Dr. Offit Explains How Bad Faith Undermines Modern Medicine
Every Child By Two Executive Director, Amy Pisani, reviews Dr. Paul Offit’s latest book.
A riveting new book by Dr. Paul Offit hits the shelves this week; Bad Faith: When Religious Belief Undermines Modern Medicine.
Dr. Offit’s latest book chronicles the stories of several families who made decisions for their children’s health based on their religious beliefs, even when the consequences have resulted in the loss of lives.
In one most respectful account, Dr. Offit delves into the psychological forces that resulted in the worst possible outcome for the Swan family. The Swans, both of whom grew up as Christian Scientists, allowed religious leaders to persuade them to deny medical care to their child even as he suffered agonizing pain. When inviting religious healers to their home, the Swan’s – who were taught that disease is a figment of the imagination of the unfaithful – believed they were seeking appropriate medical care for their child.
But is it appropriate for religion to shield a parent from denying life-saving medicines, including vaccines, for their children?
Bad Faith takes a stark and disturbing look at the surprising capacity of both individuals, and policy makers here in the U.S., to risk the health and safety of children, all in the name of religion.
Bad Faith holds no religious-based medical practices on a pedestal. The writer does not condemn any specific religion, but rather the specific practices that are followed in the name of religion. His examples include the practices of some Orthodox Jews who refuse to acknowledge 21st Century hygiene techniques to protect infants undergoing circumcisions, various extreme Christian religions who preach the denial of life-saving medicines including antibiotics and vaccines, even Catholic hospitals who deny life-saving care to women, all in the name of Jesus.
This book comes out on the heels of a measles outbreak that has spread throughout the country, sickening more than 125 people in fifteen states, Canada and Mexico. The cause of the outbreak? Parents who have chosen not to vaccinate their children, many basing their decision on personal or religious beliefs. The question at hand is how could this still be happening, and why are we letting it happen in 21st Century America?
Bad Faith takes readers on a mesmerizing journey through the centuries. Although the essential teachings of most religions is to first do no harm, this book documents the fact that many religions have formulated beliefs that are counter to medical advances, and preach the avoidance of medical treatment to their faithful followers.
How can so many religions have gone astray while modern medicine continues to forge cutting-edge innovations that have improved and saved the lives of millions?
One of the core principals of Every Child By Two is to protect vulnerable young children from deadly diseases. Since some parents have been known to decline immunizations for their children based on their “religious beliefs“, Every Child By Two has compiled a list to clarify various religious faiths and their stance on vaccines. This book extends the issue of faith beyond the scope of immunization. It is a must read for anyone who seeks to understand the tangled relationship between religion and medicine in America.