Nick brought this up and I thought I'd have a look.
Chapter 74.34 of the Revised Code of Washington is entitled "Abuse of vulnerable adults" and concerns itself with protecting people who, as a result of some sort of infirmity, rely on others to make decisions about their care, finances, etc.
Representatives Cody, Ericksen, and Conway have submitted House Bill 1925 which would allow an exemption.
Creating an exemption for Christian Science treatment of vulnerable adults.
1 AN ACT Relating to creating an exemption for Christian Science
2 treatment of vulnerable adults; and adding a new section to chapter
3 74.34 RCW.
4 BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF WASHINGTON:
5 NEW SECTION. Sec. 1. A new section is added to chapter 74.34 RCW
6 to read as follows:
7 A vulnerable adult who is being furnished Christian Science
8 treatment by a duly accredited Christian Science practitioner shall not
9 be considered, for that reason alone, a neglected or abused vulnerable
10 adult for the purposes of this chapter.
My first question was, "Why?" I'll get back to that.
I was also curious as to what constitutes a "duly accredited" Christian Science practitioner. About all I could find was this information on the Christian Science web site.
Basically, training for the public practice of Christian Science involves deep, private study of the Bible and of the textbook of Christian Science, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, as well as her other writings. Mrs. Eddy discovered Christian Science in 1866, and thereafter was its first practitioner. Her outstanding success in the healing work was the result of years of prayerful study of the Bible and a deep desire to follow Jesus' example and his command, "Heal the sick" (Matt. 10:8). Her books throw light on his teaching and method of healing, and a thorough knowledge of these books, as well as a good record of practice of the Christian ethic in daily life, is indispensable to the success of present-day practitioners of scientific mental healing.
Next is the only part that references any form of accreditation.
Before they can be recognized and advertised in The Christian Science Journal as available to respond to calls for help from the public, practitioners must also complete a course of intensive instruction on healing and improving mankind, from an authorized teacher. There are over two hundred Christian Science teachers throughout the world.
There are some examples of Christian Science practitioning in Marci Hamilton's God vs. The Gavel. I highly recommend it if you're interested in the influence religion has had on the law concerning medical care, vaccinations, land use, prisoners and more.
I also found Children's Healthcare Is a Legal Duty (CHILD), an nonprofit organization concerned with protecting children from abusive religious and cultural practices. It was started by Dr. Rita Swan, a former Christian Scientist, whose son died of meningitis after being attended to by a Christian Scientist practitioner.
But back to my original question. Why? So I wrote all three representatives and asked them. Here's what I wrote.
Good day. I'm writing about House Bill 1925 which will grant an exemption to accredited Christian Science practitioners.
Why do you feel this exemption is necessary that it needs to be codified?
Is there a reason why other religions are not included, for example, a priest administering last rites? Or perhaps prayer by anyone?
I will appreciate any information you can provide to help me understand this issue.
I'm waiting to hear back. Here are their addresses if you'd like to ask them yourself.
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