According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about sixty percent of all babies have some form of jaundice, but most cases resolve themselves. More severe cases, when neglected, can cause permanent hearing loss, brain damage, or even death. As the CDC states, "No baby should develop brain damage from untreated jaundice." The symptoms of babies with moderate to severe jaundice show a child in real distress. The Pilands are now facing a trial for involuntary manslaughter. They stated that they understood the seriousness of their daughter's condition, but chose to believe the Bible's promises to heal.
The Pilands, in sacrificing their daughter, were laboring under a delusion that this was pleasing to God. Having grown up in a church that taught the same thing, I feel a mixture of rage, guilt, and compassion when I think about this family: rage that this sort of superstition and ignorance is still being spread, guilt because something similar could so easily have happened with our children--and the "lack of faith" that others and I berated myself for, along with some dumb luck--kept that from happening, and compassion because the Pilands don't know any better. I hope that one day they will.
Hosea 6:6 (King James Version)
For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.
Matthew 11:29-30 (New Revised Standard Version)29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
10 And as he sat at dinner in the house, many tax collectors and sinners came and were sitting with him and his disciples. 11 When the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 12 But when he heard this, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 13 Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.”