President Taft has done a wholly righteous thing in...

President Taft has done a wholly righteous thing in amending his executive order 1420, and correcting its injustice. By that order, issued in October, and effective a little before Christmas, exercising the powers of government over the Canal Zone, wherewith Congress has vested the President, Mr. Taft established certain conditions under which a monopoly of the practice of the art of healing would certainly have been vested in disciples of the allopathic school. If the practitioners of that school possessed a monopoly of knowledge of the art of healing, something might be said in defense of the order. But it is a matter of common knowledge that the percentage of the cures they effect is not greater than the percentage effected by practitioners of other schools, and that, indeed, practitioners of other schools have restored health in cases that have been abandoned by them as incurable.

The order as originally issued by Mr. Taft required all practitioners to obtain a license from the Canal Zone board of health. Inasmuch as that board is composed wholly of allopaths, whose belief in the efficacy of their own healing methods seems to carry with it a disbelief in all others, it is easy to imagine what short shrift it would have given applicants for licenses who belonged to any other school. Moreover, on the Canal Zone, as elsewhere, doubtless there are many who are conscientiously opposed to swallowing drugs, and the effect of the order would have been to deny them, when ill, relief by such treatment as their conscience and intelligence concurred in choosing. That the order was specially aimed at practitioners who heal without using drugs was made evident by the phraseology of section 2. Therein, all who "prescribe for ... or in any wise attempt to heal, cure or alleviate or who shall in any wise treat any disease," were specifically declared as within the meaning of the order.

Perceiving how unjust and even how tyrannical his sweeping order was, the President has vindicated his imputation for fairness by pulling its teeth. He has issued a supplementary order directing that order 1420 be not construed "to prohibit the practice of the religious tenets of any church in the ministration to the sick or suffering by mental or spiritual means without the use of any drug or material remedy."

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January 13, 1912

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