The Dangers of Moderate Religion

This story in the Hamilton Spectator describes one of the dangers of nonviolent religion: country songwriter Darrell “Wayne” Perry died of cancer in 2005 after a preacher, Darlene Bishop, convinced him that God would heal him.

Perry’s family is suing her for discouraging him from seeking proper medical attention.

Bishop wrote a book telling how God healed both her breast cancer and Perry’s throat cancer. Except that she never mentions that he died of it.

Even if she’s found innocent, the known facts still don’t look good for her, or for religion: when he was diagnosed with throat cancer, Perry moved in with Bishop. She prayed over him which, as you might expect, did nothing. He decided (whether on his own or on her advice is something for the court to decide) not to undergo chemo and radiation therapy, as his doctors recommended. Eventually, when it got to the point where he collapsed from not being able to breathe, he went in for treatment, and got better for a while.

Bishop claims that that’s when she wrote the portion of her book that says that God healed Perry, believing the disease was in remission.

So even if she’s honest and sincere, it means that she watched him get worse even as she prayed over him; as soon as he got proper medical attention, he got better, if only for a while; and therefore prayer heals? How deluded do you have to be to believe that? And if she’s not that deluded, then presumably she’s lying to the gullible.

It also turns out that she’s said in a sworn deposition that she was never actually diagnosed by, like, an actual doctor of the breast cancer that she claims God healed her of. Rather, she “thought” she had it, and that it was cured. Hell, by that criterion, I’ve been cured of any number of diseases hundreds of times, through the wondrous healing power of “see if it still hurts in the morning”!

But whether Bishop was lying or not, it seems clear that Wayne Perry believed her, and didn’t get proper medical care because he thought God would heal him. That’s like starving to death while waiting for manna to fall from heaven.

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One Response to The Dangers of Moderate Religion

  1. Cyde Weys says:

    It’s a terrible story and all, but I don’t think a lawsuit will work in this instance. It’s the dead guy’s own fault for being stupid and believing that medical care wasn’t necessary. Yes, the preacher believed it too, and she had a role in making the dead guy believe in his ridiculous notion that medical care wasn’t necessary, but it’s kind of a “people have the right to believe what they wish” situation.

    Now if the preacher had been in schools brainwashing poor children with this belief, then THAT would be a problem, but out in society at large, she’s allowed to have that belief, no matter how dangerous it may be, and she’s allowed to discuss it with other people, no matter how stupid it may be, and others are allowed to believe in it if they wish.

    The real solution isn’t a lawsuit, it’s something that religious people are going to like a lot less …

    The solution is to get rid of all irrational beliefs.

    Like

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