Jehovah Witness Religious Beliefs Threaten Life

Are you a parent or perhaps you have a child in your life that you love dearly?

I think that would cover most of us.

If a child in your life was in imminent danger of death, and if that child needed a blood transfusion, what would your first instinct be?  Would your instinct be to save the child at all costs?

X is a 17-year-old boy, just short of 18, a patient in a Sydney hospital, with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and the reason his name is not public is that he took a legal case to refuse a life-saving blood transfusion .


The clue is in his father’s actions.  Instead of insisting on the very best treatment for his child, this man went into his son’s room and wrote a quote from the Bible on the whiteboard, a passage about abstaining from blood.  How’s that for compassion?


An Australian court rejected the application, despite claims by the boy’s lawyer that he was exceptionally mature, and they were right to do so.   Clearly, the boy is unhinged , and made so by his parents’ lunacy.  We’ve had similar cases here in Ireland over recent years, where parents have tried to prevent hospitals from saving the lives of their children and in all cases, the courts have thrown out the applications, quite properly.

But yet, a residual belief seems to linger that religious belief grants immunity of some kind, as if superstition had a status over and above civilised, rational discussion.  We’ve seen it in this country over and over.  Indeed, for many years, superstitious belief defined our laws, but thankfully we seem to be moving on from that at last.

Full marks to the Australian court, and well done to our own judiciary for telling religious lunatics that they don’t have the right to prevent doctors from saving children’s lives.  Sadly, this poor boy called X seems to be so brainwashed by his insane parents that he’s willing to die for the sake of some nonsense written by an ignorant goat-herder 3,000 years ago, but at least civilised countries are still prepared to vindicate his right to life, despite his deluded efforts to die.

How sad that anyone might try to sacrifice their kid’s life for the sake of a belief in the absolute nonsense of the Old Testament.  Or for that matter, a belief in anything apart from the love of their children.



Jehovah’s Witnesses and Blood Transfusions

Neglecting a Baby



9 thoughts on “Jehovah Witness Religious Beliefs Threaten Life

  1. From an athiest/humanist standpoint (one I share), then your view makes perfect sense. From the point of a devout believer, however, it does not.

    One of the key aspects to the Judeo-Christian-Muslim tradition is obedience to God – over and above anything else.

    Morality, and the notion of “The Good” is directly and absolutely about obeying God. Following His commands is Good, disobeying them is Bad.

    The whole narrative drive of the Bible, especially the Old Testament, is about this. Early on in Genesis, for example, Adam and Eve are booted out of Eden for disobeying God. But an even more compelling story is that of Abraham being prepared to sacrifice his son, Isaac, to God. Sure,at the last moment, God provides a goat, but Abraham had to believe that it was God’s will that he kill his son, and be prepared to carry out His command.

    By any moral standard, not based on obedience to God, killing your own child ranks up there as one of the most horrific, immoral things a person can do. But to the believer, that obedience is paramount.

    After Judgment Day, according to JWs, only a limited number of people will be resurrected to live in eternal bliss. If you disobey God, then you will not be one of them. If your child has a blood transfusion, then s/he will not be one of them. This life of a few years or decades is of nothing compared to eternity. So better to die at a young age, but experience ever lasting heaven, than extend your earthly life a few years but then remain dust for all eternity afterwards.

    From their point of view, it is little different to us getting our children vaccinated against some horrible disease – the child might not like the injection and we, as parents, don’t want to see our child suffer the pain of it – but we can see the bigger picture and know a bit of pain now is as nothing if in the long term the benefits far outweigh it. The same principle is at play here, from the viewpoint of the JW. The boy’s father, within his framework, is showing massive compassion.

    I am an athiest and think JWs to be misguided in their beliefs. In this particular case I disagree with their interpretation of the world and their responses to the situation, but it does not come out of a heartless maliciousness. The heartbreaking part of this is the father really will be believing his actions are for the best, and they come from the love he has for his son.

  2. The man is fully entitled to believe anything he wishes to hold dear, no matter how insane, but I’m not sure why the State would be obliged to take action based on any individual’s belief in supertitious nonsense.

  3. I agree – the state has to be above superstition. I was just putting forward an explanation to your exasperation, “How’s that for compassion?” :)

  4. I think we have to challenge superstition wherever it crops up. The tendency is to give it some sort of spurious credibility as if a belief in nonsense dreamed up by ignorant ancients should somehow deserve credibility.

  5. I think a British court ruled many years ago that in the case of a JW child requiring lifesaving medical treatment the state, not the parents, is the ultimate guardian of the child. Therefore the parents’ attempt to block the treatment failed. Seems to be logical and humane jurisprudence.

  6. Can an adult’s predilection for submitting themselves to obeying the will and edicts of an authority external to themselves, irrespective of whether the authority in question happens to be imaginary or not, absolve them of culpability and responsibility, without simultaneously inferring that they are not of sound mind?

  7. Greensleeves, I think that this will become apparant when the new Child First legislation is introduced. It will propose that any adult having knowledge of a child being abused either currently or historically will be legally obliged to report it to the Guards. The Catholic Church are trying to suggest that if they hear about this in confession, they won’t divulge this to the authorities and the State is saying they have to. I think it will be interesting viewing.

  8. Sure its wasn’t too long ago, an American family denied their child medical care as they said they’d leave it to the power of prayer…
    Needless to say that misfortune of a child died… due to their relgious beliefs…
    I think the US courts jailed them for neglect…

  9. Black & White,
    Interesting viewing indeed. Thanks for bringing this situation to my attention.

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