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Christian Science and the care of children: the constitutional issues

From the January 1991 issue of The Christian Science Journal

Church and State

Children's health care has become a major issue on the national agenda in recent years.

For those who care about the First Amendment as well as families, one particular aspect of this issue has presented something of a moral dilemma: the care of children whose parents rely on healing prayer in time of sickness. Six cases now [1989] in the courts have focused attention on this issue as it relates to Christian Scientists, a group long known both for the practice of spiritual healing and for a strong tradition of family life.

Should spiritual healing as Christian Scientists practice it be accommodated in state law, or should that practice be restricted by state statute and parents who have lost children under spiritual treatment be subject to criminal prosecution? Americans should consider the following points as they seek to answer that question.

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