US lawmaker defends faith healing loons
Idaho Republican Christy Perry, above, has has again set her face against a proposed ban on faith-healing, insisting that it could violate the religious rights of her constituents – many of whom reject medical care for themselves and their families with deadly consequences.
It was first reported in January this year that Perry was against the ban, proposed by State Representative John Gannon, who wants to narrow the loophole to that protects parents who rely on faith-healing from prosecution.
Gannon proposed the law after a string of deaths in Marsing, Idaho, among the congregation of the Followers of Christ church. Autopsy reports of multiple children showed that their deaths could have been prevented by medical intervention. Instead, their bodies now lie in a cemetery overlooking the Snake River.
But Perry insists Followers of Christ have a First Amendment right to deny medical care to their children on religious grounds, arguing that they are perhaps more comfortable confronting death. Said Perry:
Children do die. I’m not trying to sound callous, but (reformers) want to act as if death is an anomaly. But it’s not – it’s a way of life.
The lawmaker said most of the calls for reform she’s received have come from out of state.
As you move out West, we tend to be much more independent people, and Idaho is a lot like that.
Perry added that her district was particularly anti-government.
(Followers of Christ) do not look to the government to help them at all. They’re very self-sufficient and know how to take care of themselves. In Canyon County, people hunt to feed their families, they fish, (and) they grow their own food.
Perry said faith healers are caring parents who simply trust in God’s will.
They are comforted by the fact that they know their child is in heaven. If I want to let my child be with God, why is that wrong?
The lawmaker questioned the motives of faith-healing reformers.
Is it really because these children are dying more so than other children, or is this really about an attack on a religion you don’t agree with?
Last year we reported that in Idaho, authorities do not investigate or prosecute faith-healing deaths. In the last three years at least 12 children of faith-healing parents have died in the state, largely without scrutiny from the public or the media – and not a single charge has been filed.