OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

Forum to discuss religious-based medical neglect, faith healing

01/13/2010

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Should parents whose children die because of religious-based medical neglect be prosecuted?

Experts will discuss that question and more at Oregon State University. The event, “What More in the Name of God? Faith Healing and the Death of Children,” will be held Thursday, Jan. 28, beginning at 7 p.m. in the rotunda of the Valley Library,

The event, which will feature two nationally recognized speakers addressing faith healing controversies in Oregon, is sponsored by the Hundere Endowment for Religion and Culture.

Among the issues the speakers will address is whether religious liberty permits parents to refuse medical treatment for their children, and whether states should grant exemptions to parents who do not seek medical care for their children based on their religious beliefs. They are:

Shawn Francis Peters is the author of three books on law and religion, including, “When Prayer Fails: Faith Healing, Children and the Law,” from Oxford University Press. He teaches in the Center for Educational Opportunity at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Rita Swan and her husband were active Christian Scientists until losing their son in 1977. They left the Christian Science church after his death and founded the organization Children’s Healthcare Is a Legal Duty, which works to stop child abuse and neglect related to religious beliefs and cultural traditions. Swan has testified before legislatures in 14 states and received several awards including the National Association of Counsel for Children’s child advocacy service award.

Courtney Campbell, Hundere Professor in Religion and Culture at OSU, will host the event.