Thinking Out Loud

November 17, 2013

“Faith Healing” Church Leaves Staggering Number of Child Deaths

Many of the infants, children and teens connected to a faith healing community with roots in Idaho and Oregon who have died all have one thing in common: Their last names. Reporters for TV station KATU have been following this story for several years and note that local cemeteries reveal the recurrence of certain family names, but recently a reporter was tipped off concerning ten new deaths over the last couple of years.

I learned of this from a short post that Rick Hiebert did at Bene Diction Blogs On. The church community in question sees this as a religious liberty issue; that they are within their rights to choose to let their children’s life hang in the balance of prayers offered on their behalf, even though our modern world provides a medical option.

The story links to this video at KATU-TV. (Text provided.) You’re encouraged to watch it, but it is both sad and disturbing.

The Wikipedia article on the Followers of Christ linked above notes:

…The church is also known for legalism  and a male-dominated society.  The members of the church frequently greet each other with kisses on the lips;  members of the church are often pejoratively referred to as “kissers” by others in Oregon City, and in other communities where large concentrations of Followers of Christ are found.  According to church members, children raised in the church attend   but do not socialize outside the church once reaching middle-school age.

During the latter part of the twentieth century, the church began to attract attention from authorities in the state of Oregon due to an unusually high mortality rate among its children…

Canadian sidebar: “An Alberta, Canada couple who were members of a different church were successfully prosecuted by authorities when their child died under similar circumstances; the law there did not provide the same faith-healing exemptions that were found in Oregon.” (Wikipedia)

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