Ore. Lawmakers to Examine Parenting, Faith Healing

June 20, 2008

Author: Staff Writer

Source: The Boston Examiner


A legislative leader says Oregon lawmakers will take another look at state laws in the light of the death of a 16-year-old boy who died of a treatable urinary tract disorder while family and church members prayed over him.

"We're going to have to look at it again," said Senate President Peter Courtney of Salem, who helped write the 1997 and 1999 state laws that address religious defenses in faith-healing death cases.

"I know that devotion to parents and devotion to religion can be a powerful influence on a child. And in these cases, you have religious freedom, parental rights, the health of a child and medical science. Mix all of that together and you have a tough, tough issue."

Neil Beagley died Tuesday of complications from a urinary-tract blockage that a medical examiner said could have been treated with a catheter.

He was at his grandmother's home in Gladstone, surrounded by his family and dozens of other members of Oregon City's Followers of Christ Church. The nondenominational congregation shuns medical treatment in favor of spiritual healing.