Neglect & Maltreatment


Faith Healing, Christian Science, and the Medical Care of Children

New England Journal of Medicine   •   Rita Swan, Ph.D.
NOVEMBER 25, 2016
Christian Science was developed in the late 19th century as one of many drugless healing methods. Its founder, Mary Baker Eddy, repeatedly called it a system of medicine. She founded her Massachusetts Metaphysical College "for medical purposes," and graduated "doctors of Christian Science . . . ."


Child Abuse Under the Guise of Religion

NYTimes. com   •   Rita Swan
NOVEMBER 25, 2016
Every kind of child abuse has been rationalized by someone as a religious practice: beatings, dangerous diets, forced marriages, slavery, exorcism, sexual exploitation, genital mutilation, conversion therapy for L.G.B.T. youth and medical neglect.


Matthew, you cannot be sick

The Dublin Review   •   Rita Swan
NOVEMBER 25, 2016
Doug and Rita Swan, were both raised in the Church of Christ, Scientist, and met through a Christian Science study group at Kansas State Teachers College in 1960. They were very active in the church until 1977, when the events described in the following account took place . . . 


The Plight of Children at Risk in the UltraOrthodox Jewish Communities and the Failure of Government and Pandering Politicians to Protect Them

Verdict   •   Marci A. Hamilton
SEPTEMBER 17, 2015
Children in the U.S. are routinely sacrificed on the pyre of their parents' faith by pandering politicians without a moral compass. Children don’t vote but insular religious communities often vote as a bloc mandated by the male officials at the top, and that fact is not lost on power-hungry . . . 


Bad Faith: When Religious Belief Undermines Modern Medicine

Paul A. Offit, M.D. 
March 10, 2015
In recent years, there have been major outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases among children in the country. Although America is the most medically advanced place in the world, many people disregard modern medicine in favor of using their faith to fight life-threatening illnesses.


The Vaccine for Pollyanna Attitudes Toward Public Health and Religious Beliefs

Verdict   •   Marci A. Hamilton
FEBRUARY 12, 2015
For decades the American Academy of Pediatrics and the CDC have strongly recommended that infants and children be immunized for a range of dangerous childhood diseases. In light of the current outbreaks of measles and now mumps, we obviously need to be educated...


Deliverance, demonic possession, and mental illness: some considerations for mental health professionals

Mental Health, Religion, & Culture, Vol. 16 No. 6, 595-611 •   Jean Mercer
2013

This paper outlines an unconventional treatment for mental illness, the exorcism or deliverance ritual used by Pentecostals and some other charismatic Christians.  Deliverance beliefs and practices are based on the assumption that both mental and physical ills result from possession of the sufferer by demons, and are to be treated by the expulsion of those demons. Deliverance practitioners claim to treat schizophrenia, ADHD, and Reactive Attachment Disorder, and believe that these problems are related to sins either of the person in treatment or of an ancestor.  Clinicians and counsellors dealing with clients who partially or completely espouse deliverance beliefs may need to understand their worldviews and to discuss their belief system before managing to engage them in conventional mental health treatments. Unusual ethical problems may also be met in the course of such work.


Idaho's 'Faith' Healing Dilemma: Kids are dying because of faith healing exemptions in Idaho law, so why do lawmakers refuse to do anything about it?

Boise Weekly  •   Cameron Rasmusson
March 16, 2016

Matthew was sick again, and his mother, Rita Swan, was worried.  The 16-month-old had come down with a dangerous fever three times and, three times, Swan had called her family's Christian Science practitioner as mandated by their religion. Three times, Matthew had recovered from his illness. This, the fourth incident, was worse than any of the others.  For the Swans, then a devout Christian Science family living in Detroit, Mich., in 1977, it was enough to consider breaking with church doctrine and taking Matthew to a hospital.  The Swans' practitioner was not pleased when she heard the news.  "It will be a long, hard road back to Christian Science for you if you do this," she said.  Swan hesitated. Matthew had, after all, recovered three times already. The teachings of Christian Science, which claim that disease is an illusion best treated by prayer, appeared to be working. Meanwhile, Matthew was only getting worse.


Dr. Paul Offit: “A Choice Not To Get a Vaccine Is Not a Risk-Free Choice”

PBS Frontline •   Priyanka Boghani
March 23, 2015

Paul Offit is the co-developer of a vaccine for rotavirus — the leading cause of severe diarrhea in children — and the chief of the division of infectious diseases at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. His books include Vaccines: What You Should Know and Autism’s False Prophets: Bad Science, Risky Medicine, and the Search for a Cure. This is the edited transcript of interviews conducted on Dec. 30, 2009 and March 2, 2010. It was originally published on April 27, 2010.


Washington bills: Christian Science no longer an excuse for denying medical care

Science Based Medicine  •   Jann Bellamy
February 5, 2015

All states try to protect children from neglect, abandonment and mistreatment, such as deprivation of clothing, shelter, food and medical care. This includes civil laws which permit the removal of a child from the home and other protective interventions. Criminal laws protect children as well by, for example, making nonsupport a misdemeanor or criminal neglect a felony.  Washington State law prohibits criminal mistreatment of children and other vulnerable persons, such as the frail elderly, by their caregivers.