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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 118639 Find in a Library
Title: When Faith Healing Fails
Journal: ABA Journal  Volume:75  Dated:(July 1989)  Pages:22-24
Author(s): C E Anderson
Date Published: 1989
Page Count: 3
Type: Issue Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article focuses on the legal issues of the Christian Scientist practice of prayer rather than medical attention to treat the physical ailments of their dying children.
Abstract: This type of case recently has been targeted for criminal prosecution in at least four States. These legal actions have shocked many of the nation's estimated 650,000 Christian Scientists who adhere to religious beliefs that promote prayer-induced spiritual healing over medical attention as a panacea for physical human ills. Legal codes in more than 40 States endorse these practices, but these recent cases reflect a serious conflict between such codes and child-abuse or neglect statutes. Recently, a couple in Florida were the first Christian Scientists in 20 years to be prosecuted in the U.S. for denying a child medical care for religious reasons. Defense for this couple was based on constitutional principles of religious freedom, however, the jury was convinced that the refusal to seek medical attention for a child suffering from diabetes constituted murder. Defense attorneys claim that current laws offer no guidance to Christian Scientists as to when they should call in a doctor. This issue reflects the struggle of society with the question of whether spiritual healing is an acceptable method of medical treatment.
Main Term(s): Religious freedom
Index Term(s): Crimes against children; Family offenses; Murder
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