Police in Oregon, USA, are investigating the death of a teenage boy whose family are reported to belong to a church which advocates faith healing over conventional medicine.
Austin Lewis Sprout, 16, died last week, autopsy results have not yet been made public but a funeral is planned for today.
His parents are members of ‘The General Assembly and the Church of the First Born’ an American church which believes: “That divine healing was acquired in Jesus for everyone who believes.”
The church has been the subject of scrutiny previously after the deaths of children and adults who might have been saved by medical treatment.
In some cases charges have been filed following the deaths of infants and children where medical treatment was withheld.
In 2010 child neglect charges were levelled against Susan Grady of Oklahoma after her 9-year-old son died of complications from diabetes which had gone untreated while divine help was sought through prayer.
An estimated 12 American children die each year after their parents refuse to seek medical treatment for illnesses ranging from appendicitis to pneumonia.
In some American states it was not until the early 1980s that families whose children died because they had sought healing through prayer rather than medical attention could be prosecuted.
It is thought that some deaths go unreported by secretive sects, but that overall only a very tiny proportion of children die because of their parents belief in faith healing.
January 3rd, 2012 - Posted & Written by Simon Cross