That question the CBC asked in The Fifth Estate yesterday? “When does a group’s right to religious freedom get trumped by society’s obligation to protect children?” Republican legislators in Idaho have answered it with “not when it’s a matter of life and death.”
Republican legislators in Idaho struck down a proposed law aimed at preventing the deaths of children whose parents eschew medical treatment in favor of prayer.
Boise’s KBOI reported on announcement by state House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rich Wills (R), who said that House Speaker Scott Bedke (R) said there is no room on the legislative agenda to debate the bill. Bedke declined to comment, however, as to why the measure is being left off of the legislative slate.
Democratic state Rep. John Gannon proposed the measure after the deaths of several children whose parents attend Followers of Christ churches in the state. Officials estimate that some 144 children are buried in a Followers of Christ cemetery overlooking the Snake River.
Republicans like Rep. Christy Perry fought Gannon’s bill on the grounds that forcing Followers of Christ parents to take their sick and injured children to the doctor would infringe upon their religious liberty.
“This is about religious beliefs, the belief God is in charge of whether they live, and God is in charge of whether they die,” Perry said earlier this year. “This is about where they go for eternity.”
Preventing parents from letting their children die of treatable diseases would infringe upon the parents’ religious liberty (not the children’s), so let those children die.