Dale Neumann, who stood by and watched as his 11-year-old daughter Madeline died last year from complications to treatable but undiagnosed diabetes because he chose instead to pray for God to heal her, has been convicted of reckless homicide. He and his wife, Leilani, who was convicted on the same charge this past spring, will be sentenced on October 6. They face a maximum of 25 years in prison, and I hope they get it.
Testifying in his own defense, Dale Neumann told the jury, “If I go to the doctor, I am putting the doctor before God. I am not believing what he said he would do.”
Even allowing for the moment that this deranged belief has a shred of truth, there is a very good reason for putting your doctor before God, especially when your young daughter is dying on your couch: doctors have an excellent track record of treating and curing diseases, and God doesn’t. Since the advent of what we think of as modern medicine, doctors and nurses have saved countless lives and improved the quality of countless more. God has never healed a single injury, never cured a single disease, never relieved the slightest suffering. He is, I think it’s safe to say, not such a great physician.
Put the doctor before God. If you love your children, if you want a long and healthy life for yourself, go with the doctor every time. If you’re a religious person and you care at all that your beliefs reflect reality, you cannot accept that God is a healer of sickness. There’s no argument. He simply isn’t. In the case of poor Madeline Neumann, he was something a lot worse: he was a party to murder.