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July 23, 2009

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That's downright disgusting!!! I'm all for religious nuts refusing medical care for themselves, but a child? The poor kid had no choice in the matter. If there is a heaven (fat chance) and they have a court up there, the child should sue her parents because they obviously didn't pray hard enough or perform enough penance.

that is the most idiotic thing i have ever heard. how could those parents be so cold. it irritates me so much.

I heard it on my way home yesterday. It should have been manslaughter at the least. Religion has been put on a pedestal to excuse so much but also the concept that a parent has the ultimate say over their child. It's a lingering remnant of the husband has the ultimate say over his wife. It is also Bible abuse as nothing in the Bible says what they are claiming. As you said, total hypocrisy on all levels. grrrrrrrr

Okay, I agree with these comments holding people responsible for their Religious craziness getting other people killed..

But lets ask another question... What if this family DID NOT use or value Allopathic medicine (typical Dr. Kildare stuff)... What if they followed Naturopathic Medicine.. and took their daughter to a ND instead of a MD and she died... should the be held liable...?

Like the young boy who was FORCED by the courts to undergo Chemo... instead of the family's wish for Naturopathic care...

There is sometimes a fine line between stupidity/ignorance and criminality.

I know of a parent who only fed her child fruit because she believed that was the natural diet of humans. As a result of this inadequate nutrition, the child had slow development and cognitive difficulties (it was a retard).

To you and me it is obvious that fruit is not enough. You need protein, EFA's, etc. for healthy growth, development and maintenance. This parent thought differently and was sincere in her beliefs.

Is this sad situation a criminal matter? The child was given all the fruit it wanted. It was never beaten or left out in the cold.

I guess a judge would have to determine if this was willfull neglect (the mother knew she was starving the child) or simply the case of a child being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Ignorance is no excuse. Not in tody's modern society.

And parents definitely are responsible for their children.

So for parents not to seek out some sort of medical treatment (either allopathic or naturopathic) - to DENY their helpless child any help or treatment from some sort of licensed doctor/physician or hospital - is clearly criminal. Its just like keeping a small child locked up in a room with no food or water until it dies. The parents should have been punished for their deliberate and willful ignorance in refusing to get adequate medical treatment, which is exactly what killed their child.


It is very common in India and in certain class of people where they can not afford medical treatment/ have low education and rely upon spiritual quacks.

In fact, a spiritual master who is concerned with the spirit never fiddles with bodily ailments. But always insists upon medical treatment in case of illness and asks for pray to God during this period. During this period, concentration towards any supernatural power for early recovery is eagerly looked for by the patient. It ultimately helps to build a strong self recovery mechanism. It is medicines which helps but pray to God works as a catalyst.

That is how I look at it and it works. I remember. One of my friends was suffering from cancer and ultimately expired after a long treatment. He always used to reply on enquiry about his health, “God is cleansing me before He takes me to His home, with a cool head.”

I do not know if I have been clear enough in my expression.

There is a difference between the action and the intention. In this case, it is difficult to criminalize parents if they genuinely believed that a course of action was in their child's best interest. Their action would have been driven by an acceptable intention. This is acknowledged in legal terms by the difference between an accident and a deliberate act. The issue for the court is to determine if the parents were genuine in their belief, and the primary driver of their action was good intent towards their child's well being. From Brian's post, it appears their intention was not honorable, for their belief did not extend to their own situation that God would protect them in court. If it could be discovered that their intention was indeed honorable, then this case falls into the same category as any other extremist act based upon belief, such as we see in terrorism, how can our society incubate such extremist and misguided belief systems?

"a spiritual master who is concerned with the spirit never fiddles with bodily ailments."

-- Yes and why should he? Most of these gurus are not medical doctors.

"asks for pray to God during this period. [...] concentration towards any supernatural power for early recovery [...] It is medicines which helps but pray to God works as a catalyst [...] and it works."

-- I don't agree. Praying to "supernatural power" or "God" has not been proven to "work". Reliance upon a supposed (but non-existant) supernatural power, is basically superstituous nonsense. However, as an alternative, the power of postive thinking, positive outlook, and positive affimation is well known and does help many people.

"I do not know if I have been clear enough in my expression."

-- On the contrary, you are doing very well.


There is a difference between "not been proven to work" and "being proven not to work". That difference may be similar to that of an open mind and a closed mind.

Phil said:

"it is difficult to criminalize parents if they genuinely believed that a course of action was in their child's best interest."

-- That is such lame thinking. In this case, the parents were totally responsible for their infant child. It doesn;t matter what they "believed". It only matters that THEY obstructed and deprived the child from getting life-saving medical treatment. There stupid belief is not more important than the life of a child. Belief is no excuse. They refused to let their child be treated, which caused the child to die. That IS criminal.

"Their action would have been driven by an acceptable intention."

-- No. To deny a simple but necessary medical treatment (that WOULD have easily saved the childs life) is NOT an "acceptable intention".

"the primary driver of their action was good intent towards their child's well being."

-- No it wasn't. Their priority was clearly their own ignorant religious beliefs, and not the needs of their helpless child. If their child had been their priority, they would have not hestated and would have taken her to a hospital without delay.

"From Brian's post, it appears their intention was not honorable"

-- Their intention was to folow their foolish religious beliefs, instead of getting their baby daughter the medicine that would easily have saved her life. They are just as guilty as if they had dumped her in a ditch to die alone. This is precisely what these insane religious believers and their incredibly ignorant superstitions and beliefs cause. They cause people to suffer and to die.

Justice was not served here, probably because Oregon has quite alot of these stupid idiotic religious types... and unfortunately, they get called to serve in court on juries.


+Ao
Do you personally know these people?
You have stated that you know their intentions, and completely overlooked my use of the word 'if'.
One has to be careful not to take away parents freedom to choose what they think is best for their child and inflict the beliefs of the Sate. I am not for one moment suggesting these parents were correct, far from it, but the situation opens up much deeper issues that are worthing of exploration

Phil,

Like I said, it doesn't matter WHAT they believed, or their "intentions". Their intentions (whatever they were) were obviously terribly misgided and directly resulted in the death of a child... a child that THEY were responsible for. Why is that so hard for people like you to see and to understand?

"One has to be careful not to take away parents freedom to choose what they think is best for their child and inflict the beliefs of the Sate."

-- WRONG. Maybe in your country you don't appreciate the rights of the individual, and the responsibility of the State to protect those rights. In this case, the "parents freedom to choose what they think" does not supersede the childs life.

The child's LIFE is paramount, and it far exceeds and outweighs the parent's "freedom to choose what they think". To hell with what the parents think. So your reasoning (or lack thereof) could not be more faulty and lame. And this is not about the "beliefs of the State". The beliefs were the parents beliefs, not the State's beliefs. The State should and must be able to protect the lives of children from such misguided and moronic parents. It's the parents who are at fault here, not the State.


I tend to agree with Phil and if we are to presume that the system works then the jury did the right thing.

Suppose these parents believed raping a small child was their offering to their god? Suppose they thought child sacrifice was what their god wanted and killed their child? I think if you take it far enough you realize that the state does have to protect children from some adults. We do this because we know there are parents who might say it's religion, say it's for the child's best to die, but we recognize the child didn't have a say in that choice. It's part of developing a culture to have such rules. These parents clearly broke the rules and should have both gone to prison for what they did. They are hypocrites to boot.

Either the parents acted with the best interests of their child in mind or they didnt. If their actions were not made in the knowledge that the best interests of their child were not being met, then the court has made an entirely wrong decision, these parents are criminals and our worry should be with the courts in Oregon. But If the courts were convinced that the parents truly believed that their course of action was the best for their child, then we have another problem, similar to that which breeds terrorism and other extremist behaviour.

As a society, we set limits as to what is acceptable in our belief systems and what is not, we both condition and encourage morally and socially acceptable behaviour via our educational and other influencing systems. An acceptable code of conduct underpins our laws and schools and our way of life. In the latter scenario, we should look to understand what is going wrong with our societal system that breeds this kind of extremism, just as we try to understand terrorism at its root.

Apologies, that first comment should have read
"If their actions were made in the knowledge that the best interests of their child were not being met, then the court has made an entirely wrong decision, these parents are criminals and our worry should be with the courts in Oregon."
Too many 'nots"
Sorry everyone!

Phil, interesting legal theory you set forth -- which, thankfully, isn't accepted in cases of child abuse, spouse abuse, and such. My wife was a psychotherapist in private practice for many years.

She encountered quite a few men, usually Christian, who believed that it was fine to beat their wife or children because, gosh, God has decreed that the man is the head of the family, and whatever he feels Jesus/God wants him to do, that's the best for everyone.

So I assume that if someone is a meth addict, and believes it is OK to not take their child to the doctor when seriously ill, because there's just no point and doctors don't know shit anyway, you feel this is a reason to absolve them of legal guilt?

What's the difference, as an Oregonian columnist pointed out, between someone high on deluded religious beliefs and someone high on a pharmaceutical?

If I'm ever stopped for speeding, I'll try telling the policeman, "I'm innocent because I didn't believe I was going that fast," or "I believed it was fine to go 90 on this stretch of road."

I'm up with the sort of moral relativism you espouse when breaking laws doesn't hurt other people. But when it puts innocents in danger, as in this case, they have to be protected from an attitude of "Hey, everyone is entitled to believe what they want to."

Really, this discussion shouldn't even be taking place. It's common sense. You have to go with the consensus in the society in which you live. You imply agreement by your presence. If your gods decree certain behaviors outside the societal standards and laws then you will have to go where no such standards are in place or go to jail. It's that simple.

If you want to practice roasting your child over an open fire I suggest moving to the Abbot Ice Shelf in Antarctica.

Tucson:
"Really, this discussion shouldn't even be taking place. It's common sense. You have to go with the consensus in the society in which you live. You imply agreement by your presence."

You have to go with the consensus ????
What about some episodes in Germany during the 20th century ... or dictatorships? ... or ... What define the consensus in non-democratic regimes?

Presence? Place of birth and citizenship is not a choice. Family, language, obligations neither ... how convenient to ignore so many issues and dilemmas ...

You are on something no doubt (perhaps something like the Universal Declaration of human rights would a better starting point ...) but man how stupid what some of what you just wrote is ... illustrate the shallowness, naivity and superficiallity of the main entertainers on this blog ...

"If you want to practice roasting your child over an open fire I suggest moving to the Abbot Ice Shelf in Antarctica."
This kind of suggestion is really raising the level of the discussion and help us understand the issues at hand, no doubt about it ...

Phil, you will eventually realize like George, Robert and all that you are wasting your time ...

If you desire any serious, sincere and intelligent interractions you need to find it somewhere but not here ...


Thank you elephant,
I have come to this tentative conclusion on past posts, and again, find it the case even with this post. Intelligent interactions are simply not possible here, which in itself is interesting and symptomatic of the underlying problem deep within the core of Western society. Brian, +Ao et al are of interest to me, the way they are blind to open discussion is indicative of a deep underlying problem with our Western culture, not any different to the problems we face in developing meaningful relationships with some of our Mid East societies. If we cannot communicate within same culture, what hope across cultural borders. Its been an interesting experience and quite informative, if but a tad primitive!

Elephant writes:

"You have to go with the consensus ????
What about some episodes in Germany during the 20th century ... or dictatorships? ... or ... What define the consensus in non-democratic regimes?"

--If you didn't go along with Hitler, he'd kill you. Right? So you went along with it or you moved to the Abbot Ice Shelf...of course you will think I literally mean the Abbot Ice Shelf.

"Presence? Place of birth and citizenship is not a choice. Family, language, obligations neither ... how convenient to ignore so many issues and dilemmas ..."

--Nevertheless, until the laws are changed, you either go along with them, go to jail, or get out.

"If you want to practice roasting your child over an open fire I suggest moving to the Abbot Ice Shelf in Antarctica."
This kind of suggestion is really raising the level of the discussion and help us understand the issues at hand, no doubt about it ..."

--lighten up elephant. it was just an exageration to make a point. It wasn't a serious comment to be taken literally.

"... illustrate the shallowness, naivity and superficiallity of the main entertainers on this blog ...Phil, you will eventually realize like George, Robert and all that you are wasting your time ... If you desire any serious, sincere and intelligent interractions you need to find it somewhere but not here ..."

--Then elephant, why are you here?


the elephant, you're failing to look at tuscon's comment in the context it was written. Copying what he wrote without understanding what he meant is akin to Biblical literalism -- words can't be taken at face value without comprehending their context.

tucson correctly noted that these Christian fundamentalists who let their child die are living in the state of Oregon, in the United States, which has laws prohibiting child abuse and child neglect. They have to live by those laws.

If they don't want to abide by state and national laws, then they should either: (1) go some place lawless, if they can find such a place (like the Antarctic ice shelf, which isn't part of any nation, or (2) accept the consequences of breaking the law.

Belief isn't a valid defense in cases of child neglect. Yes, intent can make a difference in how a crime is charged. That's why the parents of dead child Ava were charged with manslaughter, not murder. Manslaughter, in Oregon, basically means that a person knew that their actions could lead to the death of someone, and didn't act on that knowledge.

The church was warned by authorities when Oregon law allowing religious belief as a defense in failing to provide medical care to a child was changed. They knew Ava was seriously ill, because their fellow church members came over in large numbers a few days before she died to pray for her, and what not.

They should have been found guilty of manslaughter. But criminal neglect is better than getting off entirely. Hopefully this will serve as a warning to other religious crazies that their bozo beliefs can't lead to the death of innocents.

"Brian, +Ao et al are of interest to me, the way they are blind to open discussion is indicative of a deep underlying problem..."

-- Just because you say such distorted garbage, doesn't make it so. I could just as easily say that, in this present case and issue, you are extremely "blind". But then you are blind because you obviously do not understand the point that it was those parents beliefs that killed their child DEAD, but yet you want to defend and justify their "freedom" to believe that and do that.

As for "open discussion", neither Brian nor I are in any way curtailing open discussion. We have our opinions, and you have yours. And you have been free to discuss anything you like. Just because Brian and I and others do not agree with you and we feel that you are missing the critical point here, does not mean that we are "blind to open discussion".

You have presented your opinions and conclusions about those parents who let their child DIE because of their lame beliefs. But it is now quite obvious (from what you have said) that you care more about the parents right to their beliefs and their (supposedly good) "intentions", than the the child's right to LIVE. The child's right to have life-saving medical care - the right to remain alive - far exceeds and outweighs the parents right to their beliefs or their (supposed good) intentions. As it is said, 'the road to hell is paved with good intentions'.

The very fact that you want to rationalize and justify those parents right to believe as being above the fundamental right of that child to live, is imo terribly disturbing.

And even more so are your repeated attempts to distort and misrepresent Brian and his blog, as well as myself. I think all of this is a clear indication that you are a rather sick and warped individual who also lacks reason and basic common sense and logic.

I also think that your underlying agenda here is one of deliberate antagonism towards anyone who does not agree with your brand of (unbalanced) mentality and (distorted) views.

You are (imo) apparently a troll (probably also an RS fundamentalist) who is here primarily to attack and undermine Brian and his blog, as well as anyone who agrees with Brian. Because that is basically all you have done here.... and this latest issue (the parents who let their child die) is yet another example of your disgusting irrationality and deliberate distortion and antagonism.

Try as you may, you can't fool me. I've seen your type far too many times. And, if you do not like this blog (as you have recently expressed) then why are you still here? Its time for you to grow up and be a man Phil, or else find somewhere else to play your juvenile games.


> it was just an exageration to make a point. It wasn't a serious comment to be taken literally.

My points were not about the literality of your suggestion but broader dynamics that pertain to it ... 'make a point' ... 'my point' was among other things your superficiality ... Your exageration cuts through a lot subtle issues and matters ... I guess you just 'made one of my points' ....

Instead of reacting to a post perhaps you should read it and think for a short while ...

> lighten up elephant.

I guess you could have carried the same message to the judge, jurors, attorneys, accused, Brian for that matter , etc.

Why don't you say regarding Brian's strong and explicit reactions on the matter ... Hey Brian just lightens up!!!! Who cares ???

Humour and self-serving nonchalance displayed through the internet are too often the excuse of the pathetic man ....

>Then elephant, why are you here?

I was expecting this question from you after my message: is it obvious? Stupidity and ignorance are fairly entertaining ... the forum is also a fertile environment to witness certain dynamics and behaviors that fools like you and Tao endeavor to share with us ... At the heart of spirituality are profound delusions ... This forum is a fertile ground of evidence ...

So to answer your question : entertainment and knowledge ... Is it enough as an answer (that you keep asking) or should I dig my birth certificate just for you ...


Brian: Tucson spoke of a society in which we live ... everything was written very generically and generally... ... he never addresses any specificity ... read again.
I did not fail to ignore the context ... a contribution where the participants need to guess more than 75 percent of what a person meant regarding underlying issues that a general opinion may carry with itself are shallow interventions of very low quality and pretty much useless ... that was one of my points ...

It was so general that, as you do, someone may succesfully come up with what he may have implied in order to excuse him using the context after the fact. It is quite likely that Tucson did not think much about what he wrote and had some of the context in the background of his mind (without much intention and realization). If so, then his writing (and perhaps own thoughts) failed to express the several issues and subtilities associated with his opinions ... which was one of my points after all: superficiality, naivety, etc.



I have come to this tentative conclusion abpout Phil on his past posts, and again, find it the case even with this current bout of posts. Intelligent interactions are simply not possible with Phil, which in itself is interesting and symptomatic of the underlying problem deep within the core of Phil's psyche. But all this is terribly uninteresting, as the way Phil is blind to open discussion is indicative of a deep underlying problem within Phil's worldview. Not any different to the problems we face in developing meaningful relationships with some Mid East religious fundamentalists and terrorists. But if Phil cannot communicate sensibly with others on this blog, what hope is there for him? Phil has been typical of so many others of his ilk, even though they have been a tad more primitive in concealing their negative agenda.


My conclusion is that the Elephant is an unhappy, frustrated and unfulfilled person. This is unfortunate. I'm sorry that he/it must resort to such tactics of deliberately taking comments out of context, distorting the intended meaning to make him-itself feel somehow intellectually superior, and to making demeaning personal attacks which add as little to the discussion as the deficiencies he accuses others of.

the Elephant, it is you who is the pathetic one, and you know it.

TucsoN is already back with his bag of old tricks ... packing all of them in one post ... Good one! :)


Please Tucson,

provide the passages and texts of the textual context I ignored in my interpretation of your general statements and how you related directly to them ... I would appreciate if you could highligth them for me because I gues I missed them ... unless you somehow assume I am a mind reader.

Is it such an irreasonable stretch to see your statements as being general principles when there is no clear indication of the contrary and that you use them in the same post to judge of and validate a particular and hypothetical case ('If you want to practice roasting your child over an open fire') however absurd it is?


the Elephant,

Quit whining and move on.

Tucson lighten up! :)

I am moving on ... no problem ...

but ... as a wise man recently wrote

"It seems to me that it would end the controversy if Obama or the State of Hawaii would simply produce the real birth certificate. Case closed.

Phil, it seems to me you could put an end all this by simply providing the links to the studies instead of being evasive about it, but I don't think you can or you would have done so by now."

Somehow something here reminds me of the same narrated dynamic ... :)

Keeping replies to the post topics - this post, which is child sacrifice post, provides yet another example of the members and owner of this blog sitting in judgment,(this time of a court) without access to all the facts. How would Brian have written this post if the court had been allowed access to only the amount of information as provided in the newspapers and then made their ruling? This is what is happening here. Of value is to debate the various issues that arise: is a parent as culpable for withholding medical assistance as a parent who strikes a fatal blow to a child? If so, how does one define medical assistance? Intent is important, for one can hold an intention based upon a belief system, just as one can act when under hypnosis, in such cases, is the hypnotist without apportion of blame, is the conditioner of that parents thoughts without some responsibility?

These and many more are issues arising from this case, and well worthy of intelligent debate, but no - Brian, +Ao, et al have all taken the position of judgement, with only the sketchy newspaper reporter information, Church of the Churchless sits in judgement and hands out its verdict, in exactly the same way as it does on other topics. Take science bashers for example, Church of the Churchless vigorously defends SM without any apparent in depth knowledge, only that written in New Scientist and the like. Under the guise of open debate, any hint of serious debate is classified as science bashing and the requirement to not just identify, but collect and make an offering of the links and proofs to the Churchless Council is declared. What is so fascinating is that you seem to believe your own bullshit, that you are genuinely open to enquiry. The value for me lies in the subject of the topics, the debate sucks!

I have to agree with Phil here. While mostly I enjoy what Tao, Brian and Tucson write, sometimes they misinterpret comments like they do here with Phil's. Nothing wrong with that as we all do that to some extent. Phil raised some interesting topics that are open for discussion, he did not even present any conclusions, just things to consider about. I agree with him that intent is important. In saying that I am not apologising the actions of the parents but going a step further - blaming their thinking which resulted in their actions. As Phil pointed out it is not enough to just condone their actions and imprison them.
The problem is bigger as is the case of terrorism, you have to understand where it comes from and how to prevent such thinking from happening in the first place. ( though terrorism is a very different topic as its origins are diverse and cannot be pinpointed to religious fundamentalism )

Phil said that "we should look to understand what is going wrong with our societal system that breeds this kind of extremism, just as we try to understand terrorism at its root."

Amaranth, I agree. We've got to deal with the cause of this child abuse, which is dogmatic religious fundamentalism. Ava's parents elevated their bizarre form of Christianity above the needs of their child -- abstraction trumped reality.

That's what most commenters on this case have been saying, on this blog and elsewhere. I don't understand what other central issues have been missed.

Sure, the intentions of the parents need to be considered. But conviction on a manslaughter charge doesn't require intention. As I've been saying, if someone is hopped up on meth and doesn't realize his or her child is going to die without medical attention, that isn't a free pass from a manslaughter conviction.

They should have known better, but their own actions and deluded beliefs prevented them from saving a life. That's also the situation with the Worthingtons.

Their twisted fundamentalism skewed their view of the situation, leading them to falsely believe that praying to Jesus was going to cure Ava (even though quite a few other children are buried in their church's cemetery, other victims of child sacrifice).

Amaranth,

I think that you just don't know what you are talking about. I have not misintepreted Phil's comments. Phil is the one who has has misinterpreted the core of this issue. And so are you, if you agree with Phil.

Phil did present conclusions. And intent in this case is irrelevant. The child is dead, regardless of their (misguided) intentions.

You say that you are "not apologising the actions of the parents but going a step further". You say you are "blaming their thinking which resulted in their actions." Well thats exactly what I indicated as well. So thats why I say that it is YOU who has misinterpreted what I said.

You also said that, "it is not enough to just condone their actions and imprison them". But neither I nor Brian condoned their actions. In fact, quite the opposite. And imprisoning them is not condoning their actions either. So clearly, you have again misinterpreted what we have said.

Also terrorism has nothing to do with this, so why are you bringing that into it? This is simply a matter of some parents who put their twisted religious fundamentalism above their own childs life. You can say that religion caused them to do this, and that may be true, but it was still their own choice to NOT do whatever was necessary to save their child's life.



Sorry, I got my english mixed up. It's condemn not condone :)

I agree with you Tao. In the end it was their own choice to not do what they had to do. But intent is important here as obviously they intended to do prayer instead of going to hospital. So eventhough they intended good for their daughter it was in reality a bad intention, immoral even, as it was oppossed to reality. Yes this has been said many times in the comments, this is why I am more interested in the problem of blind belief in society. But I know little about american society so I can't really say anything meaningful about it.

When dealing with adults, my morality is simple. People should be allowed to do what they please, with the well-established limits being the prohibition against force, threats, stealing, and deception.

With children, it's of course trickier, since there's clearly a time when they can't be responsible for themselves.

There's no simple solution... but it's clear to me that it'd be a huge and horrific danger for the government to dictate how parents raise their children. Who knows... if today in the US the majority of the population could, through gov't, dictate how children are treated, they might decide that everyone under 18 must attend church.

A family of witches or fundy Xians or pagans or whatever might raise kids in awful ways... but the extent of the damage is always far far less than bad child-rearing laws enforced on everyone by the gov't.

Bottom-line: the default should be to allow parents wide latitude to raise kids how they want, even when it conflicts with the beliefs of the majority.

With adults, we need to criminalize someone who beats or steals from another... but still allow awful behavior, such as watching a blind man walk off a cliff without warning or helping him. The principle is that active wrongdoing can be punished while passive wrongdoing is not. So I'm more comfortable with, say, laws that prohibit parents from beating their children, than with laws that'd force parents to follow protocols of Western medicine.

Stuart
http://stuart-randomthoughts.blogspot.com/

Stuart, I couldn't disagree more with you. You're condoning child sacrifice. These parents didn't thoughtfully choose medical treatment for Ava's infections that they thought would be more effective than Western medicine. They are religious crazies who believe Jesus heals and that it is a sin to seek any form of health care when ill.

Ava didn't have a chance to choose her religion, philosophy, or path in life. Her parents let her die in the name of their insane dogmatism. There is no excuse for this. None. Zero.

Also, I disagree that people should be able to stand by and let other people be killed or seriously injured without helping them. Oregon law, like most states, agrees. That's why manslaughter and criminal neglect statutes are on the books.

You say that beating someone should be criminalized. But standing by while your child is "beaten to death" by an easily treatable illness -- that's OK to you. I don't get it. There's no difference between a parent sitting and watching bacteria kill a child, or a parent sitting and watching a thug kill a child.


"Her parents let her die in the name of their insane dogmatism. There is no excuse for this. None. Zero."

-- Playing devils advocate just for the hell of it: There would be no excuse for it if the parents KNEW their dogmatism would likely result in the death of their child. In absence of proof of this...not guilty by reason of insanity?

I wonder how these parents feel now that Jesus has failed them? This is not rhetorical. Are there any reports of remorse on their part? Do they still trust Jesus? Would they do the same thing again? Maybe they rationalize the whole thing by thinking that Jesus had a higher calling for their daughter, i.e. painful death (sacrifice for sins) followed by heaven?


Brian wrote...
> They are religious crazies who believe
> Jesus heals and that it is a sin to seek
> any form of health care when ill.

When you seek to force someone to act as you think they should, you should meet an extremely high standard. Someone’s religious craziness comes nowhere close to meeting that standard; so it’s irrelevant to discussion of whether you should forcefully interfere in their choices.

> Her parents let her die in the name of
> their insane dogmatism. There is no
> excuse for this.

It's common that people do dogmatic, stupid, bad things. It’s much rarer that you’re justified in using force against them. If someone's dogmatism, stupidity, and badness were in themselves justification for using force against them, the level of conflict in society would be horrific. An act being bad is nowhere near justification for making it illegal.

> But standing by while your child
> is "beaten to death" by an easily
> treatable illness -- that's OK to you.

I made no mention whatsoever of whether or not the parents' actions are OK to me. What you do may not be OK with me, but that doesn't mean I should force you to do otherwise.

Your right to raise children according to your own values is precious. To whatever extent you infringe on other people having this right, to that extent you weaken your own claim to it.

This doesn't mean that you should never interfere in other people's family lives (and I never suggested such). It does mean that we should take great care to set the bar very high, when seeking to justify forceful interference based merely on charges (even if true) of dogmatism, stupidity, or craziness. Principles of tolerance mean next to nothing unless they're extended to people you consider bad and stupid.

Stuart
http://stuart-randomthoughts.blogspot.com/

Stuart, you seem to be beating around the bush. Perhaps you could answer a couple of simple questions:

(1) Were the parents of Ava responsible for her death, by failing to give her treatment for her easily curable medical condition?

(2) Is it OK for parents to allow their child to die because their religious beliefs forbid seeking medical care, no matter now serious a condition is?

I say, yes and no. I'm curious as to what your one-word answers are. I'm looking for yes or no, not maybe, because a child is either alive or dead, not inbetween. "Maybe" never was an option for Ava.

Another fact for your consideration: this is an Oregonian story about the death's of other children belonging to the Worthington's church:
http://www.oregonlive.com/clackamascounty/index.ssf/2009/07/followers_of_christ_church_has.html

"The Followers of Christ have a long history of children dying from untreated medical conditions.

Of 78 children buried in the church cemetery from 1955 to 1998, at least 21 could have been saved by medical intervention, according to a 1998 analysis by The Oregonian.

None of the deaths from that era, including the high-profile case of an 11-year-old boy who died from diabetes, resulted in prosecution."

But now they are. Do you favor prosecuting parents who let children die, Stuart? I do. Here's another yes/no question for you.

Dear Brian,

Beat him over the head! How dare he goddamn not agree to what you proclaim as the way that all must be forced to go along with!

Robert Paul Howard

Robert, huh? What are you talking about?

I disagree with Stuart. He disagrees with me. What are you so upset about?

How about if I reflect your comment back at you:

"Robert, beat me over the head! How dare I goddamn not agree to what you proclaim as the way that all must be forced to go along with!"

Which, I assume, is not responding to someone who expresses a view that I disagree with.

Robert, this is a blog. On blogs, a person writes something. Then other people comment on what that person has written. Then the first person often comments on their comments.

And so it goes: discussion, debate, disagreement. What's wrong with that?

Yes, I feel strongly about Ava's death. I have a two year old granddaughter, just a little older than Ava.

If she was ill with a problem that only required antibiotics to cure, and she died because some religious fanatics believed that it is a sin to take a child to the doctor, there is no way I'd say, "Hey, they had a right to their beliefs."

I don't want any more children to die at the hands of these so-called Followers of Christ. The reason more than 20 children have died at their hands is that no one had the guts to stand up and say, "This is wrong. It has to stop."

Thankfully, the Portland Oregonian newspaper did just that. Their reporting some years back led to the state legislature changing the law that allowed a religious exemption for child neglect, or whatever you call failing to give a seriously ill child needed medical care.

I make no apologies for standing up for Ava and against child killers. None. Zero. If others want to argue in favor of the Worthingtons, that's their business. And I'll continue to argue against them, so long as I feel I have another point that needs to be made.

Hey ... Where is Tucson to tell Brian to chill out? He has repeatedly told others to do so for far less in the past ... It is summertime after all ... What is is ... who cares ... Wait! I guess that would not serve him personnally and in small way to do so ... I see ...

First, I want to say that on this issue, I stand 100 percent in agreement with Brian.

And second, I think that guys like Stuart have utterly missed the point. Sturat who is rather poorly rationalizing the very avoidable death of a young girl. I do agree that the government should not tell people what to do... EXCEPT in cases like this where their actions (or lack of action) represent a dire threat to the life of a defenseless child. Meaning, in this case they DO NOT have the right to do as they please with their child. The child's life takes absolute priority over all, including over the parents personal freedom or religion. Anyone who cannot understand this basic principle is seriously lacking in reason, intelligence, and common sense. Children must be protected from parents who are irrational religious fanatics. No child should ever be deprived adequate and necessary medical assistance. It is not the right of parents to allow their children to die simply because they believe in prayer and not in modern medicine. They have absolutely no right to impose their beliefs upon another human being, and even less upon children, and especially if those beliefs are a threat to the life of a child (as it obviously was in thjis case). No one has a right to obstruct or deny a child necessary medical assistance to prevent that child from dying.

So I stand firm with Brian when he says:

"I make no apologies for standing up for Ava and against child killers. None. Zero. If others want to argue in favor of the Worthingtons, that's their business. And I'll continue to argue against them"


Stuart has written:

"When you seek to force someone to act as you think they should, you should meet an extremely high standard."

-- What? You don't think that a child's LIFE is important enough, that it doesn't meet the standard? Are you insane Stuart? I don't think you are, but it sure sounds that way. Get some perspective dude. Rights are npo doubt important, and the govenment should not violate peoples rights... but when a childs life is at stake, or threatened, their rights and freedom to raise their child become secondary. So if parents actions (or non-action) threatens the life of a child, then YES the government "should forcefully interfere in their choices".

"It's common that people do dogmatic, stupid, bad things."

-- No Stuart, those parents did not just do some minor "dogmatic stupid, bad things"... they caused the DEATH of their child, they allowed their child to DIE, because they would not give her some simple medical care that would have easily saved her life.

"If someone's dogmatism, stupidity, and badness were in themselves justification for using force against them, the level of conflict in society would be horrific. An act being bad is nowhere near justification for making it illegal."

-- Thats crazy. You are still totally missing the point. To obstruct and prevent a child from getting necessary live-saving medical treatment, so as to cause that child to die, is most certainly "justification for making it illegal".

"What you do may not be OK with me, but that doesn't mean I should force you to do otherwise."

-- Its not about whether its OK with YOU. Its about the life of a child. And if force is necesasary to save that childs life from parents whose beliefs are a serious threat to that childs life, then that does justify force. Parents freedom to raise their children, but that freedom ends when they are no longer acting in the best interest and the life of the child.

"Your right to raise children according to your own values is precious."

-- Yes, BUT it is nowhere near as precious than the child's life.

"To whatever extent you infringe on other people having this right, to that extent you weaken your own claim to it."

-- Wrong. The child could not speak or act for herself. The parents had NO right to "infringe" and deny the child medicine that would have saved her life. You entire premise is backwards.

"It does mean that we should take great care to set the bar very high, when seeking to justify forceful interference based merely on charges (even if true) of dogmatism, stupidity, or craziness."

-- This is not about some mere "dogmatism, stupidity, or craziness". It is all about the child desparate need for medical treatment, and the parents refusal to obtain that, which then directly resulted in the child's DEATH.

"Principles of tolerance mean next to nothing unless they're extended to people you consider bad and stupid."

-- Again, you don't get the point. There should be NO "tolerance" whatsoever when "bad and stupid" represents a serious threat to a childs life, or in this case, the child's DEATH.

Is that so hard for you to understand? The fundamental RIGHT of the child to LIVE comes FIRST. Then and only then, the parents rights and freedoms come second. Not the other way around.

tAo sounds reasonable to me, but maybe we're the crazy ones and it's the Jesus freak parents who are sane. Could it be I who am blind to the powers and blessings of almighty Lord Jesus the only begotten Son, since the Big Bang, of God?

I think until a child is old enough to make serious adult decisions for themselves then we must go with the consensus of the status quo and protect them from fringe beliefs especially when they threaten the childs life.

Is Jesus really going to be that pissed of if they give the kid some anti-biotics? I thought he was supposed to be compassionate and understanding. If the drugs don't work, that's the time to start praying.

the elephant, here's an amazing thought for you to ponder:

I can tell one person to chill out, and I can get steamed up about what another person says.

I can respond to different situations differently!

Time to dig out an Emerson quote:

"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines."

Dear Brian (et al.),

So, how do you feel about a woman's "right" to have an abortion?

Robert Paul Howard

Robert, by your putting "right" in quotation marks, I assume your question is really a statement. You want to say "I don't feel a woman has a right to an abortion," but for some reason you're asking me how I feel rather than saying how you feel.

I feel a woman has a right to an abortion so long as the fetus isn't viable, which I think is how the Supreme Court has ruled, basically (not a big expert on abortion law).

How do you feel about this? Is my assumption correct, that you don't believe a woman should be able to choose whether or not to carry a pregnancy on to full-term?

Dear Brian,

Your first assumption is in error.

Secondly, your statement of what I "want to say" is likewise in error.

And, thirdly, your attribution of "some reason" for my making my query is also fallacious.

You don't appear to do very well in your presumptous attempt at telling me what is the content of my mind, nor of the purpose of my question(s).

Perhaps this is just because you merely want(ed) to "...beat me over the head!...." But I dare point out that "...I goddamn [do] not agree to what you proclaim as the way that all must be forced to go along with!" - as per the content of my question at this very least.

Thanks, however, for actually bothering to respond to my question (as unlike the "alii"). It appears that our viewpoints are actually quite similar:

I am personally willing to allow a full and unimpeded "right" to every pregnant woman to have an abortion of the fetus she is carrying for the first two trimesters of her pregnancy. And this is despite the -->fact<-- that - if the (normal) pregnancy is continued - the resulting growth will result in a human child (not just some undifferentiated blob of protoplasmic matter). Therefore, I am stating that - for the first two trimesters - I am willing to put the life-and/or-death determination about a fetus' continuance in the absolute choice/will of the pregnant woman. I might counsel her, or advise her, to continue the pregnancy to full term, but I consider it her "right" to make that determination absolutely on her own. Even for immorally selfish and/or vicious reasons. (And this is quite unlike the degree of [granted] "right[s]" most American women had before the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision in the Supreme Court.)

In the third trimester of a pregnancy, however, I believe that the surrounding community (approximately = "the State") does have an appropriate "right" to interfere (if they/"it" so choose) in the absoluteness of such a pregnant woman's "right" to make a decision for having an abortion. In the third trimester, I personally opine that "the State" might demand that the pregnant woman offer some further presentation of reason(s)/rationalization(s)/excuse(s) for expunging the life of her fetus. I find the increasing "maturation" of the fetus (to "babyhood"), as it progresses toward parturition, at this point gives "the State" a "right" to (perhaps) demand continuation of this pregnancy to full term. I do not argue that "the State" should possess a total and full "right" to overrule a pregnant woman's "right" to an abortion in the third trimester. But I do believe that in each case this conflict of "rights" must be examined, considered, and "ruled" upon (by a - hopefully! - independent judiciary, or other body of rational judges). Personally, I oppose "partial-birth abortions" - and, personally, I find the execution of a fetus that is just a few days pre-partum (as most probably determinable) to be sufficiently similar to the execution of a post-partum baby so as to deserve the same type of prosecution for murder - as "child killers" - as the second instance would (probably) receive.

So: your assertions about me and my query are utterly false and mistaken. They were fine ways to "beat me over the head," but they do not deserve respect. I would hope that all can see that what you "proclaim[ed]" should not be "go[ne] along with."

I would further suggest that your critical eye might have done better to have excoriated such of your colleagues as stated: "The fundamental RIGHT of the child to LIVE comes FIRST. Then and only then, the parents rights and freedoms come second. Not the other way around." This sounds to me quite a lot like the extreme message that anti-abortionists make - overruling every woman's (so-called) "right" to her personal life decision in re. reproduction/abortion by having "the State" ram its collective determination down her throat. While I admit that my two trimester, unimpeded dictatorship of a woman over her personally carried fetus can very well lead to various instances of regretable and "immoral" results (which some women may greatly regret after the fact), I yet affirm that I consider my "philosophical" stance to be a better balance of conflicting "rights" than such other, more extreme views. And I also am, thereafter, very wary of "the State" (= "others") seeking to rule over various individuals in their private lives and decisions in every other instance just as well. (This is why the determination of where "abuse" begins is something that needs more than just a dismissive ~go research the lawcodes~ type of response, when it is asked. On the other hand, people who can't see any "difference between a parent sitting and watching bacteria kill a child, or a parent sitting and watching a thug kill a child" might be rather incapable of making other distinctions just as well.)

But, who cares? It's all just "words" and "concepts" anyway, huh?

After all, (some) Americans had the "right" (in some states) to possess slaves before the 1865 enactment of the Thirteenth Amendment. And the derogation of some by others is a widely presumed "right" enshrined in many (enforced) worldviews yet today. The process of "Tao" working itself out/along is an ongoing process - often filled with pain and regret.

But you don't appear to regret "[b]eat[ing others]...over the head...[if they]...dare...goddamn not agree to what you proclaim as the way that all must be forced to go along with!"

Certainly we do differ.

Robert Paul Howard

Robert, you're very sensitive. I didn't bash you over the head. I responded to your comment.

I answered your question about abortion. And you answered mine. Basically, we seem to agree.

Somehow you view disagreement as "beating others over the head." As I noted before, open and honest communication is what blogs are for.

People, which includes me, obviously, shouldn't be afraid to speak their minds. Occasionally strong words will offend someone, like you.

Well, speaking the truth is more important than keeping other people completely happy. I'm sorry that you've been bothered by my strong defense of Ava's right to live.

As I explained, I love my granddaughter. I am repulsed by the idea of defenseless children being allowed to die by their parents, which I call "child sacrifice." That's the truth. I'll stick with it.

Somebody wrote so appropriate comment on a related article in oregon newspaper

"empathetic9 on 07/14/09 at 2:33PM
Seriously??? They don't believe in taking their children to doctors to save their lives but they do not have a problem hiring a doctor to testify for them to save their own butts?!?!?!??! I am so disgusted."

Dear Brian,

Thanks for your supposed "truth" that I am "very sensitive." I suppose that is true in instances wherein various people (like you) twist my queries into statements by which I do not stand (like you did). (And even if that is not to be construed as a form of "bash[ing someone]...over the head" - of which I am not yet convinced.)

You seem to think that -->wrong words<-- are the same as "strong words." It is also, in my opinion, regretable that you are "sorry" about what doesn't bother me.

Perhaps you might keep in mind that: "People...[who respond to your assertions of "truth"] shouldn't be afraid to speak their minds...[even though] occasionally strong words will offend someone, like you."

Character assassination and the twisting of another's words do not promote "open and honest communication" - even it is "truth" that is thereby supposedly being pursued.

Robert Paul Howard

Robert, one more time: you're putting words into my mouth. I didn't way it was the "truth" that you're sensitive. I simply said, "you're very sensitive."

When speaking or writing, people don't preface every statement with "I think" or "I feel" or "I consider." That's taken for granted. Otherwise we'd spend a lot of verbiage on restating the obvious: aside from facts like 2 + 2 = 4 (and even that could be challenged by someone, I'm sure), every statement is personal, not some objective truth proclamation from on high.

I've been expressing truths as I see them. You express your truths as you see them. That's what comment conversations in blogs are for: give and take. You seem to be looking for something else, and are disappointed that you haven't found it. I guess I'm confused about what that something else is.

Robert said to Brian: "your critical eye might have done better to have excoriated such of your colleagues as stated {by tAo]:

"The fundamental RIGHT of the child to LIVE comes FIRST. Then and only then, the parents rights and freedoms come second. Not the other way around."

This sounds to me quite a lot like the extreme message that anti-abortionists make - overruling every woman's (so-called) "right" to her personal life decision in re. reproduction/abortion by having "the State" ram its collective determination down her throat."

-- The big problem here Robert, is that I was not referring to unborn fetuses or pregnant mothers. I was referring only to an already born young child. Big difference. And this is typical of how you tend to take someone's statement (mine), and then shift the meaning and the point of it, so you can attempt to apply it to something totally different. And to put it bluntly, thats bullshit. What I said applied only to an already existing child, not a pregnancy.

"I yet affirm that I consider my "philosophical" stance to be a better balance of conflicting "rights" than such other, more extreme views."

-- Well there is nothing "extreme" in my own views about sinply protecting the young children and their "rights" from parents who DO have "more extreme" religious views and beliefs that clearly represent a danger and a risk to their children.

"people who can't see any "difference between a parent sitting and watching bacteria kill a child, or a parent sitting and watching a thug kill a child" might be rather incapable of making other distinctions"

-- You seem to fail to see that the all important factor here is that the result is the same... namely a dead child.

"But, who cares? It's all just "words" and "concepts" anyway, huh?"

-- Well apparently you don't care.

"But you don't appear to regret "[b]eat[ing others]...over the head...[if they]...dare...goddamn not agree to what you proclaim as the way that all must be forced to go along with!"

-- Thats just more bullshit. Brian did not "beat" you over the head. And certainly far less than YOU beat people over the head.
So I'd venture to say that you appear to have a double standard. One for yourself, and quite another one for others like Brian and I. I wonder if you would be as so inclined to do the same with people in person? Because, in a real life situation, the way that you contentiously and hypocritically react and then deliberately misrepresent other folks (like Brian and I) for your own antagonistic agenda, you'd probably get your ass kicked in short order. I think you are probably one of those kind of guys who like to talk big and smart on the internet, but you wouldn't dare do that in a real live situation. You like to think that you are so smart in your devious attempts at twisting and undermining Brian, but you're not.

You're just an asshole, imo... and your attitude here on this blog (consistently) sucks, imo. You don't like that eh? Well thats just tough asshole.

Robert, look back through the various comments, from time to time there are those who have thought this blog might be a sane place to discuss important issues, but have quickly found this to be the hangout of arrogant simpletons. Consider the intellectual evolutionary level of Tao, whose only resource is to express himself using words such as asshole. Your valiant attempts to encourage Brian to examine his own comments is wasted, he is blinded by his own enormous ego.

Walker, both Robert and yourself are the arrogant simpletons.

Your poor intellectual level is seen in the obvious shallowness and blindness as expressed in your own comment. But thanks anyway for revealing just how little you do understand. In fact, by the the content of your comment, it is quite evident that you haven't got a clue.

When someone like Robert consistently has the attitude of an asshole, then why should that not be noted? Moreover, it is Robert who needs to examine his own comments, as then perhaps he might someday see "his own enormous ego". But then that also applies just as much to "arrogant simpletons" like yourself.

Walker, please be more specific: how have I been blinded by my enormous ego? Are you saying that I should look upon child sacrifice more favorably?

If not that, then what? It's easy to spout insults...tougher to back them up with reasonable assertions.

Sure, I have an ego. Don't you? What makes you write a comment saying that someone else has an enormous ego? Could that "what" perhaps be your own ego?

I suspect so. Welcome, brother. We are ego-comrades.

Brian's comment is a better approach to the comment by Walker.

In other words, how is being against parents who wish to impose their odd (and harmful) religious beliefs upon a child, and causing the child to die for lack of simple medical care... how does that make one an "arrogant simpleton" with an "enormous ego"??

And so therefore, how should the rest of us (who are firmly on the side of the rights of the child) view Walker's "intellectual evolutionary level"??

Walker's comment was aimed at defending Robert, because Walker is annoyed by my use of the term "asshole" to describe Robert. However, the fact remaims that Robert has acted like an asshole in numerous of his comments on this site, imo. Therefore, Robert is definitely not exempt from criticism. And if Walker can derogatorily call Brian and others (including myself) a bunch of "arrogant simpletons" etc, then I can certainly call him an asshole.

But as Brian has pointed out so many times, name calling is not productive or conducive to intelligent discussion. Nevertheless, if someone is going to act like an asshole by calling Brian and others various derogatory names, then they may just end up getting called an asshole in return. That is not to justify it, but only to say that 'what goes around, comes around'.

If Walker does not wish to be called an asshole, then he/she should then refrain from calling others "arrogant simpletons".

To all:

I offer my apologies for not responding more quickly, but I do not have constant access to the internet.

Nevertheless, I am not in the least surprised that the thug who hides behind the phony name "tAo" has again aimed his "[c]haracter assassination and the twisting of...words" against me as he has done in the past. But I would much rather be what he calls an "asshole" than be in concert with his typical style of engaging in abuse against most all whom he disagrees with. His definition of what is "bullshit" is quite different from mine, and I reject his presupposition in thinking that his viewpoints are so fundamental that he is always right and that all should go along with him/them. He presumes to sit in judgment over me by stating what I "seem to fail to see" and by presuming to define what I don't "care" about - as if his opinions were somehow accurate or definitive. It would appear that he thinks that he has the prerogative of asserting his (often poorly informed) opinions as if they were the defining terms for interpreting every consideration.

At the same time, however, he doesn't like me co-opting his words to illustrate what -->"sounds...like"<-- the extreme message that anti-abortionists make (whether he used the words for that purpose or not).

Everyone, please notice that - unlike I (or Brian, for that matter) - this "tAo" has not actually spelled out his opinion(s) on the topic of a woman's "right" to have an abortion. Rather than revealing his stance on this, he turns back to a different topic ("an already born young child") and simply doesn't tell just how "extreme" (or not) his opinions on abortion actually are. This technique is typical of his mode of arguing/bitching. He reveals as little of himself and his opinions as he can and simply uses another point upon which to build his response. He is not concerned for openness, merely for building up an excuse for his name calling. But as anti-abortionists would point out - with regard to both my stance and Brian's - "the all important factor here is that the result is the same... namely a dead child" (when looked at in terms of a fully permitted three trimester pregnancy). This "tAo" guy doesn't offer his view(s) on the topic of abortion whatsoever.

While I do appreciate one fellow's attempt "at defending" me, I must also say that this "tAo" is no simpleton. He is skilled in debate and arguing. He is, however, thoroughly "arrogant" in his behavior on this blog - as Brian has allowed his "philosopher" to be for years. He has further clearly expressed his hope that I might suffer violence by getting my "ass kicked in short order" (maybe even by Brian or himself) "in a real live situation." Well, I'm certainly no motorcycle-riding weight lifter or martial arts practitioner, yet I have had to stand up against other bullies on occasion. Both physically and intellectually. I don't like the experience, but sometimes it is necessary. (And I have noticed no criticism from Brian against this implicit hope for violence against me, unlike how he castigated "George" for "barroom" contentiousness when he offered physical response against this "tAo's" blustering threats. Brian accepts from this "tAo" what he criticizes in others.)

It would seem: "...that...["tAo"]...appear[s] to have a double standard. One for...[him]self, and quite another one for others like..." me and/or anyone else who displeases him. "However, the fact remaims [sic] that...["tAo"] has acted like an asshole in numerous of his comments on this site, imo. Therefore,...[he] is definitely not exempt from criticism....But as Brian has pointed out so many times, name calling is not productive or conducive to intelligent discussion. Nevertheless, if someone is going to act like an asshole by calling...others various derogatory names, then they may just end up getting called an asshole in return. That is not to justify it, but only to say that 'what goes around, comes around'." But I expect this "tAo" guy will continue to act as if only he has the "right" to denominate "assholes."

Further, "[w]hen someone like...["tAo"] consistently has the attitude of an asshole, then why should that not be noted? Moreover, it is...["tAo"] who needs to examine his own comments, as then perhaps he might someday see "his own enormous ego"." Yet I have never found him capable of that in the last few years. It perhaps ought become standard practice on this blog to tell "tAo": "You're just an asshole, imo... and your attitude here on this blog (consistently) sucks, imo. You don't like that eh? Well thats [sic] just tough asshole."

But you can all examine the record above - and of the past several years (despite a few of Brian's deletions) - and determine your own assessments of me and about/toward this old bullying thug who - unlike myself (and Brian) - hides himself behind a set of phony names, yet accuses me of cowardice.

Also, everyone please realize that I do not disagree with everything that this "tAo" guy says, just because it's coming from him. Sometimes I agree with him completely, as, for example, when he stated: "-- Well, I [= "tAo"] don't love me. I think I am a mean hard-ass. Also btw, I am not some "character" or some "illusion". I am a REAL LIVE sob.... not to mention being a GIHF too." (Posted by: tAo | June 19, 2009 at 01:37 PM, on Brian's 6/18/09 essay)

I agree with that opinion.

Robert Paul Howard

Dear Brian,

Regarding your July 30, 2009, @ 12:35 PM reply (above), the only words I "put ...into...[your] mouth" were your own words.

You, on the other hand, put another quite different sentiment "into" my "mouth" (so to speak) from what I asked (as per your July 28, 2009, @ 8:01 AM response [above]).

Ergo, you also "appear to have a double standard" in how different people are permitted to interact/behave on your blog. One for you, and another for me/others.

Robert Paul Howard

Robert, I'm not sure what double standard you're referring to. I can tell you with a high degree of confidence that the person who gets insulted the most in comments on this blog is...me.

People with thin skin can't be bloggers, unless they're just posters of cute pictures of their cat, or whatever (even then, I bet they'll get some jerks saying "That's the ugliest fucking cat I've ever seen; it should be thrown into a pit bull kennel."

I don't like it when commenters are unnecessarily rude to other commenters, including you. I do my best to be respectful and fair-minded myself. The problem is finding the line between passionate defense of a position, and attacking a person rather than what they're saying.

As I've noted before, I try to tilt toward free speech when there is a doubt about whether someone has crossed the line. And I also try to consider a person's whole history of commenting. Some people clearly are 100% out to disrupt discussions here (the "trolls"), while others are sincerely churchless yet occasionally a bit extreme in their language.

Robert,

As usual, your comment to me and about me, is full of inaccuracies, distortions, and outright misrepresentations.

Here is a sample and evidence of that.

Robert said:

"the thug who hides behind the phony name "tAo""

-- There is no way to tell whether your name is real either. And for all anyone knows, it is a "phony name" as well. Who cares anyway? Its all about what you say, not what name you use.

"has again aimed his "[c]haracter assassination and the twisting of...words against me as he has done in the past."

-- I did no such thing. I called you an asshole because thats the way you come across here, imo. You call me a "thug". Is that any different? Look at your own antagonism.

"his typical style of engaging in abuse against most all whom he disagrees with. [...] his presupposition in thinking that his viewpoints are so fundamental that he is always right and that all should go along with him/them. [...] he thinks that he has the prerogative of asserting his (often poorly informed) opinions as if they were the defining terms for interpreting every consideration."

-- I have never said or implied anything remotely like that. And I have my own opinons about various matters, just like you have yours.

"he doesn't like me co-opting his words to illustrate what "sounds...like" the extreme message that anti-abortionists make"

-- Again, the issue of the littel girl dying because she was denied medical care was never related to abortion in the first place. You are the one who introduced abortion into this. And I have exibited no such "anti-abortion" stance whatsoever. You are again misrepresenting me, as you often do.

"this "tAo" has not actually spelled out his opinion(s) on the topic of a woman's "right" to have an abortion."

-- I don't have to. It was not a factor in this matter. But fyi, and contrary to your misrepresentation of me, I have never attempted to hide the fact that I am not opposed to womens right to abortions, and I have never indicated that I am opposed to abortion. Actually I am neither anti-aborton nor pro-abortion. Imo its a womans individual choice. But I am concerned that existing underage children do not get denied or blocked from getting basic medical care, if their life depends upon it. So, quit twisting and misrepresenting my words and my position. Its dishonest.

"Rather than revealing his stance on this, he turns back to a different topic ("an already born young child") and simply doesn't tell just how "extreme" (or not) his opinions on abortion actually are."

-- My opinions on this issue (the child who died because od her parents refusal to get her medical care) are not "extreme" at all, and there has been no such indication of that from my side. And I did not "turn back to any other "different topic". I remained on the topic. You are the one who attempted to change the topic over to abortion in order to misrepresent me.

"He reveals as little of himself and his opinions as he can and simply uses another point upon which to build his response."

-- No. I have consistently remained right on topic with this issue. All of my comments on this issue prove that. You are the one who has been distorting this issue to fit your own disingenuous and underhanded antagonistic agenda.

"But as anti-abortionists would point out - with regard to both my stance and Brian's - "the all important factor here is that the result is the same... namely a dead child"

-- Fyi, that quote was mine. I said that. But I was talking about a living young child who died unnecessarily because she was denied medical care, not an aborted unborn child. That is the important difference.

"This "tAo" guy doesn't offer his view(s) on the topic of abortion whatsoever."

-- Why should I? Abortion was not a factor in this issue. Abortion was only your concern. I don't have to "offer" my views on matters. But if you had simply asked me, instead of trying to frame me, then I would have had no problem telling you my views. I have nothing to hide. You are the one who has been going about this in a rather dishonest and underhanded way.

"this "tAo" [...] He is [...] thoroughly "arrogant" in his behavior on this blog - as Brian has allowed his "philosopher" to be for years."

-- No more "arrogant" than you have been. But your idea of what constitues arrogance is far from being fact or reality.

"I have had to stand up against other bullies on occasion."

-- The bully here is YOU Robert. Go back and look at most of your comments. The evidence is there.

"this implicit hope for violence against me"

-- There was no such "hope for violence". I simply observed that if you talk towards other people in a real life situation, as you do towards myself and others here, then you might find yourself in a bit of trouble.

"Brian accepts from this "tAo" what he criticizes in others."

-- No he absolutely does not. Brian is not a hypocrite. You are the dishonest and antognistic hypocrite.

"But you can all examine the record [...] and determine your own assessments of me [...] Robert Paul Howard"

-- Yes, by all means do that.

Good thing they dont live in Utah,they would be on death row now, but then again due to the fact that the Utah gov, is up in everyones business and even if you are a part of some cult church or whatever they will hang your ass without a trial, even on hear say, IN utah they dont give a rats ass what you believe your going down so as for the parents of this poor child your lucky. but if you do put your faith in god well here is something you can have faith in, if you do believe in god well I think the good lord is going to take one look at you and say ! how stupid can you be ? I gave you a brain and thought you would use it and because you was such a complete dumb ass and let the poor child I gave you just suffer and die and got away with it, the lord has a little surprise for you dumb ass, and at that piont a great bolt of lightning comes out and burns them up and they become kitty litter, yes you can have faith in that, as far as the folks who had been with or around this child and knew of this sickness the child was going through ? your just as guilty as the parents, why didnt someone step up and say something to someone and get that poor child some help, it seem that this state is full of dumb asses or inbread fools that just stand by and allowed this child to suffer and die, sorry folks gotta put the blaim where it belongs and say the way it is, maybe you all should go to your local jail and lock yourselfs up for a few years untill you all figure out that everyone should lookout for kids who end up with parents who seem to be so stupid that they shouldnt be allowed to have sex, my god look what they did here,

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