A soundbite from a religious woman from the bible belt in Zeeland, the Netherlands. ‘I didn’t mind having polio as a child because it brought me closer to god‘.
Now I’ll be the last person to dispute having an illness like cancer, polio, aids can be life changing. Even though nowadays chances for survival are better than ever before, going through an illness that’s that profound does alter your mindset and leaves you a different human being than before.
The part I don’t get is why people that are religious to the extent that they embrace every opportunity to get ‘closer to god’ make their young children go through the same. Right now as we speak there is an outbreak of the measles in my country, and the bulk of the cases is rigth there in what we call the ‘bible belt’, very devout reformatory protestants in the regions of Zeeland and Utrecht and a part of Gelderland. The thing that bugs me is, if you believe that an entity created everything, then why didn’t that same entity also create vaccines?! Because these people refuse to have their babies vaccinated and because of that every couple of years there is a massive outbreak of the pocks, the measles or any other disease that hardly bothers people in other part of the country. I can imagine a grown up taking spiritual lessons from hardship and disease, but what about their babies, their toddlers, their young children? Why subject a child to that kind of suffering – especially when it is not necessary?
I guess every time I hear about another outbreak an event dating years back comes to my mind and that’s why I get rattled and angry every time. There was this young girl, 19 years old, a collegue at the place I used to work and also a friend. She came from a family of Jehova’s witnesses (they also refuse to inoculate their children) and one day she didn’t show up for work. We found out that she had contracted meningitis, and her religious parents had taken her out of the hospital and refused to have her treated. She was too weak to even protest. She died. We weren’t even welcome at her funeral and to this day I haven’t managed to locate where they buried her. She suffered and died. She shouldn’t have.
Refusing to inoculate your child, exposing a young impressionable soul to life altering diseases and possibly death, all in the name of religion… I cannot stomach that.