The scientific and medical communities have been working for decades to find definitive cures for a range of diseases, including cancer and AIDS. Although many advances have provided treatment options for individual cases, a singular cure has not been found.
As a family member of many who have suffered and are currently suffering from cancer, I am an advocate of logical and rational alternative treatments. What I cannot stand and find completely unacceptable, however, are the actions of the Christian Science group, whose exploitation of the ill for support causes death and suffering.
The group leads the charge in exploitation and extremism. They believe disease and sickness is caused by sin, ignorance and a lack of faith in the lord. By allowing Jesus Christ into your life and using prayer you can simply pray away your disease. They found their beliefs on a book written by Mary Baker Eddy in 1867, titled Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. The book outlines prayer use, the reasons faith heals and the origins of diseases.
My first problem with the validity of their plight is the foundational text itself. Mary Baker Eddy was never a medical expert; she did not study disease and had no background in anything other than religious text. She was a preacher who believed prayer made her ill health improve. To combat a medical illness with only a theological claim is absurd. Of course I can understand the importance of faith for many during a hard time such as illness, but as the only method of healing it can cause real danger.
A large portion of the Christian Science “medical” practice is supported by the idea of spreading their knowledge to the world. In a general sense I believe that freedom of speech is one of the most important rights granted by the Constitution. As a journalist I understand the importance of this right; discretion and respect, however, need accompany it. It is this discretion that the majority of this group lacks. With a need to spread the saving words of God, or in this case more appropriately Mary Baker Eddy, their target audience becomes the sick and the terminal. They enter hospitals and visit those suffering from disease and play on the insecurities and fear of those in a vulnerable position. The complete lack of moral fiber and respect supplements the movement’s already negative reputation.
Lastly, if it were merely for religious exploitation, the group could probably go under the radar with the other hundreds of companies whose businesses rely on targeted exploitation. The essential fact to note, however, is that their message is potentially deadly. The children of those who commit to this school of thought are put at a risk greater than most. Minors cannot decide their own treatment because those decisions are rightly left to their parents.
Children like Amy Hermanson, Natalie Middleton-Rippberger, Elizabeth King, Robyn Twitchell and Shauntay Walker all died under the age of 12 because their parents believed that Christian Science was more important than medicine. Their names serve as a reminder to the danger of the belief of the Christian Science “medicine.”