This is GREAT news. Another challenge to a religious shield law that allows for faith healing exemptions. Those exemptions allow for parents to withhold medical care on religious grounds.
After several recent child deaths, an Idaho lawmaker wants to follow Oregon’s lead and require parents to seek medical help for kids suffering from potentially fatal conditions — even if their religion frowns on it.
Since 2009, numerous children of members of the Followers of Christ in Marsing, Idaho, have died of treatable causes, according to their autopsy reports. Many children are buried at a cemetery overlooking the Snake River that is favored by the church.
The church, with locations in Idaho, California and Oregon, relies on faith healing, not medicine, to help sick members.
Democratic Rep. John Gannon of Boise says Idaho’s existing faith-healing exemptions for injury-to-a-child crimes should be updated. He has support from Linda Martin, an Oregon woman who left the church in Idaho decades ago and has returned this week to champion the changes.
Treatment by prayer or spiritual means alone is not illegal but “whenever a child’s medical condition may cause death or permanent disability,” this can not serve as an excuse to avoid medical intervention. “Medical treatment for physical harm to a child should supersede every other consideration,” Gannon said. Obviously.
I learned about the Followers in Christ church and the parade of needless suffering and death from the book In the Name of God. You can read the review here. Purchase the book at the link below. You will be astounded.
As the article notes, the coroner has to see these kids after they have died of treatable conditions – food poisoning, pneumonia, diabetes. Or they suffer from conditions that can leave them deaf or blind. All because medical intervention is seen as a weakness of faith, a bad thing. That’s unacceptable.
For more on religious shield laws, go here.