sins of those that would believe him."
      To those that have the capability of rational thought, it's all baloney.

      You said, "Read the bible, the New Testament is where it's at, last half of the bible. Hurry."
      Don't waste your time, unless you are willing to read it with an open mind. It's the surest way to atheism.

      May 27, 2013 at 10:42 pm |
    • focus

      Rational: having or exercising reason, sound judgment, or good sense

      That would define the bible contents, especially in the portions about God.

      May 27, 2013 at 11:35 pm |
    • Observer

      focus,

      Most people don't consider belief in unicorns and talking animals to be rational. Nor is the apparent science fiction in the Noah's Ark fable.

      May 27, 2013 at 11:45 pm |
    • focus

      God made all the animals, and him telling a man to build a boat, both those are reasonable. You of course believe nothing can form a universe, only once. You have no evidence, not even a word from nothing.

      My belief in God, is much more reliable than your belief in nothing, because I have God's words, while you have nothing.

      May 27, 2013 at 11:54 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      focus, you have a tatty old instruction book for the Jewish foundational religion that you can't conform your life to (hard as you might try). What we have, and you ignore, is formal logic and mathematics, and a successful system of scientific inquiry and invention, not to mention a wealth of philosophical ideas that becomes ever more sophisticated as time goes on.

      May 28, 2013 at 12:04 am |
    • Observer

      focus,
      "God made all the animals, and him telling a man to build a boat, both those are reasonable"

      Reasonable? Get serious. If it was just a story about a guy building a boat, it would be reasonable. You left out the part about the man being SIX HUNDRED YEARS old and he built a boat BIG enough to store months of food and HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of animals who were apparently teleported in from all over the world as well as all the food.

      Believers pick on atheists for believing "in nothing" while they themselves believe that God came from nothing and then created everything from nothing.

      May 28, 2013 at 12:08 am |
    • focus

      They stole one of the words used to describe God, rational:

      Rational: having or exercising reason, sound judgment, or good sense

      They stole credit for God having made his creation, gave it to nothing.

      They stole God being talked about in schools when his creation is described.

      They stole praying to God in public.

      God is who he said he is, and I believe him. God can run circles around all you people, and you don't even know it, or comprehend it's possible, now, billions of years ago, or off into eternity. You're oblivious to what's going on.

      May 28, 2013 at 12:08 am |
    • Observer

      focus,

      "They stole praying to God in public."

      If not having (maybe) a 15-second prayer in school is causing believers to fail in the religion, then you need to blame the pathetic job done by religious leaders in training them.

      May 28, 2013 at 12:11 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      People are oblivious to most things that go on solely in your imagination, at least until you bring it up here.

      May 28, 2013 at 12:12 am |
    • focus

      The best you can do, is admit you have nothing, no words, no evidence, nothing.

      I have God's words, they're in the bible, and they're the truth. He is God, and he sent Jesus to die for the sins of those that believe him. God isn't slack in doing what he said, he's there.

      May 28, 2013 at 12:17 am |
    • fred

      Observer
      "Most people don't consider belief in unicorns and talking animals to be rational."
      =>The unicorn nonsense is just a sound bite off the atheist list of foolish mocking. I am not even going to bother going over those verses with you again in the Bible. Only 5 out of 31 common Bible translations of say Isaiah 34:7 refer to oxen as unicorn. Hopefully you know your simple picking the one that suits you in order to simply mock . It is also possible you are attempting to protect your empty godlessness but, it is impossible for me tell which it is.
      =>The real question is why you go to such lengths to mock God and the Bible. Regardless of cause the Bible serves its purpose once again to reveal your heart.

      "Nor is the apparent science fiction in the Noah's Ark fable."
      =>sorry you completely fail to understand the meaning and purpose for the Noah and the Ark.

      May 28, 2013 at 12:18 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Where?

      May 28, 2013 at 12:18 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      fred, this article shows how two people who were doing their very best to conform their lives to God's Word manged to do the last thing in the world they would ever want to do which is to allow their child to die. God's Word is indeed powerful.

      May 28, 2013 at 12:22 am |
    • Observer

      fred,

      The KING JAMES BIBLE talks about UNICORNS.

      So tell me, is the KING JAMES BIBLE an UNRELIABLE source?

      May 28, 2013 at 12:23 am |
    • focus

      They don't want to hear about God, they don't want him to be credited with what he did, and they don't want anyone to know he exists.

      I do.

      May 28, 2013 at 12:26 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      It's not clear who you are talking about, focus. Who exactly are they that believe in your God, but "don't want anyone to know he exists (etc.)"?

      May 28, 2013 at 12:30 am |
    • Observer

      focus,

      Do you criticize gays while never telling friends that they are adulterers for being divorced and remarried? In other words, are you a hypocrite?

      May 28, 2013 at 12:31 am |
    • fred

      Tom, Tom, the Other One
      Since Christ we live in what is called the church age. The one key factor in that is the working of the Holy Spirit that helps the believer in this journey. Can the Holy Spirit give the Schaibles and their pastor bad information? The answer is no.

      A reasonable believer never simply relies on his own interpretation of a Bible verse or the Word of God (I see this as how the Holy Sprit presents the particular Bible verse to you). The verse must agree with the Bible as a whole and the attributes of God. The Pastor and Elders have a great deal of responsibility before God when they lead or mislead a child of God. They are held to a higher standard than the Schaibles.
      As far as God is concerned it is clear that if you ask your Father for a fish he would not give you a stone. In short if the family is right before God and mislead God will make things right. If the family is right before God and not mislead God will make it right.
      The biblical support for not going to a doctor in violation of a court order is very weak.

      May 28, 2013 at 12:42 am |
    • focus

      Mar 10:17 And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? [there is] none good but one, [that is], God.

      And that's why Jesus showed up to die for the sins of those that believe him, and repent of their sins.

      May 28, 2013 at 12:47 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      As I see it, fred, God has not set things to right. A very human system of justice has to do what God cannot or will not do (of course I believe as a non-theist that it's the former).

      May 28, 2013 at 12:49 am |
    • Observer

      focus,

      Sorry you missed the question:

      Do you criticize gays while never telling friends that they are adulterers for being divorced and remarried? In other words, are you a hypocrite?

      May 28, 2013 at 12:51 am |
    • fred

      Observer
      I like the King James but, as I said unicorn is used only in 5 our of 31 translations. Whenever I am in doubt I use several translations.
      The unicorn mentioned in the Bible was a powerful animal possessing one or two strong horns—not the fantasy animal that has been popularized in movies and books. We are speaking about two different things. The Bible addresses a known strong animal of large size not the unicorn of European folklore or the Greeks.

      May 28, 2013 at 12:56 am |
    • Observer

      fred,

      Since the King James Bible can't be trusted by itself, should the validity of what the Bible says be determined by taking a vote with the majority of versions picking the winner?

      So much for the Bible being God's accurate words. You are saying there isn't ONE Bible that anyone can trust.

      May 28, 2013 at 1:01 am |
    • focus

      It's always like this. The minute Jesus Christ of Nazareth is discussed, deniers come out and want you to move an entire mountain of questions, rather than accept the simpliest answer:

      Jesus died for others sins, those that believe him, and repent of their sins.

      If you have a mountain of questions to move, pick up a bible, believe God and start reading it.

      May 28, 2013 at 1:02 am |
    • fred

      Tom, Tom, the Other One
      I agree, the Bible covers itself with "God makes it to rain on the wicked and the righteous."
      How God makes it right often seems like more speculation based on revealed attributes of God than on actual words from the Bible. Romans 8:28 is the big catch all where God works all things to the Good of those who are in Christ. Several verses where "I (God) will wipe away all tears and make all things new". Good and evil will be forever separated (assume wrong act in child's case was of evil i.e. Pastor error or other sin) thus in a way it never happened. There are many justifications for the way God makes it right it just will not be on this earth most likely.

      May 28, 2013 at 1:08 am |
    • Observer

      focus,

      Thanks. By avoiding my question, you actually have answered it. Don't worry about it. A huge number of Christians are pick-and-choose hypocrites. Nothing new.

      May 28, 2013 at 1:08 am |
    • fred

      Observer
      The important parts of the Bible are clear as day and repeated over and over in various stories. The unicorn is no more important than a giraffe so it is not key to any doctrine. Atheists make it important and erroneously associate it with the mythical animal not the real animal of the Bible. Unicorns have no value to current readers looking for the truth in the Bible. The word that most can digest is strong ox like animal with one or two horns. A few verses refer to the unicorn which was significant to other false religions and even the Egyptians. In that case they are speaking about the creature of that myth not a strong ox.
      Unicorn does not even come up in the most popular of current Bibles the NIV.

      May 28, 2013 at 1:19 am |
    • focus

      The nothing god ignores all the deniers questions. A mountain of questions builds over time. They show up and ask those that believe God, to move their mountain of questions. When they get the answers, they won't allow the answers to null out the questions, and remove the mountain.... so the mountain remains, until they can come back the next day to do it all over again.

      May 28, 2013 at 1:33 am |
    • fred

      Observer
      You are a pick-and-choose hypocrite just like most people. Being a Christian has little to do with it. Gays, adultery, unicorns and the like have little to do with the simple plan God has clearly shown us in the Bible. Most of what we have heard since the day the serpent opened his mouth is a deception.
      As society and the Church has moved further away from the truth of God the deception became the new reality. In short Christians are now defending say the flood story before the wicked instead of being focused on building the Ark to Gods specific instructions.

      May 28, 2013 at 1:33 am |
    • Darnell Crush

      Too funny, fred calling someone else a hypocrite and picker and chooser. Pick dat choice freddie, pick dat choice little one. Pick and pick and pick...

      May 28, 2013 at 2:03 am |
    • focus

      They're too embarassed to admit they got nothing, from their nothing god. Seriously, what did you get? You got nothing, right? No one promised you that the nothing god would give you anything. No one said nothing formed the universe, but they implied it and then say "we can't say who/what did it, we just won't say anything, and you can assume it was nothing".

      They have nothing. They have no evidence, nothing. They talk big about nothing, but that's all they have, nothing.

      Anyone with a bible, you have the word of God. That is something, that is extrodinary, it is incredible, it is from God! That's what you have. You can't get that anywhere else, it's priceless. It is to die for, ask the apostles, prophets and other Christians throughout history. And it is the answer you need, it's Jesus Christ of Nazareth dying for your sins, if you believe him and repent of your sins.

      What do you have? Ask yourself, what did you get?

      If you reject God, you get no answer for the universe formation, no answer for life, no answer for species, and evolution fails. You got that if you reject God, and you lost everything the creator of the universe gave you: his word, which gives you life after death through Jesus's sacrifice.

      May 28, 2013 at 3:12 am |
    • fintastic

      It's all about confusing fantasy with reality, which is what these parents did and as a result, two children are dead.

      Where is your evidence that god exists?.... you have ZERO evidence that ANY god exists or has ever existed.
      The bible was written by man to control man. A book of mythology and fairy tales... nothing more. Wake up and smell the reality.

      May 28, 2013 at 8:58 am |
    • John Stemberger

      •Numbers 23:22 “God brought them out of Egypt; he hath as it were the strength of an unicorn.”
      •Numbers 24:8 “God brought him forth out of Egypt; he hath as it were the strength of an unicorn: he shall eat up the nations his enemies, and shall break their bones, and pierce them through with his arrows.”
      •Job 39:9 “Will the unicorn be willing to serve thee, or abide by thy crib?”
      •Job 39:10 “Canst thou bind the unicorn with his band in the furrow? or will he harrow the valleys after thee?”
      •Psalms 29:6 “He maketh them also to skip like a calf; Lebanon and Sirion like a young unicorn.”
      •Psalms 92:10 “But my horn shalt thou exalt like the horn of an unicorn: I shall be anointed with fresh oil.”
      •Deuteronomy 33:17 “His glory is like the firstling of his bullock, and his horns are like the horns of unicorns: with them he shall push the people together to the ends of the earth: and they are the ten thousands of Ephraim, and they are the thousands of Manasseh.”
      •Psalms 22:21 “Save me from the lion’s mouth: for thou hast heard me from the horns of the unicorns.”
      •Isaiah 34:7 “And the unicorns shall come down with them, and the bullocks with the bulls; and their land shall be soaked with blood, and their dust made fat with fatness.”

      May 28, 2013 at 7:29 pm |
    • John Stemberger

      The unicorn is a legendary animal that resembles a white horse with a large, pointed, spiraling horn projecting from its forehead, and sometimes a goat's beard and cloven hooves

      May 28, 2013 at 7:32 pm |
    • fred

      John
      Unicorns were real animals known for their power. They are mentioned with one and two horns. These are not necessarily the legendary unicorns of fantasy or ancient Greeks or Egyptians although they may have been referenced because of their power.
      No pink dancing unicorns that is your fantasy.

      May 28, 2013 at 11:55 pm |
    • Digger

      No birth by virgin Mary and no talking snakes. Those are your fantasy, fred, and it's a really dumb one.

      May 29, 2013 at 12:14 am |
    • Ken

      fred is known here for his stupidity.

      May 29, 2013 at 12:15 am |
    • John Stemberger

      fred

      John
      Unicorns were real animals known for their power.
      -------------

      All I can say is WOW

      May 29, 2013 at 12:02 pm |
    • fred

      John
      I just took a quick look at the top of you list Numbers 24:8 uses "unicorn" out of the King James. Only one other mainstream translation (American Standard) uses "unicorn". The other top 20 translations use ox or the like as the animal in question. The translators used "unicorn" as they thought it was the strong one or two horned strong beast referred to in the original (Hebrew: רְאֵם‎). That Hebrew word Re'em is not a unicorn which is why all the other translations do not use it as the metaphor of strength.
      We do not know what specific animal the writer was referring to. There are many possibilities but it was certainly not the unicorn of European legend.

      May 29, 2013 at 2:13 pm |
    • John Stemberger

      Fred,

      The Word of God is perfect, there is no such thing as mistranslation. The Word of God is not subject to your scrutiny. You book discusses unicorns....get over it

      May 29, 2013 at 4:11 pm |
    • fred

      John
      The Word of God is not mans translation of Hebrew into Greek ,Latin, English etc. Your unicorn is a perfect example.
      So, tell me what you hope to accomplish for yourself or readers by bringing up the Re'em?

      May 29, 2013 at 5:11 pm |
    • John Stemberger

      fred

      John
      The Word of God is not mans translation of Hebrew into Greek ,Latin, English.
      .........................

      Delusional....perhaps the munchigans in the land of OZ did it????

      May 30, 2013 at 1:45 pm |
    • fred

      John
      When you pick up the Bible and read it is a translation by men from the original Hebrew written by a man (say Moses for the sake of argument). The Word of God is what is revealed to your heart when you read it. When you quoted unicorns out of context the true nature of your heart was revealed. This is why I wanted to confirm why you spoke of unicorns not the actual strong powerful animal known as a Re'em.

      May 30, 2013 at 3:10 pm |
    • John Stemberger

      The Word of God is what is revealed to your heart when you read it.
      ..................................
      Perspective and individual thoughts nothing more. Not fact based or reality based.....quite fluid

      May 30, 2013 at 4:05 pm |
  6. Saraswati

    These parents like to argue religious freedom, but like all zealots they usually only want their own odd beliefs recognized. If yoou asked them before they were charged if other parents should be allowed to drill holes in their kids skulls to let out demons they would have said no. When people defend these actions they are almost always thinking of their own beliefs and not truly a universalizable law.

    May 27, 2013 at 9:24 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      great point.

      May 27, 2013 at 9:28 pm |
  7. Bootyfunk

    penicillin > god

    May 27, 2013 at 9:08 pm |
  8. Pro- life

    Flu seasons vary in severity, however some children die from flu each year. Since 2004, pediatric deaths reported to CDC during regular flu seasons ranged from 34 deaths (during 2011-2012) to 122 deaths (during 2010-2011). (During the 2009 H1N1 flu pandemic, which lasted from April 15, 2009 to October 2, 2010, 348 pediatric deaths were reported to CDC.)

    When the busybodies here are not blaming God/these parents,they are 'hard at work' racing to find a cure for illnesses that kill children. What a sham!

    May 27, 2013 at 8:57 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      did you read the article? you're the sham. the infant's illnesses were all treatable. the child would have lived had she received medical care.

      and you think it's easy finding a cure for the flu? please, show me. if it was easy, there would be a cure.

      protip: check out some science books from your local library. read the introduction in any of the books. congratulations - you just obtained more useful information than is available in all of the bible.

      May 27, 2013 at 9:12 pm |
    • redzoa

      One might also note that because of our understanding of evolution, we are able to develop flu vaccines which consistently and significantly reduce influenza-associated mortality at both ends of the age spectrum. For a wonderful example of science having a positive impact on childhood disease, take a look at the morbidity/mortality attributable to invasive Haemophilus influenzae B before and then after introduction of the vaccine.

      May 28, 2013 at 11:54 pm |
  9. Gay Marriage News

    Congrats to the world's first openly gay bishop of the Anglican Communion – Gene Robinson for his work toward gay marriage equality. Robinson, an adviser to President Obama on gay marriage, is visiting Australia and has urged Prime Minister Julia Gillard to support gay marriage and help end suicide by gay teenagers.

    Also, in Australia, former PM Kevin Rudd has had a change of heart on the issue since 2012 and is calling for holdout politicians to change their minds on the issue ahead of a June 6 vote in Parliament.
    ======
    Congrats to Britain's House of Commons which has passed a bill to legalize same-se-x marriage in England and Wales.
    The legislation, backed by Prime Minister David Cameron, passed by a vote of 366 to 161 this past Tuesday. Next up the House of Lords.

    ======
    Congrats to Colorado which began legal civil unions May 1st, and seem ready for an upgrade! Now some 51% favor gay marriage there.
    ======
    Congrats to Former President Bill Clinton on Tuesday for throwing his support behind legislation that could soon legalize same-se-x marriage in Illinois.

    ======
    Congrats to Nevada — A consti-tutional amendment that would let voters decide whether to legalize gay marriage passed the final hurdle of the 2013 legislative session Thursday with a 27-14 vote to bring it to the ballot by 2016.

    =====
    Congrats to France! France's President Francois Hollande has signed into law a bill legalizing same-se-x marriage and making France the fifteenth country to do so.
    ======

    Congrats to Brazil on becoming the third and largest Latin American country to fully legalize same-sex marriage, the same day that Minnesota legalized gay marriage. Previously, only some jurisdictions allowed same-sex marriage. In a bold move for the majority Roman Catholic nation, Brazil's National Council of Justice ruled that all Brazilian notary publics must register same-sex civil unions as marriages if the couple requests it. (Same-sex civil unions were already recognized country-wide in Brazil since 2011.)

    Brazil, host of the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympics, is one of the fastest-growing major economies in the world. It is currently the second largest economy in the western hemisphere, has a total area slightly larger than the continental United States, is home to ~200 million people, and is also the most bio-diverse country on the planet.
    ======
    Also congrats to Mexico for paving the way for gay couples to wed there. Gay marriage is already legal in Mexico City, however, the Miami Herald recently reported that "A unanimous ruling by the Mexican Supreme Court overturning a state law against same-se-x marriage has opened the way for the eventual legalization of gay marriage across Mexico, legal experts say. The court ruled unconsti-tutional a law in southern Oaxaca state that defines marriage as a legal union between a man and a woman."

    ======
    Congrats to the people of Finland who are clamoring for their Parliament to hurry up and pass a same-se-x marriage law. They are the only remaining Nordic country that has yet to do so.
    ======

    May 27, 2013 at 8:35 pm |
  10. Gay Marriage News

    Same-se-x marriage in the U.S.:

    Done deal: Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington & the District of Columbia.

    Who's next?
    Illinois: Gov. Pat Quinn called on the Illinois House to send him legislation to legalize gay marriage, saying lawmakers had plenty of time to make up their mind on the issue. The state Senate passed the measure on Valentine's Day, and the governor has said he's ready to sign it.

    New Jersey: Gov. Christie doesn't seem to be against gay marriage coming from a ballot measure, but has stated in the past he would veto such a change from legislators. This was his stance before the President changed his views. If Christie reconsiders, NJ could be sooner than expected.

    California: It seems gay marriage will be in CA soon one way or the other. This is because polls show a much larger support for gay marriage than when Prop 8 was passed. So even if the upcoming SCOTUS case were to fail, it would likely be put to voters there very soon again.

    Nevada: A consti-tutional amendment that would let voters decide whether to legalize gay marriage passed the final hurdle of the 2013 legislative session Thursday with a 27-14 vote to bring it to the ballot by 2016.
    Hawaii: Already has some good laws on the books evidently, and although things have been put on hold until after 2013, legislators there are attempting to speed up the process.

    Virginia: A new Washington Post poll reported Tuesday, 5/14/13 shows, for the question, "Do you think it should be legal or illegal for gay couples to get married?", 56% of Virginians answered legal – an increase of ten percent on the same question and answer from the same poll two years ago. The state, birthplace to eight U.S. presidents is adjacent to Maryland and the District of Columbia where same-se-x marriage is already legal.

    Arizona: A new Rocky Mountain poll shows 55% of Arizona residents now support gay marriage.
    ==========================
    Let's see around the globe:

    Done deal: Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, & Uruguay, & Mexico City.

    In the works:

    Germany: On 22 March 2013 the Bundesrat passed an initiative to open marriage to same-se-x couples, which now moves onto the Bundestag for approval. (Germany adopted a civil union law in 2001.)

    Ireland: On 14 April 2013 as part of the Consti tutional Convention a measure voted in favour of same-se-x marriage by a margin of 79 percent. (Civil union law adopted in 2011.)

    UK: On 5 February 2013, the House of Commons debated the Marriage (Same Se-x Couples) Bill and approved it in a 400–175 vote at the second reading. (Third reading to be scheduled.) UPDATE: House of Commons passed bill! Now on to the Lords.

    Finland: 03-19-2013: The citizens' initiative overrides the committee's decision, and thus the bill must now be considered by the Parliament. (Finland adopted a civil union law in 2002.)

    Luxembourg: On 6 February 2013, the Chamber's justice committee agreed to approve the measure opening marriage for same-se-x couples. On 20 February, the committee initially backed the right to simple adoption for same-se-x couples. On 6 March 2013, the committee confirmed that position.

    Australia: lower house MP will seek to have his Marriage Equality Amendment Bill brought for an immediate vote in the House on June 6.

    Mexico (UPDATE): Gay marriage is already legal in Mexico City, however, the Miami Herald reported today that "A unanimous ruling by the Mexican Supreme Court overturning a state law against same-se-x marriage has opened the way for the eventual legalization of gay marriage across Mexico, legal experts say. The court ruled unconsti-tutional a law in southern Oaxaca state that defines marriage as a legal union between a man and a woman."

    Czech Republic: (Civil union law adopted in 2006.)

    Slovenia: In December 2009 the Slovenian government approved a new Family Code, which includes same-se-x marriage and same-se-x adoption. The bill has been sent to Parliament to vote on the matter.

    Switzerland: Discussions beginning to extend current law. (Civil union law adopted in 2007.)

    Columbia: Gay marriage has been considered for a while now in Columbia. The Senate there recently refused a bill with pressure from RCC, but it is bound to resurface. (Gay couples have had the same rights as hetero couples since 2009).

    Venezuela: Too early to say, but there is an indication that the atmosphere is good for Venezuela to take up the issue of extending rights to gay couples. On May 17th, the 9th annual International Day Against Hom-ophobia & Transphobia was celebrated in Caracas.

    Chile: On 10 April 2013, the law creating civil unions in Chile was approved by the Senate's Consti-tution, Law and Justice Committee, on a 4-1 vote. Former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, who is running again for President in 2013, said after Uruguay's passage of their same-se-x marriage law, that she would champion a similar law in Chile if elected.

    Vietnam: Last July, the Justice Ministry in Vietnam said it would consider a provision for same-se-x marriage rights in an amendment to the country's marriage laws.

    Taiwan: Last year, a same-se-x Buddhist couple married in Taiwan, where a legalization bill has been pending since 2003. Taipei is also home to Asia's largest annual gay pride parade, according to organizers. Taiwan’s Ministry of Justice are currently examining whether to change their civil code to accept same-se-x marriage or to legislate for civil partnerships. Taiwan could very well be the first Asian country to legalize gay marriage.

    Nepal: Nepal's highest court, in November 2008, issued final judgment on matters related to LGBT rights. Based on its recommendation the government will introduce a same-se-x marriage bill.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ULdaSrYGLQ

    May 27, 2013 at 8:33 pm |
  11. Bob

    fred/Chad, you really don't get it. You must be extremely stupid. For comparison and to blow away your latest pathetic argument, you stupid moron, most of the developed world has also read other works of fiction such as the Lord of The Rings trilogy and the Harry Potter series, both of which are vastly more interesting (and also better bases for moral standards) than your disgusting Christian torture and murder manual.

    Again, I have already spoken about the context and interpretation problems and other issues with your book of horrors AKA the bible. You apparently haven't understood, so read this again. It will be repeated until it sinks through your thick skull. You clearly need the repetition. Do try to think this through for a change:

    If you disagree with my interpretation, ask yourself how it is that your "god" couldn't come up with a better way to communicate than a book that is so readily subject to so many interpretations and to being taken "out of context", and has so many mistakes in it. Pretty pathetic god that you've made for yourself, fool.

    So get out your sacrificial knife or your nasty sky creature will torture you eternally. Or just take a closer look at your foolish superstitions, understand that they are just silly, and toss them into the dustbin with all the rest of the gods that man has created.

    Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement.
    Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
    http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

    May 27, 2013 at 8:31 pm |
  12. Bob

    Chad, I have already spoken about your context problem. You apparently haven't understood, so read this again. It will be repeated until it sinks through your thick skull and into your seriously deficient brain. You clearly need the repetition. Do try to think this through for a change:

    If you disagree with my interpretation, ask yourself how it is that your "god" couldn't come up with a better way to communicate than a book that is so readily subject to so many interpretations and to being taken "out of context", and has so many mistakes in it. Pretty pathetic god that you've made for yourself, fool.

    So get out your sacrificial knife or your nasty sky creature will torture you eternally. Or just take a closer look at your foolish superstitions, understand that they are just silly, and toss them into the dustbin with all the rest of the gods that man has created.

    Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement.
    Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
    http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

    May 27, 2013 at 8:03 pm |
    • fred

      "ask yourself how it is that your "god" couldn't come up with a better way to communicate"
      =>Bob, a more Divine book has yet to be found that virtually the entire world (98%) has heard about. That is some distribution system!
      =>Bob, a book so Divine it cuts right to the heart and true nature of the person reading it.
      =>Bob, a book so Divine it lays out the entire plan of God so only those with a soul destined for eternal life with God understand.

      "a book that is so readily subject to so many interpretations and to being taken "out of context",
      =>Bob, that is simply because there is only one perfect goodness and that is God. All other beings are individuals with individual free will and varied gifts. If there were not many interpretations then it would be a manifesto of man pushed down the throat of the those without freedom of thought.

      "so many mistakes in it."
      =>no mistakes for the faithful. Those skeptics that must find error to deceive themselves into godlessness will find error where there is none. The godless do have a perspective of hope in a goodness because they have trapped themselves in a meaningless existence. A meaningless existence can only tear down goodness around itself in hopes of avoiding the inevitable.

      May 27, 2013 at 8:17 pm |
    • Bob

      fred/Chad, you really don't get it. You must be exceptionally stupid. For comparison and to blow away your latest pathetic argument, you stupid moron, most of the developed world has also read other works of fiction such as the Lord of The Rings trilogy and the Harry Potter series, both of which are vastly more interesting (and also better bases for moral standards) than your disgusting Christian torture and murder manual.

      Again, I have already spoken about the context and interpretation problems and other issues with your book of horrors AKA the bible. You apparently haven't understood, so read this again. It will be repeated until it sinks through your thick skull. You clearly need the repetition. Do try to think this through for a change:

      If you disagree with my interpretation, ask yourself how it is that your "god" couldn't come up with a better way to communicate than a book that is so readily subject to so many interpretations and to being taken "out of context", and has so many mistakes in it. Pretty pathetic god that you've made for yourself, fool.

      So get out your sacrificial knife or your nasty sky creature will torture you eternally. Or just take a closer look at your foolish superstitions, understand that they are just silly, and toss them into the dustbin with all the rest of the gods that man has created.

      Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement.
      Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
      http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

      May 27, 2013 at 8:28 pm |
    • fred

      Bob,
      "ask yourself how it is that your "god" couldn't come up with a better way to communicate"
      =>Bob, a more Divine book has yet to be found that virtually the entire world (98%) has heard about. That is some distribution system!
      =>Bob, a book so Divine it cuts right to the heart and true nature of the person reading it.
      =>Bob, a book so Divine it lays out the entire plan of God so only those with a soul destined for eternal life with God understand.

      "a book that is so readily subject to so many interpretations and to being taken "out of context",
      =>Bob, that is simply because there is only one perfect goodness and that is God. All other beings are individuals with individual free will and varied gifts. If there were not many interpretations then it would be a manifesto of man pushed down the throat of the those without freedom of thought.

      "so many mistakes in it."
      =>no mistakes for the faithful. Those skeptics that must find error to deceive themselves into godlessness will find error where there is none. The godless do have a perspective of hope in a goodness because they have trapped themselves in a meaningless existence. A meaningless existence can only tear down goodness around itself in hopes of avoiding the inevitable.

      May 27, 2013 at 8:32 pm |
    • fred

      Bob
      Do you know the simply plan? Man could have chosen to trust God in the Garden but fell for the serpent. Before man fell for the serpent there was already in the Garden the Tree of Life. The Tree of life is in the New Heaven and the New Earth where anyone that accepts Christs forgiveness of sin finds eternal love. The Tree of Life always was and always will be it is your choice.

      Exactly how complicated and hard to understand is that?

      May 27, 2013 at 8:38 pm |
    • wjmccartan

      Books and I mean all of the books of faith have been written and approved by man. The bible was not written by god, but by man. Their is no finger of god, writing a book, as a scripe would with ink and papyrus. Nothing more, so nothing to see hear break it up and everyone go home.

      May 27, 2013 at 8:41 pm |
    • The real Tom

      "Exactly how complicated and hard to understand is that?'

      Well, if any moron can figure out, ferdy, then why did these parents manage to use it to kill their kids?

      May 27, 2013 at 8:42 pm |
    • Science

      Hey fredie there is NO horn-y red devil !

      May 27, 2013 at 8:46 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @Bob, While Most people grow and change their ideas, Chad/fred, if you aren't already aware, is an exception to this rule. Because his communication skills are so out of the norm, his repetative responses tend to frustrate most who try talking to him and lead to a very broken discourse. He doesn't and can't understand what you are saying and your life will likely be happier for any time you get back be staying out of the black hole of Chad-talk.

      May 27, 2013 at 8:48 pm |
    • fred

      The Real Tom
      They did as so many denominations do................follow some mans version that has added to the truth. Jesus referred to Scripture and said that truth is revealed by the Holy Spirit into the heart of the believer. That truth does not say see no doctor as a matter of fact the women who suffered for years from a bleeding issue had to seek out and touch the healer when he was near.
      Truth is that if these people acted out of faith God will correct the situation. That correction is part of the New Heaven and the New Earth not of this temporary existence. This is based on the key attribute of God which is eternal love and goodness. Specific verses repeated where God will wipe away every tear.

      May 27, 2013 at 8:51 pm |
    • fred

      wjmccartan
      The Word of God is not in the translated cuneiform. The Word of God is in the soul of man destined for eternal life and revealed to man as that which was written by man over time is read. The Bible cuts like two edged sword.......not because sharp words are used but because what is revealed in the man.

      May 27, 2013 at 8:55 pm |
    • Bob

      Thanks, Saraswati, for the wise words. I'll keep them in mind.

      May 27, 2013 at 9:00 pm |
    • fred

      Science
      You got that right !

      May 27, 2013 at 9:07 pm |
    • Science

      No partner either fredie

      GOOD NEWS...............faith the peachy one......chad too.......you know all creationists too......... story = truth !

      http://www.ibtimes.com/atheists-fight-gideon-bibles-books-christopher-hitchens-richard-dawkins-georgia-state-parks-
      1271125

      Science books and education TRUMPS the 666 beast and the red horn-y devil !

      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/05/05/when-christians-become-a-hated-minority/

      Have a great life and Memorial day.

      Peace

      PS...........by the way there has NEVER been a red horn-y devil.

      Do a simple search for Prof. Higgs .............the church hates that .

      May 28, 2013 at 5:25 am |
    • fintastic

      ..."truth is revealed by the Holy Spirit into the heart of the believer."

      Most of us learn the "truth" at a young age... that there are no such things as ghosts...

      May 28, 2013 at 9:04 am |
    • The real Tom

      ferd the turd says: They did as so many denominations do.

      Well, ferd, why did they do that? Don't ALL people "interpret" the bible? You certainly do; so does your sock puppet Chard. Why does the book lend itself to ANY form of interpretation? Why isn't it perfectly clear to anyone?

      And what makes YOU think this couple was wrong about it? How do you know that YOUR interpretation is correct and theirs is not?

      You are such a dolt.

      May 28, 2013 at 10:26 am |
    • fred

      The real Tom
      “Why does the book lend itself to ANY form of interpretation? Why isn't it perfectly clear to anyone?”
      =>The way is very clear, perfectly clear but not to anyone. The scientific method provides for testing that would provide clear consistent results on known physical (created) matter and energy. Real life that incorporates all elements of the natural (spiritual included) is carried on outside the lab. Just as no two people are alike there are no two interpretations that are alike. That is reality. It is unreasonable to assume you can fit the human journey into a box.

      This is the design, a never ending creation that refines and creates as it moves through time. Man in the image of God exhibits that creative touch which turned the abyss within a void into a landscape that goes beyond imagination. Although there have been perhaps 11 billion Homo sapiens on this planet and each with a different self awareness expressed inwardly and outwardly. It is self evident that there can be no one interpretation.

      What is clear is that man seeks meaning and purpose at some point. Organic matter reacting to chemical stimuli erupting out of chaos through an improbable accident of natural forces is without purpose. Creation as self evident in man has purpose and meaning in never ending vibrant expressions moving in an outward and inward expanse called life. A decision is reached where meaning and purpose is limited to measurable matter and energy or without boundary established by the created things. It is self evident and perfectly clear that existence is without known boundary and certainly not limited to man.

      =>Jesus said I am the way, so exactly what is not clear about that? Go follow the way as graphically shown and you cannot miss.

      “And what makes YOU think this couple was wrong about it?”
      =>Ask anything in my name and it will be granted. The reports say they asked for healing and it was not granted. Thus it was not asked in my name (this passage refers to prayer that is prayer that Christ would offer). We do not know if prayer first included wisdom and discernment for God’s will. We do not know if they prayed for healing or Gods will to be revealed in the healing or non healing. Without knowing the details it is all a lot of guess work. I do not know what doubt if any was present in their faith or if they were following the pastor or the Holy Spirit.

      =>I never said they were wrong in an eternal perspective as God will make all things new and that which is not of God will be washed away (flood story). The eternal perspective of this family could be that of Noah’s family if it is of God they are safeguarded in the Ark (within Christ).

      =>The vast majority of Christians including myself do not have the faith for an electric charge out of heaven when a defibrillator is hanging on the wall next to you.

      =>I have not taken time to review the church in question. The article claims "She and her husband had relied on Christian Science practitioners to heal him." If this is true then it is not in the way of Christ. Last I heard Christian Science practitioners do not believe Jesus is God. In this case it is of the anti-Christ according to several verses and thus sin.

      May 28, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
    • kim

      Interesting Fred, I will check that out and if the Christian Science pract-itioners reject Jesus as God then it would not be Christian or right. Black eye for that church

      May 28, 2013 at 7:11 pm |
    • The real Tom

      "Thus it was not asked in my name". And you know this how, ferd? Because the child wasn't healed? You moron. How many parents pray for a child's recovery but don't rely on god alone to do the work?

      You are a pea-brain.

      May 28, 2013 at 7:19 pm |
    • kim

      Well, I looked at the Christian Science website and it is hard to say if they believe Jesus was God or not. The First Century Gospel Church however does believe Jesus was God so I suspect there is more to this story then we know.

      May 28, 2013 at 7:24 pm |
    • fred

      kim
      God is referred to as "Father-Mother" and Jesus is considered divine, but not God.

      May 28, 2013 at 7:37 pm |
    • fred

      Tom tom
      Specific prayer in Gods name is that prayer that is answered. Such prayer is in line with the will of God. "if you asked your father for a fish would he give you a stone". Clearly the prayer for healing was not in the will of God thus not in the name of God (this has specific biblical meaning where the name of Christ in this prayer that is always answered is the equivalent of Christ specific pleading with the Father).

      May 28, 2013 at 7:43 pm |
    • Ithaca Example

      fred, could you present an example of even one "specific prayer" that has ever been answered? I've yet to see proof of any such event that stood up under scrutiny. I'd be very surprised if you can produce any.

      May 28, 2013 at 7:52 pm |
    • fred

      Ithaca Example
      I will not bother you with prayers for jobs all of which were filled, or travel mercies and the like. We have had an average of 200 men and 60 children attend our bible studies for 33 weeks over 9 years and our prayer each week was for safety. We had not a single incidence. One child with incurable rare form of brain fungus for which there was no treatment. After prayer and lengthy comma there was a miraculous complete recovery. Prayer for specific conversions for specific individuals were answered. One inoperable non treatable stage 4 pancreatic cancer patient still alive and symptom free after 3 years.

      May 28, 2013 at 11:21 pm |
  13. Chad

    @ME II " I have in fact posted quotes from the Bible, ergo I am not "utterly unfamiliar" with it."

    @Chad "I"m just going to let that one stand on its own as I think it does truly capture the essence of atheistic familiarity with the bible, AND at the same time, the belief that this level of familiarity is sufficient to equip a person for engaging a Christian in doctrinal discussion!

    One quick trip to infidels.org and your degree in fundamentalist atheism is granted, brilliant!

    May 27, 2013 at 7:31 pm |
    • רחל

      @Chad, Excellent argument! 🙂

      May 27, 2013 at 7:35 pm |
    • do-re-me

      What betrays their utter lack of foundational knowledge of the Bible is the barrage of biblical quotes not only from 'infidels.org' but also 'evil bible.com'.

      May 27, 2013 at 7:49 pm |
    • Rachel

      You tell 'em, Chad. One more for the "I team". That's me boy 🙂

      May 27, 2013 at 7:56 pm |
    • mary

      Chad, wassup with your god's poor comm skills?

      May 27, 2013 at 7:57 pm |
    • Derek

      Studies already presented here ad nauseum show that atheists generally have deeper and better bible knowledge than do most Christians. Take that up your fat backside where your weak brain resides and shove it hard, Chard.

      May 27, 2013 at 8:06 pm |
    • Khloe

      Where does ME II say that he's ever even BEEN to that web site, Chad? Awfully big assumption on your part. As a matter of fact, you assume much when facts aren't even presented...you are a smug pseudo Christian know it all who will most decidedly burn for your lack of humility. And as for your alter egos? Pshaw. Transparent. Grow up, Skippy. You're horrible at this.

      May 27, 2013 at 8:10 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      It is beyond me why anyone engages any christian in doctrinal discussions, even one as dumb as Chad, given that they have utterly failed to prove that their, or any, god exists and that some jewish dude named jesus was divine. Until these first principles are established as fact, everything else is just hacking over the rules to the world's oldest fantasy riole playing game, with heavy, HEAVY, emphasis on fantasy.

      May 27, 2013 at 8:10 pm |
    • Khloe

      Do re me, don't you think that the Biblical quotes that are posted here come from, oh, I don't know, THE BIBLE??
      How stupid.

      May 27, 2013 at 8:14 pm |
    • do-re-me

      The audacity of some of these unbelievers that claim familiarity with the Bible, the source of which is 'extraneous' is disgusting.

      May 27, 2013 at 8:29 pm |
    • Khloe

      The audacity of those proselytizers who claim to know the minds of others...even going so far as to brazenly lie about other's knowledge and intent.

      May 27, 2013 at 10:46 pm |
    • midwest rail

      I'm sure your skill in "doctrinal discussion" is a great comfort to Brandon Schaible.

      May 27, 2013 at 11:17 pm |
    • Observer

      Khloe,

      "The audacity of those proselytizers who claim to know the minds of others..."

      Nothing tops the delusional mind-reading abilities of all the gay-bashers who claim to be able to read millions of minds and know that they were all lying about being born that way.

      May 27, 2013 at 11:22 pm |
    • redzoa

      "I"m just going to let that one stand on its own as I think it does truly capture the essence of atheistic familiarity with the bible, AND at the same time, the belief that this level of familiarity is sufficient to equip a person for engaging a Christian in doctrinal discussion! "

      Says the person who routinely attempts to discuss science and law with demonstrably poor comprehension of both . . .

      May 28, 2013 at 11:33 pm |
  14. Kerensa ˚͜˚ B

    And nothing of value was lost. These cretins procreating ability will hopefully be stopped by a nice long jail sentence and their moronic spawn will not grow up to produce any more moronic spawn. I see no problem here. Darwinism at its best.

    May 27, 2013 at 7:18 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      I'm not sure that jail time counts as Darwinian selection, but as a socially expedient measure I think it's a really good idea. Their Pastor, though, he is free to counsel his flock to live as the Schaibles have.

      May 27, 2013 at 11:46 pm |
  15. The real Tom

    This is for the Piddler, who thinks that fetal viability outside the uterus has and will drop until a fetus 2 months old can survive outside the body of the woman carrying it.

    The limit of viability is the gestational age at which a prematurely born fetus/infant has a 50% chance of long-term survival outside its mother's womb. With the support of neonatal intensive care units, the limit of viability in the developed world has declined since 50 years ago, but has remained unchanged in the last 12 years.[8][9] Currently the limit of viability is considered to be around 24 weeks although the incidence of major disabilities remains high at this point.[10][11] Neonatologists generally would not provide intensive care at 23 weeks, but would from 26 weeks.[12][13]
    During the past several decades, neonatal care has improved with advances in medical science, and therefore the limit of viability has moved earlier.[14] As of 2006, the two youngest children to survive premature birth are thought to be James Elgin Gill (born on 20 May 1987 in Ottawa, Canada, at 21 weeks and 5 days gestational age),[15][16] and Amillia Taylor (born on 24 October 2006 in Miami, Florida, at 21 weeks and 6 days gestational age).[17][18] Both children were born just under 22 weeks from fertilization, or a few days past the midpoint of an average full-term pregnancy.
    Amillia Taylor is also often cited as the most-premature baby.[17] She was born on 24 October 2006 in Miami, Florida, at 21 weeks and 6 days gestation.[19] At birth, she was 9 inches (22.86 cm) long and weighed 10 ounces (283 grams).[17] She suffered digestive and respiratory problems, together with a brain hemorrhage. She was discharged from the Baptist Children's Hospital on 20 February 2007.[17]
    The lower limit of viability is approximately five months gestational age, and usually later.

    May 27, 2013 at 6:27 pm |
    • Science

      Tom as we know they are green slim no sh-it. !

      Peace

      May 27, 2013 at 6:33 pm |
    • What

      Tom as we know they are green slim Jim no sh-it. !

      Peace

      ?

      May 27, 2013 at 6:40 pm |
    • science

      Looks like one of them showed up on page 4.. Chad that is !

      Easy to get his goat !

      May 27, 2013 at 6:43 pm |
  16. Colin

    You know, things like this wouldn't happen if we allowed school prayer. As an atheist, I think we should make school prayer mandatory.

    We do it in the following manner. Upon entry into high school, each child “adopts” a wounded veteran or other person who has a visible and incurable condition, such as a lost leg, arm or eye. Each day the children pray to God that the person recover their lost appendage. Those children who have other beliefs can bow, chant, jiggle an amulet, stare into a crystal or do whatever they wish to “pray” for their chosen ailing person.

    Five years later, at their graduation, prayer can put up or shut up. We parade the injured people through the graduation ceremony so the children can see the results of their 5 solid years of constant prayer. Just how many limbs, eyes or ears do you think will have re-grown? And why are you so sure of that? Does God hate amputees? Why does he always have to hide his medical miracles inside the body of the sick, where things are less medically certain?

    The doubtless, consistent and universal failure of their prayers will help the students understand:

    (i) that there is no god listening and that praying is a futile exercise when the results can REALLY be tested;

    (ii) the frailties of their religious leaders as they scurry for excuses –“god won’t be tested”, “god moves in mysterious ways,” “perhaps the people have been healed spiritually”, etc; and

    (iii) the weakness of human nature (and a basic lesson in politics) as the religious right moves to shut the experiments down.

    May 27, 2013 at 5:39 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      An exercise for perhaps younger children: invent a God and a religion different from the one you've been hearing about in Sunday School (or whatever), but make it as persuasive as you can. Think of all they ways you can make it so that people will want to believe in it. Think of ways you can make it so that people feel they have to believe in it. Now think about the God people have been telling you is real.

      May 27, 2013 at 5:48 pm |
    • Chad

      @Colin,

      That doesnt work for Judeo/Christianity as the bible specifically says "You must not test the LORD your God".

      Your "test for religious reality" would have to impose a test in line with the claims of each religion, otherwise you arent actually proving or disproving anything. Instead you simply come off as a person unfamiliar with and terrified of Christianity..

      May 27, 2013 at 6:46 pm |
    • Science

      Chad and your true love is which brand ...............is it not the one with all the hands ?

      May 27, 2013 at 6:52 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Chad,
      Isaiah 7 implies otherwise. Also god was tested by Gideon and others.
      The reason christians say don't test god is because they know it can't pass any test. Pray for the tornado victims they say but it was futile god didn't stop the tornado or save some people including children and god hasn't healed any of the injured or replaced the homes lost; god cannot pass any test.

      May 27, 2013 at 6:56 pm |
    • Science

      Chads TRUE LOVE Old Rachel..................is racing around today..........doing the pokla twist with the snake on sholders ...................is that

      a NEW dance Rachel ?....................or to I have that backwards chad.............who is who CHAD ?

      May 16, 2013 at 6:11 pm | Report abuse |

      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/05/14/vatican-swaps-old-masters-for-modernity-with-venice-biennale-debut/#comments

      May 27, 2013 at 6:59 pm |
    • Science

      Oops shoulders............do not forget.............. chad said do not forget the talking donkey !

      May 27, 2013 at 7:01 pm |
    • Chad

      Isaiah 7, Gideon, Micah are very, very unique, examples of where either God allowed or asked for a test.
      Jesus Himself said that God should not be put to the test.

      May 27, 2013 at 7:19 pm |
    • Chris

      Classic! Love it, Colin.

      May 27, 2013 at 7:19 pm |
    • Chad

      @Science

      Did Balaam's donkey have vocal chords?

      Notice, there are two things opened in this passage. Are they speaking literally?

      I put the whole thing here as am sure you never actually read it 🙂

      Then the Lord opened the donkey’s mouth, and it said to Balaam, “What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times?”
      29 Balaam answered the donkey, “You have made a fool of me! If only I had a sword in my hand, I would kill you right now.”
      30 The donkey said to Balaam, “Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden, to this day? Have I been in the habit of doing this to you?”
      “No,” he said.
      31 Then the Lord opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the road with his sword drawn. So he bowed low and fell facedown.
      - Numbers 22

      May 27, 2013 at 7:23 pm |
    • Science

      Adam and Eve..............Adam had to POKE himself HARD with his OWN BONE to create Eve Rachel !

      By the way there is no red horn-y devil !

      May 27, 2013 at 7:35 pm |
    • Colin

      Chad – see point (ii) in my post.

      PS: Odd that the Gospel According to John is littered with alleged examples of Jesus proving himself as divine by performing miracles.......

      May 28, 2013 at 11:09 am |
    • .

      "Chad – see point (ii) in my post. "

      Gospel of Chad:
      (Updated list derived from history of Chad conversations.)

      Atheism:
      1. All atheists agree with everything Stephen Hawking or Richard Dawkins say, even if it is unrelated to atheism. Hawking and Dawkins disagree on free will, however, but you should ignore this conflict or any atheist who says they disagree.
      2. All atheists agree with one another on everything even if it has nothing to do with atheism. See #1 for models from which you can derive all their beliefs.
      3. The definition of atheist includes anything that any atheist I disagree with believes or anything I feel like tossing in there. Ignore any definitions in pesky places like dictionaries and philosophical encyclopedias.
      4. If one atheist somewhere on the internet said something, then, since all atheists agree with him/her, I can use that randomly selected example as an argument to address all other atheists.
      5. The definition of atheism includes not just materialism but strict deterministic materialism. Non-believers who might be Buddhists, believe in probabilistic physics, see consciousness as prior to the physical world, believe in, say, witchcraft aren’t really atheists.
      6. No atheist has ever read the bible. I mean, obviously, they’d be Christians if they had, right? OK, so a few have proven to me – OK, multiple times – that they have read the bible. See #11 (just lie).

      Free will:
      7. All people who use the term “free will” really mean the same exact thing by that term, which matches my personal use of the term “free will” (unless backed into a corner, then I just declare all other meanings irrelevant)
      8. Fatalism and determinism are the same thing. It has been pointed out to me that historically these terms have been used with different meanings, but I find it more convenient to make up my own definitions, as with atheism and free will.

      In fact, I brilliantly argued “If a person is a determinist, how in the world does deterrence even come into the picture? Determinists believe in an ever marching set of deterministic outcomes based on an existing set of antecedent conditions. Those conditions march back to the origin of the universe, no way to change the past, so no way to change the future. (On April 17, 2013 at 6:20 pm)

      After reading a bit more about fatalism and determinism I decided to change my tune to a claim that determinism leads to fatalism (and to pretend this was what I was saying all along). I’m sticking to reading easy pop philosophers, though, and selective websites on the topic as anything more complex makes my head hurt. I have read snippets from a couple of websites now so that ought to put me on par with people who’ve read dozens of books on the topic, understand neurobiology and have written on both the philosophical and cultural aspects of free will and people’s belief in the topic. Oh, yeah, I know what I’m talking about!

      9. A determinist cannot believe that humans can change. This would, of course, mean that nothing can change. Which would mean…oh…crud…better put my head back up my ass.
      10. A determinist cannot believe in punishing people for crimes. This is because…well…it doesn’t matter. Just keep repeating it.

      Telling lies:
      11. It is ethical to lie so long as it promotes Christian beliefs.
      12. Speaking of telling lies, a really good way to do this is to rephrase what your opponent says and then keep repeating the misquote in hopes that he or she will get bored and leave your lie as the last statement. Then you win. You can do this either by rewording as a supposed paraphrase or pulling lines out of context and reordering them. God really loves this and gives you extra endurance to sit at the computer all day and keep repeating it.
      13. One way to use this super endurance to your advantage is to keep posting the same questions over and over again even after they’ve been answered 50 times. Just pretend they haven’t been answered and act self-righteous about it. It’s really cool if you can ask this same thing on multiple threads and then claim it was never answered forcing people to waste time on the same thing over and over and over.
      14. In particular don’t forget that whatever someone says you can respond with “What investigation have you done into…”. Especially good is to ask what investigation was done into the truth of the God of Israel. When the non-Christian comes back to ask how much research you did to prove other gods aren’t real answer “I don’t need to do any because I proved the God of Israel is real and that negates all other gods”. When asked how you proved that repeat the words “empty tomb” over and over until divine light shines on the souls of the heathens.
      15. When they refuse to play your game or you don’t like the answer add some sarcasm, but use an emoticon to soften it so they’ll know your snide remarks are all in good fun.
      16. Consider asking completely nonsensical questions that can’t even be understood, let alone answered. Best yet include something the person didn’t say as a premise. For example, you might ask an atheist opponent “You say you like murdering small children on Wednesdays, could you explain how this fits with your beliefs about string theory?” Then when your question is ignored accuse the person of avoidance and make up wild hypotheses as to why they are avoiding you.
      17. Above all else keep asking questions while avoiding answering any yourself.

      Science, math and psychology:
      18. If one scientist says something that backs me, then I can assume all scientists agree with that statement.
      19. If atheist scientists say something, even if it is the view of the majority of people in that science, it should be ignored. See #11.
      20. Atheists are ruled by confirmation bias. I am free of it – it’s just great luck that everything I read and all the “data” around me confirm my strong religious convictions. See #19 on ignoring anything else.
      21. Infinity = all finite numbers according to the Chad. Thirty or forty years of constraint is the same as eternal torment.
      22. Rehabilitation and deterrence are the same thing. Yep…convincing a drug addict not to use drugs in case they are shot dead and getting them off the addiction would be the same by my wondrous Chad logic.

      General truths about the CNN belief blog:
      23. All non-believers are, by definition, idiots so you can use illogical arguments and they’ll just fall for it.
      24. If I post a quote that has a few key words in it from our discussion I can claim it backs my point even if it actually says the exact opposite thing from what I’m claiming. Atheists, as mentioned above, are too dumb to notice. Best yet is to post a link or reference a book which actually says the opposite of what I’m saying and just assume no one will look at it.
      25. There is a huge mass of fence sitters out there who are eagerly reading CNN blog comments in order to decide whether or not to believe in God.
      26. I will personally save all those mentioned in # 25 because I, Chad, am super smart. I know this because I get away with all the above mentioned lies and manipulations. Sometimes people think they are pointing these things out but they really aren’t. Or the stupid atheist masses aren’t reading them anyway.
      27. Phrase everything as if it’s a lecture so you look like you know what you’re talking about. See #23 about atheists being idiots and #24 about people not reading anything you post you’ll see that the silly atheists will fall for it every time. In particular they won’t look back to the earlier part of the discussion to see how I’m contradicting myself. This is very well aided by another tactic:
      28. As soon as you make an ass of yourself break the conversation into a new thread. That way all the newcomers (see #25 on how they are waiting to have their souls saved) will not bother to read back and see how ignorant you are.
      29. If someone points out to you that citing Wikipedia is not an adequate source for the discussion at hand you can always find a good undergraduate philosophy paper to cite instead.
      30. Never question another Christian no matter how incorrect or offensive their position.
      31. Just remember that you can define a term any way you want and you are always right!

      May 28, 2013 at 11:12 am |
  17. dee1030

    I was raised in a church all of my growing up years which believed and prayed for healing, however never did I see anyone healed there. I don't see anything wrong with praying, but use some common sense. People like this are who give people of faith a bad name and make them look like brainwashed sheep.

    May 27, 2013 at 4:48 pm |
    • Athy

      You never saw anything wrong with praying? Did you ever see anything right about it? Why bother if it never does anything useful? All it does it make you look foolish.

      May 27, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      Athy,

      A wise person says in their mind, "There is no God" but an unwise person knows better!

      May 27, 2013 at 5:14 pm |
    • Just for arguments sake

      What do you two anti-prayer brigaders plan we do..make it illegal to talk to yourself with your eyes closed?

      May 27, 2013 at 5:30 pm |
    • Bostontola

      lionly,
      Does it ever concern you that your religion teaches it is better to be unwise than wise? That is the same tactic used by minorities taking control of majorities. The Chinese communists shunned education, the Islamic states shun education beyond the Koran, etc. Educated, thinking people can't be controlled by a minority. I would be skeptical of any organization that promotes unwise over wise.

      May 27, 2013 at 5:33 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      @ Just for Arguments Sake

      Are you stupid? I ask because you seem stupid.

      No, I would say that you can mutter all the "magical incantations" you want, but for fvck's sake, take your sick kid to the doctor. Chant silly magic all the way there and back and for thirty years after for all I care, but don't kill your kid with neglect over your insistence on magic chants.

      May 27, 2013 at 5:35 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      Boston

      How are choices being chosen? Are they of wise choices or unwise choices? How many wise choices make the person and how many unwise choices make the other person? To say that a wise person chooses wisely inflates one's ego and the wise person who goes down the paths unwisely will soon wise up. To consider unwise choices vs. unwise choices is a considerable choice to take whenever choice possibilities do abound. A wised person made the wisest of choices is no wiser then ones sheltered in unwise choices manifested in good faith.

      May 27, 2013 at 9:13 pm |
    • Bostontola

      lionly,
      Wisdom may or may not inflate ego, depends on the person. A system that shuns wisdom is suspect to me.

      May 27, 2013 at 9:41 pm |
    • Just for arguments sake

      Moby are you a rabid jerk? I ask because you seem like a rabid jerk. Don't get mad because I pointed out an obvious flaw in your "ism". Taking a sick kid to the doc is pretty obvious, look past the obvious and you'll understand my question.

      May 28, 2013 at 1:02 am |
  18. Rusty Yates

    Religion is no excuse under the law (I wish).

    May 27, 2013 at 4:05 pm |
  19. Reality

    Only for the new members:

    Last time I checked, our judicial system casts many a stone to include execution when needed.

    May 27, 2013 at 3:58 pm |
  20. wjmccartan

    Enough children have died in the name of christ for the last 2000 years. Pastor Nelson Clark is an idiot beyond comparison. Saying these people lacked faith and that why they died, he should be locked away for propagating such nonsense in the first place.

    May 27, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      Conspiracy to commit third degree murder...works for me.

      May 27, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
    • Ron

      Such concern we see over the death of the 7 month infant, or is it an intense hatred towards people of faith? Hmm, I wonder? Aren't these godless who stand in judgment over this couple of faith the same people that condone the daily destruction of babies in the womb? Hypocrites!!

      May 27, 2013 at 3:59 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Aw, faith. I bet your mother despairs every time she thinks about you. I bet it breaks her heart to know that the child for whom she had so much hope turned out to be just another lame internet troll.

      May 27, 2013 at 4:01 pm |
    • Athy

      How can you equate the death of an unborn fetus to that of a 7-month-old child?

      May 27, 2013 at 4:01 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      No Ron
      I am against abortion, especially as used as a method of birth control, but an individuals right to legistlate ends at the next person. I do not have the right to legislate my personal beliefs on a woman. I am anti-abortion and at the same time pro-choice.
      So no Ron....just plain wrong on this one.

      May 27, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
    • Ron

      Richard, I like you. Athy, I am afraid you are deluded. You have believed the lies you have been shoveling.

      May 27, 2013 at 4:08 pm |
    • oOo

      interesting – usually faith quotes someone (without making it clear). here she substitutes the text. very devious

      May 27, 2013 at 4:09 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Hey, Ron? You know what is hypocritical? Caring more about a fetus than about about a living human. This baby spent three days dying while his parents did nothing. They chose to have this baby, chose to take responsibility for it, but failed their parental duty. That's criminal to any decent person.

      This baby did everything within his limited ability to tell his parents that he was in pain and needed help, but they ignored his cries because they feared for their own afterlife reward more than they loved their child. And he wasn't even the first of their children to die this way.

      If you think the suffering and betrayal that child experienced is equal to a short procedure that generally takes place before a fetus even has a working central nervous system, then you are a sick, sick person.

      May 27, 2013 at 4:14 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Ron, if you can't differentiate between a blastocyst or embryo or fetus that is less than 8 weeks old and a child, you have a problem. It seems to escape your notice that a born child has rights that a fetus does not have, and a woman has rights to her own body and the contents thereof before viability.

      Get over it.

      May 27, 2013 at 4:15 pm |
    • Athy

      Lies? What lies?

      May 27, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
    • Khloe

      Faith says: "I am teaching 2nd grade".
      I doubt it. You sound as if you haven't passed second grade yet. And if I were on the fence about God, nothing you have ever said would persuade me to believe; I would be horrified to think Christians act like you. Fortunately, I know better, and you, my dear little bitch, are an aberration.

      May 27, 2013 at 4:23 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Khloe, you rock. faith sucks the giant zucchini.

      May 27, 2013 at 4:25 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      faith
      You of course misunderstand. I do feel that abortion is wrong, but I cannot legislate on a womans body...you says you can legislate to murder anyone you want...incorrect, once born the child has its own right, it is before birth that is the debate, so stop trying to put words in my mouth.
      I am a male by the way idiot. I have told you that before.

      May 27, 2013 at 4:47 pm |
    • Khloe

      Thanks, Tom. I just don't get faith's intent; she sounds certifiable...and borderline illiterate. If she truly is a 2nd grade teacher, the standards where she lives must be *very* low.

      May 27, 2013 at 4:50 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      Tom and Khloe
      I think it was all a direct attack on me, just because faith is so far out there, nothing is in context well enough to hit home.
      Hence the confusion, which is normal when trying to figure out what faith/lol?? ever say.

      Likeliy a prepubescent boy who hasn't figured out anything except how to use a keyboard.

      May 27, 2013 at 4:55 pm |
    • Akira

      What is disturbing is that there isn't more condemnation and outrage amongst the known Christian crowd here; the only people that I have seen who are expressing dismay at the death of these two children are the posters with atheist and agnostic mindsets.
      Why is that, I wonder?

      These parents are abominations. They failed at the most basic level of parenthood not once, but twice.
      They deserve the harshest punishment possible. Period.

      May 27, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
    • Khloe

      Richard, thanks for the explanation. Faith still sounds a bit teched, no matter what age s/he is.

      May 27, 2013 at 5:04 pm |
    • Doobs

      @ Akira

      I agree, you would think that the christian community would be outraged at this. But to do so would be to admit, on a fundamental level, that the christian god either doesn't answer prayers, or that it doesn't care, or that it has a very twisted way of teaching its creation about its nature.

      May 27, 2013 at 5:10 pm |
    • wjmccartan

      Faith and Ron

      I did not say that they lacked faith and that is why their children died, that was said by their pastor Nelson Clark. When you two put on your cloaks of faith, do they protect you from the guilt of those who kill in gods name? All these books of faith were written by men, not by god. There was no fire on the mountain that inscribed these sins of man into rock. You two keep drinking the koolaid though, there must be a numbing agent in the drink.

      May 27, 2013 at 5:27 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.