Do you think that it should be legal for parents to use prayer as a method of healing to their children?

I recently read an article on a mother who relied on prayer to try and heal her now dead child. Do you guys think prayer should be allowed as an option? This is open to everybody, so please keep it civil.

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The only thing that unites us is that we have no belief in a deity, that is what makes us atheists, aside from that, we're all entitled to our own opinions, who knows, someone just might think differently.
It's legal in Oklahoma, and a mother, although I hesitate to call her that, allowed her son to die by using prayer as his only treatment option, if its legal, then someone must support it.
Prayer as a secondary option is permissible as it has no effect anyway but as a sole method should be punished as neglect until it can be proven beyond all reasonable doubt that prayer is effective...which will never happen.

If a child dies because the parents used prayer as a sole method of care i would consider that negligible homicide or manslaughter.
As long as it isn't the ONLY option, sure.  If somebody wants to pray and pray and pray as hard as they can while their child is in the hospital getting REAL medical care, that's fine with me.  But if you're asking if it should be acceptable for prayer to be the sole form of treatment given, then NO, absolutely NOT.

During one of my interactions at a training center for priests and nuns  about a decade back the medical director of a well known medical college said this:

If you want to pray go to the church, if you want treatment go to the hospital. Dont go to the hospital to pray and dont go to the church for treatment!

I did not read all the replies, so I might be saying the same thing as everyone else.


I think that the parents have a right to pray for their child's recovery, as useless as it may be.  However, when it is clear that this is not a common cold, and the child requires medical services, the parents should be held accountable if those services are not used and the child loses life or limb.  I think manslaughter is the appropriate charge, and I would add negligence and child endangerment to the charges if it results in longer sentencing.  They should also have a stipulation that after time served, they will not be allowed to have any more children.  Either mandatory sterilization or adoption.  Any surviving children should be taken away as well and not given back.  I know, rough.

Pray all you want but at the point of child endangerment intervention must happen and their actions (or lack of) are punishable by law, the problems arise in the process of enforcement. It's not about legalizing prayer for healing their children, but how to enforce punishment for their inaction (hopefully before death!)

I would phrase it slightly differently. I would say, it should be illegal for parents to deny actual medical care to their children, on the basis of religion or any means of "alternative medicine" like homeopathy, ayurveda, unani etc (or on any other basis for that matter, except if they cannot afford it).


In addition to real medical care, the parents can go to temples and break as many coconuts as they want. It doesn't hurt anyone, and helps the coconut merchants.

Just piling on now. As long as the parents don't act irresponsibly and avoid medical care.
Absolutely not. It should be considered a form of abuse.
For a person to deny proper medical care to a child is a crime.  There is no middle ground.  Prayer or no prayer.  The mother who denies her child good, proper medical care for ANY reason, is solely responsible for the death of her own child.  As far as I'm concerned it's the same as murder.  This is not an issue that should be graced with even the slightest room for exceptions.  There are none.
The fact that they are using prayer should be irrelevant, since it is not a form of medical treatment. Basically, the question should be, did they seek appropriate medical care for their child? What they do outside of this (such as prayer) is not relevant.


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