State-sanctioned child abuse: a response to Sean Faircloth’s interview with Liz Heywood

It’s not every day I sit in front of my computer and talk to it. However, yesterday I watched something that affected me so strongly that I made my first ever piece to camera. I have now joined the countless thousands on YouTube who speak their brains through their webcams into the void.

This is an interview with Sean Faircloth (of the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science) talking to a woman called Liz Heywood. Ms Heywood had the misfortune to be raised by Christian Scientists, who over a long period of time failed to treat her osteomyelitis, leaving her in excruciating pain and eventually necessitating an amputation. Ms Heywood demonstrates a remarkable capacity for perspective. I do recommend you watch the whole thing (17 minutes; alternatively, here is an embedded version on the RDFRS website).

I have seen and heard such stories before, so I was naturally horrified but not overly surprised. What I found most shocking, and what prompted me to make this little video, was the fact that in the majority of US states it is legal to neglect your child in this way if you claim that you are providing ‘faith healing’ instead. Here aresome specific details of the laws involved.

This gets a bit ranty, so if you’re only going to watch one video today, please watch the interview rather than my ugly mug.

Further reading

Friendly Atheist’s blog post on the subject, including a statement from Liz Heywood which was read by someone from the Secular Coalition for America in a meeting with White House officials.

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