Christian Science: Lobbying It or Living It?

The letter of Science plentifully reaches humanity to-day, but its spirit comes only in small degrees. The vital part, the heart and soul of Christian Science, is Love. Without this, the letter is but the dead body of Science, – pulseless, cold, inanimate. – Mary Baker Eddy.


In the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy defines “Church” as the “structure of Truth and Love” and says the role of Church is to rouse “the dormant understanding… to the apprehension of spiritual ideas…”

Lately some individuals have been busy lobbying their politicians for exemptions for Christian Scientists from health insurance and laws regarding child neglect. And I’m sorry, but I have to ask – how is exempting Christian Scientists from health insurance laws and child neglect laws in any way going to help rouse anyone’s “dormant understanding” to the “apprehension of spiritual ideas”? How are these efforts for exemptions in any way going to help the cause and purpose of Christian Science, or make the world a better place?

I am a Christian Scientist. I love what the study of Christian Science has brought to my life – the healings, the expectancy of good, the perception of creation as the expression of Love, Truth, and Life. I want to share the beauty of this way of life with the world. And so it seems to me a real tragedy that  the lobbying and politicking by some Christian Scientists might be distracting people from seeing the beauty and healing power found in the metaphysics of Christian Science as a way of life, as a way of SEEING life. The efforts to reduce Christian Science to some kind of alternative health care system/religion is incredibly belittling to what I believe Christian Science to actually be – to the amazing potential, power, and purpose found in this way of life.

Although I myself have not often needed to turn to traditional medical care for help – Christian Science has been very effective in bringing me the healing I need physically and emotionally – I do not have a problem at all with throwing my money into the public pot to help my fellow citizens get the medical help they think they need.  Jesus, after all, said, “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s”.  (Edit: I need to add this – I don’t think health care access should be denied any of our citizens just because they’re too poor to pay for it. Nor do I think access to health care should be denied to anyone just because a bunch of politicians don’t happen to approve of it – whether it’s reproductive health care for women, or Christian Science treatment for Christian Scientists.)

And, as Christian Scientists, we know that nothing can affect our real identity as Love’s perfect, whole, complete reflection. Nothing – neither earthquake, wind, fire, pestilence, plague, weapons that fly by day or night, famine, germs, or VACCINATIONS can separate us from the love of God, and our identity as her expression. So why do we allow ourselves to get all worked-up and worried about this stuff?  As it says in Romans: “…all things work together for good to them that love God (Love, Truth, Life)…” and “I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God (Love, Truth, Life)…”

Regarding exemption from prosecution for child neglect: I don’t believe ANYone – regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion or non-religion should be exempt from prosecution for willful neglect of a child. On the other hand, I don’t think anyone should be prosecuted for neglect simply BECAUSE of his or her race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion or non-religion. When my sons were youngsters I was always conscious of my responsibility to keep them safe and healthy – and I was also conscious of the fact that BECAUSE I was a Christian Scientist I might be treated differently by society should harm come to my sons. If someone else’s child died because the parents, in all innocence, didn’t know the child was seriously ill and didn’t take the child to a doctor – those parents might be seen as sympathetic characters by society. I knew that if my children died because I, in all innocence, didn’t recognize a serious problem, I might be seen in a different way. (Edit: After some research I realized that these laws were made in 1997, and are not the result of current lobbying, you can click on this URL to see my correction –  )

Our society has biases. One of the biases is that traditional medical science is always the best and only way to treat a disease – and the fact that medical science is, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association, actually the third-leading cause of death in this country doesn’t seem to affect that bias at all. So I guess at some point I realized that what I needed to do was use my understanding of Christian Science to help ensure my sons never got sick to begin with, and to ensure that healings were quick if the sons did show signs of sickness. If a healing didn’t come quickly – and the healings usually did – then I brought the sons to the doctor. Common sense was my guide.

I don’t believe it’s in the best interests of Christian Scientists, or of Christian Science, to be lobbying for an exemption to prosecution for child neglect. It makes Christian Science a target. Christian Science – as a movement with the power to transform the world – is deserving of better.

Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science, and the founder of the Christian Science religion, said that the “vital part, the heart and soul of Christian Science, is Love.” I’ve gotten to a place in my life where I find myself asking, “Is this coming from Love? Is this leading to Love?”  And if it’s not, I don’t want to waste my time on it.  Is asking for exemptions for Christian Scientists from contributing to health insurance, and from being prosecuted for child neglect, coming from a place of love? Or fear? Is it leading to love? Or fear?  Don’t Christian Scientists have better ways to spend their time than lobbying politicians? Don’t Christian Scientists have a bigger mission, and a more important job?

CHURCH. The structure of Truth and Love; whatever rests upon and proceeds from divine Principle. The Church is that institution, which affords proof of its utility and is found elevating the race, rousing the dormant understanding from material beliefs to the apprehension of spiritual ideas and the demonstration of divine Science, thereby casting out devils, or error, and healing the sick. – Mary Baker Eddy

28 thoughts on “Christian Science: Lobbying It or Living It?

  1. I’m curious about what you think of the other approach of including Christian Science in the minimum essential benefits. Do you just disagree with this exemption approach, or do you think that the jurisdiction of the Committee on Publication should not/does not include this kind of advocacy?
    Perhaps what the Church and the CommPub most need is the prayerful support of members affirming the divine guidance of our desire for wider recognition and availability of Christian Science within the healthcare sphere.

  2. Cool that you were an ACOM. I also would prefer the accommodation option. Without simply praying for my specific preferred outcome, I think the Federal Office, and the government need the support of our prayers to find the right way forward. It seems as though the exemption is the way that is opening at this time, and that the accommodation has gotten no traction within the administration, so that can be a focus of our prayerful support.
    Not being a parent, I don’t feel like I can comment with any authority on the issue of cases in which children die either under the care of their parents practice of CS or under a practitioner’s care. I do think it is odd and unfair that a parent can be convicted of negligent homicide in that instance, while parents whose children die in hospitals face no legal consequence. I’m not sure what the legal solution to that is. Of course, it is not ok that children die, and that should not be equated with Christian Science care. We must practice what we preach and make certain that those cases don’t occur. However, I think we would be foolish to give up all of those exemptions, as I think doing so would open the door to further impositions.
    Also, if I’m not mistaken, the most recent child cases that have been getting a lot of media attention in Oregon were not Christian Scientists at all; and it is my understand that the Church has chosen not to take a stance in those cases because of the sense that perhaps the law is too lenient given that this has happened several times with the same religious group there.

    • Hi, watchingforwisdom – Thoughtful response – thank you! It does seem reasonable that if we’re going to be paying for health insurance we should be able to get the kind of treatment that seems to work best for us, doesn’t it?

      Have to share this – a CSist friend shared this with me – this comes from Miscellany, I think: “A genuine Christian Scientist loves Protestant and Catholic, loves D.D. and M.D., — loves all who love God, good, and he loves his enemies. It will be found that instead of opposing, such an individual subserves the interests of both medical faculty and Christianity and they thrive together, learning that Mind-power is goodwill towards men.” – Mary Baker Eddy

  3. Why should Christian Scientists pay $5K – $10K per year for medical insurance that they would not use, or be subject to an unfair tax that could be as substantial? Coverage and inclusion of CS care was attempted before the ACA became law. It was rejected by House Speaker Pelosi just before the ACA vote.

    • Hi, spiritualman – my thought about this is that it’s a way to love our neighbor. For instance, I had a neighbor dealing with cancer, and she was told she needed to pay $30,000 to $40,000 a month for remission drugs – although I couldn’t pay the total cost for her, I like the idea that the money I chip in to my health insurance plan could help her. I hardly ever use it – but I like knowing it’s doing good for someone else. Money is just money. It’s not valuable of itself – what gives it value is what we can do with it – how we can use it to help our family, our friends, our neighbors, our fellow citizens. It would be fair, of course, for CSists to be able to use the money they put into the pot to pay for CS treatment. I hope that happens. But to just opt out altogether does not seem very kind to me.

  4. Oh Karen. This is so right on. Especially, “The efforts to reduce Christian Science to some kind of alternative health care system/religion is incredibly belittling to what I believe Christian Science to actually be – to the amazing potential, power, and purpose found in this way of life.” I have been saying this in and to my church family for years…sadly to deaf ears. Even my teacher is on the lobby bandwagon. I am working every day to know that Christian Science is Truth manifested, that it cannot be diluted, adulterated or ignored.

  5. If I may I add more comment…after reading some other comments I am curious about other takes on the jurisdiction of the COPs. The Manual reads, “Duties. Sect. 2. It shall be the duty of the Committee on Publication to correct in a Chris‐
    tian manner impositions on the public in regard to Christian Science,…”
    “impositions on the public”…NOT impositions on ourselves as Christian Scientists. I believe our prayers would be most effective to a harmonious outcome if they were directed toward affirmation of the doctrine of CS and denial of whatever erroneous notions animal magnetism is trying to impose on us. If indeed God is all power, all Science, all aware and fills all space there is no need, reason or basis for human intervention.
    “The divine Mind, which forms the
    bud and blossom, will care for the human
    body, even as it clothes the lily; but let no mortal inter‐
    fere with God’s government by thrusting in the laws of
    erring, human concepts.” S&H p.62

  6. Wonderful post. I really like your idea about CS as something much larger than a healing method.

    I’m wondering about why you typed VACCINATIONS in all caps. What was the point that you’re trying to make?

    • Oh! Great question! You know what? I think I typed that in big letters for myself, actually. 🙂 I just realized recently that I’ve actually harbored a fear about vaccinations – about the harm they might cause to me and mine. And it hit me – whoah! – why am I so afraid of this stuff? Why am I giving matter the power to hurt me when I’m not giving it the power to help me? A couple summers ago I got a pertussis vaccination – I’m a teacher and the director of my school was very concerned about pertussis – so, to help alleviate her fear – out of kindness – I got a vaccination – no biggy. No power to hurt. No power to help. Just a way of showing consideration to others.

  7. These comments are so thoughtful. They show that people can love and practice Christian Science in many ways. People can also see differently as to how to present CS to the world.
    Another point: the Manager of the Committees on Publication has the Manual’s authority to decide how to correct impositions on the public, and right now our Manager has determined that the biggest imposition on the public is the incorrect assumption that health is based on matter and can only be maintained by material methods.

    One opportunity to correct this basic, huge, incorrect assumption is to name spiritual care as a choice in the federal health care law. Whatever method this takes (inclusion, exemption, etc.) the validation of spiritual care, however small in the law, keeps the idea alive and “out there” for the public. Thus these present lobbying efforts go way beyond the “rights” of Christian Scientists. These efforts are for all who choose spiritual care.

    People are turning to spiritual solutions for their health in increasing numbers today. Even well known medical experts like Drs. Larry Dossey, Lissa Rankin, Harold Koenig and others research and accept spirituality as a powerful tool in health care. Dossey even says we’ve entered the era of spirituality right now!

    I too have no problems paying for a system I may not use—because of the needs of others. But to do nothing, to leave the whole federal law alone, would silence any reference to any approach to health care but a material one. This would be unrealistic, and a sad omission for humanity.

    • Thank you, Cynthia. You articulated your thoughts really well here. Thoughtful and kind. Thoughtful and kind always work with me. 🙂

      This morning I sent a message to my governor. I let him know that I have no problem contributing to the health insurance pot and helping to provide health care for my fellow citizens. I also shared my belief that no one should be denied health care just because they lack the economic resources, and neither should anyone be denied access to care just because a bunch of politicians don’t happen to approve of it – whether it’s reproductive health care for women, or CS treatment for CSists.

      And check this out! – This is pretty cool! 🙂 —

  8. I find it a too common occurrence that people who are or were students of Christian Science were often found by this marvelous religion in the most desperate situations but were saved and freed from them through their study of Christian Science. In Pulpit and Press (29:27), Judge Hanna is quoted as having said that Christian Scientists are not recruited from other religions but from the graveyards. This healing and conversion often brings not only physical harmony but financial and professional benefits never before imagined by the individual. However, as time passes, there also tends to be a “sinking” back into materialism and a complacency since when one becomes comfortable, he/she often puts God on the back burner or takes Him totally off the stove.

    Mrs. Eddy pushes us to have “radial reliance” on God–an impossible order if one wishes to be “fat and happy” in matter, too. Consequently, some individuals find ourselves taking a “halting and halfway position” in our religion and at that point begin accepting all sorts of logic that veers away from true Christian Science. Loving our fellowman who has opposing views doesn’t mean “getting in bed with him.”

    Medicine is a mind-science. Christian Science is Mind (God) Science. There is a dramatic and opposite difference between the two, and we must be careful to keep both feet solidly grounded in that “Science” which does bless us and the world–in spite of how illogical it seems to the materialist or to those of us who want to “play nice” with the world. It all boils down to our responsibility, and it can’t be shirked forever by any one of us. We must take a stand for Truth (God) if we wish to grow out of mortality using the same conviction as is recorded in Psalms “Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the Lord our God.” (Ps 20:7)

    • Amen, Don.

      This is why I would never follow the good sunday school student who never faced and overcame any adversity as their faith is only academic to a point.

      “This is what is meant by seeking Truth, Christ, not ‘for the loaves and fishes,’ nor, like the Pharisee, with the arrogance of rank and display of scholarship, but like Mary Magdalene, from the summit of devout consecration, with the oil of gladness and the perfume of gratitude, with tears of repentance and with all those hairs all numbered by the father.”

      Mary Baker Eddy
      (Science and Health 367:10)

      Truth, Wisdom, Love and Sincerity, to ALL mankind.

      Rob Scott
      Chicago, IL

  9. Interesting article and I liked the quote on love as it is essential in CS healing.

    But shouldn’t the drug companies be prevented from lobbying too ???

    I went to the epicenter of materia medica by working for big pharma. It is all about greed not health and healing. Mrs. Eddy was ahead of her time. I returned to CS stronger from that experience.

    It is not just that a lot of those drugs don’t work but that they are dangerous.

    Perhaps you have read about all the billion dollar fines for criminal and civil fraud in recent years re the pharma companies. The fat cats at the top never get prosecuted just their company. It is just the cost of doing business for them.

    “Drugs kill. After heart disease and cancer, drugs are the third leading cause of deaths in Europe and the USA, states Peter Gøtzsche in Deadly Medicines and Organised Crime: How Big Pharma Has Corrupted Healthcare. He estimates that in the USA, every year, about 100 000 deaths are due to drugs, despite people taking the drugs correctly, and another 100 000 people die because of errors. According to Gøtzsche, “we now suffer from two man-made epidemics, tobacco and prescription drugs, both of which are hugely lethal” and the norm for both industries is a “morally repugnant disregard for human lives”. Furthermore, Gøtzsche claims, the business model of the drug industry is “organised crime”. He told The Lancet that he has written his latest book because he wants to “influence policy towards much more transparency”.

    The Lancet, Volume 383, Issue 9915, Page 402, 1 February 2014

    For those who have lost relatives who had been given the drugs, only doubts remain: What killed their loved ones — the disease or the drugs they took to treat it?

    “Last week, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that GlaxoSmithKline had agreed to pay $3 billion in criminal and civil fines for its misdeeds in inappropriately marketing Paxil and another antidepressant, Wellbutrin; for withholding information on the cardiovascular risks of Avandia, a diabetes drug that has been shown to cause heart attacks; and for promoting Advair, an inhaled lung drug, to patients with mild asthma even though it wasn’t approved or appropriate for them. The fine was the largest ever imposed by the U.S. on a pharmaceutical company and settled both civil and criminal charges.

    The settlement agreement and the attached documents were full of juicy details that have now been widely reported: How GSK orchestrated the publication of a “misleading,” ghost-written study purporting to show that Paxil helped children when evidence suggested the opposite.”

    Just some thoughts . . .

    • Thank you, Rob – and yeah, I’m in total agreement with you on this one. I’ve brought pharmaceutical companies up now and then on my posts – I do not like the way they do business. And I also do not like so much the way many health insurance companies do business in this country – health insurance should not BE a business. In my opinion. It should be something every citizen has access to.

  10. Reblogged this on Emerging Gently and commented:
    One Christian Scientist’s take on the Christian Science Church’s lobbying efforts regarding healthcare and exemptions in law for Christian Scientists. Worth reading!

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