8-year-old Elizabeth Rose Struhs needed insulin to handle her Type 1 diabetes. But in January, at least a dozen members of a Christian cult in Toowoomba, Queensland (Australia) withheld that insulin for over six days. Instead of giving her the life-saving treatment, they sang and prayed asking God to take over. (It never crossed their mind that insulin itself could be attributed to God.) The “faith-healing” attempt failed, and Elizabeth soon died due to their religious negligence.
One newspaper reports that church members believed she would be “resurrected.” She was not. She was dead. Those Christians killed her.
The girl’s parents, Kerrie Elizabeth Struhs and Jason Richard Struhs, were charged with murder and torture offences earlier this year. They have not yet entered pleas, and will remain in custody until their next hearing at the Toowoomba magistrates court, due later this month. They are also charged with failing to provide the necessities of life.
Speaking out about the arrest, Detective Acting Superintendent [Garry] Watts said: “It will be alleged that 14 people in total allegedly made the choice to deny this young girl her right to medical care.
“The arrests are the result of a six-month investigation, in which all officers involved were dedicated to ensuring those alleged to be responsible for her death, are brought before the court.”
A lot of the details are remarkably similar to a different faith-healing cult in Oregon: the Followers of Christ Church. Its members killed several of their children over the past two decades, by neglecting their treatable diseases, leading the Oregon legislature to remove faith-healing as an exemption to homicide charges.
The simple fact is that children shouldn’t be sentenced to death because their parents are brainwashed by Jesus. “Faith-healing” is nothing more than a myth promoted by certain kinds of Christians. It’s one thing if people pray to heal themselves—which would be useless, but legal. But when they deprive a baby or child of medical treatment because of their own delusions, and their ignorance leads to the child’s death, they deserve to be branded as murderers.
Jayde Struhs, the 23-year-old sister of Elizabeth, has been on a quest to take custody of her five younger siblings.
Struhs, 23, said the group formed as a breakaway from a more mainstream church which they believed to be corrupt and had become stricter over the years.
They did not celebrate Christmas, rejected medical intervention and believed their one purpose was to serve God.
“They’re extreme. They’re small. Controlled,” she said.
She left the cult at 16, after coming out as a lesbian, and has been sharing her story with the media. Despite her age, those kids would be much safer with her than the adults who decided prayer trumped medicine.
The dozen people arrested this week are expected in court on Wednesday.