What More in the Name of God? Theologies and Theodicies of Faith Healing
Campbell, Courtney S
Kennedy Institute of Ethics journal 2010 Mar ; 20(1): 1-25
The recent deaths of two children from parental decisions to rely on faith healing rather than medical treatment raises fundamental questions about the extent and limits of religious liberty in a liberal democratic society. This essay seeks to identify and critically examine three central issues internal to the ethics of religious communities that engage in faith healing regarding children: (1) the various forms of religious and nonreligious justification for faith healing; (2) the moral, institutional, or metaphysical wrong of medical practice from the perspectives of faith-healing communities; (3) the explanation or "theodicy" articulated by the religious community when faith healing does not occur and a child dies. The essay finds that the holding in Prince v. Massachusetts that parents with religious convictions cannot enforce martyrdom on their children presents a guiding principle for medicine and public policy.
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