How Many Will Die Before Washington State Stops Sanctioning Faith Healing?

 My home state! In a region with some of the highest percentages of godless people in the country! And they have this awful law on the books.


Washington's law specifies that a person treated through faith healing "by a duly accredited Christian Science practitioner in lieu of medical care is not considered deprived of medically necessary health care or abandoned." Other religions are not mentioned.

Christian Science is not science, and it is definitely not medicine. I presume some religious lobby got this evil exemption on the books years ago, but now it's time to remove it—it's killing people. The mention of the law comes from a story about a young man, Zachery Swezey, who died a slow, painful death from a ruptured appendix, with his parents looking on.

The day his son died, Greg Swezey told sheriff's investigators he knew Zakk would die 10 or 15 minutes before the teenager passed away. His condition had gotten much worse about an hour and a half before Zakk died, he told the investigators, and he realized Zakk was exhibiting some of the symptoms of death he'd seen when older church members died.

He did not consider calling an ambulance, he told them.

Who did he call instead? Elders of his church, who showed up to splash oil on the poor kid and pray.

I can only imagine what that was like. I had severe appendicitis as a child, and their description of it is mild: sure, there was vomiting — like an acid geyser firing up your throat. They don't even mention the agony and the fever and the intermittent loss of consciousness. And I didn't even get to the point of having a rupture, because my parents did the sensible, reasonable, intelligent thing that any decent human being would do, and rushed me to the doctor, and then to the hospital.

I'm very happy to say that my parents loved me more than some insane primitive dogma, although, you know, that really isn't saying much.

I'm very sorry that young Zakk isn't around to say the same.

Change the law, Washingtonians.

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