The Christian Science Church has a special Committee on Publication’s U.S. Federal Office:
Located in Washington, DC, this office works with U.S. Congressional, executive, and regulatory offices to help them and the public gain a more accurate understanding of Christian Science. We follow developments in health care and insurance, and we work to ensure that spiritual health care services and the public’s access to them are not adversely affected by any law.
I was always under the impression people were welcome to pray for themselves at any time — separation of Church and State, the State can’t tell me not to pray, so I’m really not sure why the Christian Science Church feels they need to be involved. The State can, and does, request that I pay taxes, our taxes go to schools, roads, public services (police, fire, etc.), and that we have insurance (car, house, etc.). Render unto Caesar and all that good stuff.
Ms. Eddy was clear that Christian Scientists follow the laws established by the State, which is interesting, because The Christian Science Committee on Publication’s U.S. Federal Office has been hard at work — again, lobbying Congress for health care exemptions — this time for an exemption to the Affordable Health Care Act. I’m NOT saying the Affordable Health Care Act is the answer, but health care in the United States is a mess, and the reforms with the ACA are a step towards at least doing something about the problem. Perhaps that is a little over-simplified, but if Christian Science prayer worked as well as the Christian Science lobbying machine we’d have a peaceful, disease-free utopia.
A few things to keep in mind:
- The Mother Church has openly encouraged the notion that Christian Science has made a “Truce” with doctors (NYTimes, March 23, 2010)
- Christian Scientists can get Health Insurance that covers Christian Science “Treatment” that is also ACA-compliant (http://christianscience.com/member-resources/for-churches/committee-on-publication/us-federal-office/health-care-reform/insurance)
- Seventeen Christian Science nursing facilities across the United States are Medicare providers – even though Christian Science Nursing facilities are “non-medical nursing facilit(ies) offering care to those who actively rely on prayer for metaphysical healing and are working with a Christian Science Journal-listed practitioner.“
- The Christian Science Church has an entire branch of the Committee on Publications dedicated to LOBBYING CONGRESS, the Committee on Publications U.S. Federal Office
The Christian Science Church has an EXTENSIVE ACA FAQ at http://christianscience.com/member-resources/for-churches/committee-on-publication/us-federal-office/health-care-reform/frequently-asked-questions. My FAVORITE of the FAQ:
Isn’t there a religious exemption from the ACA’s requirement to purchase health insurance?
Yes, but it applies primarily to the Amish and certain Mennonites. This is because the current exemption (on page 326 of the linked PDF) has the following requirements:
- The individual must be a member of a religious group whose tenets and teachings establish that its members are conscientiously opposed to receiving any insurance benefits, including Social Security and Medicare benefit
- The individual must waive all Social Security and Medicare benefit
- The religious organization must pay for the health care and disability costs of its members.
I don’t see Christian Scientists giving up their Social Security or Medicare benefits any time soon. If anything, they actively encourage members to seek out Medicare assistance to cover the cost of treatment at Christian Science Nursing care facilities.
- It’s unenforceable. There is no way the IRS would be able to accurately determine what a person’s religious beliefs are, much less how “sincerely held” they are. Therefore, ANYONE, whether they really refuse medical care or not, will be able to say they have religious beliefs against medical care and use that as an excuse to be exempted from the Affordable Care Act’s mandate to buy health insurance. It would gut the Act.
- Many sincere religious people object to only SOME kinds of medical treatment. Christian Scientists, for example, have broken bones set, get pre-natal and birth care, and often end up rushing to the emergency room when their prayers fail to heal them. If they are not covered by insurance, taxpayers must fill the gap.
- Even those objecting to ALL medical intervention will still receive it when they are unable to refuse it, say, after a car accident, and taxpayers must then pay the entire cost of that care also.
- The CBO has just released a fiscal analysis indicating that the bill could increase the number of uninsured by 500,000 persons each year and cost $1.5 billion over ten years.
- The House bill has been pushed forward without due process, with no public hearing, no committee markup, no fiscal analysis
- Parents who send children to religious schools are not exempt from taxes that support public schools. Religious people shouldn’t be exempt from this tax either.
- Children in uninsured families are particularly at risk. It’s one thing for an adult to refuse medical treatment for himself, but children should be insured and therefore able to receive lifesaving care until they are old enough to decide for themselves
- American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)
- National Association of Medical Examiners (NAME)
- National District Attorneys Association (NDAA)
- Resolution of Prevent Child Abuse America (PCAA)
- Resolution of the American Medical Association (AMA)
More on the Legislation in Question
- How to contact your congress person http://www.contactingthecongress.org/
- HR1814 http://beta.congress.gov/bill/113th-congress/house-bill/1814
- S.862 http://beta.congress.gov/bill/113th-congress/senate-bill/862
More on the Christian Science Church’s efforts:
- Committee on Publications U.S. Federal Office http://christianscience.com/member-resources/for-churches/committee-on-publication/us-federal-office
- Member-Resources for Churches from the Committee on Publications – US Federal Office Latest Updates http://christianscience.com/member-resources/for-churches/committee-on-publication/us-federal-office/latest-updates
- The EACH Act has passed in the U.S. House of Representatives! : Christian Science (March 12, 2014)
- 2014 ACA decision flow chart for Christian Scientists : Christian Science (Nov. 2013) http://christianscience.com/member-resources/for-churches/committee-on-publication/us-federal-office/latest-updates/2014-aca-decision-flow-chart-for-christian-scientists
- Health Care Reform http://christianscience.com/member-resources/for-churches/committee-on-publication/us-federal-office/health-care-reform
- Health Care Reform – Insurance http://christianscience.com/member-resources/for-churches/committee-on-publication/us-federal-office/health-care-reform/insurance
Other concerned Parties:
- Freedom From Religion Foundation, Stop Christian Science Health Care Exemption Bill http://ffrf.org/news/action/item/20228-stop-christian-science-health-care-exemption-bill
- American Humanist Association URGENT: House Vote TOMORROW On Religious Exemptions In Health Care http://action.americanhumanist.org/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=15259
From the blogs:
- http://emergegently.wordpress.com/2014/03/08/call-to-action/ and follow up http://emergegently.wordpress.com/2014/03/11/call-to-action-on-to-the-senate/