Beware the zealots with agendas

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When something sounds too good to be true, the old adage goes, it probably is.

And when something sounds too bad to be true, it, too, probably is.

Consider the curious custody case of Elijah Mehlhoff. Elijah was born last week at Kootenai Health. Two days later, he was removed by the state’s child protective services agency.

The what is known. The why? Those who know aren’t talking; not publicly, anyway. And that leaves a gulf filled with speculation presented as fact.

An all-caps headline on a conspiracy-fueled website touched plenty of sensitive spots in its 18-word alarm:

CPS GRABS NEWBORN BABY FROM A DISABLED CHRISTIAN MOTHER AFTER THE PARENTS EXPRESSED A DESIRE NOT TO VACCINATE.

You’ve got a newborn and therefore defenseless baby being snatched (by a government agency, no less).

You’ve got a disabled person who also happens to be a mom being victimized.

She’s a Christian, too.

And to top it off, you’ve got the threat of vaccines coursing through the veins of this controversy.

What you don’t have is any real information. Just speculation.

A letter submitted to The Press opens with this:

“A beautiful baby boy, Elijah, was born Nov. 20 to Christian parents at Kootenai Medical. Two days later the baby was taken from his parents by CPS and placed in foster care. Why? Because she has cerebral palsy or because the parents expressed a desire not to vaccinate their son.”

Contrary to the shrieking from stage right, personnel at Kootenai Health aren’t complicit in some government quest to punish God-fearing, liberty-minded patriots by stealing their babies. For that matter, the government isn’t in the business of wrecking families because someone is disabled, Christian and anti-vaccination. Yet those three traits are the common denominator in the tempest of outrage blowing from certain quarters.

It is tragic that parents and their newborn have been separated, but it also is tragic that zealots with an agenda have hijacked this case to further their ends.

Once the whole story comes out, maybe those all-caps headlines will scurry back to the dark scary places from which they came.

At least until the next opportunity comes around.

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