Legality of Christian Science


The question of the legality of Christian Science practice has recently been made the subject of judicial decision in Illinois. The Medical Record calls the decision "one of the curiosities in jurisprudence."

The case was one of typhoid fever which ended fatally. The medical fraternity charged that death was due to neglect, although the patient had been treated by the methods employed by Christian Scientists. The attorneygeneral held that the laws of Illinois do not prohibit the treatment of disease by mental and spiritual means. The text of his decision is quoted as follows:—

I am of the opinion that the criminal code has not been violated. Section 42 of an act to amend an act entitled, "An act to prevent and punish wrongs to children," is the only provision of the criminal code that can by any possibility be held applicable to such a case. It reads, "It shall be unlawful for any person having the care and custody of any such child wilfully to cause or permit the life of such child to be endangered or the health of such child to be injured, or to wilfully cause or permit such child to be placed in such a situation that its life or health may be endangered."

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The Lectures
November 2, 1899

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