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March 19th, 2010
07:33 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Faith Over Medicine

Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

An Oregon teenager is dead. His parents now face 16 months in prison. Not for what they did, but for what they didn't do.

CNN's Dan Simon has this story for you tonight on 360°.  Marci and Jeff Beagley were convicted of negligent homicide.  They admitted they denied their 16-year-old son the drugs he needed.  Prosecutors say the drugs would have cured the son's kidney illness.

As Dan Simon will tell you, their son didn't get the drugs because the family belongs to a Christian church near Portland that believes seeing a doctor is a sign of weakness. Instead, members rely solely on faith healing found in the New Testament - believing that God will cure them of their ills.

Tonight you'll meet a former member of the secretive sect. She shares what she witnessed and why she left.

We'll also take you to Capitol Hill for the latest developments on Sunday's expected health care vote. Will have Democrats have enough votes to get their plan passed? We'll have the latest numbers.

Pres. Obama made another public plea for the plan today.

"If this vote fails, the insurance industry will continue to run wild in America," he said at George Mason University.

"They will continue to deny people coverage. They will continue to deny people care. They will continue to jack up premiums 40% or 50% or 60% as they have in the last few weeks without any accountability whatsoever."

Pres. Obama will meet with Democratic lawmakers tomorrow and aim to get those undecided or in the "no" column to switch to "yes."

Republicans are vowing to fight the bill.

"The American people are going to hear about every payoff, every kickback, every sweetheart deal that comes out," House Minority Leader John Boehner vowed today.  "It's going to be interesting over the next couple days as the scheming and jamming continues," he later added.

360 M.D. Sanjay Gupta will have a breakdown of what's in the bill and what it could mean for you and your family.

In our crime and punishment report, we take you inside the manhunt for America's most wanted teen.

Colbert Harris-Moore, 18, is suspected of stealing planes, boats, and luxury automobiles in a crime spree that's lasted several years. A massive manhunt is underway for Harris-Moore on Orcas Island, the largest of the San Juan Islands, off the coast of Washington State. Police believe he's is hiding out in the rugged terrain.

Join us for these stories and much more starting at 10 p.m. ET. See you then.


Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. ella ferro

    Excuse me, People that are nuts enough to deny their child medication and let it die, for what ever stupid reason they come up with, should get jail for life. It's my opinion that if parents refuse medical treatment for their children they should on the spot, cease to have custody over them. And there is all kinds of kind people in the world if you don't have the money. People who are not willing to sacrifice all for the life of their child, should have an abortion or not have children at all. A mother blessed with one son.

    March 21, 2010 at 6:51 pm |
  2. Karin Urban, from Berlin/Germany

    It is uncredible what people are able to do "in the name of God"

    March 20, 2010 at 1:43 pm |
  3. Kristina

    I have family in the Idaho church and unfortunately some of them have died because the church does not believe in using modern medicine.

    March 20, 2010 at 11:48 am |
  4. KD

    This is not the first time that someone in the Beagley family has died. That church has a cemetery full of children. These people should be punished to the full extent of the law!! I used to this in this city, on that very street, this is a shame to the community to have a population who have such a blatant disregard for the life of children, who act so negligently "in the name of god".

    March 20, 2010 at 2:57 am |
  5. Janice

    Yes, God does still heal – he healed me this past year after fighting several illnesses for 16 years! However, I was always taught that God helps those who help themselves and you have to have faith and pray for others. I received proper medical care from Doctors who helped me, but could not cure me. Thanks to faith and constant prayer from family and friends, the good Lord cured me of my illnesses, but it didn't happen overnight.
    This church group needs to realize that God will heal, but they have to do everything else in their power to help their children as well; that includes gettting them appropriate medical care!

    March 20, 2010 at 1:56 am |
  6. Danny

    First off, people who attend that Church (and Churches similar to that such as ours) are in fact far more healthier then those whom go for doctors. There are plenty of people who die from medical misshapes and people who are allergic to the meds and die from it. Where is the outrage?

    March 20, 2010 at 1:54 am |
  7. J.V.Hodgson

    I have grown tired of hearing from republicans
    1) Kill the health care bill.
    2) Start over... (with no where, when, how or why)
    3) Sidetracking into abortion (To me the Nuns have more idea than any Bishop on what is right for women on this matter) and Illegal immigration and death Panels.
    They care not about 31m uninsured Americans and all those who are no longer covered even though they were paying because of pre- existing conditions, or those who are being asked for anything betweeen 20-50% more for the existing rule bound cover, and which they or thier small business owners may no longer be able to afford!!
    Get real America you spend twice as much on health care than any other western developed nation and still leave 15% uninsured.
    Why do you insist on paying twice as much for a service that is not the best in the World, at best it's on par.
    Regards,
    Hodgson.

    March 20, 2010 at 12:58 am |
  8. Mark

    This is just another instance where society witnesses the undeniable collision between religious superstition and modern reason. I wonder why it is so easy for people to criticize irrational beliefs such as these but fail to see how the "ignorance" pertaining to this matter does not merely start when parents deprive their sick children of modern medicine. There is a larger issue here and based on what these parents believe about their holy text, their behavior seems reasonable (even if the the majority of cafeteria Catholics happen to dismiss that pearl of ancient wisdom in regards to faith healing). What needs to change is thought processes of these parents and I can't imagine that jail time is actually going to help alleviate the core problem here.

    March 20, 2010 at 12:30 am |
  9. shay

    This battle over health care is a clear demonstration of the ugliness that infests this country. As Americans, we promote human rights and humanitarian behavior to the rest of the world, yet we can’t bring ourselves to decide between booming insurance profits and human lives.

    March 20, 2010 at 12:20 am |
  10. Dave

    I watched and was involved in the exact situation. I was a firefighter/paramedic and was called to two children from the same family who died from preventable and curable illnesses. Each time the "church" waited until the children were past any resusitation before calling 911 and were found in a large group "praying" for the cure of their child. I was also involved in investigation of a child who burned to death from the same family. Three children dead from these people's ignorance. Faith is fine, death because of faith is call for more that 16 months of jail.

    March 20, 2010 at 12:07 am |
  11. Laura Smyrna, Ga.

    Mr. Cooper,
    The politicians in Washington continue to forget that they are there to represent the people of this country. If the majority of this country knew that our politicians and their familities are covered by a private insurance and not by the government managed health care that they are tryihg to get passed as soon as they can I think that more people would be up in arms!!!!! More tea bags would be sent to Washington by the truck loads!!!!!

    March 19, 2010 at 11:36 pm |
  12. Odessa Tobin

    As bad as this is it is no worse than abortions

    March 19, 2010 at 11:02 pm |
  13. long gone

    I grew up in this 'church' and I can tell you that they don't know anything different and they would be shunned by the other members if they wanted to seek medical attention. I left because I did not agree with the silly rules you must follow and it was if I had flipped the light on in a dark room. Not knowing who you can trust and who you can't is scary when you have been raised to believe that everyone outside of the church is evil. We need to educate the young so they can make an educated choice as an adult.

    March 19, 2010 at 10:59 pm |
  14. Chris Rowley

    How Dare we forget the 50 million babies who have been aborted in America since Roe Vs. Wade. Toobin acts as if it is a horrible thing that these children have died, but not a mention of the horrors of abortion. America is full of hypocrites who allow murder to occur under the name of abortion.

    March 19, 2010 at 10:59 pm |
  15. Sophia Garcia

    I agree with Jeff Toobin, and it's absolutely not biblical to forego medical treatment. (Sorry about the link ~ Oops!)

    March 19, 2010 at 10:53 pm |
  16. Audrey

    As an MSW student I researched this topic in December. Medicare, Medicaid & military health plans provide reimbursements for spiritual healing sessions. Tx is administered by non medical personnel without credentials. This is tax dollars. My research revealed leniency in sentencing. There are constitution violations of 1st & 14 th amendments & child neglect laws.

    March 19, 2010 at 10:50 pm |
  17. georgia Kruusi

    Did they have insurance??? Maybe they needed to rely on God like our ancestors all did??? I don't have insurance and pray everyday I don't have to go to the hospital because they will turn me away..should I pray to the GOP instead GOD????

    March 19, 2010 at 10:48 pm |
  18. Jim

    Faith in God is all I have, I do not have money to go see a Doctor or Dentist even if I wanted to.

    March 19, 2010 at 10:09 pm |
  19. Pat- Orangeburg, NY

    I hope President Obama wins big on Sunday!

    March 19, 2010 at 10:02 pm |
  20. Tim Gibson

    Faith is one thing, ignorance is another. Those parents should find more jail time than 16 months as their faithful reward.

    March 19, 2010 at 10:02 pm |
  21. Doug

    Failing to take a Oregon teenager to a doctor/hospital, or failing to allow the him to get proven medical treatment, the result being his death – is clearly a very serious crime, probably equivalent to murder.

    Failing to assure health care insurance required to provide life saving medical care is also a 'crime'. Note the 2009 Harvard study (American Journal of Public Health) that concluded that more than 44,800 excess deaths occur annually in the United States due to Americans lacking health insurance.

    We need health care reform to begin to catch up with the other wealthy/industrialized nations – according to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, the United States is the only such nation that does not ensure that all citizens have coverage/insurance.

    March 19, 2010 at 9:26 pm |
  22. Isabel Siaba, Brazil

    Hello Maureen!

    How are you? Happy Friday!!

    Uua! What nonsense story! I can not understand how it is possible for parents to see their child sick and suffering and not try anything to help.

    When my son gets sick, I try anything. For my son to stay healthy, I might even try something that I don't believe.

    It's a obligation of parents taking care of the welfare of children.

    It will be interesting to know about the story of parents who were convicted for what didn't it.

    Thanks... See you later ....

    March 19, 2010 at 8:54 pm |
  23. Soldier0fWisdom

    That was foolish, because of them God is going to look faker than ever. I've seen God heal many people before, but it was a process. They should've given him the medicine. That was not a wise decision, and now it will cost the image of God, and many Christians.

    March 19, 2010 at 7:55 pm |
  24. Jeffrey Harlan

    I still find it hard to believe that people deny themselves and their children health care in the name of religion.

    "I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use." Galileo Galilei

    March 19, 2010 at 7:55 pm |
  25. Annie Kate

    Denying a child medicine when they are sick and/or dying is terrible – I realize this is their religious beliefs but they chose to believe in those tenets; the child had no choice and yet is the one that suffered and died from their choice. Turning down medicine for yourself because of your beliefs is fine; but don't visit your beliefs on an innocent child who has not achieved an age in which he/she can make an informed decision as to what they believe.

    Looking forward to Dr. Gupta's segment tonight on the health care bill.

    March 19, 2010 at 7:55 pm |