Faith Healing

Sara - posted on 03/12/2011 ( 15 moms have responded )

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Oregon House unanimously votes to end faith healing exception


The Followers of Christ church on Molalla Avenue in Oregon City.The Oregon House approved a bill Thursday that would remove legal protection for parents who choose faith healing over medical intervention when treating their children.

The bill passed unanimously, though two Republican representatives raised concerns that the legislation was taking the issue away from juries and sending the state down a slippery slope.

The legislation comes in response to an Oregon City church, the Followers of Christ, that has a long history of child deaths even though the conditions from which the children died were medically treatable.

Currently, spiritual treatment can be used as a defense against some* homicide charges. The bill would eliminate that defense and subject parents who chose faith healing over medical treatment at the expense of their child's life to mandatory sentencing under Measure 11.

"In the past two years alone, two children have died and another had been severely disfigured due to lack of medical care," said Democratic Rep. Carolyn Tomei, one of the bill's sponsors. "These children suffered needlessly. Their deaths were avoidable."

The bill has gained the support of several groups, including the Christian Science Church, and passed through legislative committee with unanimous support.

During the floor vote, two Republicans raised concerns about the bill. Rep. Mike McLane, R-Powell Butte, asked Tomei whether parents had ever been found not guilty as a result of the special defense. Tomei explained that in the most recent cases, grand juries have opted to charge the parents with other crimes to avoid the faith healing defense.

McLean, however, appeared undeterred.

"Oregon juries are quite capable of deciding," he said. "We are taking this issue away from juries and grand juries."

Rep. Jim Weidner, R-Yamhill, said he worried "we might be heading down a slippery slope." He said he prayed earlier in the day about his son's severe tonsillitis. His wife took his son to the doctor Thursday morning, he added, but "am I going to go to prison because I took the time to pray with my child?"

Both Republicans voted for the bill but pledged to seek amendments when the legislation passes through the Senate.

Tomei addressed the concerns in her closing remarks.

"Colleagues, this bill is not written ... to send anyone to prison," she said. "Our hope is that we're sending a certain group of people a message that it's against the law if their child is in grave danger ... to not give them medical care."







Thoughts? Too much government intervention? Does this infringe on one's freedom of religion? Does it take away parental rights?

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Minnie - posted on 03/12/2011

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An individual's faith or religion should end at his or her body. It should not affect another's health or well-being.

Sara - posted on 03/12/2011

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I think the bottom line for me is children aren't beholdent to their parents' faith, and cannot consent to faith healing, and shouldn't be made to suffer for what their parents believe. Once they are older and can understand what is happening and choose for themselves to forego medical care in favor of prayer, then that's their choice; until then, they need to be protected and it's not an issue of religious freedom.



I think if an adult believes in faith healing, they should be allowed that option. But I don't think they should force it on their children, when the children may or may not believe. What if their faith told them to treat boys, but not girls? Or told them abuse was just fine? Is there a line that needs to be drawn? At what point does the right for someone to worship or not worship as they please outweigh the safety of the child?

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Veronica - posted on 03/15/2011

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Becky brings up a great point - aside from religion - there are people who practice almost 100% herbs/alternative meds. etc. who also refuse medical intervention-- I think this law should pertain to them as well. You can drink tons of tea, take as many supplements as you want - but when disaster strikes - rubbing ointments on your skin, may not be the answer. And I am talking from my own behalf as well - because I am ALLL for natural/alternative remedies - but some things you HAVE to go to the doctor with, consult with your doctor with, and if nothing else - having your doctor informed of your practices, I also like getting my bloodwork done, and a health checkup in case something does come up.
SO to conclude - YES I think this law should apply to, really, any and everybody who is "against" medical internvention - especially when kids are critical or have life threatening issues.

Danielle - posted on 03/13/2011

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I'm glad they passed this bill. It's about time. I believe prayer can work but IMO that goes hand in hand with a Dr.'s advice. These children shouldn't suffer due to their parent's belief.

Becky - posted on 03/13/2011

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I agree with what Veronica said. If my child were seriously ill, I would most certainly be praying for him, asking the church to pray for him, getting the elders to pray over him, etc. All while seeking medical treatment! I believe that doctors have been given their unique skills and knowledge by God. Luke, one of the Gospel writers, was a doctor. So I'd be hard pressed to say that seeking medical attention was unBiblical.
I agree that a child should not die because of their parents' religious beliefs, but at the same time, I can see the parents' side too. If you believe that say, accepting blood from someone else will send you to hell, then I can understand why a parent would refuse to send their child to hell by allowing them a life-saving blood transfusion. Better they be in heaven with God than live now but eventually end up in hell. I know it sounds ridiculous to those who don't hold those beliefs, but if you believed that with all your heart, it would make perfect sense.
I am curious though... this law applies to faith healing, but what about those who, for reasons having nothing to do with religion, believe in only natural, traditional medicine and refuse to seek help from modern medical practitioners. What if their children die? Would the same type of law apply to them?

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And also, when it comes to "faith healing", why can't the faith healers stand at a hospital bedside? If the child is cured then give the glory to Jesus (or whoever). But don't let a child die, simply because you're too stubborn to accept that maybe God (and I don't even believe in one) might have given people the ability to heal through medicine.

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I know it's a slippery slope, but I think it's a good thing, requiring medical care for those too young to decide to get it for themselves. The community I live in consists of a big Mennonite community. Last year my FIL's friend (a Mennonite) was working in his barn with a table saw. His 3 year old daughter decided to reach up and touch the blade while it was running. He called my FIL FRANTIC (my FIL has snuck in a cell phone for him). So my FIL went and picked them up and took them to the ER, against their religious beliefs. Then, in the ER, the doctors wanted to administer a tetanus shot and the father REFUSED until my FIL described lockjaw. He allowed the tetanus and he also allowed a shot for pain (this poor little girl was WRITHING in agony) but he insisted they both be given in one needle. The hospital obliged. The little girl only ended up losing her middle finger, from the middle knuckle out. She's doing well now. The Mennonite community didn't approve AT ALL of her father's "actions" but you know what I saw? A father who couldn't stand to see his baby in pain and he did what needed to be done, even if he needed gentle coaxing to get there. Who knows how bad her infection would have gotten if she hadn't recieved care? I know it's a slippery slope, allowing freedom of religion and trying to ensure children are 100% cared for. But when it comes down to it, in my opinion, children can't speak for themselves much, and if keeping them alive means I have to trod on someone's rights to practice their religion? Consider it trodden upon. I like that law.

Veronica - posted on 03/12/2011

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There is NOTHING wrong with praying for your child's health, well-being - doing a serious of prayer's etc. on your child. There is nothing wrong to pray for anything, or anyone in this world.
But I DO agree with this law they want to pass, because people can carry things too far. I have NO doubt that the Lord heals, and that miracles can happen. My husband is a walking miracle. (i wont get into that) However, I also believe that the Lord put people on this earth, called DOCTORS - he gave them knowledge to know how to fix, cure, heal, treat, and help people. Especially if you as a parent have exhausted all things - baths, tyenol, fluids, etc.etc. to get your child better - then it is time for the doctor - at least to get tested to see what IS wrong, and information/help for treatment.
I exhaust everything before I run to the doctor myself - with my first two kids i ran in to the doc for everything! Now, after experience, I will do what I can do; then I will call the nurseline, and if nothing changes - then I go to the doctor. I always pray for Jesus' healing hands on my children - and if that means getting them antibiotics, to help it along - then I feel that is the 'answer' to my prayers.

People can really get charismatic (spelling?) with religion, and just go nuts. We had a situation here in WI where a family did the prayer of healing with their 9 year old daughter who went into a diabetic coma and died -- because they didnt believe in doctors/medical intervention - the poor little girl died - when all she prob. needed was meds and proper diet. Sad and rediculous.
There def. is a fine line. So, I think in this case, there should be laws set forth.

Rosie - posted on 03/12/2011

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as long as it's clearly stated as to what things are allowed and not allowed, and it only applies to minors than yeah, i think it's a great thing. too many people are just letting their kids die.

ME - posted on 03/12/2011

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Parents should NOT be able to make this choice for their children. Religious belief is very personal and cannot be forced on anyone. I think it is the states responsibility to protect our kids from this type of nonsense!

Johnny - posted on 03/12/2011

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There is no reason at all that these people can not pray and practice faith healing while also seeking medical treatment. As Sara said, this is the parent's faith and the children are not yet of an age to make the choice for themselves. They are dying because their parents put their faith ahead of their child's well-being. That is neglectful and we would charge them in other circumstances. I see no reason why religious faith should have an out for injuring and killing kids. I am unaware of any jurisdiction that legally allows parental neglect or abuse, and this is exactly what refusing medical care is. This is one of those instances where religion should not be given any sort of special status.

JuLeah - posted on 03/12/2011

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I am not sure .. power of the mind and all that. In some situations, it wroks. Standard treatments do as much damage and don't often work .... My grandmother's son came sown with polio at the age of five. The treatment in that day was ice cold baths for hours on end. That didn't sit right with her. There was a new doctor in town with an insane approcah, new fangled idea that heat and muscle thearpy were the key .... she hire the man to move into her house and care for her son 24/7.
The kid went on to walk, have a career training race horses .... lived to be well into his 90's.
The neighbors were so mad with my grandmother ... told her she was killing her son ... threw rocks at her house ... wouldn't talk with her in town ...

Jessica - posted on 03/12/2011

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Most of the time I'm not a huge fan of government intervention, but in this case, I think it's great! I think of religion, pretty much any and all religion to be nothing more then fairy tales, so for a child to die because there parents have put all there faith in a fairy tale seems insane to me. No different then if a parents said they were waiting for the Fairy Godmother to come and heal there child. It does take parental rights away yes, but in this case, if they are willing to let there child die? They deserve to be overruled.

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