Parents Turn to God to Heal Baby; Child Abuse Charges

| by Mark Berman Opposing Views

A couple in Oregon are charged with child abuse for refusing to bring their daughter to a doctor to treat a serious disease, instead turning to prayer.

According to a report in the Daily Mail, Timothy Wyland, 44 and his 24-year-old wife Rebecca are members of the Followers of Christ Church, which does not believe in modern medicine.

When their daughter Alayna was six months old, she developed a tumor near her eye that could cause blindness. Even when the tumor grew to the size of a baseball and pushed her eyeball out of its socket, the parents still did not take her to a doctor.

"Timothy and Rebecca Wyland recognized that medical attention was mandated for this condition, but instead anointed her with oils and laid down hands," prosecutor Christine Landers said during a hearing.

The church believes that the power of prayer and the laying on of hands -- where ministers lay their hands on the sick while praying -- can cure illnesses.

The Wylands are charged with criminal mistreatment, which carries a five-year prison term. The girl eventually got the medical treatment she needed. She is now 17 months old and is living with a foster family.

This is not the first time members of this church have faced such charges. Several parents have been convicted and sent to prison after their children became sick -- some of whom died.