Nelson Clark, Pastor at the First Century Gospel Church in Idaho, is a completely unhinged fundamentalist (a Follower of Christ), medicine denialist and advocate of child sacrifice. In fairness, Clark would probably object to that last phrase, but it’s hard to see how he could avoid it. Clark urges his followers to avoid any contact with modern medicine and rather cure any ailment or condition with prayer – and that includes ailments and conditions suffered by his followers’ children. “Many profess faith in Christ, but do not act in faith on His Atonement Blood for healing, protection, provisions, and other life issues,” says Clark: “They say that doctors, medicine, and drugs are gifts from God – but the Bible does not say that, nor teach that. Bible Christians trusted God alone for healing.” In general, “the divine power of God … is able to heal our body without drugs or medicine; supply our needs without laid-up cash for the future; protect our family without firearms or anti-theft devices; bring about justice without legal action or attorneys; and to save our soul by a believing faith that endures to the end of our life,” said Clark in an e-mail (don’t ask), and the church also rejects seatbelts or correcting bad eyesight with glasses: “anyplace we are told to do something in case something happens is a breach of faith or denying of faith in God to protect you,” and for vision: “If God made eyes, obviously He can heal vision problems to see normally. We don’t use mechanical devices to make it better – it’s a matter of trusting God for normal vision.”
His practices received some attention in 2014, when Clark followers Herbert and Catherine Schaible chose prayer instead of antibiotics to treat their son’s bacterial pneumonia. The child died. It wasn’t the first child the Schaibles had lost to substituting prayer for care on the advice of Nelson Clark. The Schaibles, fortunately, went to prison. Clark went free. Confronted with the situation, Clark said God did not want the Schaible children to die, but the children died nonetheless because of a “spiritual lack” in the Schaibles’ lives. Yes, Clark opted for the standard alternative medicine gambit of blaming the victim, in this case the child, when the treatment doesn’t work. And the thing is, Clark has killed children before – a number of times.
There are few indications that faith-based excuses for killing children will be more harshly dealt with in a place like Idaho in the future. Clark has, however, voiced his concerns about that: “The legal community is trying to force our church group to put them in the hands of this flawed medical system, when they have chosen to put them in the hands of a perfect God, who does not make mistakes.
Diagnosis: An absolutely abysmally abhorrent excuse for a human being.