Re­li­gion Briefs An act of faith

Par­ents face pros­e­cu­tion for choos­ing prayer over an­tibi­otics

The Covington News - - Religion -

ORE­GON CITY, Ore. — Prose­cu­tors are re­view­ing the death of a 15-month-old girl who a med­i­cal ex­am­iner says could have been saved if she had been treated with an­tibi­otics.

If pros­e­cuted, the child’s par­ents would be the first mem­bers of Ore­gon City’s Fol­low­ers of Christ group to face charges for fail­ing to seek med­i­cal treat­ment for a gravely ill child.

“We are re­view­ing the case, and our in­ves­ti­ga­tion is pro­gress­ing,” said Greg Horner, Clacka­mas County chief deputy dis­trict at­tor­ney. He did not re­lease the par­ents’ names.

Dr. Christo­pher Young, a deputy state med­i­cal ex­am­iner, said that the baby, Ava Wor­thing­ton, died March 2 at home from bac­te­rial bronchial pneu­mo­nia and in­fec­tion.

He said both con­di­tions could have been pre­vented or treated with an­tibi­otics. The child’s breath­ing was fur­ther com­pro­mised by a be­nign cyst that had never been med­i­cally ad­dressed and could have been re­moved from her neck, Young said.

The Fol­low­ers of Christ Church came to Ore­gon early in the 20th cen­tury. Ac­cord­ing to church tra­di­tion, when mem­bers be­come ill, fel­low wor­ship­pers pray and anoint them with oil. For­mer mem­bers say those who seek mod­ern med­i­cal reme­dies are os­tra­cized.

Prose­cu­tors could charge the baby’s par­ents un­der a law en­acted in 1999 af­ter sev­eral faith-heal­ing deaths of chil­dren.

The statute elim­i­nated Ore­gon’s “spir­i­tual-heal­ing de­fense” in cases of sec­ond-de­gree man­slaugh­ter, first- and sec­ond-de­gree crim­i­nal mis­treat­ment and non­pay­ment of child sup­port. Shrine van­dal­ism case

SAN LUIS, Colo. — A crim­i­nal in­quiry of three Mor­mon mis­sion­ar­ies ac­cused of de­fac­ing a Ro­man Catholic shrine was dropped af­ter Catholic Bishop Arthur Tafoya sought for­give­ness for the young men ahead of Easter.

Cos­tilla County Cpl. Scott Pow­ell said March 21 that the in­ves­ti­ga­tion had just got­ten un­der way when Tafoya asked that charges not be pur­sued.

Pho­tos posted on the In­ter­net showed the trio at the Shrine of the Mex­i­can Mar­tyrs at the Chapel of All Saints, which stands on a butte over­look­ing San Luis.

The pho­tos — taken in 2006 — show young men hold­ing the bro­ken head of a statue, preach­ing from the Book of Mor­mon at an al­tar and pre­tend­ing to sac­ri­fice one an­other.

The dam­age was only dis­cov­ered this month, and of­fi­cials from The Church of Je­sus Christ of Lat­ter-day Saints quickly is­sued an apol­ogy.

Tafoya, bishop of the Pue­blo dio­cese, said Mor­mon of­fi­cials apol­o­gized to him per­son­ally.

“I ask that we as Catholics, who be­lieve in the for­give­ness of Christ, will our­selves for­give, and pray for the young men who showed such a lack of tol­er­ance and un­der­stand­ing,” Tafoya wrote in an Easter let­ter.

Kim Farah, a spokes­woman for the Lat­ter-day Saints, said the church was pur­su­ing its own sanc­tions against the mis­sion­ar­ies.

The out­door shrine is near the San­gre de Cristo Church over­look­ing San Luis, a small town 170 miles south of Den­ver. The dam­aged statue de­picts Manuel Mo­rales, pres­i­dent of Mex­ico’s Na­tional League for the De­fense of Re­li­gious Lib­erty when he was ex­e­cuted in 1926 for re­fus­ing to rec­og­nize laws he con­sid­ered anti-re­li­gious. Free tu­ition from church

MENOMONEE FALLS, Wis. — Zion Lutheran Church in the Mil­wau­kee sub­urb of Menomonee Falls is of­fer­ing to let fam­i­lies send their chil­dren to the church’s school for free whether or not they are mem­bers of the con­gre­ga­tion.

Pas­tor Tim Lamkin says the con­gre­ga­tion wants to do some­thing to stim­u­late some en­thu­si­asm and ex­cite­ment for en­roll­ment. Church mem­bers voted over­whelm­ingly to sup­port the idea.

Lamkin says the school which of­fers 4-year-old kinder­garten through eighth grade has 47 stu­dents, down from about 130 in the early 1990s.

Mark Bahr is prin­ci­pal of Lake Coun­try Lutheran High School in Oconomowoc and vice chair­man of the As­so­ci­a­tion of Lutheran Sec­ondary Schools. He says many parochial schools of­fer free or re­duced tu­ition to mem­bers of their churches, but few if any have ever of­fered free tu­ition to non­mem­bers.

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