Skip to main content

Ever since Sandy Hook and Webster, one of the main responses from those who oppose stiffer gun laws is that it isn't a problem of lax gun laws, but a problem with an inadequate mental health system.  As someone who thinks the problem is two-pronged, I'm of the mind that there's one surefire way to call the bluff of those who insist it's just a mental health issue.  Namely, start calling churches on the carpet for discouraging members with mental problems from seeking treatment.

While reading Jane Velez-Mitchell's book, Secrets Can Be Murder, I learned about the case of Dena Schlosser, the woman in Plano, Texas who chopped off her ten-month-old daughter Maggie's arms in 2004.  The baby bled to death the following day.  It turned out that Schlosser had a long history of mental illness.  She'd been diagnosed with postpartum psychosis after giving birth to Maggie, and according to an excellent 2006 piece in the Dallas Observer, she was later diagnosed as bipolar.  She was ultimately found not guilty by reason of insanity, and spent all but a few of the next six-plus years in mental institutions before being released on outpatient care.

However, she was a devout member of Water of Life Church, a fringe charismatic church in Plano pastored by Doyle Davidson.  Among other things, Davidson taught that mental illness was demonic--something that is still taught in several charismatic/pentecostal circles, though most of them (like yours truly) believe that God works through medicine as well as through divine healing.  Schlosser had been diagnosed with postpartum psychosis after giving birth to Maggie, but she and her husband had been wary about taking her medications due to Davidson's teachings.  Davidson is a piece of work himself--he once claimed that his wife, Patti, was no longer truly his wife, instead claiming that his personal secretary was his real wife.  He actually testified under oath that he believed mental illness to be demonic.  

The ensuing outcry resulted in Davidson being kicked off television outside the Dallas area.  He's since been knocked off TV altogether; the station that aired him switched to Spanish programming.  Amazingly, though, this guy's church not only still exists, but several radio stations are desperate enough to carry him.  I find myself wondering--how in the world is this church still in existence?

To my mind, we need to start coming down with hobnail boots on churches that discourage their flocks from seeking mental help.  It's well established that the most stringent First Amendment protection will not protect a church that discourages its members from getting their kids vaccinated.  This should be no different.

Originally posted to Christian Dem in NC on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 02:08 PM PST.

Also republished by Street Prophets .

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site