Abusing Children in the Name of God

A hemophilic boy in Pennsylvania bleeds to death over a period of two days from a small cut on his … Continued

A hemophilic boy in Pennsylvania bleeds to death over a period of two days from a small cut on his foot. An Indiana girl dies after a malignant tumor sprouts from her skull and grows so enormous that it’s nearly the size of her head. A boy in Massachusetts succumbs to a bowel obstruction. (His cries of pain are so loud that neighbors are forced to shut their windows to block out the sound.)

None of these children benefit from the readily-available medical treatments that might save their lives, or at least mitigate their suffering. Because the tenets of their parents’ religious faiths mandate it, their ailments are treated by prayer rather than medical science. The results are tragic.

It is difficult to determine precisely how many children in the United States lose their lives every year as the result of the phenomenon that has come to be known as religion-based medical neglect. A landmark study published in the journal Pediatrics uncovered more than 150 reported fatalities over a 10-year period – a tally that one of the study’s authors later said represented only “the tip of the iceberg” of a surprisingly pervasive problem. Assessing whether forms of religion-related child abuse pose a greater risk to children than more widely publicized threats, such as ritual satanic abuse, a wide-ranging study funded by the National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect concluded that “there are more children actually being abused in the name of God than in the name of Satan.”

Since the late nineteenth century, hundreds of such instances of abuse have resulted in tangled criminal litigation. The parents charged in these cases – many of them Christian Scientists or members of small Christian churches that ground their doctrines in narrowly literal interpretations of the Bible – often have argued that the First Amendment safeguards their decision to adhere to their faiths’ religious traditions and treat their ailing children solely by spiritual means. Prosecutors, meanwhile, have balked at the notion that constitutional protections for religious liberty provide an absolute bar to state regulation of religious conduct, particularly when that behavior puts the safety of children at risk. Their task often has been complicated, however, by murky state manslaughter and abuse statutes that appear to provide exemptions for religious healing practices.

Arguing that they were “Christians first, citizens afterward,” a prominent Christian spiritual healer once urged his followers to disregard secular laws that might compel them to forsake their religious beliefs regarding healing. Such is the dilemma that confronts parents who choose to treat their sick or injured children with prayer instead of medicine. Not only must they safeguard the health of their sons and daughters; they also must try to reconcile their devotion to God with their duties as citizens in a society that boasts a long and sometimes checkered history of regulating uncommon religious conduct.

Defining these obligations through the enforcement of secular laws – especially ones that are constitutionally fuzzy – can be a complicated business. Moreover, there is no guarantee that it will deter devout and stubborn parents from engaging in religious practices that endanger the health of their children. But the alternative – simply ignoring the suffering of the youngest and most vulnerable members of our nation’s churches – seems unconscionable.

Shawn Francis Peters’ latest book, “When Prayer Fails: Faith Healing, Children, and the Law,” was published in October by Oxford University Press. He teaches at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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  • Soja John Thaikattil, Sydney, Australia

    Dear Mr PeterYou have raised a very important issue. Thank you for writing a book about it.As a Christian (Catholic by denomination) it makes my blood boil when I hear of Christian groups (or any other religious group for that matter) who deny medical care to their children on the grounds that there is one single verse in the Bible which asked the elders to pray over the sick. There is no mention in the Bible that they were asked NOT to seek professional medical help in addition to the prayers by elders!The case of medical neglect of children should be treated in the same way as sexual abuse of children is treated. A law should be introduced that makes such neglect illegal, and anyone who knows about a sick child who is being denied medical care should be asked to feel responsible to report it to the authorities. Religion, no matter which religion, ends where harm to human beings begin. Freedom to practice religion should not include freedom to harm children (or even adults for that matter) in the name of religion. If parents can’t understand it, then the law of the land should come to their aid to improve their vision. Children, having no voice of their own, should be protected by the state and given the care they need, if parents are not able to provide it. Soja John Thaikattil

  • Julia

    There must always be exceptions to the First Amendment, where serious harm could be caused. You can’t yell “Fire” in a crowded theater because of the danger that poses. I think the same logic should apply to people who insist on harming their children by refusing care.

  • John Chastain

    Where are the “right-to-life” picketers? Why aren’t they outside these parents’ homes, with poster-sized photos of dead and dying children? I guess it’s okay to kill the Born, but not the “Pre-Born.”

  • Bobby

    “Where are the “right-to-life” picketers? Why aren’t they outside these parents’ homes, with poster-sized photos of dead and dying children? I guess it’s okay to kill the Born, but not the “Pre-Born.””I dont think right-to-lifers think that is Ok. Its just a matter of efficient use of time. Probably because the numbers we are dealing with (hundreds over a 10yr period?) are much smaller than the millions of aborted babies.Gotta love hyperbole.

  • Elizabeth May

    What is the difference between this and the Terri Schiavo case? In both, a family member made a determination to withhold medical treatment from a helpless patient. Most Americans, apart from the far-right Christian fringe, opposed government intervention in Schiavo. Is the difference tied to the prognosis: Her case was hopeless, the children’s might not be? If so, isn’t that a slippery slope? I feel like a hypocrite, but I opposed intervention in Schiavo yet favor it for children — and I can’t explain why they are different. Maybe someone else can.

  • Anonymous

    Bobby -I don’t think that’s it. Remeber Terry Schiavo? Lots of outcry about her, and she was one (1) person.Mr. Chastain has hit the nail on the head. Right-to-Lifers stay away from this one, because they recognize that they would be saying that morality trumps religion – and they surely don’t want to go THERE.

  • Elizabeth May

    What is the difference between this and the Terri Schiavo case? In both, a family member made a determination to withhold medical treatment from a helpless patient. Most Americans, apart from the far-right Christian fringe, opposed government intervention in Schiavo. Is the difference tied to the prognosis: Her case was hopeless, the children’s might not be? If so, isn’t that a slippery slope? I feel like a hypocrite, but I opposed intervention in Schiavo yet favor it for children — and I can’t explain why they are different. Maybe someone else can.

  • HillRat

    As disturbing as it might be — to permit parents to withhold medical treatment for their children because of strong religious beliefs — the question is where do you draw the line?How do you define things like ‘healthy’ or even ‘life threatening’? Does it only pertain to physical health? What about mental health? Can you even draw a clear and meaningful line where state interests must always override parental ones? Some might even make a case that parents harm their children for life when they raise their children in a household of strong religious belief. Should that be state regulated?It’s easy to take extreme examples where it appears there is clear parental neglect in the face of easy or simple medical intervention, but there is also a tremendous amount of grey area where the answers are not so simple.

  • Jim White

    This issue is really about whether we as a nation consider health care a “right” or a “privliage”. If it is a right then advocates should be appointed to make sure children’s right to health care are protected. If health care is a “right”, then nationalized health care would make sense, since the cost of insurance and medical care are priced only for the “privliaged”.

  • Sickduck

    The difference between these cases and the Schiavo case? Isn’t it obvious? Schiavo’s was brain dead, with no cure in sight according to all the doctors who have examined her, and she had previously left instructions against being kept artificially alive in such case, while the sick children of those religious parents were in excrutiating pain or in danger of dying without medical care (blood transfusion, etc.).

  • Alphysicist

    I think it is entirely foolish to base judgment on a narrow interpretation of the Bible, but the picture is more complex than is suggested by these examples. The scientific enterprise, coupled with business interest and statism, has often made serious blunders as well. In the nineteenth century, when Dr. Semmelweis suggested to the doctors of Europe to wash their hands between autopsies and deliveries, he was laughed at by the establishment, and was accused of “backwardness” and religious bias (the basis for this was that Semmelweis seemed to attribute significance to death that appeared to have a religious bias). There are many examples of vaccinations which have done more harm than good, often against viruses that, although cause difficulties, but they do not have any after effects.Another issue is the basis of the problem which seems to be obscured by the examples cited. Why is it that cancer nowadays is so frequent, even among age groups where it was rarely encountered before? Could it be that all our rivers, ground, air are polluted out of control? Could it be that (thanks laregley to uncontrolled applications of science) it is due to the fact that we hardly know what’s in what we eat? Can we even trust statist and business dominated science to inform us properly, or answer these questions?I think the conclusions of the author are correct though. In the mentioned instances it is better to rely on medicine (and pray if so inclined).

  • Missicat

    Are there really folks who do not see a difference between the Schiavo case (braindead woman) and withholidng treatment to a CHILD with a bowel blockage, a completely treatable ailment?????? You are kidding, right? I have very bad appendicitis when I was 5 years old, and still remember 40 years later how painful it was. My parents of course rushed me to the hospital, where it ruptured. I cannot imagine in a million years that they would not take of me and let me suffer. I guess I am lucky I have parents who love me and feel it was their job to take care of me when I was a child.

  • Kennedy

    Okay, I have nothing but contempt for and outrage at people who let their children suffer extreme avoidable physical pain, and/or die. BUT, if 150 children died from neglect, how many premature infants have been “saved” through extreme medical intervention to end up vegetative? How many elderly people who have been “saved” by feeding tubes and respirators live vegetative lives alone in homes? Really, we have to have living wills now just to avoid having our lives artificially extended! Most elderly people I know fear being keep alive by science more than they fear dying!Is this another case of Americans swallowing the tiger, only to choke on the gnat?

  • Zarathustra

    With a Swiftian tongue in my cheek, I say this is a solution looking for a problem. These children would most likely treat their kids just like they were raised to do, so their death means one less potential abuser out there in the world 20 years from now. Cult indoctrination is remarkably effective when it begins at a young age, so these children should be considered about as brain dead and hopeless as Ms. Schiavo.;-)

  • Ben

    This is no stranger than any other part of religion. Faith, by definition, requires no basis in fact. If someone gets sick and prayer doesn’t heal it, isn’t it God’s will that the persone dies. Besides, isn’t the ultimate goal of religion worldly death and spiritual afterlife with whatever God one believes in. Evidently, the parents just want their kids to get their reward early.

  • LiveToRide

    Start throwing them in jail and let their prayers heal them after they’ve been raped and had the crap beat out of them. Idiots!

  • bnichols

    Another example of religious fanatics harming their children. This all begins with a belief in silly “holy” books such as the bible, koran, etc.

  • Amy

    What I share with this writer is the conviction that the suffering of children – in the name of anything – is unconscionable. As a Christian Scientist, what I do not share is the view that my God is of no use, or only secondary use, in times of illness and that my faith, my understanding of God, is ineffective. It contradicts the evidence in my life – and in my son’s life, who as an infant was healed of a seriously dislocated shoulder overnight through prayer. He saw many other healings. Such instances (too many to recount, many medically verified in Christian Science periodicals) seem not to exist to this writer. I long for a more balanced perspective.

  • jim

    If there is a God, maybe this is God’s way of making sure the people who lose children can’t raise kids. They’re obviously deranged and shouldn’t be breeding in the first place.

  • willandjansdad

    They are lucky they don’t live next door to me. If the child was screaming in pain and 911 wouldn’t respond to my call then I wouldn’t close the windows. I would have no qualms about rescuing the child at gunpoint.

  • Patrick

    Not just this group, but every religious group in America abuses children.Catholic orphanages, State run Foster care are just a few of the organizations that abuse children.I know from personal experience.All equally abuse children.Patrick

  • Meri

    The difference between this and Terri Schiavo? Schiavo received several years of medical care which led to the determination that her condition would not improve. These children aren’t being given that chance.

  • Pierre JC

    Astonishingly, what these parents did was, in most states, perfectly legal.

  • Rich Rosenthal

    Child abuse? by those who dress nicely on Sundays? Never!

  • lepidopteryx

    There’s an often difficult to discern line here. On the one hand, you have the First Amendment right to freedom of religion. You also have the rights of parents to raise their children as they see fit within certain limits. On the other, you have a sick child that could benefit from medical intervention. I am one of those people with a mighty distrust of Big Pharma. For most ailments, I have at least one home remedy, often made from ingredients that grow in my back yard. We don’t go to doctors for runny noses, coughs, vomiting, diarrhea, or fevers. Broken bones, yes. The flu, no. So if my child develops a cold, and I treat her with a home remedy and Reiki, and my next-door neighbor the MD decides that she’s in danger of developing deadly pneumonia because of the method of treatment I’ve chosen, does he have the right to bring in the law, and demand that I treat her with prescription drugs? If she and I felt that she was not responding satisfactorily to my choice of treatment, we would turn to commercial medicine for treatment, but I feel that it’s up to us to decide if and when that’s the case. Most of the time, she prefers to simply let things run their course with as little interference as possible.I’ve known people who DID overcome potentially fatal diseases without medical intervention. I would hate to see any child die from lack of mediacl treatment if it was needed, and at the same time, I question the law’s authority to determine what constitutes necessary medical treatment. I watched my grandmother and a good friend go through chemo – none for me, thanks. If I am diagnosed with cancer and they can’t get it all surgically, I’d rather just go ahead and die than do chemo. And I’ve told my family that. I have told my family that if I am in a persistent vegetative state, or am in a situation where I will be significantly debilitated and no longer able to feed and dress myself, that I do not wish medical technology to be employed to artificially extend my life. Harvest my organs and throw the carcass into the woods for the scavengers.

  • Anonymous

    There is still a separation of church and state in this country. Does freedom of religion outweigh the legal definition of ” non-assistance to person in danger”? I believe not. Moreover, condemning a child to suffer atrocious pain before he/she eventually dies meets the definitions of neglect as well. In these cases, the state should affirm itself over the church. Otherwise, the state is equally responsible for the agony and death of those children.

  • Cory

    Responsibility is key here. In a just society we are responsible to each other. I believe that holding parents and religious leaders responsible for their actions would be appropriate here. If they want to prescribe religion as a cure to an physical illness then they should be held responsible for doing so. If they are wrong about their prescription then they should be charged with murder or perhaps manslaughter. This would likely cure this problem very quickly.

  • jim

    I believe the child who died of a bowel obstruction was due to his parent(s) not having health insurance and not “In the name of God”

  • anon

    TWO WORDS:

  • bob

    hey

  • Anonymous

    Oooops;Note, at Theriault Vs. Carlson, that was used in that Social services case (precedent) above, thus sayong,”Issue of Weather Eclatarianity Movement is religious or Political… Anti….”

  • tim white

    I hate to say it, but many many generations hence, when we are asked how best to propagate the human species into the unknown future, I will answer that it is the Christin Scientists who will make up the bulk of the genetic heritage. Their theology is wacked, to be generous, but their “genetic load” will be minimal, hence they will be most adaptable. Adaptability is the singular hallmark of a successful species. Who will survive when modern medicine no longer exists, when survival of genes depends on the same factors as pre-1940? You know who.

  • Jeff Rose

    How are we supposed to go to heaven when society wants us to obey all these secular laws? I really hope Huckabee or Romney will become President so we can go back to being a real Christian nation and get rid of all these laws that get in the way of Christ. What is a little suffering compared to eternity in heaven? Is a violent revolt by us Christians the only way to teach these people the truth?

  • Mono Ape

    Here we see one example of the damage belief in Bronze Age superstitious nonsense can cause. It’s not that far removed from those Christian folks in Africa who kill their daughters, believing them to be witches because their son just died.In fact, the Holy Roman Catholic Church just announced they’re stepping up their exorcism campaign against “extreme Godlessness”. Before you know it, they’ll be burning ‘witches’ again.Remind me, what century are we living in?

  • Mortifus

    Religion itself is child abuse. Look at Jeff Rose, a (possibly) adult male so thoroughly infected with religion that he’s willing to let everybody suffer their entire life in the vain hope that there’s some kind of afterlife.Nobody can repair that, it’s too late.

  • allama

    brainwashing kids with religous myths in tender age is also a form of child abuse

  • Pilgrim

    This defies any rational explanation. I submit this (condensed) statement by Lazarus Long:The basis of civilization is women and children first.This means protection, well-being, i.e. health.Any parent that allows their child to die when medical help is available belongs in a padded cell.I agree with the person above who would grab his gun and save the child.

  • Roy

    When I read the headline I thought it was about Catholic alter boys.

  • Roy

    Jeff Rose is posting about overthrowing the Constitution of the United States. I hope they beady eyed little pukes under Fort Meade who monitored these posts call the FBI. (but they are probably lawless neochristians, too)

  • Bryan

    I’m a Christian(non denomination) and my parents took me to see a doc whenever I was in bad shape. I don’t know how you get your info but it seems that you are mistaken. Those behaviors you explain, in no way, resemble that of a Christian faith. Sure we would pray for them but never deny medical treatment. From the looks of your writings it seems that you misjudge God or don’t believe in him at all. I say this to all that reads…..If God does not exist, why do you hate him so much?If God does not exist and your soul simply non existent when you die, then what is the point of caring or even living?If you do not believe in God then why has everything in the bible come true and will come true(example New World Order soon to come). Would you be willing to bet your soul that God does not exist? If you ask me that price is too high. This is not ment for a debate but rather just to get you all to think or research a bit. Try not to be offended but rather optimistic to find out the truth. I shall even put a prayer out that atleast one of you might even put forth an effort to see.

  • Gunrunner

    How about we shoot mommy and daddy in the gut and then let them bleed to death or die of infection. Let faith healers save them.

  • Joan

    As a life-long Christian Scientist who has raised three children to healthy adulthood, I would hope that you will do more research regarding how Christian Scientists use prayer while also following all state and federal laws concerning child care. My children and I have been healed – through reliance on prayer alone – of broken bones, flu, poison oak, curved spine, colds and many more ailments. These experiences have proven over and over to me the power of consecrated prayer.

  • Joan

    As a life-long Christian Scientist who has raised three children to healthy adulthood, I would hope that you will do more research regarding how Christian Scientists use prayer while also following all state and federal laws concerning child care. My children and I have been healed – through reliance on prayer alone – of broken bones, flu, poison oak, curved spine, colds and many more ailments. These experiences have proven over and over to me the power of consecrated prayer.

  • Anonymous

    As a life-long Christian Scientist who has raised three children to healthy adulthood, I would hope that you will do more research regarding how Christian Scientists use prayer while also following all state and federal laws concerning child care. My children and I have been healed – through reliance on prayer alone – of broken bones, flu, poison oak, curved spine, colds and many more ailments. These experiences have proven over and over to me the power of consecrated prayer.

  • Marc Thai

    What sort of people are these that put an imaginary god tied to an unbelievable cruel and stupid dogma before their own child? They don’t deserve to be parents. In fact, the don’t deserve to live. Let them suffer the same fate they inflict on their children. It’s time the law worried about the children instead of the religious feelings of these morons.

  • Mortifus

    “If God does not exist and your soul simply non existent when you die, then what is the point of caring or even living?”That, my friends, is why infecting children with religion is child abuse. This person has never developed beyond the santa claus phase of his childhood, never developed an understanding of why life is valuable.It’s also quite usual that these people claim there are no morals or morality without their gods, showing again their lack of adult development.It is why the True Believer can never be free of the belief, it is fossilized in the core of their mind, encysted and protected from reason. It has a life of its own, a parasitic life. Infecting their children with this same virulent mental illness can only be seen as a horrible abuse of children

  • Bud

    “Would you be willing to bet your soul that God does not exist? If you ask me that price is too high.”Ah, Pascals wager again. And what if the God you believe in is not the “right” God, and the “real” God sends you to Hell for believing in the “wrong” God?? You criticized the poster for not doing enough “research”, yet this argument is old and tired and has been debunked countless times. Perhaps you should do some research and thinking of your own??

  • Bud

    “If God does not exist and your soul simply non existent when you die, then what is the point of caring or even living?”The same questions can be posed to you. If the afterlife is so wonderful and grand, why not just skip this mortal life and proceed directly to the afterlife? Why bother at all with living?

  • Bud

    “My children and I have been healed – through reliance on prayer alone – of broken bones, flu, poison oak, curved spine, colds and many more ailments.”Gee, that’s funny, I have also been healed of many colds, flus, and other ailments as well. And I never once resorted to prayer. So, it would seem that both our methods are equally effective. hmmmmmmm

  • Tim

    It always makes me sad when I see the misinformed prey on emotion to generate suspicion or hatred of that which they do not understand. Even more so when they rant behind the veil of “legitimacy” that a professor or published author would have. And as I read through these response posts, I see how easily misled caring people can be by an author who hates but doesn’t bother to check his facts, let alone understand the real issues.Christian Science, for example, has never been a faith healing religion. True, there have been several highly publicized lawsuits against Christain Science parents whose children suffered or died. There have also been hundreds of thousands of healings through rigorous practice of the science – not faith – that christian science practices.But, for the sake of argument on this board, go ahead and lump all christian scientists in with other faith healers. There is still the issue of hundreds of thousands of documented cases of christian science healing. Given that often head-scratching success, frequently in the face of medically decreed impossibilities, and the obvious fact that many people die in hospitals every day despite the best medical care, who are we to say that medicine is the better(or, as the author would suggest, only) way to heal? Do we immediately snap to this conclusion because medicine is all we know? Such errors of experiential bias invariably have grave consequences when people cannot conceive of a possibility outside of their own experience. How much of the Islamic population in the middle east believes we are the Great Satan, because those in the know have assured them this is so, and their experience gives them no room to question? But turn this whole inflammatory thread on it’s head, for a moment. Christian Science has many documented cases of healing terminal illnesses (hundreds of thousands, a bit more than the hundreds of faith healing deaths the author cites). Yes, even with children. Should we start litigating against parents who lose their children because they used traditional medicine instead of spiritual healing, when spiritual healing might be the only remedy? What if they instead use an alternative medicine (chinese, for example), instead of western? Are we to assume that chinese medicine is wrong also? Again, we assume that traditional western medicine is the answer because it is what we have always knownI know, I know, I will doubtless be flamed for even suggesting that Christian Science healing could be valid. Didn’t we just hear that hundreds of children have died because of “neglect” from faith healing? (Of course, the author doesn’t mention that most of those hundreds have not been christian scientists, but why bother with details when you have an agenda?). And we know it is neglect, not the rigorous practice of a proven methodology, because the author has said it was neglect. And sadly, many faith healing religions do seem to deserve that label. But it always seems so easy to get fired up about a black and white issue, especially when the firebrands out there tell us it is black and white. But how many issues in this complicated world really are black and white? Hasn’t everyone found that the more they really learn about something, the more gray the solution becomes? The real world is never quite as easy as simplifications would suggest. I would urge people to recognize that, in the case of Christian Science healing, so-called “neglect” is not simply a black and white case of neglect, but a topic that merits deeper understanding of the issues.

  • Tim

    Edit: Hundreds of thousands of documented cases of healing, some of them “terminal” illnesses (not hundreds of thousands of healings of terminal illnesses).Bud: your point dovetails nicely with mine. Healings both ways. Does that mean that your experience is superior because it is yours?

  • Bud

    “Bud: your point dovetails nicely with mine. Healings both ways. Does that mean that your experience is superior because it is yours?”No, that was not my point at all. The logical conclusion would be that I can obtain the same results as you without prayer. Therefore, for me, prayer is unnecessary. It probably is equally unnecessary for you also.

  • Donald W Ingwerson

    A few corrections on this piece are in order. There is nothing in the theology of Christian Science that indicates parents can not go to doctors. Christian Scientists have complete freedom of choice in caring for themselves and their families, just as anyone who chooses medical care could choose to use spiritual means. Christian Scientists have an established and respected history of compliance with the health laws and regulations of the land.

  • Donald W Ingwerson

    A few corrections on this piece are in order. There is nothing in the theology of Christian Science that indicates parents can not go to doctors. Christian Scientists have complete freedom of choice in caring for themselves and their families, just as anyone who chooses medical care could choose to use spiritual means. Christian Scientists have an established and respected history of compliance with the health laws and regulations of the land.

  • Donald W Ingwerson

    A few corrections on this piece are in order. There is nothing in the theology of Christian Science that indicates parents can not go to doctors. Christian Scientists have complete freedom of choice in caring for themselves and their families, just as anyone who chooses medical care could choose to use spiritual means. Christian Scientists have an established and respected history of compliance with the health laws and regulations of the land.

  • Donald W Ingwerson

    A few corrections on this piece are in order. There is nothing in the theology of Christian Science that indicates parents can not go to doctors. Christian Scientists have complete freedom of choice in caring for themselves and their families, just as anyone who chooses medical care could choose to use spiritual means. Christian Scientists have an established and respected history of compliance with the health laws and regulations of the land.

  • Donald W Ingwerson

    A few corrections on this piece are in order. There is nothing in the theology of Christian Science that indicates parents can not go to doctors. Christian Scientists have complete freedom of choice in caring for themselves and their families, just as anyone who chooses medical care could choose to use spiritual means. Christian Scientists have an established and respected history of compliance with the health laws and regulations of the land.

  • Donald W Ingwerson

    A few corrections on this piece are in order. There is nothing in the theology of Christian Science that indicates parents can not go to doctors. Christian Scientists have complete freedom of choice in caring for themselves and their families, just as anyone who chooses medical care could choose to use spiritual means. Christian Scientists have an established and respected history of compliance with the health laws and regulations of the land.

  • miracles do happen

    from today’s news in NY-Doctors say they have never seen anything like it: A window washer who fell 47 stories from the roof of a Manhattan skyscraper is now awake, talking to his family and expected to walk again. Alcides Moreno, 37, plummeted almost 500 feet in a Dec. 7 scaffolding collapse that killed his brother.He has movement in all his limbs. He is breathing on his own. And on Christmas Day, he opened his mouth and spoke for the first time since the accident.His wife, Rosario Moreno, cried as she thanked the doctors and nurses who kept him alive.”Thank God for the miracle that we had,” she said. “He keeps telling me that it just wasn’t his time.”Dr. Herbert Pardes, the hospital’s president, described Moreno’s condition when he arrived for treatment as “a complete disaster.”Both legs and his right arm and wrist were broken in several places. He had severe injuries to his chest, his abdomen and his spinal column. His brain was bleeding. Everything was bleeding, it seemed.In those first critical hours, doctors pumped 24 units of donated blood into his body — about twice his entire blood volume.They gave him plasma and platelets and a drug to stimulate clotting and stop the hemorrhaging. They inserted a catheter into his brain to reduce swelling and cut open his abdomen to relieve pressure on his organs.Moreno was at the edge of consciousness when he was brought in. Doctors sedated him, performed a tracheotomy and put him on a ventilator.His condition was so unstable, doctors worried that even a mild jostle might kill him, so they performed his first surgery without moving him to an operating room.Nine orthopedic operations followed to piece together his broken body.Yet, even when things were at their worst, the hospital’s staff marveled at his luck.Incredibly, Moreno’s head injuries were relatively minor, for a fall victim. Neurosurgeon John Boockvar said the window washer also managed to avoid a paralyzing spinal cord injury, even though he suffered a shattered vertebra.”If you are a believer in miracles, this would be one,” said the hospital’s chief of surgery, Dr. Philip Barie.New York-Presbyterian has treated people who have tumbled from great heights before, including a patient who survived a 19-story fall, but most of those tales end sadly.The death rate from even a three-story fall is about 50 percent, Barie said. People who fall more than 10 stories almost never survive.”Forty-seven floors is virtually beyond belief,” Pardes said. Science may never be able to explain what protected Moreno when the platform he and his brother were using atop an Upper East Side apartment tower broke free and fell to the ground. Edgar Moreno, 30, of Linden N.J., died instantly. He was buried in Ecuador, where the brothers were from. Alcides Moreno, whom his wife described as strong and athletic, may have clung to his scaffolding platform as it dropped. It is possible that the metal platform offered him some protection, although doctors said they were unsure how. An investigation into the cause of the accident is ongoing. Rosario Moreno said her husband was conscious during the fall but remembers little. She said he didn’t need to be told that his brother had died. The injured window washer spent about three weeks on a ventilator, unable to speak, and initially his only means of communicating with his family was by touch. “He wanted to touch my face, touch my hair,” Rosario Moreno said. She would take his hand and hold it to her skin. Then, one day, he reached out and touched one of the nurses. Rosario Moreno said that when she heard about it, she jokingly lectured her husband to keep his hands to himself. He answered in English, “What did I do?” “It stunned me,” she said, “because I didn’t know he could speak.” There is still a rough road ahead for the tough New Jersey man, a father of three children, ages 14, 8 and 6. He was scheduled to undergo another spinal surgery on Friday, and he will need another operation to reconstruct his abdominal wall. There is a chance he will develop complications, even life-threatening ones, during the months ahead. Moreno will remain in the hospital for at least a few more weeks, doctors said. After that, he will need extensive physical rehabilitation. It may be another year before doctors know how much he will improve. The medical staff was guarded Thursday about his prospects for returning to a normal life. Doctors said they believe he will walk, but they also suggested that some of his injuries are likely to be lifelong. “We’re optimistic for a very substantial recovery, eventually,” Barie said Rosario Moreno said she knows this much for sure: His days as a window washer are over. “I told him,” she said, “you’re not going back to work there.”

  • Tim

    Yes Bud, I quite understand the point you were trying to make. I am using your bias here to demonstrate the way you naturally assume that your experience should hold true for everybody else. All of your arguments can be turned on their heads if you shift paradigms. However, most people will be too wedded to their own direct experience to think that something else could possibly work, let alone be superior. What about all of the cases of seemingly minor maladies, where families turned to doctors, something went horribly awry, and the child died? By the logic above, this is also gross negligence – the results might have been very different with alternative medicine. Or spiritual healing. Isn’t it horribly negligent to turn an ailing child over to a medical system that diagnoses a terminal illness and says the child will die regardless of their best efforts, when a spiritual alternative could have saved the child? Of course you may well think it impossible that true spiritual healing exists, that the testimonials of people being cured of cancer, TB, etc, are all bunk because nobody in your immediate circle has ever experienced such. And if that is the case, I might as well be talking to a wall. But if you are willing to broaden your horizons a bit, it isn’t such a huge leap to recognize that many Christian Scientists have better track records with spiritual healing than any doctors ever have. That, in fact, the number of tragedies associated with Christian Science are, statistically speaking, remarkably small when compared to the track record of western medicine.It is unfortunate to see Christian Science lumped in with generic “faith healing” by people consumed by irrational hatred. It DOES have a track record, it is NOT pray-and-hope, and it is, in many people’s experience, a more effective option than western medicine. Unfortunately, there will always be people who refuse to, or simply cannot, understand this. They will foam at the mouth every time any child is lost that was not taken to the hospital. I grieve for all involved when this occurs. I cannot imagine what it would feel like to lose my children, let alone be hated and blamed by people who don’t even know us let alone the truth of the situation.

  • evan

    They are doing Darwin’s work. If people are dumb enough to refuse medical treatment over a work of fiction, then biology will take over and they will eventually die out. This is just the beginning.Allow to offending preachers their right to freedom of speech. They are simply helping evolution maintain its course by cutting people who are dumb enough to believe that strongly in religion out of the gene pool.

  • ReligionMakesCrazies

    They should be tried for murder not man slaughter.Then to make the execution religious make it “eye for an eye”.I.m sure we are capable of making a machine that can punish them exactly like their victim was punished.

  • Brandon Fields

    The parents of these children are legally crazy and should be locked up as such. California Welfare and Intuitions code 5150 states that any person, which as a result of a mental disorder, is a danger to others, or to themselves, can be taken into custody by a peace officer. Poor kids didn’t even have a chance with nut-jobs like this for parents…

  • Andy

    Who believes in christianity anyways. People need to do the research and figure out the right religion. I’ll leave that up to you.

  • Adam

    @miracles do happen: Yes, so it couldn’t possibly be the extensive treatment doctors gave him, or the nine operations required to “piece together his broken body”. No, it was a miracle. He would have recovered perfectly fine without any of that medical treatment.

  • charlesalmighty

    Let them do what they want. Though it is unfortunate that an innocent child is harmed in the process, over time less and less instances will happen. Purely on the idea that less of theses people will exist in the world. If one person from one generation is lost thru theses ideals then there are less people to further promote this belief. also if one were to experience the hardship of losing a loved one because of their ‘faith’. they may be forced to re-evaluate their belief. and lastly should a parent not try to explore every single possible way to help their child when they are in pain?

  • Alex Fear

    I can understand people getting angry if there was a public healthcare system that could be accessed for free but thanks to Michael Moore, America is renowned for it’s corrupt insurance industry and unequal healthcare system.I’m just glad that I’m British and have access to public healthcare on the NHS.The American system of private healthcare seems to favour the rich and cast aside those on the breadline.Perhaps faith is the only hope for those who can’t afford healthcare.With regards to the deaths of these children who were not given medical attention, I’m sure most of those calling down hellfire on the families would be defending their choices if they had chose to abort those children before birth. Similarly you’d be calling for those children to be allowed to die if a doctor ruled he could do nothing for them.I believe in medical science as much as I believe in God. What I see here is mankind simply fighting to take the place of God in deciding who lives and who dies.What an odd and unfair culture you have…

  • CCNA Discovery

    Lets hope that people start to seek medical help.

  • Andrew C.

    wow…. pick a few extremes and that’s your case…How about the parents who believe inoculations are bad and now its turning out that many people are exposed to horrible levels of risk by the same inoculations… yet are they evil?LOADS of crap in this article… wasn’t worth the 3 mins it took to read.Many states have a patient bill of rights… one of those rights is the right to refuse (or through a legal proxy) medical treatment.CASE CLOSED.

  • Ashley

    I am a Christian and have been one my whole life. I grew up in the church, and have been around many different Doctrines….but I have never in my life heard of any Christian parent doing such a thing! That is certainly not the “normal” christian practise! Those are extremist. People who take the bible and completely twist it into something that benifits them and their beliefs. It makes me to sick to hear that there are parents who could allow their children to suffer. Especially when they dare call themselves a christian. But again, those are EXTREMIST. That is in no way a christian belief or practice.

  • judecn

    Hmmm…I was under the impression that the current precedence was that one could *believe* in any religion he/she wished, but *acting* upon it fell to the jurisdiction of the state? I don’t recall the exact case, but I think it came up a while ago when a man tried to marry a 13-year-old girl because their religions permitted it, and was later prosecuted for statutory rape. Even if this is the wrong case, there must be *some* law that allows the state to intervene in some more dangerous religious practicies (i.e. human sacrifice, cannibalism, etc), I would hope. If so, then I wonder what prevents the state from applying the same logic to cases of religious neglect?

  • Chase Sanderson

    I wont say God is not real, even though that is my belief, but religion is THE single biggest crock of s*** the world has ever seen. Parents not taking their kid to the hospital to get a 10 pound tumor cut off their child’s head? I wish there was someway to make people realize how stupid religion is and how stupid it makes us. How do people have the ignoarance to prance around like their religion is right when there are 50 others claiming the same thing? I don’t get it.

  • Beverly Foltz

    As a lifelong Christian Scientist and parent of three grown children, I have found reliance on prayer-based Christian Science treatment to be safe and effective. Moreover, through church and family contacts, I know of many, many loving, compassionate, law-abiding Christian Scientists who have also found spiritual healing to be the safest way to care for their children. Christian Scientists love their children as dearly as anyone else, and would want only the best and most effective care for them. A significant example from my own experience would be the healing of pneumonia, medically diagnosed, of my newborn daughter. The attending physician, noting the dramatic change in her condition overnight, readily acknowledged the healing to be the result of our prayers and quickly ok’d her release from the hospital. The night before he had recommended that we administer penicilin and take her to a pediatric specialist. That child, as well as her siblings, were given Christian Science care throughout their childhood, and all are now healthy adults.The disregard of secular laws urged by the “prominent Christian spiritual healer” is not the approach taken by the Christian Scientists that I know. Referring to legal requirements for vaccination, Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of the Church of Christ, Scientist, said, “I recommend, if the law demand, that an individual submit to this process” (First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 219). And in the same article she recommends the reporting of contagious diseases to the proper authorities when required by law.The loss of a child, no matter what care was given, is always a tragic occurrence. One must honestly admit that such losses have occurred under the most advanced medical care, as well as, occasionally, under Christian Science treatment. But a balanced assessment of the track record of Christian Science healing would reveal to the objective observer that it is safe and effective. I and countless others have certainly found it so.Beverly G. Foltz

  • Ma Sands

    The article is poorly written.

  • Chase

    Beverly- That is the biggest joke of a story I have ever heard. No medical doctor would ever say “oh your prayers healed your daughter she is good to go”. Your full of as much bull and religion in general is.

  • Chase

    Beverly- That is the biggest joke of a story I have ever heard. No medical doctor would ever say “oh your prayers healed your daughter she is good to go”. Your full of as much bull and religion in general is.

  • Karen

    There has not yet been one comment that mentions that Jesus healed people of physical ailments, that his disciples healed, and that Christians have healed others over the centuries. Am I to believe that we are so advanced beyond Jesus in our understanding that doctors know how to heal better than Jesus! God is the true healer and when we turn to him with our whole heart we find healing. Why do we think that healing of mind and circumstance is acceptable but healing of the body is outrageous? Why should I rely on medicine that has deleterious side effects? I was healed through prayer alone of pigeon toes before I was five years old. My avocation for many years was dancing. Oh and I am a Christian Scientist. By the way I have a friend who at 16 was healed of medically diagnosed tuberculosis, that was not responding to medical treatment, just by reading Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy (Mrs. Eddy was the discoverer of Christian Science). As is written in the Bible, the Father worketh hitherto and I work. God does the healing work our work is to understand our relationship to Him and we will be healed.

  • Fu Manchu

    It is very dangerous to give the State this power. Today it is going to be religion, just like the title says. But tomorrow it’ll be that some quack doctor is going to want to give your child prozac or some other mind altering drug, and you as a parent aren’t going to have a say about it.Don’t kid yourself. As parents we are responsible. There are laws sufficent to govern the interaction between humans that if a parent kills their child through physical abuse, they can be punished.This is not the same thing.This is a matter of control. The State has been vying for this power for a long time.Think about it. This is clearly a slippery slope.fum

  • Ben

    We have all these comparisons, arguments, etc. However, the definition of “neglect” focuses around the failure to take reasonable action.You don’t need to bring your child in to the doctor for every cut, scrap, bruise, sniffle, etc. However, if your child dies or is crippled due to your lack of reasonable action that is neglect. Pure and simple.For the person that stated he never wanted to go through radiation treatment, that right is granted to you as an adult. You have the ability to understand the potential issues surrounding that medical event, and have the ability to make an informed decision. A child (normally defined as being under 12 or 13 in most cultures) has limited, to no real ability, to understand these things. That is the major difference here.As parents, it’s our responsibility to not only educate our children, but take reasonable care and protection until they are old enough to understand and comprehended their choices. People who justify this inaction may as well use the same excuse to justify sexual abuse done to a minor (I could careless if it’s a rapist that has a thing for young kids, a priest that likes alter boys, or a pre-teen girl forced into marriage). Because we, as parents, grandparents, etc, have a moral and social right to provide reasonable help to our children.For the record, I am a Christian. I was raised Evangelical Free and Southern Baptist. I believe in faith as much as the next person, but I also believe God gave us brain cells so we can educate ourselves and make informed choices.

  • Tyson

    I think that these Christian’s are at least consistent with their views. The others all attack science, calling if myth, and then turn to it when they are sick.

  • Buford B. Mercer

    I totally stick up for these people. Humans can be healed through prayer. The other day I got my arm cut off in a farming accident. Said a few prayers, the thing grew back before sun down. Take that stupid science!!

  • Bryan

    I would love to help you understand more if you like Bud. Atleast try to have an open mind. You are too full of hate and it will eat you up.I do not say that to insult you but to help you. God is very loving and he would wait for you even to the very last possible moment. He has given everyone a purpose and its up to us to know what that is.

  • duh

    Why does god hate amputees? All the faith healing amputees that I’ve met still are missing limbs. It’s just not fair!

  • chris

    “Abuse” is hyperbole or fear mongering. Abuse is active, these parents are passively letting their children die. Though I do not support what they do, some parents believe that faith is more important than health. I do not believe that anyone should be FORCED into having any medical treatment. FREEDOM, if we choose to call ourselves a free people, allows us to choose what we want to be done to our bodies. In regards to the claim by the National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect concluded that “there are more children actually being abused in the name of God than in the name of Satan.” : More people die from Christians than sharks! So what! Both facts are true and pertain to death/God but have nothing to do with the debate about religious medical neglect. Please stick to the argument at hand

  • JJT

    Those “parents” are monsters and should be tried for manslaughter and imprisoned for life with the possibility of the death sentence. Not only are they murdering their children, they are prolonging their suffering. Horrible, horrible. Will reason ever triumph over ignorance?

  • JJT

    Our bodies being the key phrase here. Not our children’s bodies. I have no problem with someone like that eliminating themselves from the genepool. It does the rest of humanity a great service. However, denying medical care to one’s child IS active. It IS abuse. And in these cases it IS murder.

  • Carl

    Our bodies being the key phrase here. Not our children’s bodies. I have no problem with someone like that eliminating themselves from the genepool. It does the rest of humanity a great service. However, denying medical care to one’s child IS active. It IS abuse. And in these cases it IS murder…

  • psychic readings

    thanks for the information!

  • JorgeM

    I think that holding down a child and cutting off part of his penis AKA circumcision counts as abuse of children. This is a requirement of several religions and mainstream Americanism and is a fine examble of abusing children in the name of a god. In the case of Americanism, that would be the god of money as OBs and other doctors make a good living cutting children’s genitals.

  • Meri

    I guess what confuses me the most is why it has to be one or the other, prayer healing or medical healing. Wouldn’t it be much more prudent to seek healing from as many sources as possible? Why couldn’t these parents have taken their children into the emergency room *and* prayed for their recovery? I don’t see how using one would negate the ability to use the other. I, personally, use a combination of western medicine, Chinese traditional medicine (to include accupuncture, accupressure and Reiki) and meditation to deal with the ailments life has thrown my way. Using multiple forms of healing has been, in my experience, much better than using only one.

  • Greg

    The article stated, “It is difficult to determine precisely how many children in the United States lose their lives every year as the result of the phenomenon that has come to be known as religion-based medical neglect.”Do you realize how many people die every year at the hands of medical doctors? Or how many people (including children) have been damaged by medical treatment and have to live with life long disability? Are we to believe that those kids would have been better off going to the MD? The statistics would say not (considering that studies show medical care to be the third leading cause of death in the US).

  • Doug

    For every few cases like the ones described by the author there are 10,000 cases of abuse and death of patients at the hands of doctors. The AMA admits to 110,000 cases of iatrogenic deaths per year. There are probably 500,000 or more making MDs the biggest killers. I have worked in the medical field for thirty years and I can tell you that $$$ come above health almost always. The religious pray to God. The medical industry prays to $$$.

  • Hector

    ¿Christians first, citizens afterwards?This is so wrong.Remembering some of Locke, Hume and Rousseau, whenever we live in an organized society (i.e. The U. S. of A.) we are citizens FIRST, because we agreed to the idea of the “social contract”. We agreed to live in society organized and ruled by laws so we can protect our main rights like the right to live or private property.If a citizen where to consider itself some other thing before a citizen, then it could be interpreted as that such citizen voids the “social contract” and, in theory, it is not entitled to the protection of such.On the contrary, if a citizen is entitled to all protections an organized society offers, then such citizen must also follow such society’s laws first.Based on this argument, Courts may over-rule anti-social behavior masked behind religious pretext such as neglecting a child of it’s entitled medical assistance.Excuse my grammar, English is not my native tongue.

  • Karen T.

    About the doctor-thing: I was raised with a father who was non-religious and a mother who was a Christian Scientist. My mom always respected my dad’s wishes regarding medical treatment for us. And my dad saw enough healings through CS over the years, that he developed respect for Christian Science treatment. I am married to a non-Christian Scientist and we have used both medical treatment and Christian Science treatment for our sons. I have great respect for medical practitioners and all that they do to try to help their patients. I have sometimes visited doctors myself – but honestly, I’ve never experienced healing through medical treatment. Maybe you need to have a certain faith in medical treatment to experience healing through it, and at heart I’m a medical non-believer. It’s kind of hard to explain a whole way of life in a few paragraphs. And I can’t pretend that I’m speaking for all Christian Scientists here – we’re a pretty diverse group of people, really – and I can only speak for myself and my own understanding of this way of life. I try to use my understanding of God (Love, Truth) to make the world a better place.

  • Karen T.

    About the doctor-thing: I was raised with a father who was non-religious and a mother who was a Christian Scientist. My mom always respected my dad’s wishes regarding medical treatment for us. And my dad saw enough healings through CS over the years, that he developed respect for Christian Science treatment. I am married to a non-Christian Scientist and we have used both medical treatment and Christian Science treatment for our sons. I have great respect for medical practitioners and all that they do to try to help their patients. I have sometimes visited doctors myself – but honestly, I’ve never experienced healing through medical treatment. Maybe you need to have a certain faith in medical treatment to experience healing through it, and at heart I’m a medical non-believer. It’s kind of hard to explain a whole way of life in a few paragraphs. And I can’t pretend that I’m speaking for all Christian Scientists here – we’re a pretty diverse group of people, really – and I can only speak for myself and my own understanding of this way of life. I try to use my understanding of God (Love, Truth) to make the world a better place.

  • J

    Bias. This article is bias. People have their own believe similar to jews and having their children foreskin cut-off when they are babies. The truth is that is your personal believe and one should respect that. Yes, its a religious belief they have a reason for this, as much as we may think or believe it is immortal. EVERYONE has the right to their own belief and if that is at the cost of torture of the child. There has been worse crimes done in America because of the government, like fight for a useless war that has no meaning. Rather these parents are doing it on a believe we as HUMANS are allowed to have our own believes and not let it be judge in the eyes of anyone but who we believe to be our savor.

  • MWB

    If gov.org wants to prosecute parents for following their religious beliefs and step in and force medical treatment for children, then the government agents who do so need to be held accountable for the wellbeing of those children. If a child is taken and forced to use medical therapy rather than spiritual and the medical therapy fails, then the government agents need to be tried for murder and put to death if convicted.

  • James

    Faith in some sense is almost ubiquitous across our world, but it’s not entirely ubiquitous. Unnecessary pain and premature death are in varying degree. Their sources can be correlated sure. There was a time too though when it was common to blame illness on a lack of faith, or on having the wrong faith. In this way blaming illness directly on the ignorance prevalent in faith is a graduation of sorts but there’s no real answers in that theory. As Human beings our overwhelmingly ubiquitous capacity for delusion is a much better place to start, and the answers to that conundrum lie in the future of science and technology, not in sociology or ethics.

  • James

    Faith in some sense is almost ubiquitous across our world, but it’s not entirely ubiquitous. Unnecessary pain and premature death are entirely ubiquitous in varying degree. Their sources can be correlated, sure. There was a time though too when it was common to blame illness on a lack of faith, or on having the wrong faith. In this way blaming illness directly on the ignorance prevalent in faith is a graduation of sorts but there’s no real answers in that theory. As Human beings our overwhelmingly ubiquitous capacity for delusion is a much better place to start, and the answers to that conundrum lie in the future of science and technology, not in sociology, morality, or ethics.

  • Roger-Kent: Pool

    That which we call God is omnipotent and controls all events in the Universe. For a man to ignore God when God places a mechanism of healing before his eyes is disobedience. In the case of a child, for which a man has a duty to God to protect, when he fails then that man will have lose God’s precious gift. There are no accidents. There is no such thing as luck or chaos. All things happen for logical reasons, without exception. When we choose to ignore those reasons and fail to recognize God’s careful and persistent guidance then we bring suffering on ourselves until God decides we have suffered enough, teaches us where we went wrong and provides us the gift of repentance. It is only then we are forgiven. Religion is designed to hide God and that has always been its purpose. When we place our trust in a book or a Religion then we suffer. We are to place our trust only in God. We have bound ourselves to fiction and wonder why “bad” things happen to us. Suffering serves a logical purpose in that it is the only time we look into ourselves and try to find the answer to relieve the pain. Sadly, most people ignore the answer. To learn that lesson is an important reason why we are here in the first place. Know differently,Roage

  • George Warmonger

    It would probably be better to make it so the idiots can’t breed!!!

  • David Kennedy

    Mr. Peters has lumped some diverse groups together as if their approaches were all basically the same, so it would be helpful to clarify some points in regard to Christian Science.The parents I’ve known who are Christian Scientists, including my own, have been as loving and attentive to their children’s needs as one could ask for. Nothing has been more important to them than their children’s health and welfare, and that’s one of the reasons they have relied on Christian Science for their children, as they do for themselves. Relying on it is their natural choice. It is not mandated by the church.Prayer in Christian Science is not merely hoping God will heal, or waiting to see if it’s God’s will that someone live. Instead, prayer involves the intelligent application of the truth taught by Christ Jesus, to cure sickness and disease and lift people out of sin. This Christian system of healing has been practiced successfully by tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of people for over 130 years.Contrary to the approach of others whom Mr. Peters cites, Christian Scientists are taught to obey the laws of the land. Our religion does not and would not advocate a disregard for law.David Kennedy

  • Karen T.

    I have experienced and witnessed healings in my life that can’t be explained by medical science – the natural birth of my son just before I was about to be sliced open for a caesarean section, my brother’s instantaneous healing (confirmed by a doctor) of mastoiditous, a healing of melanoma – also confirmed by a doctor. My husband, who is not a Christian Scientist, has witnessed so many of these healings that he once told me, “You know, in other Christian churches, healing is considered a miraculous thing. But in Christian Science, it’s just an every day happening.” I consider God to be, literally, Good – natural Good, Love, Truth. I consider it natural to be healthy and whole and happy. So I don’t consider healings through God to be miracles – just the manifestation of the natural good we’re all entitled to.I respect my husband’s wishes regarding medical treatment for our sons and would not hesitate to take my sons to a doctor if that was what he wanted, or if I myself felt that was what was needed at that time. But any honest medical doctor will tell you that medical science is not an exact science and that it doesn’t have all the answers and can’t guarantee cure.About non-Christian Scientists speaking about the beliefs and inner workings of Christian Scientists – if you want to know what a Christian Scientist believes I suggest you go right to the source – ask a Christian Scientist. I’m alway wary of anyone who claims to know what’s going on inside someone else’s thoughts, or who claims to be an expert on someone else’s identity or beliefs. Ignorance and fear and hatred seem to all be connected, don’t they?

  • Tatiana Covington

    There is no god. Man is only an animal.

  • mark L

    I don’t comdemn any of the posters on this blog for their hatred and vitriol towards Christian Scientists. However, anyone who has done an open minded, honest investigation of Christian Science beliefs and practices, read our textbook “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures”, could not harbor such ill will or claim that Christian Science isn’t Christian. So, I can not be offended by their ignorance.My wife and I and our 3 children have had so many healings it is not possible to list them here.Neither my wife or I were born into Christian Science. We live it now because of the success in healing we have had. The word Science is used because it is provable when its Principles are applied. I believe something I’ve proven to myself is true. As a previous post said, come see us, you’ll be surprised who we are: engineers, architects, contractors, IT people, programmers, bankers, sales people, etc. just like the rest of America.You can find us in any phone book under “Christian Science”.

  • mark L

    I don’t comdemn any of the posters on this blog for their hatred and vitriol towards Christian Scientists. However, anyone who has done an open minded, honest investigation of Christian Science beliefs and practices, read our textbook “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures”, could not harbor such ill will or claim that Christian Science isn’t Christian. So, I can not be offended by their ignorance.My wife and I and our 3 children have had so many healings it is not possible to list them here.Neither my wife or I were born into Christian Science. We live it now because of the success in healing we have had. The word Science is used because it is provable when its Principles are applied. I believe something I’ve proven to myself is true. As a previous post said, come see us, you’ll be surprised who we are: engineers, architects, contractors, IT people, programmers, bankers, sales people, etc. just like the rest of America.You can find us in any phone book under “Christian Science”.

  • Paulbe

    I dont think right-to-lifers think that is Ok. Its just a matter of efficient use of time.best religious excuse for religious stupidity I’ve come across in a long time.

  • Rafael Espericueta

    Forcing children to believe nonsense and fairy tales is itself a form of child abuse. Fundamentalism (of ALL forms) is inseparable from child abuse – typically, adults aren’t gullible enough to buy into such silliness.And children who are brainwashed in this way tend to similarly abuse their own children.This vicious circle of fundamentalist child abuse must stop!

  • Rafael Espericueta

    Forcing children to believe nonsense and fairy tales is itself a form of child abuse. Fundamentalism (of ALL forms) is inseparable from child abuse – typically, adults aren’t gullible enough to buy into such silliness.And children who are brainwashed in this way tend to similarly abuse their own children.This vicious circle of fundamentalist child abuse must stop!

  • kevin

    Children dead, or parents dictated to by the government as to how to raise their children. Difficult choice. Where is the line drawn?

  • RM

    If the limited scope of Mr. Peter’s article represented the whole truth I’d be as outraged as many who have commented. The suffering and death of any child is too sad for words. Yet painting all spiritual healing with the same brush is simply not accurate.I was raised in a loving Christian household (Catholic); my mother was a nurse and my grandfather a highly respected doctor. I was taught that the best healthcare included, among other things, medical treatment. In grad school I sustained a debilitating running injury that persisted even after a year of conventional treatment. Just walking around was painful. During that year I met a Christian Scientist who said he relied only on prayer for healing – a strange concept to me at the time. But I was desperate so I began to read the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health, just to see what it was about. No one told me to read it, no one ever pressured me in any way. (Reading that book led me to read and study the Bible, which had not been a big part of my early religious experience.) I always felt I could ‘fall back’ on conventional medicine if I ever needed to. I am an engineer by training (MIT and Stanford) so I tested out what I was learning, to see why it was called Christian *Science*. What I learned convinced me that Christian Science is not faith healing, but based on understanding God’s law of Love. Well, my foot was healed entirely through prayer and I’ve been back running trails ever since then. That was over 20 years ago and since that time I’ve had many other healings through prayer, and I’ve never felt a need for medical treatment. My husband (who was raised in Christian Science) and I love our young children dearly and, like all parents, want to provide them the best healthcare possible. We don’t deny medical care for our children; we choose Christian Science prayer because it has consistently proved so effective for us. I am not suggesting what’s right for anyone else, but in the interest of ‘shedding light’ I simply want to say that in my experience and that of many others I know, Christian Science prayer heals.In answer to Meri’s question “Wouldn’t it be much more prudent to seek healing from as many sources as possible?”: If every time I rely on Christian Science prayer I find healing for myself and my children, what need have I to turn to something else?

  • Anonymous

    So basically if murder is a tenant of my religion, I should be allowed to murder. That is the Christian Science argument. Have fun in prison.

  • Eric

    This is an easy topic. God does not exist and should not be recognized. In this way, the evil of religion will have no effect on society, or for that matter, on innocent children.

  • Karen Cook

    Jesus said that He would judge nations based on how the sick and imprisoned and naked and hungry were treated. If that is so, how much harsher would He judge the parent that allows their child to suffer such torments? Spirituality is not an excuse for child abuse of any form.

  • Rick Cain

    Darwinism at its finest. Perhaps with more fanatical jesushead christians denying medicine to their sick children, the fanatic gene will die off and more rational people survive.Ya gotta love natural selection, its really for the best ya know.

  • Brad from Melbourne, Australia

    When are people going to realise it doesnt work? I refer to the following report… And another thing… these abused and neglected children are children of Christian/Jewish/Muslim/(insert religion here) parents: not Christian/Jewish/Muslim/(insert religion here children)

  • Frank

    In my opinion, anyone who allows a child to die because of their religion should be tried, convicted, and sent for life to a maximum security prison with other premeditated murderers. I don’t believe in capital punishment.

  • Frank

    In my opinion, anyone who allows a child to die because of their religion should be tried, convicted, and sent for life to a maximum security prison with other premeditated murderers. I don’t believe in capital punishment.

  • Dottie

    Frank, I know of no Christian Scientist who would allow their children to die. Like myself, the Christian Scientists I know would move heaven and earth to insure that their children received the best care possible.During childhood and for some years after that I relied on medical help for my health care. It was a revelation to me to learn of Christian Science as a consistently reliable way to stay healthy. I found it to be a safe and dependable way to care for my son, as well. He was healed quickly of childhood diseases (after we reported them to the proper authorities, as we are instructed to do as law abiding citizens); he was also healed of burns (within a few minutes), a deep cut on his hand (also very quickly) and many other healings. I too have had many healings through the years; but more importantly, I am grateful for the spiritual growth that is the inevitable outcome of healing through Christian Science. This is an important point that has yet to be mentioned.

  • Dottie

    Frank, I know of no C.S who would allow their children to die. Like myself, the Christian Scientists I know would move heaven and earth to insure that their children received the best care possible. During childhood and for some years after that I relied on medical help for my health care. It was a revelation to me to learn of Christian Science as a consistently reliable way to stay healthy. I found it to be a safe and dependable way to care for my son, as well. He was healed quickly of childhood diseases (after we reported them to the proper authorities, as we are instructed to do as law abiding citizens); he was also healed of burns (within a few minutes), a deep cut on his hand (also very quickly) and many other healings. I too have had many healings through the years; but more importantly, I am grateful for the spiritual growth that is the inevitable outcome of healing through Christian Science. This is an important point that has yet to be mentioned.

  • NextHuman

    It is situations like those that I put parents who feel their “religion” is more important than their own child’s life on the same level as rapists and child molestors. ALL of them are evil to children.

  • Josh Niles

    Nexthuman,

  • bonanzaman

    freaking idiots. No wonder the PTB can lead us down a path of destruction so obvious.

  • John K Daniels

    I don’t believe there exists a parent who can witness the suffering of a child and not immediately turn spiritually, emotionally and physically to what he or she is convinced is the most effective curative agent, whether that be God or medical care. Throughout my life, every problem encountered by myself and my family – and there were many – were solved through Christian Science prayer. Some of the healings experienced by our son were instant, none were protracted. Our reaction to any problem was always to turn to God as an immediately available healing source that our experience had proved to produce the best results. We honor the medical professionals for their selfless work to bring about healing, but for us, turning to God in prayer has always been the most effective help in trouble. And the ‘side effects’ of prayer are always beneficial!

  • Sally

    I share a similar experience to RM and Mark in that I wasn’t raised in Christian Science. Instead, I found it after a search through several religions and much spiritual reading, in my early 20’s. To me, its teachings made perfect sense and I wanted to raise my daughter this way. Here is the difference between her health as a child and my own (raised in a family that relied on medicine). I experienced earaches every winter which were extremely painful. She had one earache as a toddler which was gone 10 minutes after calling a Christian Science practitioner for help through prayer. I experienced plantar warts on my feet which had to frozen off and dug out by a doctor. She had plantar warts which were healed (they simply disappeared over a few weeks) as we worked on expressing more gratitude to God. My husband is not a Christian Scientist so we have always had an agreement that if there was a life-threatening emergency we would take her to a doctor, but we have never had to.If any of you are struggling with an illness that you have been told is incurable, you may want to do some research and actually learn what Christian Science is about. If you go into a Christian Science Reading Room no one will try to “indoctrinate” you. They will simply answer your questions in a loving manner.

  • Greg Armstrong

    I am a third generation Christian Science who has relied exclusively on prayer for healing of myself and my family. My wife and I reared two beautiful daughters (now 25 & 26) and witnessed many physical healings through prayer and prayer alone. While Mr. Peters motives are undoubtedly for the protection of children, it’s unfortunte he failed to more thoroughly research my faith. If he had done so he would have undoubtedly read our weekly Sentinel Magazine and Monthly Journal Magazine. Each issue shares authenticated cases of spritual healing taking place today around the world. I am grateful the United States of America ensures me the right to practice Christian Science – what for my family has been the safest, most effective means of healthcare. To quote Christ Jesus to express my sentiments towards this article; “..Forgive them father, for they know not what they do.”Greg Armstrong

  • FRANK L.

    Nothing fails like prayer. Parents who refuse medical treatment for their kids should be charged with first degree murder if the child dies. Either an LWOP sentence or death, just get them the hell away from society.

  • Melissa

    The main reason for the separation of church and state, is that when religion holds political power it is corrupted. All religious wants are not tolerated. A Morman may not have multiple wives in this country. A Rastafarian may not even smoke pot. So no one’s religion holds absolute sway over civil law.

  • Amy

    I just want to emphasize that its not just children its people of all ages. I dont think this abuse… its like being in an acult. i dont think that practice of christian science is a cult, but i do believe that they take it to the extreme. God has given us the availibility of modern medicine, and yes i believe that God can still do miracles, because just having modern medicine is a miracle. We have the availability to it while people in third world countries, and even people in our own countries dont. So i think that the medicine we have is a miracle from God and should not be take forgranted.

  • Eric

    This doesnt surprise me in the least.However, the problem isn’t necessarily religion. The problem is that there is no safeguard within the religions themselves (no religion has any safeguards) to prevent people from living like this – in a schizoid conspiracy-fantasy with Anthony Fremont (Twilight Zone: ‘It’s a Good Life’) at the helm. There are no safeguards to prevent young Muslims from blowing up busses filled with Jewish schoolchildren, there are no safeguards to prevent believers from endangering the lives of others by passing irresponsible legislation favoring abstinence-only sex education, and there are no safeguards to prevent good Christian parents (I say that with frightening sarcasm) from witholding life-saving medical procedures in favor of aid from imaginary entities who, according to Scripture, resemble only the most evil, uncaring, diabolical, megalomaniacal, dishonest, conniving, self-interested, jealous characters in both fiction and history, such as Josef Stalin and Anthony Fremont.

  • Anonymous
  • Todd Rainer

    The concept that the government is afraid to regulate religious behavior is pure hogwash. Look at plural marriage as a prime example. Most people in this nation think of Mormons when Polygamy is mentioned but it is also a practice in many Islamic nations. But illegal here.No child deserves to die because of the religious beliefs of their parents. I would question any parent’s love for their child who allowed this to happen.It is at best abuse, at worst, murder.

  • nobody

    Doesn’t it sound like all the Christian Scientists have the same writer? There is no variety in these voices. They parrot a line of reasoning that has been carefully crafted by their in-house (church) publicists. But the amazing thing is that they expect you to believe their stories. As a rule, they self-diagnose and self-describe their “healings.” They claim these are medically corroborated but they are unwilling to offer hard evidence. The church magazines that publish their “testimonies” do not engage in rigorous checking and tend to accept the mere affirmations of fellow church members as to the integrity of the testifiers as sufficient “proof.” Church members have learned the lingo but those who haven’t have their testimonials heavily edited by the publishers to conform to the ideal.Let’s face it, there are billions of dollars to be made from any system that accomplishes what these people profess to do on a daily basis. So far there have been no takers. For a very simple reason: it does not work as believers claim. The greying of the Christian Science church, and its rapidly dwindling numbers of adherents, are indications that fewer and fewer people can swallow such a system both for health care or for inspiration to face life’s problems. You have been asked to speak to a Christian Scientist to be educated and convinced. I suggest you also talk to former Christian Scientists, people who learned the whole thing and tested it for many years only to be shaken by reality and forced by pure honesty to repudiate the whole doctrine and enterprise. I am one of many.

  • Margaret

    Dear Sir: With regard to your article, I suggest you re-think your facts. Christian Science is not a “faith based” healing religion. Have you ever read the Science & Health with Key to the Scriptures by the founder and discoverer – Mary Baker Eddy? Once you read her book you might feel differently. Clumping Christian Science with other religions that are trying to heal their sick children soley on faith, is inaccurate and unfair to do.

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