There’s a passage in the Bible (Matthew 10:7-8) which reads as follows:
As you go, announce this: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those with skin diseases, drive out demons. You have received free of charge; give free of charge.
Among a particular segment of Christians there is the belief that this means that anyone, so long as they truly believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, can do as Christ did and raise the dead. You can find all manner of Christians making this claim including no less than Pat Robertson of the 700 Club.
No, really, see for yourself:
So it’s amazing that we don’t hear news stories like this one more often:
Peter Wald, 52, died “probably around March 20th” last year, according to the agreed statement of facts read out in court Monday. He’d suffered from diabetes and his left foot had become infected. But he had refused to go to the hospital and believed God would cure him.
He went into a coma, she says, and days later she noticed his stomach bloating and signs of rigor mortis on his forehead.
She then left him – his body covered with two blankets, his head with a toque – in the bed and padlocked the bedroom door.
Kaling sealed in the door and the vents with duct tape to protect her family from the smell of the cadaver. And then for six months, life went on and they prayed for their dead husband and father in the bed upstairs as they awaited his return.
You’d think after a couple of weeks they’d give up, but that’s the amazing thing about faith. If you have enough of it you can keep hoping for something that’ll never happen for years on end. Hell, Christians have been waiting for Christ’s return for over 2,000 years when he promised he’d be back within the lifetime of his disciples.
Wald’s body was finally discovered by Sheriff’s when they showed up to evict the family for defaulting on their mortgage. Needless to say it wasn’t in great shape after laying around for so long and having rodents feasting on it.
“It’s an extremely sad case…she truly believed her husband was going to be resurrected from the dead, even after six months,” said assistant crown attorney Janet Booy.
[…] Kaling – who has no past criminal record – had her sentence suspended and was put on 18 months of probation and ordered to seek counseling around the “public health concerns” of the incident.
“Your belief that your husband would resurrect is not an issue,” Superiour Court Justice Marjoh Agro said at her plea Monday.
I’d dispute the idea that her religious beliefs aren’t an issue. This woman allowed a body to decay in her home possibly creating a health hazard not just for her and her children, but the neighborhood in general, specifically because of her religious belief that her husband would be resurrected by God. She may not have had criminal intent, but that doesn’t mean her beliefs weren’t the cause of the issue.
And, like any other good Christian, this utter failure on God’s part to answer her prayers has in no way shaken her faith or her belief that raising the dead is a thing people can do:
But she still believes strongly in resurrection, and says there have been many “documented” cases of it around the world. Her faith was not shaken by the legal consequences, she says.
“In fact it has cast me more at the mercy of God, because He is the ultimate judge.”
It’s not that there isn’t a God to grant her the power to raise her dead husband after not granting the husband’s prayers for a cure, it’s just he works in mysterious ways/has a Grand Plan that didn’t include bringing the dead guy back.
The good news is she’s at least sensible enough that she says she won’t try something like this again. Of course a lot of religious nutcases say that and end up doing it again because the prospect of pulling off their own little miracle is just too tantalizing to pass up. See any number of stories of people refusing medical treatment for their kids and nearly killing them in the process who tell the judge they’ll never do it again only to do it again and have the kid die on them.