Christian Science Case
Mark R Woodall
mwoodall at OSF1.GMU.EDU
Mon Feb 3 18:09:27 PST 1997
On Mon, 3 Feb 1997, Michael McConnell wrote:
> Just a note on CHILD, Inc. v. Vladek, the Christian Science case:
> Contrary to the implications of several posts, this case does not
> involve children. It is about poor and elderly Christian Science
> adults, who have paid during their entire working lives into the
> Medicare and Medicaid systems, and receive in return *only* certain
> nonmedical nursing services (such as changing bandages, assistance
> with personal cleanliness and movement, proper food, etc.). The
> government does not pay for spiritual healing itself, but only for
> physical nursing care. The accommodation at issue enables
> Medicare and Medicaid-eligible Christian Science adults to
> receive nursing care without being forced to accept medical
> care, in violation of their religion. The only constitutional problem
> identified by the district court was that the statutory accommodation
> refers to the Christian Science religion by name. -- Michael McConnell (U of Utah)
In response to MM, I would like to clarify that I did not intend to imply
that the case involves children. I did however intend to give the example
of children to illustrate two ways that CS adds financial burdens to the
Medicare/Medicaid system that other taxpayers must bear.
I would also like to clarify in response to Rodney Smith that I was only
presenting myself as an "expert" to the recipients of this listserve, not
to a court of law. I do not claim to be qualified as an expert on this
subject in a court of law. I thought I made that clear, but hope it is
Also in response to RS, I would like to reiterate that I do not believe
empirical evidence to support my position could be obtained even if a
court order for such evidence was issued. In my previous post I explain
why. That doesn't mean my allegations are not true. Christian
Scientists deliberately do not keep such records.
RS objects to my status as a disaffected former Christian Scientist and
then states that his instincts tell him that I am wrong. I wish RS were a
disaffected former Christian Scientist himself. Only then could he have
seen what I have seen so that his instincts could tell him otherwise.
Granted, you should question what axe I might have to grind when you
evaluate my words. But I challenge you to consider this also: Who else
would know what's really going on behind the scenes except somebody who's
"been there, done that" themself?
Finally, in response to Fred Gedicks I would like to agree that the
statement "CS systemaically kills children" is insensitive and
inflammatory. But if it is true, is there any way to say it that would
not offend a Christian Scientist? I would like to think that we could
agree that truth is a greater value than sensitivity. Emily Hartigan
writes that "if we must be that sort of reasonable, then God help us all."
I say, if we care more about offending somebody elses sensibilities than
we care about the truth, then God help us all.
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