Christian Science and the Debate over Health Insurance Coverage


Photo by Matt Ortega

     The recent heated debates concerning church mandates to cover contraceptives and abortion in their health insurance coverage has unleashed many opinions.  This has been a very emotionally charged debate.  Our Church, The Church of Christ, Scientist, is not involved in this issue.  It is understood as a personal decision.  But in the heat of the discussion many falsehoods about Christian Science have been voiced and I would like to take this opportunity to correct some of them.

     First of all, Christian Scientists are not exempted from the current health care bill.  The Amish and a few other groups do have a religious exemption.  However, Christian Scientists are not included in this exclusion.  Currently, the bill does not include a mandate for coverage for the spiritual care we practice, but does include a mandate that Christian Scientists purchase insurance coverage that they may never use. This does not protect us from undue state interference and hampers our use of care that has long proven effective for us and our families.

     Adherents of the Christian Science faith are always free to choose whatever kind of care they need – there is no Church requirement to use spiritual care.  But for over 140 years, our families have relied primarily on spiritual care because it works for them. 

     Another remark made recently is that if there is a religious exemption for institutions from the employer mandate, that Christian Science employers could decide no health insurance for their employees, whether they were Christian Scientists or not.  This is ridiculous.  As a matter of fact, I had an employer many years ago who was a Christian Scientist and her business included health insurance for its employees that covered both Christian Science and medical care.

     Christian Scientists do not dictate the health care decisions of other individuals, whether they are Christian Scientists or not.  There are certainly no Christian Science business owners who would impose their religious beliefs on their employees in this way.

     We do not fear or hate the medical profession.  We have just found spiritual care more effective.  The discoverer and founder of Christian Science wrote in the dedicatory message to her Church, “A genuine Christian Scientist loves Protestant and Catholic, D.D. and M.D., – loves all who love God, good; and he loves his enemies.  It will be found that, instead of opposing, such an individual subserves the interests of both medical faculty and Christianity, and they thrive together, learning that Mind-power is good will towards men” (The First Church of Christ, Scientist and Miscellany, p. 4).

     Health care is a wonderful idea, we all want to be healthy.  We are praying that the right solution, that blesses all and infringes none, comes to light.


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