In 1896, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled 7-1 in Plessy v. Ferguson and created the doctrine of “separate but equal,” holding that state laws requiring public facilities be segregated were constitutional. This allowed for the creation of Jim Crow Laws across the southern United States, leading to an era of segregation that is still being felt to this day. It would not be until the mid-1950s in the two Brown v. Kansas Board of Education cases that segregation was ruled unconstitutional.
In 1905, SCOTUS ruled in Lochner v. New York that people had the right to enter into any contract that they saw fit with their employer and that a New York state law that limited the number of hours a baker could work in one week was unconstitutional on Fourteenth Amendment grounds. In 1923, it was ruled by the Supreme Court in Adkins v. Children’s Hospital that a Washington DC law that set a minimum wage for female workers was also unconstitutional on similar grounds as Lochner. It would not be until the 1934 and 1937 rulings of Nebbia v. New York and West Coast Hotel Co. v. Parrish, respectively, that the freedom of contract was found to not be absolute and that states could place reasonable restrictions on it in order to protect worker health and safety.
In 1952, at the height of the “Red Scare,” it was ruled in Adler v. Board of Education that a New York law which required public employees, in this case school teachers, to take an oath of loyalty to the United States and disavow any affiliation to “subversive organizations,” namely the Communist Party, or else be fired, was constitutional and did not violate the freedom of speech, freedom of association, or freedom to due process. In 1967, in the case Keyishian v. Board of Regents of the University of the State of New York, the Supreme Court overturned the Adler ruling, because the law was too vague and did indeed violate the three aforementioned rights.
In 1986, in the case Bowers v. Hardwick, the Supreme Court upheld Georgia’s anti-sodomy law, which applied to both heterosexual and homosexual sexual activities, but decided to ignore the first part of that and specifically deemed that there was no constitutional right to engage in homosexual acts. However, in the 2003 case Lawrence v. Texas, the Supreme Court reversed the Bowers decision and ruled that anti-sodomy laws violated the Fourteenth Amendment. The majority opinion, written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, said (emphasis mine), “Bowers was not correct when it was decided, and it is not correct today. It ought not to remain binding precedent. Bowers v. Hardwick should be and now is overruled.”
In 1883, the Supreme Court ruled in the case Pace v. Alabama that state laws which banned interracial marriages and sexual activity were constitutional. The Court said that the state had an interest in protecting marriage and that by having interracial marriages they could harm “white marriages” (I’m not joking). Sound familiar? It wasn’t until 1967, in the case Loving v. Virginia, that bans on interracial marriage were deemed unconstitutional, saying that these laws were simply state-sponsored racism.
In 2005, the Supreme Court ruled in Van Orden v. Perry that the six-foot tall monument of the Ten Commandments that sits upon the Texas State Capital was constitutional.
In 2007, the Supreme Court ruled in Hein v. Freedom From Religion Foundation that taxpayers could not challenge expenditures made by the executive branch. In this case, the FFRF was challenging President George W. Bush’s use of taxpayer money to fund the brand new White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives.
In 1970, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (one of the most liberal circuits) ruled in Aronow v. United States that the United States’ motto “In God We Trust” was constitutional. The Court of Appeals said in their decision, “It is quite obvious that the national motto and the slogan on coinage and currency ‘In God We Trust’ has nothing whatsoever to do with the establishment of religion. Its use is of patriotic or ceremonial character and bears no true resemblance to a governmental sponsorship of a religious exercise.” The Supreme Court cited this ruling in the 2004 case Elk Grove Unified School District v. Newdow, where it found that the placement of “Under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance was constitutional and said that governmental acts of “ceremonial deism” were “protected from Establishment Clause scrutiny chiefly because they have lost through rote repetition any significant religious content.” This is similar to the 1952 case Zorach v. Clauson, in which the Court held that the United States’ “institutions presuppose a Supreme Being” and that the recognition of a god was not a violation of the Establishment Clause.
These are cases where the Supreme Court of the United States has gotten it wrong. Unfortunately in the cases Van Orden, Hein, Newdow, Zorach, and others that I did not mention here, the Supreme Court has not reversed themselves, and these cases are indeed mostly when it comes to the separation of church and state that all three branches of the federal government and many state and local governments decide to break down every chance they can.
A Facebook page called LGBT Libertarians recently posted this photo in response to the Supreme Court listening to oral arguments in the Prop. 8, which banned same-sex marriage in the state of California, and Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which does not allow for federal recognition of any marriages that are not between one man and one woman, cases.
This is what they had to say:
I do NOT support “marriage equality” and neither should you and I’ll tell you why. “I support Marriage Equality” is just a euphemism for, “I believe the state is the proper authority on who can and cannot get married, so as such I believe the state should approve gay marriage”. I say FUCK THIS. Everyone no matter if you’re black, white, transgendered, queer, asexual, heterosexual, polyamorous, or monogamous has the RIGHT to enter into whatever legal arrangement he/she wants to with anyone else via voluntary private contracts.
So in conclusion don’t ASK the State to recognize Gay Marriage, rather DEMAND that it stay out of the institution of marriage altogether!
I agree with the part of the sentiment that the government shouldn’t have a say on which marriages it recognizes, but my contention is with the claim that the government should stay completely out of marriage.
There are many legal benefits that come with marriage, including, and probably most importantly, the right of attorney. If the state doesn’t recognise any marriage or union, who is to say that the person(s) you are with have the right to say to the doctors, “Pull the plug” or “I want them to get this procedure,” etc.?
On Monday, the head of the Family Research Council, Tony Perkins, and one of the FRC’s senior fellows, Patrick Fagan, were discussing Fagan’s article about the 1972 Supreme Court decision in Eisenstadt v. Baird that struck down a Massachusetts law, one of their “Crimes Against Chastity” laws, that prohibited doctors from prescribing and pharmacies from selling contraceptives to single people.
The decision was a landmark case, as it was essentially ruled by the court that unmarried people should have the same equal protection as married people and that unmarried people had the right to have sex that was not solely for procreation.
Now, Perkins and Fagan have a bit of a problem with people have sex all willy-nilly (do people still say that? I honestly don’t know…) and not doing it just in missionary position, solely for procreation, and for the glory of God.
Why do they care what other people are doing when it is clearly not harming anyone?
Well, societies have always forbidden [sex outside of marriage], there were laws against it… In this case the Supreme Court said…they can do whatever they like… They just said no, singles have the right to contraceptives we mean singles have the right to have sex outside of marriage. Brushing aside millennia, thousands and thousands of years of wisdom, tradition, culture and setting in motion what we have… Society never gave young people [the right to sex outside of marriage], functioning societies don’t do that, they stop it, they punish it, they corral people, they shame people, they do whatever.
It is people like these that make me think, “This is why we can’t have nice things!”
They don’t even bring up how premarital sex causes Baby Jesus to cry or how it causes earthquakes or volcanoes and other acts of God, because God cares about what we put into our own bodies (or what we put into other people’s bodies)! That would be a very compelling argument as to why we should restrict people’s freedoms to do with their bodies what they want.
Did that sarcasm come through loud and clear enough?
Yes, certain societies did have laws against premarital sex, and these societies were usually the ones being dominated by religious indoctrination, whether Christian or not. People still took part in these activities, whether or not their societies had laws against it.
Now, the societies that did have laws against this did indeed “stop it” and “punish it,” and they tended to stone people to death, while the others went about their own business, because it was none of theirs to care about what someone else was doing that wasn’t harming them. So Fagan’s appeal to tradition, which is a logical fallacy but whatever, is only of particular societies that he happens to like.
These are the same people that supposedly want “small government,” because government is taking away our rights, or some other nonsense like that.
Conservative Christians: government so small, it can fit in your bedroom!
A bill in the state of Montana is being introduced by State Rep. Steve Lavin (R – Kalispell) that would give corporations the right to vote.
According to ThinkProgress, HB 486 would give “…a firm, partnership, company, or corporation [who owns] real property within the municipality, the president, vice president, secretary, or other designee of the entity is eligible to vote in a municipal election…”
You can read the full text of the bill here.
Corporate “personhood” has gone far enough. It was bad enough when the Supreme Court ruled in 2010 in Citizens United v. FEC that corporations (and other entities, like labour unions) could have unlimited, undisclosed independent campaign spending in elections, which created “Super PACs.” It was bad enough when the Supreme Court ruled in the same year in SpeechNow.org v. FEC that individuals could have unlimited contributions to Super PACs.
It was bad enough when a major presidential candidate said that “corporations are people, my friend.” And it was bad enough that the Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to hear a case challenging the last hurdle in the way of outright buying elections: unlimited contributions directly to a candidate’s campaign.
Now they are giving corporations the right to vote! My outrage cannot be adequately expressed via text, and I do not wish to use caps lock.
The Montana bill would essentially give someone the right to vote twice in an election. This is ironic, since in the months up until the 2012 elections the Republican Party was running around with their heads cut off screaming about the virtually nonexistent problem of voter fraud, which usually involves a person voting multiple times.
This is all while Montana was pushing through one of those infamous voter ID bills, one that would only allow a person to vote in elections with either a driver’s license or a tribal ID card. This would be possibly one of the most restrictive voter ID bills in the country, as similar laws being fought over in other states and in the courts mostly allow for passports and other forms of government issued identification that are not a driver’s license.
To be fair, the bill was essentially killed only a few weeks ago after it was tabled in Montana’s State Administration Committee.
I can only imagine what could happen if HB 486 were to ever become law anywhere in the United States. Some company… sorry, someone (since corporations are people, my friend) with enough money and power could create countless shadow companies and put their employees, colleagues, or friends “in charge” of them, thereby creating an endless number of “people” to vote in elections.
If anything is a threat to our democracy, it is not the few dozen of people who try to vote twice by pretending to be someone else. If anything is a threat, it is the efforts by some in this country to deny people the right to vote based on the colour of their skin or how much money they make. If anything is a threat, it is HB 486 and the deluge that can follow.
If you live in the state of Montana, please contact your state representatives and tell them to kill this bill!
Buster Wilson, pastor and former law enforcement officer, is one of the many radio hosts for American Family Radio, which is the radio show/podcast for the American Family Association (you know, that extremely anti-gay organisation), and on the December 21st show (source Right Wing Watch) he had an interesting take on the place religion used to have in our public schools and the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting that took place recently.
After a caller on the show finished up his paranoid rant about how he was stockpiling guns and ammunition, such as his AR-15 assault rifle and 5.56 NATO rounds, just in case the American government decides to all of a sudden become the tyrannical dictatorship many Republicans think it is already becoming, Wilson tried to make the delusional caller seem like a rational, sensible person by saying that’s how many Americans feel, which doesn’t make me feel any better.
He then went on to say (emphasis mine), “Back when we had prayer and the Bible read in our schools, we didn’t have school gun shootings. Back in the day when faith had a prominent place in the life of Americans and American families, we didn’t have this kind of rampage in our country. We have gotten away from it. We used to have the Ten Commandments posted in our school rooms, so that every day our students could see where God Almighty has said, ‘Thou shalt not murder.’ But we’ve deemed that as illegal now, according to the Constitution. We’ve taken that out of our classrooms. We’ve taken prayer out of the classrooms. We’ve taken faith and morality out of our nation’s…population. Listen, the lack of knowing the Lord and living godly lives is what’s caused this problem. It is not the presence of guns.”
These are just the school shootings (source Wikipedia) in the United States in the Twentieth Century up until 1962 (there were many more before then), when the Supreme Court ruled in Engel v. Vitale that teachers nor administrators could instruct or lead prayer or have any endorsement of religion in public schools.
- February 26, 1902: Camargo, Illinois teacher Fletcher R. Barnett shot and killed another teacher, Eva C. Wiseman, in front of her class at a school near Camargo, Illinois. After shooting at a pupil who came to help Miss Wiseman and wounding himself in a failed suicide attempt he waited in the classroom until a group of farmers came to lynch him. He then ran out of the school building, grabbed a shotgun from one of the farmers and shot himself, before running away and leaping into a well where he finally drowned. The incident was likely sparked by Wiseman’s refusal to marry Barnett.
- February 24, 1903: Inman, South Carolina Edward Foster, a 17-year-old student at Inman High school, was shot and fatally wounded by his teacher Reuben Pitts after he had jerked a rod from Pitts’ hands to resist punishment. According to the teacher, Foster struck the pistol Pitts had drawn to defend himself, thus causing its discharge. Pitts was later acquitted of murder.
- October 10, 1906: Cleveland, Ohio Harry Smith shot and killed 22-year-old teacher Mary Shepard at South Euclid School after she had rejected him. Smith escaped and committed suicide in a barn near his home two hours later.
- March 23, 1907: Carmi, Illinois George Nicholson shot and killed John Kurd at a schoolhouse outside of Carmi, Illinois during a school rehearsal. The motive for the shooting was Kurd making a disparaging remark about Nicholson’s daughter during her recital.
- March 11, 1908: Boston, Massachusetts Elizabeth Bailey Hardee was shot to death by Sarah Chamberlain Weed at the Laurens School, a finishing school in Boston. Weed then turned the gun on herself and committed suicide.
- April 15, 1908: Asheville, North Carolina Dr. C. O. Swinney shot and fatally wounded his 16-year-old daughter Nellie in a reception room at Normal and Collegiate Institute. He then committed suicide by shooting himself in the head.
- February 12, 1909: San Francisco, California 10-year-old Dorothy Malakanoff was shot and killed by 49-year-old Demetri Tereaschinko as she arrived at her school in San Francisco. Tereaschinko then shot himself in a failed suicide attempt. Tereaschinko was reportedly upset that Malakanoff refused to elope with him.
- January 10, 1912: Warrenville, Illinois Sylvester E. Adams shot and killed teacher Edith Smith after she rejected his advances. Adams then shot and killed himself. The incident took place in a schoolhouse about a mile outside of Warrenville after the students had been dismissed for the day.
- March 27, 1919: Lodi Township, Michigan 19-year-old teacher Irma Casler was shot and killed in her classroom at Rentschler school in Lodi Township, Michigan by Robert Warner, apparently because she had rejected his advances.
- April 2, 1921: Syracuse, New York Professor Holmes Beckwith shot and killed dean J. Herman Wharton in his office at Syracuse University before committing suicide.
- February 15, 1927: Hempstead, New York James O’Donnell, 18-year-old senior at Hempstead High School, shot himself to death on the stage in the school’s auditorium. A suicide note stated that O’Donnell killed himself to lessen the financial burden on his family.
- May 18, 1927: Bath, Michigan School treasurer Andrew Kehoe, after killing his wife and destroying his house and farm, blew up the Bath Consolidated School by detonating dynamite in the basement of the school, killing 38 people, mostly children. He then pulled up to the school in his Ford car, then set off a truck bomb, killing himself and four others. Only one shot was fired in order to detonate dynamite in the car. This was the deadliest act of mass murder at a school in the United States.
- May 22, 1930: Ringe, Minnesota Margaret Wegman, 20-year-old teacher at the local rural school, was shot and killed in the school by 24-year-old Douglas Petersen.
- May 28, 1931: Duluth, Minnesota Katherine McMillen, 24-year-old teacher at the Howard Gensen rural school near Duluth, was accidentally shot and killed by a revolver brought to school by a pupil.
- February 15, 1933: Downey, California Dr. Vernon Blythe shot and killed his wife Eleanor, as well as his 8-year old son Robert at Gallatin grammar school and committed suicide after firing three more shots at his other son Vernon. His wife, who had been a teacher at the school, had filed for divorce the week before.
- September 14, 1934: Gill, Massachusetts. Headmaster Elliott Speer was murdered by a shotgun blast through the window of his study at Northfield Mount Hermon School. The crime was never solved.
- March 27, 1935: Medora, North Dakota Emily Hartl, 24-year-old teacher at the Manlon school northwest of Medora, was shot and killed at the school by 28-year-old Harry McGill, a former suitor.
- December 12, 1935: New York City, New York, Victor Koussow, a Russian laboratory worker at the School of Dental and Oral Surgery, shot Prof. Arthur Taylor Rowe, Prof. Paul B. Wiberg, and wounded Dr. William H. Crawford at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, before committing suicide.
- April 27, 1936: Lincoln, Nebraska, Prof. John Weller shot and wounded Prof. Harry Kurz in a corridor of the University of Nebraska, apparently because of his impending dismissal at the end of the semester. After shooting Kurz Weller tried to escape, but was surrounded by police on the campus, whereupon he killed himself with a shot in the chest.
- June 4, 1936: Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, Wesley Crow shot and killed his Lehigh University English instructor, C. Wesley Phy. Crow went to Phy’s office and demanded that Mr. Phy change his grade to a passing mark. Crow committed suicide after shooting Phy.
- September 24, 1937: Toledo, Ohio 12-year-old Robert Snyder shot and wounded his principal, June Mapes, in her office at Arlington public school when she declined his request to call a classmate. He then fled the school grounds and shot and wounded himself.
- May 6, 1940: South Pasadena, California. After being removed as principal of South Pasadena Junior High School, Verlin Spencer shot six school officials, killing five, before attempting to commit suicide by shooting himself in the stomach.
- May 23, 1940: New York City, New York Infuriated by a grievance, Matthew Gillespie, 62-year-old janitor at the junior school of the Dwight School for Girls, shot and critically wounded Mrs. Marshall Coxe, secretary of the junior school.
- July 4, 1940: Valhalla, New York Angered by the refusal of his daughter, Melba, 15 years old, to leave a boarding school and return to his home, Joseph Moshell, 47, visited the school and shot and killed the girl.
- September 12, 1940: Uniontown, Pennsylvania, 29-year-old teacher Carolyn Dellamea is shot to death inside her third grade classroom by 35-year-old William Kuhns. Kuhns then shot himself in the chest in a failed suicide attempt. Kuhns had reportedly been courting Dellamea for over a year but the relationship was ended when Dellamea discovered that Kuhns was already married.
- October 2, 1942: New York City, New York Irwin Goodman, 36-year-old mathematics teacher at William J. Gaynor Junior High School, was shot and killed in the school corridor by a youth.
- February 23, 1943: Port Chester, New York Harry Wyman, 13-year-old, shot himself dead at the Harvey School, a boys’ preparatory school.
- June 26, 1946: Brooklyn, New York A 15-year-old schoolboy who balked at turning over his pocket money to a gang of seven youths was shot in the chest at 11:30 A.M. in the basement of the Public School 147 annex of the Brooklyn High School for Automotive Trades.
- November 24, 1946: New York City A 13-year-old student at St. Benedict’s Parochial School, shot and fatally wounded himself while sitting in an audience watching a school play.
- February 5, 1947: Madill, Oklahoma 1st grade teacher Jessie Laird, 40-years-old, was shot to death in her classroom, during recess, by her estranged husband, Ellis Laird, 62-years-old. Laird then fatally shot himself.
- December 1, 1947: Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania Donald Peabody Sargent, 14, shot himself to death in his junior high school classroom.
- December 24, 1948: New York City A 14-year-old boy was wounded fatally by an accidental shot from the .22-caliber rifle of a fellow-student … the youth was shot in the head when he chanced into range where Robert Ross, 17, of Brooklyn, was shooting at a target near a lake on the school property.
- March 11, 1949: New York City A 16-year-old student at Stuyvesant High School was accidentally shot in the arm by a fellow student who was ‘showing off’ with a pistol in a classroom.
- November 13, 1949: Columbus, Ohio, Ohio State University freshman James Heer grabbed a .45 caliber handgun from the room of a Delta Tau Delta fraternity brother and shot and killed his fraternity brother Jack McKeown, 21, an Ohio State senior.
- April 25, 1950: Peru, Nebraska Dr. William Nicholas, 48, president of Peru State College and Dr. Paul Maxwell, 56, education department head, were shot to death at their desks by Dr. Barney Baker, 54-year-old psychology professor. Baker was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot at his home on campus.
- July 22, 1950: New York City, New York A 16-year-old boy was shot in the wrist and abdomen at the Public School 141 dance… during an argument with a former classmate.
- March 12, 1951: Union Mills, North Carolina Professor W. E. Sweatt, superintendent and teacher at the Alexander school, was shot to death by students Billy Ray Powell, 16, and Hugh Justice, 19. The assailants had been reprimanded by Sweatt, and they waited for him as he locked his office door.
- June 4, 1951: New York City, New York Carl Arch, a 50-year-old intruder to a girl’s gym class, was shot and killed by a police officer, at Manhattan’s Central Commercial High School.
- November 27, 1951: New York City, New York David Brooks, a 15-year-old student, was fatally shot as fellow-pupils looked on in a grade school.
- April 9, 1952: New York City, New York A 15-year-old boarding-school student shot a dean rather than relinquish pin-up pictures of girls in bathing suits.
- July 14, 1952: New York City, New York Bayard Peakes walked in to the offices of the American Physical Society at Columbia University and shot and killed secretary Eileen Fahey with a .22 caliber pistol. Peakes was reportedly upset that the APS had rejected a pamphlet he had written.
- September 3, 1952: in Lawrenceville, Illinois After 25-year-old Georgine Lyon ended her engagement with Charles Petrach, Petrach shot and killed Lyon in a classroom at Lawrenceville High School where she worked as a librarian.
- November 20, 1952: New York City, New York “Rear Admiral E. E. Herrmann, 56 years old, superintendent of the Naval Postgraduate School, was found dead in his office with a bullet in his head. A service revolver was found by his side.
- October 2, 1953: Chicago, Illinois 14-year-old Patrick Colletta was shot to death by 14-year-old Bernice Turner in a classroom of Kelly High School in Chicago. It was reported that after Turner refused to date Colletta he handed her the gun and dared her to pull the trigger, telling her that the gun was “only a toy.” A coroner’s jury later ruled that the shooting was an accident.
- October 8, 1953: New York City, New York Larry Licitra, 17-year-old student at the Machine and Metal Trades High School, was shot and slightly wounded in the right shoulder in the lobby of the school while inspecting a handmade pistol owned by one of several students.
- March 31, 1954: Newton, Massachusetts John Frankenberger, 14, was accidentally shot to death in a classroom at Day Junior High School, when a pistol being held by a classmate discharged.
- May 15, 1954: Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Putnam Davis Jr. was shot and killed during a fraternity house carnival at the Phi Delta Theta house at the University of North Carolina. William Joyner and Allen Long were shot and wounded during the exchange of gunfire in their fraternity bedroom. The incident took place after an all-night beer party. Mr. Long reported to the police that, while the three were drinking beer at 7 a.m., Davis pulled out a gun and started shooting with a gun he had obtained from the car of a former roommate.
- January 11, 1955: Swarthmore, Pennsylvania After some of his dorm mates urinated on his mattress Bob Bechtel, a 20-year-old student at Swarthmore College, returned to his dorm with a shotgun and used it to shoot and kill fellow student Holmes Strozier.
- May 4, 1956: in Prince George’s County, Maryland, 15-year-old student Billy Prevatte fatally shot one teacher and injured two others at Maryland Park Junior High School in Prince George’s County after he had been reprimanded from the school.
- October 20, 1956: New York City, New York A junior high school student was wounded in the forearm by another student armed with a home-made weapon at Booker T. Washington Junior High School.
- October 2, 1957: New York City, New York “A 16-year old student was shot in the leg by a 15-year old classmate at a city high school.”
- March 4, 1958: New York City, New York “A 17-year-old student shot a boy in the Manual Training High School.”
- May 1, 1958: Massapequa, New York A 15-year-old high school freshman was shot and killed by a classmate in a washroom of the Massapequa High School.
- September 24, 1959: New York City, New York Twenty-seven men and boys and an arsenal were seized in the Bronx as the police headed off a gang war resulting from the fatal shooting of a teenager Monday at Morris High School.
- February 2, 1960: Hartford City, Indiana Principal Leonard Redden shot and killed two teachers with a shotgun at William Reed Elementary School in Hartford City, Indiana, before fleeing into a remote forest, where he committed suicide.
- March 30, 1960 Alice, Texas Donna Dvorak, 14, brought a .22 target pistol to Dubose Junior High School, and fatally shot Bobby Whitford, 15, in their 9th grade science class. Dvorak believed Whitford posed a threat to one of her girlfriends.
- June 7, 1960: Blaine, Minnesota Lester Betts, a 40-year-old mail-carrier, walked into the office of 33-year-old principal Carson Hammond and shot him to death with a 12-gauge shotgun.
- January 4, 1961: Delmont, South Dakota Donald Kurtz, 17-year-old senior at Delmont High School, was fatally wounded by a .22 caliber bullet from a rifle. The shot, intended as a sound effect for a school play, hit him in the chest during a rehearsal just minutes before the play was to take place.
- October 17, 1961: Denver, Colorado Tennyson Beard, 14, got into an argument with William Hachmeister, 15, at Morey Junior High School. During the argument Beard pulled out a .38 caliber revolver and shot at Hachmeister, wounding him. A stray bullet also struck Deborah Faith Humphrey, 14, who died from her gunshot wound.
Justice Richard White of the Supreme Court of New South Wales, Australia ordered the parents of a four-year-old girl to allow the doctors to perform blood transfusions on the girl, who had been diagnosed just very recently with cancer of the blood and bone marrow, despite the objections of her parents, who are both Jehovah’s Witnesses.
According to the Witness faith, which I used to belong to, blood transfusions are not allowed because of commandments from Jehovah (God) that consuming blood is forbidden in several verses, including Leviticus 17:10-14, Acts 15:19-29, Genesis 9:4, and Deuteronomy 12:16. The verses never say that blood transfusions themselves are not allowed, because they did not exist back in the days of the Bible, but the consuming and drinking of blood is forbidden, which the Watch Tower Society applied to blood transfusions.
Many different Christian denominations consider this, among other Witness practices and beliefs, to be outrageous and similar to a cult. It’s not really. The Bible never said gays couldn’t get married, just that people who lie with others of the same sex should be killed. The Bible also never said that you shouldn’t get blood transfusions, just that you shouldn’t drink it. It’s applying two-thousand year old dogma to modern day situations. It’s no different than any other Christian interpretation and implementation of the Bible.
The girl was diagnosed with leukemia, and the pediatric oncologist treating her said that without treatment she “will die . . . I would say in weeks.” The doctor also said that she had an extremely good chance of survival if she underwent treatment immediately. The parents refused to let her daughter receive possibly life-saving blood transfusions on the grounds of religious objections. They did, however, allow the doctors to do any other kind of treatment that is recommended for a leukemia patient.
After the parents refused to give their daughter the blood transfusions, the hospital petitioned the courts, saying that the transfusions would save the girl’s life.
In the courtroom, the parents gave very emotional addresses to the court about how they love their daughter very much and do not want her to die, just that they object to blood transfusions because of their faith. Justice White, who only two years prior heard a similar case of a ten-year-old boy, came down in favour of the hospital and the girl, saying that, “The court is to act in the best interest of the child,” and that, “Without a blood transfusion, there is a very high prospect that (she) will die.”
This is especially good news, because the doctors said that even if they could save the girl without the blood transfusions, which is highly unlikely, she could have severe brain and kidney damage.
Parents should be forced to treat their children, not pray over them and wish that everything gets better. If a child’s life is at risk, I don’t care what a parent’s religion is or what it teaches. A child living is better than appeasing some sky daddy who let her get sick in the first place.
People who deny their children safe and proven to work medicine because their religion says to are disgusting and should have their children taken away from them, at the very least. Nobody give me that “It’s Darwinism! It’s natural selection!” haha bullshit. It’s not funny. Children are being killed by their parents over delusional, superstitious nonsense. There are 30 states today in America that allow exemption from prosecution of parents who deny their children medical treatment on the grounds of religious objections. This is the government condoning and shielding child abuse.
This is just another reason that religion is dangerous to society. It’s stories like this that luckily ended up okay (or worse, the stories where the children die because of their neglectful parents) that make me question the idea of freedom of religion. So many children would still be alive today if not for their parents denying them insulin, or when a baby is denied medical treatment that could prevent her from going blind, or any of these horrific cases, all because of the parents’ religion. Better yet, when a thirteen-year-old boy refuses his own cancer treatment because of the influence from his parents’ religion.
Since we’re here complaining about children dying from diseases, let’s actually do something about it. Here’s a link to the donations page of Have a Heart: Children’s Cancer Society. Donate what you can. Please. I know, I’m such an evil, misanthropic atheist for wanting people to donate to a children’s cancer charity.