“Healing and Conscience in Christian Science”
Johnsen, Thomas C. “Healing and Conscience in Christian Science.” The Christian Century 111 (June 29–July 6, 1994): 640 only.
Johnsen begins with a quick review of several court cases against Christian Science parents who lost a child while relying on prayer for healing. He acknowledges the profound and troubling issues of responsibility and conscience these cases raise for the courts, state legislatures and the Christian Science Church. Johnsen sees a need in the Church to think through “the relation between the deep faith and spiritual commitment that underlie their healing ministry and the essential ‘common sense and common humanity’ that church founder Mary Baker Eddy identified with this ministry.” He also sees the need for Christian Scientists to balance the obligations society fairly asks of them and their own legitimate rights as a religious minority. Church and state must recognize that “there are serious concerns on both sides.” In light of the shortcomings found within our nation’s health care system, and the aggressive tendencies among courts and legislatures to equate failure to use medical care with child abuse, Johnsen appeals to Church and State to seek “a solution on the basis of values shared, and not by devaluing religious approaches to healing that continue to have great spiritual and practical meaning in people’s lives.”
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