According to an Idaho Republican lawmaker, a proposed state ban on substituting medical care with faith healing would violate the religious freedom of her constituents.
“They have a clear understanding of what the role of government should be, [and it] isn’t how to tell me how to live my life,” said GOP state Rep. Christy Perry.
After a horrific string of child deaths that could have been prevented with routine medical care – in one particular church – the legislation was proposed after an outcry from the public.
“This is about religious beliefs, the belief God is in charge of whether they live, and God is in charge of whether they die,” Perry said of the church called the Followers of Christ, where at least four children die of treatable illnesses within three years.
“This is about where they go for eternity,” she added.
From Al Jazeera America:
But today, some people wonder how many of the dead children here could have been saved. Idaho is one of only six U.S. states that allow religious exemption for negligent homicide, manslaughter or capital murder. While some have called for the Gem State’s law to be revised, efforts have gained little traction. A bill introduced last year was swiftly nixed by Idaho’s House speaker, and lawmakers say they haven’t heard of any bills coming forward in this year’s session. And this week, the House State Affairs Committee passed a bill — despite emotional testimony — that recognizes that Idaho parents and guardians “have a fundamental right to make decisions concerning the care, custody, education and control of their children.” Many expressed concern that this was just another covert protection for faith healers.
“Children do die,” Perry said. “I’m not trying to sound callous, but [opponents] want to act as if death is an anomaly. But it’s not — it’s a way of life.”
“They are comforted by the fact that they know their child is in heaven,” Perry added. “If I want to let my child be with God, why is that wrong?”