Last year the father of Ava Worthington was convicted of criminal neglect for allowing his child to die rather than seek medical attention.
Ava had the misfortune of being born to parents belonging to Oregon's Followers of Christ church, where children die at an alarming rate because of crazy faith healing beliefs.
An investigation by The Oregonian claimed that at least 21 out of 78 minors found to be buried in the church cemetery died of preventable causes, including simple infections which would be easily treated with routine antibiotics.
Now, make that 23.
The parents of teenager Neil Beagley (grandparents of Ava) have been convicted of criminally negligent homicide for not having their son treated for a congenital urinary blockage.
Instead of taking Neil to a doctor, his parents, members of the Followers of Christ Church in Oregon City, attempted to heal him with prayer, anointing with oil and laying on of hands.
Oregonian columnist Susan Nielsen gets it right in criticizing laws that allow religiosity to be used as an excuse for behavior that is inexcusable.
So the jury voted to convict the Beagleys. Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 18. What's left now is a nagging feeling that Oregon remains an accomplice to faith-based crimes.
For example, it's considered child neglect under Oregon law to "fail to provide adequate food, clothing, shelter or medical care that is likely to endanger the health or welfare of the child." This law would be straightforward enough without additional language favorably singling out parents who choose religion as their sole form of care.
Also, Oregon gives faith-healing parents some legal protections from being charged with murder or first-degree manslaughter. The Legislature eliminated the spiritual defense for several types of crimes about a decade ago, after a string of child fatalities, but kept a few special protections in place.
To top it off, the state grants favorable treatment to faith-healing parents during sentencing. These parents get a rare exemption from the state's mandatory sentencing laws based not on their actions or individual circumstances but solely on their religious beliefs.
What a blessing that must be.