I mean, I know it's nothing new and exciting, but it's always important to remember these kinds of things when people say that religious beliefs, even if practiced nonviolently, don't ever harm people.
The entire article is here, but I just want to show you a couple direct quotes from the article:
1. "The Polk County Sheriff's Office says it appears she died because of the fast. Deputies don't plan to file charges because they believe she fasted willingly and her family said she was mentally sound, Sheriff Grady Judd said."
I don't think it's usual for mentally sound people to starve themselves to death. Unless there are other factors going on, that make otherwise rational people do irrational, potentially harmful things...
2. "On Friday, her death baffled family members, Bartow residents and religious scholars."
Really? Baffled religious scholars? Maybe they missed the part where the Bible encourages starving yourself as a holy activity.
3. "Even Judd was surprised that a common religious practice went bad. 'I'm a god-fearing man, and I can tell you, God doesn't intend you to fast yourself to death,' he said."
What? Who has ever heard of religious practices going bad (potential rant)? But I'm glad that Judd here can tell me that God doesn't want his creation to starve themselves to death on his account. But in his holy wisdom he did manage to make it pretty confusing when he mentions people fasting, without food or water, for 40 days and 40 nights at multiple times in the Bible, considering not drinking or eating for that long would kill just about anyone.
4. "Lots of religions use some act of starvation as a part of their spiritual process," said Kristen Swenson, who recently published a book about how the Bible affects today's culture. "But most religions stress the importance of maintaining health."
Yes, because starving yourself is a great way of maintaining health.
5. "Everyone is just wondering why he didn't check on her," said Sarah Lovelace, owner of a flower shop near the church. "It's the talk of the town."
Maybe because, in a religious society, starving yourself is considered a pious and admirable activity until someone dies from it.
Well, I could go on, but I think you get the idea. Fasting is one of the religious practices that bothers me the most. I mean, seriously:
What kind of God would want you to starve yourself on his behalf?
And, of course, the answer is the Christian one.