Let your heart break for all the victims in this tragedy. Let yourself feel righteous anger at the authorities in her life that allowed this to happen, despite all the warning signs.
But please, stay angry. Let your anger motivate action. Talk to your relatives. Write to the preachers. Leave a comment on the news article. Write to the court. Do something.
This tragedy was entirely preventable. Those of us with Laestadian backgrounds know why a mother with mental illness continues to have children, and why a father aware of his wife's mental illness would not use birth control. If you don't remember, listen to this sermon from Phoenix Laestadian Lutheran. It not only condemns birth control but advocates maternal self-sacrifice, even unto death. It is the very definition of immoral.
From the 18-minute mark:
But it could be, as is often the case, that many children come, and then the dear mothers feel, that kind of trial, that kind of difficulty, that time in life where they become very tired. The business of life, of raising those little ones, feeding and clothing, these are part of the life of a believing family. There are questions that come, and doubts come as well, how can I raise these children when there is so little time in the day. These are also questions. And even the ENEMY may raise doubts in our minds. He may even during those busy times of live, come with this kind of sermon, that you know, there are ways, that you can not have children, that there are ways you can control the number of children you have. There have been these kinds of occasions were the ENEMY has tempted some with practicing birth control. It is not according to GOD's word, it is not according to the teachings of GOD's kingdom.Think of the eight children without their mom, whom the husband says was a good and loving mother. Think of the countless thousands of children neglected by overwhelmed parents. If you can't speak up for the mothers out there, speak up for the children.
Laestadians control nature in all kinds of ways. They control nature every time they get a flu shot or use an umbrella or get a stent installed. Forbidding women the control of their own fertility is irrational, inconsistent, and immoral.
It has to stop.
- A former member of Nina's church and preacher Eric Jurmu are interviewed here.
- See comments here on Phoenix New Times Blog.
- Here is an excellent post by Janet Heimlich on Religious Child Maltreatment.
- The Phoenix Laestadian Lutheran website has information on a fund to help Brad and Nina with legal expenses.
- Preacher Eric Jurmu's letter responding to a reporter's questions.