Posts Tagged “daniel hauser”

The case of Daniel Hauser, about whom I’ve blogged already, gets weirder by the day. His mother fled with him so that he missed a court appearance on Tuesday. Since then the father’s responses as to where his wife and son are, have been rather cute and non-revealing.

CNN reports on the latest in this story:

A 13-year-old Minnesota boy whose family has rejected chemotherapy to treat his cancer is near Los Angeles, California, with his mother, and the pair may be planning to travel to Mexico, authorities said Thursday.

Brown County, Minnesota, Sheriff Rich Offmann cited “reliable information” in making the announcement to reporters, adding that Colleen Hauser may be seeking treatment for her son’s lymphoma in Mexico, just south of San Diego, California.

Oh great. Mexico. A country on the cutting edge of medicine … not!

On top of that, authorities made an incongruous statement about the father:

Anthony Hauser, Colleen’s husband and the boy’s father, has been cooperating with law enforcement, Offmann said.

This, however, is contradicted by the father’s dodginess and defiance earlier in court, as reported by the Star Tribune:

Anthony Hauser said he last spoke to his wife about 4 p.m. Monday as he milked cows at the family farm near Sleepy Eye. He said his wife told him she was going to leave and “That’s all you need to know.”

The words he said to the judge are certainly not those of someone who’s being “cooperative.”

The CNN report also shows the family being inconsistent:

Family spokesman Dan Zwakman told CNN Thursday that Anthony Hauser was not aware that his wife was taking the child.

This claim is — again — contradicted by what Anthony Hauser had told the judge. So this “spokesman’s” claims cannot be accepted at face value.

In addition to being dodgy and lying to people, the family still appears to be in denial about the nature of Daniel’s illness, as CNN goes on to report:

But Zwakman told CNN’s “American Morning” program Thursday that he knows five people who have been cured with natural healing.

“Yes, it’s happened many times,” he said.

So Zwackman and the Hausers “know” chemotherapy won’t work because they know of cases where alternatives have. I guess they never heard of the placebo effect, and have verified that in all of these cases the diagnosis of Hodgkin’s lymphoma had been correct in the first place. Hmm. Why do I doubt both of these? The rationalizing and justification for killing their kid are elucidated at the end of the CNN report:

Mankato, Minnesota, lawyer Calvin P. Johnson, who identified himself as the Hauser family’s attorney, has declined interviews but issued a statement “by way of clarification and hopefully to aid your understanding of the procedural nuances in the Danny Hauser case.”

The statement listed 12 points. Among them:

• The first and foremost important principle is: It is a violation of spiritual law to invade the consciousness of another without their consent.

• This is a case of Love vs. Power. Love gives. Power takes.

• The state does not have a right to take.

• A parent’s love and affection is a positive social right we all share.

• The court compelled Colleen Hauser to make a decision between three chemotherapy providers. Apparently, she didn’t like the list.

• The court was forcing her to decide.

• The decision for treatment cannot be forced.

• Anthony and Colleen Hauser share Danny’s viewpoint: They do not approve of chemotherapy. Under the circumstances of this case, chemotherapy constitutes assault and torture when given to a young man who believes that it will kill him.

Note that many of these “points” have absolutely no bearing on the validity and effectiveness of chemotherapy, so they are irrelevant “fluff.” And if chemotherapy constitutes “assault and torture,” what then would one call allowing a child to die, in order to avoid it? How is that any more moral? (Answer: It’s not.)

An additional note as clarification: The idea that the Hausers are following some kind of spiritual or religious mandate, is absurd on its face. As I blogged before, the “Nemenhah Band” is not a religion per se; it is, instead, a marketing gimmick cooked up in 2001 by a naturopath, Phillip “Cloudpiler” Landis, in order to sell naturopathic (i.e. useless) remedies. It claims to be a traditional native American religion, however, it has no native American members, and no other native American religious groups recognize it; and while it includes various Christian and especially Mormon ideas, other Mormons as well as the LDS Church also do not recognize it. It is, therefore, a non-religion, which the Hausers have used as a pretense for not treating their son’s cancer. All the talk about “spirituality” and “religious freedom” is, therefore, a lie. Plain and simple.

I also question why authorities in Minnesota are now saying that Anthony Hauser is “cooperating.” Clearly he was defiant — to the judge’s face even — so this is not a credible claim on their part. Either he’s done a unilateral turnaround on the matter — which again is contradicted by what the family’s spokesman and lawyer are saying — or he is not, in fact, cooperating at all. Clearly the authorities were taken by surprise and are now engaging in the well-worn practice of “covering their asses” to make it appear they know what’s happened, in spite of having let the Hausers pull the wool over their eyes.

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The case of Daniel Hauser — the Minnesota boy I blogged about already, whose family has used its (questionable) Nemenhah “religion” as a pretense for not treating his Hodgkin’s lymphoma — has taken a strange turn, as the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports:

The father of Daniel Hauser said today he believes his son and his wife have left the country, but won’t say where he thinks they have gone to keep out of reach of authorities.

“I have an opinion where they are, but I can’t say I know,” said Anthony Hauser, adding that he has placed a call to a telephone where he believes he can reach them. …

Despite state and national crime alerts that were issued Tuesday afternoon, the Brown County sheriff’s office reported late this morning that the boy and his mother haven’t been found. Daniel’s case is attracting intense worldwide news media attention.

Colleen Hauser defied a court order when she disappeared Monday.

The family, of course, still is in rigid and fierce denial that there is anything wrong with Daniel:

Hauser said he and his wife are open to treating Daniel with a combination of low doses of chemotherapy and alternative medical treatments.

“Where’s the reasoning here?” he said of the doctors’ position. “There is none.”

Mr Hauser, let me help you with the doctors’ “reasoning.” They are the credentialed medical experts. You are not. They are the ones who’ve successfully treated other people for Hodgkin’s lymphoma. You have not.

Was that simple enough for you to follow, Mr Hauser? Good.

The Star Tribune goes on to say that officials claim they guessed the Hausers might pull a stunt like this:

County officials had “kind of suspected this would happen,” Hoffmann said of the Hausers’ disappearance. “But we had no legal grounds to do anything” preemptive.

Actually, there’s no reason they could not have staked out the Hausers’ home — if they truly suspected this — so they’d know their whereabouts at all times and could intercept them if needed. What I suspect is that officials were caught off-guard and are only now claiming to have been suspicious of them.

The Hausers are apparently getting help in killing their kid:

t said they may be in the company of Susan Daya, also known as Susan Hamwi, a California attorney who accompanied them to a medical appointment Monday.

It also said they might be with a man named Billy Joe Best, who appeared at a news conference held by the family in early May to say he supported the Hausers.

How wonderful of these two people to be complicit in the attempted (so far) killing of Daniel Hauser and defiance of a Minnesota state court.

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A Minnesota judge recently decided that Daniel Hauser, a boy who has Hodgkin’s lymphoma, must resume chemotherapy treatment for his illness in spite of his espoused Nemenhah religious beliefs against doing so (here’s a report by the Pioneer Press):

Judge John Rodenberg said in a 58-page ruling that there is overwhelming medical evidence Daniel Hauser most likely will live if he receives the treatment and die if he doesn’t. …

After receiving one chemotherapy treatment in February, Daniel suffered some chest pain and other symptoms, and refused the remaining five recommended treatments.

Daniel and his parents instead pursued alternatives that included diet, vitamins and ionized water — stating they belonged to the Nemenhah, a quasi-American Indian spiritual group that opposes medical care that can harm the body.

Let me note, first, that it’s refreshing to see Minnesota chooses not to follow the Texas legal philosophy that it is acceptable to injure or even kill people if it’s part of a religious observance. (Texas can be a very dangerous state!)

I suppose it would be easy for me to condemn the Hauser family for putting their metaphysics ahead of their child’s life … but I’m not at all sure that’s what’s going on here. Daniel’s objections to chemotherapy are, quite frankly, all over the map, as the story mentions. The chronologically-oldest objection was this:

After receiving one chemotherapy treatment in February, Daniel suffered some chest pain and other symptoms, and refused the remaining five recommended treatments.

I can definitely believe that side-effects of chemo are tough to deal with. No doubt about it. But the side-effects of chemo need to be weighed against the consequence of not treating Hodgkin’s … which is death. Daniel’s next objection was:

Daniel and his parents instead pursued alternatives that included diet, vitamins and ionized water — stating they belonged to the Nemenhah, a quasi-American Indian spiritual group that opposes medical care that can harm the body.

This is the point where the Nemenhah religious beliefs came into play. One must wonder whether this was merely a legalistic justification for refusing treatment rather than a genuine belief. That Daniel himself could not explain Nemenhah suggests exactly this:

A turn in the trial came Saturday when an attorney appointed by the court to represent Daniel’s interests said he doubted the “genuineness” of the boy’s spiritual beliefs based on his own closed-door testimony to the judge.

In his final argument, attorney Thomas Sinas noted that Daniel couldn’t even read his own written statement to the court in which he claimed his Nemenhah faith. Daniel also had testified that he only recently became a medicine man when his mother told him he was one.

(Note, in Nemenhah, even 13-year-old boys can be “medicine men.”)

Daniel even denied he was sick at all, in order to justify not getting chemo; Judge Rodenberg wrote:

However, he does not believe he is ill currently. The fact is that he is very ill currently.

“He has Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which is apparently not in remission from the available evidence.”

So Daniel even engaged in the age-old psychological tactic of “denial” in order not to have to get the treatment. In fact, the true reason Daniel objected came out in the judge’s questioning:

The judge asked him specifically why he didn’t want chemotherapy.

“Because I didn’t like the idea of it,” he responded.

“OK. I have to say at age 13, I probably wouldn’t have known anything about chemotherapy,” the judge said, “so I need to know from you what you knew about it at that point in time and why you didn’t want it.”

“Because (of) all the side effects.”

“How did you know that?”

“My mom told me.”

Daniel also discussed an aunt who died amid chemotherapy treatments for a different kind of cancer. Daniel was about 5 years old at the time.

“Did you see her when she was having chemotherapy?” the judge asked.

“Yes,” Daniel stated.

“What did you see?”

“She was really sick. She was sick, and I didn’t want to go through what she had to go through.”

So there you have it. Daniel doesn’t want chemo because his mother told him it was bad, and also because of an aunt’s bad experiences with it (which, quite possibly, is the reason his mother told him it was bad). I have to wonder how much “Nemenhah beliefs” had to do with this; it sure looks like a legal contrivance to me. Rather than help the boy deal with the side-effects of chemotherapy — which would have been the responsible thing to do — the family chose, instead, to indulge his fears and try to prevent him from getting care that will save his life.


As for the “Nemenhah faith,” I’ve tried to find out what it is. There’s precious little objective information about it. As near as I can discover it was founded by a man named Phillip “Cloudpiler” Landis around 2001, as a way of promoting “natural” remedies (he’s a naturopath). The Nemenhah Band (as the Missouri group calls itself) has a mix of native American and pseudo-Mormon beliefs, although neither native Americans nor the LDS Church have anything to do with them.

Given the odd and dubious nature of “the Nemenhah Band” itself, as well as the dubiousness of the Hausers’ own belief in Nemenhah in the first place, I suspect that religion played little or no role in this affair, except to serve as a legal pretense.

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