More proof that too much faith will make you crazy…

Sometimes having too much faith will put you and your family at risk:

Over three months in 2006, as her five children grew more emaciated and listless by the day, Estelle Walker made no move to find a job, no effort to scrounge up a meal, her kids told a jury yesterday.

“We were supposed to wait for God to provide,” said Walker’s oldest daughter, now 21. “And that’s what we did.”

At one point, the daughter said, she and her siblings went 11 days without food. When police were at last summoned to the Sussex County cabin by neighbors, investigators found the children so malnourished they had difficulty talking.

It seems that in 2005 Mrs. Walker had told her church that she and her kids needed to get away from her alcoholic husband so the church put her up in a cabin it normally uses for retreats. It’s not explicitly stated in the article, but there’s a suggestion that the church supported Walker and her kids during their stay in the cabin. The trouble started when the church decided it was time for them to move on:

Walker was due to leave the cabin in May 2006 but refused, saying God had told her to stay, church members have said. The church then cut off her support and began eviction proceedings.

It wasn’t long before the money was gone and along with it the food. Yet Mrs. Walker refused to find work or ask for assistance:

Under questioning by Sussex County Assistant Prosecutor Frances Koch, they said Walker never tried to get any assistance for her family, either from her estranged husband or from other relatives. She likewise avoided seeking help from two churches near the Hopatcong cabin where they had been staying, the children said.

Though she had previously worked as a teacher, Walker made no effort to earn money, her children said.

“She never tried to get money or food or get a job,” the 16-year-old daughter said.

Now, several years later at the age of 50, Mrs. Walker is facing four counts of second-degree child endangerment which could land her in prison for 10 years for each count. None of this has shaken her faith in the least. In fact she has so much faith that she’s refusing to help in her own defense:

The invocation of God has been a theme throughout the trial’s first three days. Before the jury entered the courtroom yesterday, public defender Ronald Nicola told Judge N. Peter Conforti that Walker had been refusing to take an active role in her defense.

“She says, “God is my defense,’ Nicola told the judge.

Nicola asked that Walker be permitted to undergo psychiatric testing.

Asked by Conforti why she is not participating in her trial, Walker told him she saw no point in it.

“I don’t feel the need to continue to go over the documents that we’ve been going over for three years,” she said. “God will defend me.”

She’s already been found competent to stand trial so the request for psychiatric testing was denied. This woman’s faith almost killed her and her kids and now it’s going to put her behind bars.

The kids, by the way, have been living with their father since their mother was arrested and are reportedly doing well. Or at least as well as you can do when called upon to testify against your own mother for being a crazy bitch.

5 thoughts on “More proof that too much faith will make you crazy…

  1. I think blaming the faith would be like saying the symptom of the sickness is the sickness itself. This woman clearly did not want to take responsibility for anything, and decided to use “God” as her excuse to do so. To say this is an account of faith making people crazy is, I believe, improper analysis.

    Especially considering how when people try to speak for “God”, they’re just getting their own opinion (a study you linked to not too long ago), and thus just using God for their own purposes, to fuel their lack of legitimacy. If there were no God to use as an excuse, they’d simply use something else.

  2. Greg, it’s impossible to tell from the article itself whether the woman seriously believes the claims she’s making about having heard from God and being told that he would provide for her and defend her in her criminal case. It is, as you pointed out, entirely possible she’s just incredibly lazy and self-centered and is knowingly using God as an excuse. Still when you consider that she allowed herself and her children to become malnourished in pursuit of her laziness, well, that kinda reinforces the idea that she really believed what she was claiming.

    I’m making the, admittedly facetious, argument that if we accept her claims as sincere then her faith has indeed made her crazy. If she really believes that God is going to pull off some miracle for her if she just sits on her ass long enough as she supposedly believes she’s been told to do then she clearly needs that psychiatric exam they denied her.

  3. For the sake of those poor kids I hope the father wasn’t actually an alcoholic butthead or that he’s on a better track now. Frying pan, fire…

  4. (Greg) I think blaming the faith would be like saying the symptom of the sickness is the sickness itself.

    We have had this argument before. It’s not uncommon for people to use religion to justify being seriously nuts, certainly more common than saying “the Emperor of Mars made me do it”. Correlation isn’t causation and all that, but as far as I know there is a codependency between faith and poor mental health. People who are predisposed towards poor mental health don’t seem to do well in fundamentalist religious environments and even otherwise sane people can go bonkers when stuck in a restrictive religious environment.

    Does faith make people nuts? It depends and there isn’t enough background information to make a call in this instance.

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