Leilani Neumann said during videotaped testimony that the family believes the Bible says healing comes from God and that she never expected her daughter to die. The Neumanns said the girl had not been to a doctor since she was 3.
A criminal complaint said Dale Neumann told police he believed God would heal his daughter right up until she stopped breathing. He also "professed to believe God was going to bring Madeline back to life."
This case is a good example of why Richard Dawkins and Cristopher Hitchens (and to a lesser extent Sam Harris and Daniel Dennett) write against religious faith in such polarizing terms. Dawkins even calls religious indoctrination child abuse in his book The God Delusion. I don't know about indoctrination, but this kind of nonsense certainly can't be explained away with vague pronouncements of freedom of religion.
To give some idea of how avoidable this death was, here's the testimony of medical experts:
Madeline's gradually declining health would have gotten acute three or four days before she died as her body began shutting down. But despite being unresponsive and in a coma, the girl could have been saved very late into the day of her death with the proper treatment.
Even people who don't wield the First Amendment in a case like this can have variations of this disorder. "It's what I believe," they say. "My belief's as valid as yours." I've even heard people talking about their own "subjective truth," as if that made any sense. But not all beliefs are valid, and there are times when the evidence has to overrule conviction. That's why actual thinkers get so frustrated with Holocaust deniers and Young Earth Creationists and people who believe God will cure diabetes or raise children from the dead because somebody wrote something 1900 years ago about a guy who lived forty years before that who is alleged to have done those things.