This month the unfolding story of baby William Goforth once again took
some remarkable twists and turns as statism and religious bigotry were
juxtaposed against the ever merciful faithfulness of the Lord in protecting
the life of this miracle preemie.
The supervising hospital physician who once recommended discontinuance
of life support for baby Will Goforth on the grounds that the quality of his
life would be minimal, this month declared that he was "acting in the best
interest of the child," when he authorized hospital social workers to file a
formal request for state intervention with Child Protective Services after
parents Joshua and Noelle Goforth refused his demand to vaccinate the
Appealing to the physician to respect their parental obligation to make
decisions for their own child, parents Josh and Noelle explained that though
they did not necessarily object to vaccination at some time in the life of
William, they did not believe that it was either wise or necessary to inject
biologicals of unknown toxicity into the bloodstream of a struggling preemie
currently fighting for his life.
After consulting with legal counsel, they further appealed to the
supervising physician by explaining that Texas law, and even CPS guidelines,
make it clear that their decision not to vaccinate was legal and within the
realm of their Constitutionally-protected parental rights.
Indicating that his authority as a physician trumps their rights as a
parent, the supervising doctor remained steadfast in his assault on the
parents, and later responded by cursing at the Goforths' attorney when he
called to mediate the situation.
Seeing that the Goforths would not cede their parental rights to his
personal opinions, the physician gathered a group including two hospital
social workers for a surprise meeting with father Josh Goforth, during which
time it was made clear that unless the Goforths agreed to a series of
demands, they would continue to work for the State to take custody of the
child away from the parents. Among the issues raised as a pretext for State
seizure of the child was the fact that the social workers did not believe
that the Goforths were economically capable of caring for baby William after
he leaves the hospital. This last comment was based purely on the fact that
the Goforths have declined to receive State welfare.
When CPS did intervene and interview the Goforths, it was revealed that
the actual charges brought against the family which served as the pretext
for removing the child from the home included accusations that they were
part of a "cult-like" religion, that they held to "patriarchal" values in
which the husband speaks for the wife, and that they declined vaccination.
MUCH GOOD NEWS
Thanks be to God, we can report that the social
worker assigned to the case communicated to the Goforths and their attorney
that charges brought by the hospital staff did not constitute a valid basis
for CPS intervention. Although the case remains open, and hospital social
workers appear resolute in their commitment to oppose the family which could
result in later interviews and possible intervention, the circumstances
appear favorable for baby William and his parents.
Thanks can also be given for the fact that an appeal by the Goforths
was honored to have the antagonistic hospital physician removed from any
jurisdiction over Baby William. The new supervising physician appears not
only to be highly competent, but favorable to working with the parents
through these difficult times.
Perhaps the greatest news is the revelation that continued improvement
on the part of Baby William means that an eye operation scheduled for this
week may be deemed unnecessary. It has been indefinitely postponed as
physicians continue to chart the progress of baby William.
TITANIC DINNER RAISES MORE THAN
$60,000 for BABY WILLIAM
Three hundred guests joined Beall and me, the
Goforth family, and the staff of Vision Forum at the historic Menger Hotel
in San Antonio, Texas for the most successful Titanic Dinner in the six-year
history of the
Christian Boys' & Men's Titanic Society. The evening featured the
inspirational music of balladeer Charlie Zahm, the bagpipes of the Pipers
Fisher, a film about the life of baby Goforth, contests for the children,
and a message I delivered entitled "The Heroism of the Fathers is the Legacy
of the Sons."
The dinner was celebrated on the ninetieth anniversary of the sinking
of the R.M.S. Titanic, and a month after the 150th anniversary of the
sinking of the Birkenhead, the two maritime events noted for men who
lived out the doctrine of "women and children first."
This year's dinner was a benefit for the Baby William Fund. In God's
mercy, more than $60,000 was raised at the dinner and through the generosity
of many of you who have contributed through the mail and via our Web site.
Thanks be to God, the Fund was able to award the money to the Goforths for
the purpose of liquidating a $130,000 hospital bill which was negotiated
down to $50,000 -- conditional on the Goforths' ability to raise the money
in a timely fashion. Paying off this debt does not resolve all the problems
of the mounting hospital bills for Baby William's care, but it is an
important and strong first step.
VIEW IMAGES -- HELP BABY WILLIAM
To read more about the Titanic Dinner, to view images from the evening, or
to learn about how you can support the work of Vision Forum Ministries and
the Baby William Fund,
From the bottom of our hearts, all of us at the
Vision Forum thank you for joining us in prayer and support of the Goforth
family at this time. Josh and Noelle are not only our beloved friends, but
they have played a pivotal role in the life of our ministry. We believe that
this is a time for us and the body of Christ to show loyalty to this
uncompromising couple. Please continue to pray for their protection from
State intervention, for the health of their baby, and for their witness as
Christians. Please also pray that the Lord will supply for their medical
financial needs through the body of Christ.
President, The Vision Forum, Inc.