Prayer as Medicine

There is a very scary article in the LA Times which details a very little noticed provision in the Senate bill that would “require insurers to consider covering Christian Science prayer treatments as medical expenses.”  The article discusses whether or not this is constitutional.  Apparently, some constitutional lawyers think that it is and others disagree.  I, for one, believe that it is not constitutional.  However, that is only one of the important issues here.

The other issue that is not discussed in the article at all is whether prayer is effective or not.  Of course, we have all heard about cases of parents being charged with murder for letting their child die because they chose prayer over regular medical care.  Those cases are, of course, tragic, but unfortunately they are also anecdotal.  But, believe it or not, studies have been done on the effectiveness of prayer.  Guess what?  They don’t work.  Go figure.  What is worse is that those in the study who knew they were being prayed for did worse than those that didn’t.  (Probably because of an expectation that they would be healed by God.)

So to bring prayer into mainstream medicine is not only likely to be unconstitutional but it has been proven to be ineffective or worse.  I really can’t think of a worse way to practice “medicine.”

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