Christian Science: Lobbying It or Living It?

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.

Adventures of the Madcap Christian Scientist

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…

View original post 1,015 more words

Well, dang. Have to make another apology.

Ahem. So last week I had to go on the Science-Based Medicine website and offer an apology. Don’t ask. Just another one of those humbling experiences that I seem to so often have the opportunity to experience. And today I must send out another apology – this time to my fellow Christian Scientists.

The apology from last week and today’s apology are actually connected – they’re both about a couple of laws in Washington State that allow parents to use Christian Science treatment without being accused of child neglect.

Today’s apology involves my assumption that there were Christian Scientists at work right now to lobby our Washington State legislature to protect Christian Science parents from being prosecuted should their children come to harm due to neglect. Man. Did I get THAT story wrong. Turns out these were laws that were put in the books back in 1997 – and they weren’t meant to protect Christian Science parents from prosecution for neglect should their children come to harm, but were meant to prevent Christian Science parents from prosecution for neglect just BECAUSE they use Christian Science treatment for their children.  Law RCW 26.44.020 reads in part: “A person who is being furnished Christian Science treatment by a duly accredited Christian Science practitioner will not be considered, for that reason alone, a neglected person for the purposes of this chapter.”

Here are the laws:

RCW 9A.42.005

Findings and intent — Christian Science treatment — Rules of evidence.

The legislature finds that there is a significant need to protect children and dependent persons, including frail elder and vulnerable adults, from abuse and neglect by their parents, by persons entrusted with their physical custody, or by persons employed to provide them with the basic necessities of life. The legislature further finds that such abuse and neglect often takes the forms of either withholding from them the basic necessities of life, including food, water, shelter, clothing, and health care, or abandoning them, or both. Therefore, it is the intent of the legislature that criminal penalties be imposed on those guilty of such abuse or neglect. It is the intent of the legislature that a person who, in good faith, is furnished Christian Science treatment by a duly accredited Christian Science practitioner in lieu of medical care is not considered deprived of medically necessary health care or abandoned. Prosecutions under this chapter shall be consistent with the rules of evidence, including hearsay, under law.

1997

http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=9A.42.005

RCW 26.44.020

(16) “Practitioner of the healing arts” or “practitioner” means a person licensed by this state to practice podiatric medicine and surgery, optometry, chiropractic, nursing, dentistry, osteopathic medicine and surgery, or medicine and surgery or to provide other health services. The term “practitioner” includes a duly accredited Christian Science practitioner. A person who is being furnished Christian Science treatment by a duly accredited Christian Science practitioner will not be considered, for that reason alone, a neglected person for the purposes of this chapter.

1997

http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=26.44.020

In other words, if a parent has found that Christian Science treatment is the most effective treatment for himself and for his children – he won’t be prosecuted for using it. If it works for you, use it, right?

Apparently, there is a question as to whether Christian Scientists even lobbied for these laws, or whether some politician decided to throw the exemptions in on his own. Who knows? In any case. I apologize for any misinformation I may have inadvertently propogated.

Wonder what I’ll be apologizing for NEXT week… stay tuned… 🙂

 

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 –   https://madcapchristianscientist.com/2014/03/19/well-dang-have-to-make-another-apology/  )

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