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June 10, 1899


JAMA. 1899;XXXII(23):1329. doi:10.1001/jama.1899.02450500059010

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One can hardly imagine a greater misfortune than for parents to have lost a child through their own misguided beliefs and then to be held criminally responsible for the same. This, however, is the position to which the belief in "Christian Science" brings some individuals. With loss of faith in cherished beliefs that ought naturally to follow such an event, the affliction itself and the self-accusation, comes the additional affliction of publicity, and criminal prosecution is also a near possibility. How far the law would demand exemplary punishment in such a case can not perhaps be said; it should err if possible on the side of mercy toward the unfortunate and already afflicted parents—but there is little ground for similar leniency toward the mercenary "healers" who mislead and exploit their credulity under a hypocritic religio-medical guise. The occurrence of two recent cases of deaths of children from diphtheria in Chicago,

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