“The Death of Children by Faith-Based Medical Neglect”
Hughes, Richard A. “The Death of Children by Faith-Based Medical Neglect.” Journal of Law and Religion 20, no. 1 (2004–2005): 247–65.
Hughes argues that faith-based medical neglect is permitted or facilitated by exemption clauses that appear in many state statutes, resulting in the deaths of children. Although most of the article discusses the theology and religious defense of the Faith Assembly, Hughes argues that “the source of the religious exemption clauses is the extensive lobbying of the Christian Science Church…” (248). He acknowledges serious dilemmas for religious defense and judgment in the application of the Free Exercise Clause. In some (non-Christian Science) cases he cites, the court acknowledges that sincere Bible-reading parents did not intend to cause the deaths of their children; on the other hand, the state viewed parents’ conduct as a deviation of reasonable care when they did not act in a timely manner to prevent their children’s deaths. The arguments used in defense of Christian Science differ from Hughes’s main study, but he argues that the Christian Science defense is ambiguous when it argues on opposite sides of the Establishment Clause. He suggests punishment for faith-healing parents of dead children should include confronting their children’s deaths, taking full responsibility for the consequences of their actions, and opening channels of communication with health care facilities in caring for their other children.
Print ISSN: 0748-0814
See also annotations: