Christian Science is showing a “new tolerance” for mainstream medicine, even as it continues on a path of adapting its practices and teachings to the alternative health milieu.
The independent Christian Science newsletter The Banner (Spring) notes that the New York Times recently reported that for more than a year, Christian Science leaders have been encouraging members to seek a physician if they deem it necessary—an option traditionally discouraged.
The church has also started a campaign to redefine their practices as a form of health care that the public might consider as a supplement, such as homeopathy and biofeedback, rather than a substitute for conventional treatment. The Times article added that in recent years the church has been lobbying to convince lawmakers that its approach is an alternative treatment that should be covered by clergy in U.S. pulpits. The economic decline is causing a situation in many churches where there are two ministers for every vacant pulpit.
In the Presbyterian Church (USA) there are 532 vacancies for 2,271 ministers seek insurance companies and included in healthcare legislation. The newsletter comments that the changes in the church have been enforced by the leadership to the extent that dissenters are disciplined and even excommunicated for publicly criticizing these policies.
(The Banner, 2040 Hazel Ave., Zanesville, OH 43701-2222)