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Criminal Liability for Reliance on Prayer to Cure a Child

The Colorado Supreme Court addressed this difficult question.

Colorado
State:

• The Colorado Supreme Court addressed the difficult question of the criminal liability of a parent who relies on prayer rather than medical technology for the cure of a sick child. A father (the "defendant") lived with his wife and nine children in a small cabin in the mountains. For many years, the defendant had been on "a walk of faith," which he described as a total reliance on God for all needs and for healing in times of illness or injury. He was a recognized minister in a small fundamentalist Christian organization, and conducted weekly services in his cabin. The tenets of the defendant's church included healing of the sick by prayer, which was based on its interpretation of the Bible. One winter, the defendant's infant daughter began exhibiting cold symptoms. Other members of the family had come down with similar symptoms earlier in the year, and defendant attributed their recovery ...

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Posted:
  • September 2, 1991

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