Saturday, July 4, 2009

Faith healing vs. medicine

June 30, 2009

Growing ranks of the unaffiliated faithful complicate issue of faith healing vs. medicine

by Rose French
The Associated Press

Most states have child abuse laws allowing some religious exemptions for parents who shun medicine for their sick children, but a few recent cases highlight thorny legal issues for parents following less-recognized faiths.

Existing laws have gradually accounted for more well-known and established faiths, such as Pentecostalism, Christian Science and Jehovah's Witnesses.

But recent cases in the news have judges and child care advocates dealing with parents who claim adherence to lesser-known faiths, such as the Minnesota family following an Internet-based group's American Indian beliefs, and an independent Oregon church that has been investigated in the past for the deaths of members' sick children.

Legal and religious scholars say it's becoming more difficult for courts to decide when to honor the religious beliefs of parents and when to order conventional medical treatment for extremely sick children.

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