After everything I've read over the past several days, I'm convinced that many of our state lawmakers needed to pack their bags and go home sooner versus later. At least they would've stopped creating more problems than they were expected to resolve.
One of the best examples happened early last week when a state Senate committee shot down a measure that from my perspective would've provided better protection for our children. At issue was a bill that would've helped restrict people from using their religious beliefs as a reason why they don't seek medical care for their youngsters.
Some in this state, including the Followers of Christ Church that advocate faith-based healing, felt the law discriminated against them simply because they don't believe in traditional medicine. They are convinced that the power of prayer is all they need to heal people, regardless of their medical condition.
Now if that came with a 100 percent money back guarantee -- that faith healing cures every person every time -- I wouldn't have so much heartburn over the law failing to pass. However, we've seen all too often that faith alone isn't enough.
Consider what happened recently among the members of the Followers of Christ. They've had children in their congregation die from easily treatable conditions, including pneumonia and food poisoning.
With all the tremendous advances in medicine, these types of deaths should never be allowed to happen.
While I appreciate my faith and the power of prayer, it usually doesn't work the way people think. Consider all the posts you see on social media every day that state something to the effect of, "like or share this post, and you will be blessed."
In all my years of Catholic religious education, not once was I ever taught that God was some type of wishing well who grants everything you want if you ask him nicely. I've been under the philosophy that you can hope and pray all you want, but we also have to accept the real possibility that his answer may be a resounding "no."
After all, the Bible does state, "You shall not put the Lord your God to the test." I would venture that faith healing falls into that category.
Here's something I'd like you to consider. If mankind was required to depend solely on faith-based healing, why did our creator give us the tools and intelligence needed to unlock the mysteries of the human body and allow us to create all these medical breakthroughs?
What really gets under my skin, so to speak, is when our state lawmakers use their own religious views during their decision making. I especially love it when some of our lawmakers pull out a copy of the Constitution and start reading it in front of their constituents.
Had anyone in the state legislature bothered to read it again, they would've remembered that the First Amendment of the Constitution forbids Congress from both promoting one religion over others. So why is it that they have no problem promoting their religious views while the legislature is in session?
Consider the words of Senate Majority Leader Bart Davis (R-Idaho Falls) who not only advocated the power of prayer but added that God can be involved to heal people. Then there was Sen. Chuck Winder (R-Boise) who stated that it was faith that allowed Jesus Christ to heal a blind man.
Granted, I appreciate that both men are deeply embedded in their faith and they are passionate about their chosen following. However, when personal beliefs are allowed to overshadow the safety of children, that's where I need to draw the line.
In the case of the Senate committee's inability to address this law, I was getting very tired of watching our elected officials using the political podium as their own church pulpit.
I'm also getting equally tired of these lawmakers using their elected position to advocate their specific religious following. To them, I have one message: The state capitol isn't a church, so stop treating it like one.
This leads me to a related medical topic that has me equally frustrated. It deals with all the families out there that refuse to have their children vaccinated against diseases like chicken pox, measles and mumps.
Sometimes, they claim immunizing their children goes against their religious views. Others feel that these vaccines are somehow more dangerous than the diseases they help prevent.
Take it from someone who battled chicken pox before the vaccine became readily available, I'd rather deal with getting a shot in the arm than dealing with that disease.
At one point, chicken pox, mumps, measles, whooping cough and others like them were virtually eradicated from our country thanks to advances in medicine that led to the vaccines that keep people from contracting these viruses. However, that's no longer true because there are families out who refuse to protect their children.
As a result, we're seeing these diseases making a comeback.
Simply put, if your actions harm another individual either directly or indirectly, there should be severe consequences. I'd consider it a case of neglect, abuse or endangerment that should be elevated to a felony in cases where someone dies or suffers irreparable bodily harm as a result.
Our society has come too far and made too many advances to suddenly take a huge step backward because one person's beliefs overshadow the safety of others. Let's do the right thing and put our personal beliefs aside when crafting laws that benefit all people.
Because when we don't, we put everyone's lives at risk, and we may not have a prayer left to correct that damage.
-- Brian S. Orban