Faith Healing: Religious Freedom vs. Child Protection

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posted on Nov, 26 2013 @ 02:20 PM
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Faith healing is widely practiced by Christian Scientists, Pentecostalists, the Church of the First Born, the Followers of Christ, and myriad smaller sects. Many of these believers reject all medical treatment in favor of prayer, anointing with oils, and sometimes exorcisms. Some even deny the reality of illness. When they reject medical treatment for their children, they may be guilty of negligence and homicide. Until recently, religious shield laws have protected them from prosecution; but the laws are changing, as are public attitudes. Freedom of religion has come into conflict with the duty of society to protect children. The right to believe does not extend to the right to endanger the lives of children. A new book by Cameron Stauth, In the Name of God: The True Story of the Fight to Save Children from Faith-Healing Homicide, provides the chilling details of the struggle. He is a master storyteller; the book grabs the reader’s attention like a fictional thriller and is hard to put down. He is sympathetic to both the perpetrators and the prosecutors of religion-motivated child abuse, and he makes their personalities and their struggles come alive.
Rita Swan: From Christian Scientist to Crusader

READ MORE HERE



The rest of the article goes on to tell her story of why she broke away from the church and why she has been bringing their practices and the deaths to light. It then goes on to give case after case of child mistreatment some resulting in death or disfigurement and also gives some brief history on the subject at hand. It is an article worth reading. It is pretty graphic and heartbreaking.




Conclusion

The medical ethics principle of autonomy justifies letting competent adults reject lifesaving medical care for themselves because of their religious beliefs, but it does not extend to rejecting medical care for children. Society has a duty to over-ride parents’ wishes when necessary to protect children from harm. It is not uncommon for the courts to order life-saving blood transfusions for the children of Jehovah’s Witnesses, or cancer treatment against parents’ wishes. But 30 states still have religious shield laws, and every state but Mississippi and West Virginia allows religious and/or philosophical exemptions for school vaccination requirements. Those laws should be repealed. The Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) requires insurance companies to cover “nonmedical” health care such as prayers by Christian Science practitioners. That provision should be removed.

Note: It has been argued that most of the increase in human lifespan was due to advances in hygiene rather than to advances in medicine. The estimates of a 26-fold increase in infant mortality and a 900-fold increase in maternal mortality among the untreated Followers of Christ demonstrate just how valuable modern medical care really is.

For those who will not read the article I put the conclusion in just for them.

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posted on Nov, 26 2013 @ 02:34 PM
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Here is what gets a little lost in the discussion of this topic.

This is really about do people want the state to be able to interfere and take away their child if they wish to pursue a healing path that goes against what the state has determined is in the child's best interest.

It's easy to think you yourself will never want to seek or avoid treatment that will otherwise be forced on you... but until you find yourself on the receiving end of "Subject your child to treatment you don't agree with or lose them"... you won't really understand the meaning and full importance of what stance we take when we grant these freedoms to the state.

There are OTHER methods to pursue for getting parents resistant to common sense medical treatments to fully understand their options than at the tip of the government's gun/kidnapping mechanism. Even then the question still stands: At what point do you personally want to grant the full right for the state to take your child even if you truly earnestly believe you are doing what is best according to your priorities?

I've been the child recipient of non-consenting treatment at the hand of "expert" advice. Those people were found guilty of fraud and profiting from sending kids for treatment they don't need even if one parent doesn't consent or more usually... understand their options vs what the state can force them to do upon the recommendations of these "experts".

www.nytimes.com...

So be careful what power is handed over to an organization with guns that might not always share your point of view.
edit on 26-11-2013 by BardingTheBard because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 26 2013 @ 02:40 PM
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reply to post by BardingTheBard
 


Well I don’t know your circumstances however I will say the state taking away children is better than letting them die in homes where the parents put their religious beliefs above the children’s wellbeing.



posted on Nov, 26 2013 @ 02:44 PM
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reply to post by Grimpachi
 

What about if it's you and your family that has decided you would rather a family member die with their family at home than go through treatment none of you agree with... but the state has determined the chances for recovery are good enough to warrant forcing it on you?



posted on Nov, 26 2013 @ 02:48 PM
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reply to post by BardingTheBard
 


This is about children’s wellbeing not adults the article is clear on that.

You seem to be talking about an adults choice in their own life am I wrong?



posted on Nov, 26 2013 @ 02:57 PM
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reply to post by Grimpachi
 

I'm talking about you have a child family member... you've been informed of all the treatment options and their outcome possibilities. You've spoken it over with your family and the child and decided that given your priorities (whatever they may be) you all would rather the child family member spend the remaining time they have with the family rather than go through the treatments.

The state decides that the chances for recovery are high enough though that you don't get to make that decision and the child instead does live longer technically, but in constant medical procedures and pain. The very life you had decided to avoid.

When we hand over the keys to the state to solve our problems for us... we have to be very aware of what exactly we are handing over. You may think the power would never be used for anything but crazy backwoods parents preventing their kids from taking anti-biotics... but I've *lived* being sent away for months and medication and it was the 1980's equivalent of auto-medicating for ADHD just because a boy is "antsy" in class.

Government is not a "SOMEONE SHOULD FIX THIS PROBLEM!" hole to send everything we're too lazy to solve ourselves into. That's why it's become the monster it has become... because every time we come up across something hard... we throw it over the fence and demand someone else solve it for us.

A someone else that through history has proven doesn't have our best interest at heart... only the ability to make our decisions for us. We don't think about the effect if it's turned around on us before we start applying it to other people. When it finally does come back around and is used against us... we wonder how this could have come to be?
edit on 26-11-2013 by BardingTheBard because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 26 2013 @ 03:00 PM
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reply to post by BardingTheBard
 


So are you saying you were forced to live and you are mad about it?



posted on Nov, 26 2013 @ 03:07 PM
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reply to post by Grimpachi
 

I wasn't under any danger. There was nothing wrong with me.

The power of the state was used, upon the fraudulent recommendation of an expert, to have me sent for medication and treatment away from my family for 4+ months. My treatment didn't stop when I was "better", but when my insurance ran out. Placed right back where I started.

I provided a link earlier. I was 8.

Again the point is... do we pursue ways of addressing the issue in the OP by granting the ability for the state to take away YOUR child too whether you consent or not... or is there another way?
edit on 26-11-2013 by BardingTheBard because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 26 2013 @ 03:09 PM
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reply to post by Grimpachi
 


Some years back my wife was an EMT on a volunteer ambulance squad. She responded to a 911 call at the home of people who were members of some sect or another, and their small child, 3-4 years of age was blue. They attempted unsuccessfully to resuscitate the child who I'm guessing had pneumonia. The parents told her that they were members of [whatever] and had been praying in lieu of seeking medical attention for their child. She'd seen other instances of child abuse (and that's what this is) but that one marked the end of the line for her and she quit shortly after.

I'm all for religious freedom and if an adult wants to refuse medical assistance, have at it, but letting a child die from something that could be treated with antibiotics is unconscionable.



posted on Nov, 26 2013 @ 03:20 PM
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reply to post by BardingTheBard
 


Sorry if I can’t equate your situation with the mental health field and child services (which has a lot of problems) with parents letting their kids die because they think simple curable illnesses are the result of possession or their lack of faith. It seems we are talking about different issues.





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