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Goforth in faith. (The Last Word).

It's interesting to imagine how the Holy Family would have fared if Bethlehem had been cursed with a Child Protective Services agency. Judging from the zeal of contemporary CPS commissars to break up healthy families while invoking "the best interests of the child," the mythical Bethlehem CPS would probably have taken issue with the fashion and circumstances in which Mary gave birth. As it happens, Mary and Joseph had to evade King Herod's agents, who sought to murder the Christ Child in the "best interests" of the state.

The brief but eventful life of William Reid Goforth, who will turn one in January, includes several nearly fatal encounters with our society's child "protection" apparatus. William's parents, Joshua and Noelle of San Antonio, Texas, were on a ski vacation in Colorado last January when the boy arrived nearly three months premature. Weighing merely one pound four ounces, William wasn't given much of a chance to live, let alone enjoy what our coarsened society considers an adequate "quality of life." An EEG taken when William was a week old showed negligible brain activity. At about the same time doctors projected a "zero percent chance" that he would ever breathe on his own.

William was born on the eve of the 29th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that elevated the discretionary killing of troublesome babies to the status of a "right." In the decades since that decision, the evil ethic inspiring it has infected much of our medical culture. Thus, it's not surprising that almost from the moment of William's birth, his parents Joshua and Noelle were put under relentless pressure to choose death for their tiny child. "We were told constantly that letting him live would be an 'unacceptable outcome,' that his quality of life wouldn't justify the cost," Joshua told THE NEW AMERICAN. But Joshua and Noelle, with family and friends supporting them, understood that only God could make the decision to take William's life.

At one point hospital officials in Colorado Springs told Joshua that they could not "in good conscience" provide any additional care for William. Part of the reason for the hospital's adamancy was the refusal by Joshua and Noelle--a couple in their early 20s who don't have health insurance--to avail themselves of various welfare programs to subsidize the mounting costs of William's care. This painful, principled decision reflects that Joshua and Noelle are devout Christians who were both homeschooled. In the face of the most painful temptation imaginable, they refused to be party to the participatory larceny called the "welfare state."

Friends of the Goforths organized a prayer watch for William, and started canvassing for donations to pay the family's medical bills. After being transferred to another hospital in San Antonio, William required additional expensive treatment, including surgery to close a heart valve. Once again, the family encountered severe resistance from hospital officials, who insisted that the "heroic measures" undertaken to treat the infant weren't cost-effective.

After it became clear that Joshua and Noelle insisted on trying to save their son, social workers affiliated with the hospital secretly dispatched a vicious report to the county Child Protective Services office. "They [CPS officials] wouldn't let us see the report, but they read parts of it to us," recalled Joshua to THE NEW AMERICAN. "It was pure character assassination, accusing us of belonging to a 'cult-like' religious group in which women weren't allowed to express opinions." That smear reflects the fact that Noelle refused to cooperate in several efforts made by social workers to enlist her support against Joshua's decision to reject federal and state welfare aid. The report to CPS also exaggerated William's birth defects.

"The report was intended to 'protect' William from me because I was trying to keep him alive," Joshua observes. He also recalls that social workers, in a fit of Orwellian inventiveness, accused him of "future child neglect" by refusing to accept welfare subsidies. Thankfully, county CPS officials--perhaps out of a desire not to be implicated in an act of Herodian cruelty--declined to pursue the case.

"Progress notes" compiled by William's physicians 10 days after his birth depict his situation as all but hopeless. After recounting a sorrowful litany of respiratory, neurological, and cerebral defects, one physician concluded: "[T]he expectation for this baby's outcome is that if he survives to hospital discharge, he will never learn language or self-care." Roughly five months and tens of thousands of prayers later, William was discharged. He had struggled to the size of a normal newborn, and begun to recognize familiar voices, move on his own accord, and interact with his surroundings. And through the intervention of private charity, Joshua and Noelle have managed to pay off all but $90,000 of an estimated $1.2- 1.3 million in medical bills.

Each day--each breath--granted to William offers tangible proof that faith is not futile, that the Lord who took human form amid dismal circumstances in Bethlehem still intervenes in man's affairs.
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Author:Grigg, William Norman
Publication:The New American
Date:Dec 16, 2002
Previous Article:Extreme Democrats needed. (Correction Please!).
Next Article:"Gay" goes Mainstream. (Letters to the Editor).

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