If you're a parent believing in the power of prayer to heal, you can forget it.
May I ask, why does the state need to intervene in the lives of people in the free exercise of their religion? Isn't that a CONSTITUTIONALLY guaranteed right? Nowhere in that document do I see the right to exercise religion "unless someone from the state thinks you've gone too far or your faith is silly."
Someone will tell me that this isn't right, that the child could have lived and the state had an interest in protecting the life of an American citizen. True. But that interest does NOT trump the rights of the parent to my mind. Otherwise, where would it end?
What if a child gets measles and dies? The parents had a religious objection to the shot, and now they're in jail for murder. I think that could happen.
What about a child's right to an education? Your religion forbids the education we want the child to have. You must send him to public school where you have NO say over the curriculum.
I *personally* believe these parents in the story were a bit foolish. God sure can heal. I think if I were in deepest Africa I'd have just prayed and hung on, too. But here in America I'd have used the hospital. I'd hate to feel compelled to go for every little thing just to cover my rear end legally, though. It would actually make me less likely to drag my kid to the ER if I thought that nosy state people were watching every last thing about my child.