Today an Oregon jury came to a verdict in what I call a child sacrifice case.
Carl and Raylene Worthington let their 15-month old daughter, Ava, die because their bizarre variety of Christianity teaches that Jesus cures illnesses, not doctors.
All I needed to know to conclude that Ava's parents should rot in jail for a really long time was summed up by Ava's grandfather, Guy, in a newspaper story.
"Jesus Christ almighty can cure anything," Worthington said.
"Doctors are irrelevant?" Horner asked .
"Correct," Worthington said.
Even if it's a life-threatening situation, Horner asked.
Calling a doctor shows "a lack of faith," Worthington said.
After lengthy deliberations, the jury absolved Ava's parents of manslaughter charges, which could (and should) have gotten them up to six years in prison. Instead...
Why was the mother given a free ride? Because in their patriarchal Christian household, the husband makes all of the important decisions.
So far apparently only one juror, Ashlee Santos, has agreed to talk with the media. Her comments struck me as annoyingly clueless. I'm glad I wasn't in the jury room with Ashlee. My head probably would have exploded.
Jesus fucking Christ!
Yes, Ashlee, you freaking idiot, sometimes abnormal beliefs are bad and don't work. Like if you believe that Jesus is going to heal your daughter and she dies of an easily treatable medical problem.
That's when it is absolutely imperative that we judge parents who want to practice child sacrifice, because nobody has the right to kill an innocent person in the name of God.
A columnist for the Portland Oregonian, Susan Nielsen, correctly said that we helped kill little Ava, too. "We" being everyone who gives religious believers special treatment under the law because, gosh, belief is sacred, isn't it?
Steve Duin, another Oregonian columnist, pointed out the hypocrisy of Ava's Bible-toting parents, who had plenty of faith in Jesus' powers when it wasn't their ass on the line, just their daughter's life, but ran to get the help of a doctor when they faced six years in jail.
The parents who would not summon a doctor to their home to save their child called a doctor to the witness stand to save themselves.
Carl Brent and Raylene Worthington relied on half-baked spiritual remedies when their daughter was at risk, but their lawyers have resorted to garden-variety defense tactics in an effort to spare these parents the cost of discipleship.
I could almost -- but not quite -- have respected the Worthington's if they'd told the judge and jury, "We let Ava die because we believed Jesus would heal her. Now, we offer no defense of our actions, other than our religious beliefs. Whatever God wills the jury to decide, we accept it."
That would have showed some courage of their convictions. Stupid convictions, admittedly, but courageous and consistent.
Instead, Ava's parents showed that they really have loads of faith in the medical profession, so long as the doctor has been called to the witness stand to testify in their defense.
The Oregonian editorial board is glad that the jury convicted Carl Worthington of criminal child neglect. I wish I could be so positive. I'm angry that the jury gave a yellow light to child sacrifice in my state.
Maybe the Economic Development Department can use this story in trying to attract businesses to Oregon: