An Idaho state legislative committee convened on Aug. 3 to hear testimony regarding the state's faith healing exemption, which critics say is a legal loophole for members of the Followers of Christ church to refuse medical care for children (video below).
"We believe that pharmaceuticals and medicine is a product from Satan," Dan Sevy (pictured), a member of the church, stated during the hearing, notes The Spokesman-Review.
For his proof, Sevy cited "one of the lost books of Enoch" that compares medicine to "witchcraft and sorcery."
The Book of Enoch is not included in the Hebrew or Christian Bible. The council of Laodicea (364 AD) discredited the book and other books centuries ago, noted The Reluctant Messenger, although some religious sects do follow it. There's no books in the Hebrew or Christian Bible that compare medications or medical care to sorcery.
"Those who imbibe in those things will not attain a home in heaven," Sevy insisted. "That is our belief. We use it to condemn no one but ourselves. Like I said, we respect your choice and your belief, and hope the very best for you … We do disagree with medicine and believe that it puts our very eternal lives in jeopardy."
During the same hearing, Sevy also claimed dual citizenship.
As far as adherence to any law, who do you better obey, god or man? I claim to be a citizen of the state of Idaho, which is a member state of the United States of America. I'm not subject to any king except my lord and savior and in that I claim dual citizenship. I'm a member of the kingdom of god.
There have possibly been up to ten deaths of children from a lack of medical care over a three-year period, notes the Idaho Statesman.
"Somehow we need to work together on this," Republican state Sen. Dan Johnson told Sevy. "How will you balance your interest against the state’s interest?"
Sevy replied: "We both want to protect the child, so we have no conflict on that point. It appears that conflict [centers] on the definition of neglect … If you were to institute state-licensed medical care as the only form of treatment, all else is by definition neglect, then that is unacceptable."
Roxanne Printz of Idaho's Department of Health and Welfare told the hearing how 13 of about 4,000 child neglect cases substantiated in 2015 included medical neglect.
"We would like to see this [faith-healing] exemption lifted," added Jean Fisher, deputy Ada County prosecutor and chief of its Special Crimes Unit. "I don’t think the right of a parent should supersede the medical rights of the child."
Linda Martin, an ex-member of the Followers of Christ church, said, "The way these kids die is in-human. A child should not have to drown in their own fluids while people are praying over them."