Faith healing and the law

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faith healing and the law

When Prayer Fails: Faith Healing, Children, and the Law by Shawn Francis Peters

Relying on religious traditions that are as old as their faith itself, many devout Christians turn to prayer rather than medicine when their children fall victim to illness or injury. Faith healers claim that their practices are effective in restoring health - more effective, they say, than modern medicine. But, over the past century, hundreds of children have died after being denied the basic medical treatments furnished by physicians because of their parents intense religious beliefs. The tragic deaths of these youngsters have received intense scrutiny from both the news media and public authorities seeking to protect the health and welfare of children.

When Prayer Fails: Faith Healing, Children, and the Law is the first book to fully examine the complex web of legal and ethical questions that arise when criminal prosecutions are mounted against parents whose children die as a result of the phenomenon known by experts as religion-based medical neglect. Do constitutional protections for religious liberty shield parents who fail to provide adequate medical treatment for their sick children? Are parents likewise shielded by state child-neglect faith laws that seem to include exemptions for healing practices? What purpose do prosecutions really serve when its clear that many deeply religious parents harbor no fear of temporal punishment? Peters offers a review of important legal cases in both England and America from the 19th century to the present day. He devotes special attention to cases involving Christian Science, the source of many religion-based medical neglect deaths, but also considers cases arising from the refusal of Jehovahs witnesses to allow blood transfusions or inoculations. Individual cases dating back to the mid-19th century illuminate not only the legal issues at stake but also the profound human drama of religion-based medical neglect of children.

Based on a wide array of primary and secondary source materials - among them judicial opinions, trial transcripts, police and medical examiner reports, news accounts, personal interviews, and scholarly studies - this book explores efforts by the legal system to balance judicial protections for the religious liberty of faith-healers against the states obligation to safeguard the rights of children.
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Published 23.01.2019

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To explore the legal issues that courts must consider in cases involving parents' use of faith healing, the Pew Research Center's Forum on.
Shawn Francis Peters

WA Legislators Are Wisely Trying to Repeal Faith-Healing Exemptions from the Law

African campaigner Lamin Ceesay recently spoke out about having been forced to participate in a treatment programme trialling a supposed miracle cure for HIV, which had been invented by the then Gambian President, Yahya Jammeh. The therapy entailed a mixture of herbal medicine and mysticism, and the enforced participants were deprived of the conventional drugs needed to manage their condition. Fortunately, very few people would wish to defend compulsory human experimentation, not least when the therapy being trialled had no scientific basis, but the incident does raise some interesting questions about medicine and spirituality, and whether the legal framework ever needs to regulate their dialogue. Of course it is important to stress from the outset that for very many people, there is a mutually supportive dynamic between conventional medicine and spiritual care. Lots of doctors, nurses and allied professionals also happen to have a faith, and public healthcare in the UK expressly recognises the importance of addressing religious and spiritual needs. This philosophy is illustrated by the support to the NHS Chaplaincy Programme, and the very presence of paid chaplains.

These Christian Science practitioners have killed several kids in Idaho and Washington where churches promote this cruelty. What makes matters worse is that the deaths are not considered homicides. This is not a valid substitute for medical treatment. It is the intent of the legislature that a person who, in good faith, is furnished Christian Science treatment by a duly accredited Christian Science practitioner in lieu of medical care is not considered deprived of medically necessary health care or abandoned. That whole section would be erased if this bill passes. Under this chapter, health care decisions made in reliance on faith-based practices do not in and of themselves constitute negligent treatment or maltreatment unless any such decision poses a clear and present danger to the health, welfare, or safety of the child. Makes sense.

Faith healing is the practice of prayer and gestures that are believed by some to elicit divine intervention in spiritual and.
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Mariah Walton faces a double lung and heart transplant because her parents chose faith healing over medical treatment when she was born., When such a decision results in harm to the child, courts often are called on to decide the appropriate balance between these two government obligations.


4 thoughts on “When Prayer Fails: Faith Healing, Children, and the Law by Shawn Francis Peters

  1. Faith healing is the practice of prayer and gestures such as laying on of hands that are believed by some to elicit divine intervention in spiritual and physical healing, especially the Christian practice.

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