The view-points of The Sun and of the Christian Scientists,...

The Sun

The view-points of The Sun and of the Christian Scientists, regarding the constitutional right of the individual to employ the practitioner of his choice, differ so widely that I feel sure you will be glad to give space to a reply to the article entitled "The Christian Science Amendment to the Health Law," published recently, even though you may not be willing to admit the soundness of its claims.

In 1907 the medical interests of the state got together, drew up a bill to regulate the practice of medicine, and introduced it into the legislature. The bill was so sweepingly restrictive in its provisions that it aroused considerable opposition, particularly among the Christian Scientists. When it came up for a hearing, the opposition of the Scientists was so strong that all hope of passing it in its original form was abandoned. A conference was consequently arranged between the representatives of the medical interests and of the Christian Scientists. Although the latter asked for a specific exemption, the wording finally adopted was that nothing in the act should be construed to affect "the practice of the religious tenets of any church." It was understood by all, the legislators included, that the foregoing clause was inserted expressly as a saving clause for the practice of Christian Science.

As soon as the bill had been passed and signed, a representative of the medical interests is quoted as having said that one had been "put over on the Christian Scientists." In other words, he believed the medical interests had succeeded in having a clause inserted in the bill that would not stand the test of the courts. In order to prove it, several law abiding citizens, Christian Science practitioners, were arrested on the charge that they were practising medicine without a license. The saving clause, it was claimed, would not protect them. One of these cases has been in the courts continuously since 1911.

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