Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Kerry pushes feds to provide lethal "medicine"

Picked up in many places this month (and today on Daily Kos) is the surprising and decidedly un-liberal maneuver John Kerry is doing relative to the health care reform proposal. Members of the Boston-based Church of Christ, Scientist refuse medical care in favor of prayer, a practice that is described in the Washington Post:

Prue Lewis listens as they explain their symptoms... Then Lewis -- a thin, frail-looking woman from Columbia Heights -- simply says, "I'll go to work right away." She hangs up, organizes her thoughts and begins treating her clients' ailments the best way she knows how: She prays....Christian Scientists call it "spiritual health care," and it is a practice they are battling to insert into the health-care legislation being hammered out in Congress.

Front and center in the effort to purloin public money for this religious practice is Senator John Kerry (D-MA). Approving this destructive practice in government health care is a ridiculous divergence from best practices. I gather that the public option would be funded by Americans who choose to enroll, thus dodging any real church and state separation concerns. Of much greater concern is that many Christian Scientists have been criminally charged for allowing family members to die of curable diseases this way (a couple was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in Massachusetts in 1993). The last thing we need is the federal government implicitly improving such a lethal practice.

I just can't understand why Kerry would want to promote a religious practice that has had the practical effect of killing innocents. Along with Orrin Hatch and the late Ted Kennedy, Kerry made sure this provision made it into the Senate version of the bill. Though the church is based in the Senator's (and my) state, his obligation is to all citizens of the Commonwealth, and the country. This isn't just the church-state question as UniversalHub flags it. Much worse is the idea of a pseudo-liberal Senator pushing the government to provide, promote, and support a practice that results in the deaths of innocents -- the exact opposite of what health care reform is supposed to do. And the opposite of the kind of clear thinking that John Kerry was elected to exercise.

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