[An article under the above title was published in the November, 1898, number of Law Notes, a legal periodical of high standing, published in Northport, N. Y.

The rational, impartial, and able handling of the questions involved reflects credit upon its author, and will be read with interest by fair-minded people, regardless of creed or school of medicine.—Ed.]

The courts are called upon to deal with a question of some delicacy in determining the status of the religious sect known as Christian Scientists. In a general way every one has, during the past few years, become more or less acquainted with the doctrines of this body. The distinguishing tenet of Christian Science, so far as it forces itself on outsiders, appears to be a belief in the pre-eminence of the mental over the physical in man, whence flows the doctrine that what seem to be bodily ailments are in reality affections of the mind, which may be cured or overcome by a regulation of the mental state. This is accomplished by prayer, and by bringing the sufferer "into harmony with God by right thinking and a fixed determination to look on the bright side of things." Christian Science is, then, at once a religious belief and a system for the cure of diseases. It is this double aspect of the sect which involves the courts in difficulty. So far as Christian Scientists constitute a religious body they are entitled to be treated with perfect toleration and to have entire freedom to hold and teach their peculiar doctrines. But when the professors of these doctrines hold themselves out as able to heal physical ailments the question arises whether they render themselves amenable to the laws regulating the practice of medicine.

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November 24, 1898

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