after the sleeping comes the waking up.

The IRS decided what?

Posted by c. wagner on October 23, 2009

When I first saw the news that insurers might be forced to cover religious or spiritual “treatments” (read: prayer) for illness the other day (on the JREF blog), I thought it was a bit alarmist. The catch in the language was that the spiritual treatment has to be considered tax-deductible by the IRS. Surely, the IRS hasn’t declared prayer treatments tax-deductible. That would be ridiculous!

*sigh* When will I ever learn?

Turns out that prayers by Christian Science practitioners are tax-deductible. Not prayers from anyone else. Just Christian Science practitioners.

And if the language survives the next round of talks in the House and Senate, insurance companies might have to fork over money for Christian Science prayers. And, unsurprisingly, Christian Science leaders are happy campers.

“It’s so important that anyone in this country, not just Christian Scientists, not be discriminated against because they use spiritual care or rely on it instead of conventional medical treatment,” said Phil Davis, who manages media and legislative affairs for Christian Scientists globally, speaking to the St Petersburg Times, a Florida newspaper.

And folks who want some science in their medicine have reason to be concerned.

Some Christian Scientists may believe that healing prayers can replace conventional medicine, but science doesn’t back this up. For example, a study in 1989 found that graduates from a Christian Science college had a higher rate of death than an equivalent control population. There have also been tragic cases in which children of Christian Scientists are reported to have died after not been given the appropriate conventional care.

Again, what the fuck are people thinking? *headdesk*

Read the summary from Short Sharp Science.


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