After writing my previous post on modern medicine and the forced medication of patients, I came across an article by Dr. Al Mohler on a similar topic. He was focusing primarily on the case of Daniel Hauser and how his mother and he fled the authorities as they attempted to force him to undergo chemotherapy. The family believed in traditional Native American remedies for the disease, but were being forced not to pursue those by the government out of fear for the child’s life. He chose to sympathize with the state officials, stating, in reference to a court case entitled Prince V. Massachusetts,
“The right to practice religion freely does not include liberty to expose the community or the child to communicable disease or the latter to ill health or death.”
As a parent, I respect this point. I cannot imagine denying my child any needed medical treatment or defending the right of others to do the same, whether claiming religious liberty or parental freedom for the care and nurture of the child.
I would defend the duty of the state to intervene in these cases, and I am thankful for the broad consensus that stands behind this duty…
As adults, parents have the right to refuse medical treatment for themselves. They do not have the right to refuse urgently needed medical treatments for their children.
He also goes on, just as those claiming the freedom to choose not to follow conventional medical treatments, to appeal to religion by referencing an idea esposed by Martin Luther. To quote Mohler again:
In these cases I advise what the great Reformer Martin Luther advised — take your medicine and put your trust in God.
There seems to be an attitude among those of the last generation that refuses to question the powers that be in any manner. Whether they be doctors, politicians, or media moguls. This idea is even more strongly supported among Christians via a misuse of Romans 13. The thought process goes along the lines that since God has placed these people in authority over us, we must be obedient to them because to disobey them is to disobey God.
Of course, this comes with a price.
Of all the groups of people placed in authority over humankind, the medical establishment is probably the one which we can have the most influence and control over. These men and women are there when we are sick in the attempt to make us well. And they do this on a somewhat individual basis. They may not know our whole story or all of why we are at their offices, but they do know that we need help that we feel only they can provide. To not question these individual’s decisions, though, puts our lives and health truly at risk.
In letting the doctors do as they please with our bodies, we are in essence surrendering our right to live freely. As the doctors prescribe us various medications, this limits what we can and can’t do, what we can and can’t eat, etc. We place ourselves at the doctor’s mercy and he becomes the controller of our health destiny. A person on heart medications, for example, can no longer take certain supplements due to their tendency to interfere with the body’s ability to digest the medications. Other prescriptions may be needed to counteract any side-effects of the medications.
This can easily lead to over-medication. My wife’s grandmother takes, I would guess, over 20 pills every day. Some of the pills are for blood pressure and others are to counteract the side-effects of the blood pressure meds. It is quite possible that some of these medications actually counteract the original heart medications. But the people in charge of her medications won’t ask those questions. Every time the doctor prescribes a new medication or changes another, they just go along with it. This is indicative of an entire generation.
But is it worth it? Studies are showing over and over again the healing powers of many natural remedies for common diseases. Marijuana for alzheimers. Red wine for blood pressure. B-vitamins for all sorts of things. Instead, though, the doctors continue to prescribe their patented, FDA approved, name-brand pills that the Pfizer has paid them to prescribe. People may be living longer, but at the cost of true life and vitality.
Some medications may be truly needed. A grown man with a chemical imbalance may need something to even his body out and help him function normally. Someone with an overactive thyroid may need something to slow it down. But every ailment does not need a pill. And a body does not need 3 or more medications all for the same condition.
Especially as Christians, we have a responsibility to be good stewards of that which God has given us. This includes modern medicine. A proper balance of chemical and natural treatments is what is best. Relying wholly on one or the other can lead to trouble. We have the responsibility to do our research and use that which works best for the treatment of what ails us. We are not required to simply take our pills and trust God for our healing. That is tantamount to deliberately drinking poison and hoping that we don’t die.