Debunked: Faith Healing Religious Exemption Hysteria

Debunked: Faith Healing Religious Exemption Hysteria

A political organization walked public graveyards, and then recorded the children’s names listed there. They then claimed that these children would have lived, had they been to a doctor. They fail to mention that they have little documentation to the cause of death. Nor do they reveal the fact that their numbers span the course of three decades. 

Their political campaign “Let Them Live” is supported by Merck-funded vaccine advocate Paul Offit. Their intent is to change public opinion using nuggets of truth surrounded by a web of half-truths and lies, innuendos and assumptions. They are well-funded and skilled in using media-manipulation to create drama in order to elicit emotion and move legislative policy towards a preconceived goal. 

That goal? The forced compliance of government mandated treatments by CPS and the State Health and Welfare Department. 

It’s very sad, right? 182 childhood deaths in Idaho since 1971. 

The deaths are true, but this campaign isn’t. It’s fake news.


What do the actual numbers reveal?

  • We only have statistics for 5 YEARS! (not three decades!)
    The Child Fatality Review Team noted the following statistics based on their through analysis of public records, medical records and complete access to death records for Idaho: more children die under a doctor’s care than those who have never received treatment. The top causes of death in Idaho for infants is birth defects and SIDS, for children; accidents and suicide. These are the ONLY years available, since the Idaho Child Death Review Team was established in 2013 following an executive order from Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter (No. 2012-03). Any other numbers given are purely conjecture!
2011:   195 children died after receiving medical care. *3 deaths identified as families who refused medical intervention.
2012: 168 children died after receiving medical care. *2 deaths identified as families who refused doctor’s intervention
2013:    182 children died after receiving medical care.  *5 deaths to newborn infants who were not born under direct medical intervention

2014: 187 children died after receiving medical care.                           *NO DEATHS reported to families who refused medical intervention.

2015: 163 children died after receiving medical care.                           *2 infants

Infant Deaths

The statistics clearly reveal that even our best medical care doesn’t guarantee saving our precious children’s lives. Annually more than 160 children die each year after receiving medical treatment. More than 2/3’rd of annual deaths for Idaho children are infants under the age of one. Here’s some aggregate figures that are documented by the State of Idaho in their annual report.
The Idaho Child Death Review Team published this chart: Ten Leading Causes of Death to Idaho Child Residents, Ten-year aggregate, 2002-2011

The figures used by the Idaho Let Them Live campaign are purely conjecture. 

Without any medical history, this political campaign wishes to manipulate the public into thinking that 118 infants lives would have been saved “if only they have been under a doctor’s care.” The names listed were pulled from gravestones in a public cemetery. Those gravestones do not list a ’cause of death’. Families who laid their children to rest in the cemetery may have sought medical treatment. While the public and media doesn’t have access the personal history behind each headstone, the cause of death is investigated and recorded by the coroner.

Canyon County Coroner Vicki DeGeus-Morris, coroner since 1991, says that her office are called to every child death in the church. She doesn’t see signs of neglect or abuse. Current Idaho statutes protect children from abuse and neglect. “If we saw signs of child abuse we have a duty to report, and we would do so,” she said.

So whose behind the manipulation of truth?

Recently the director of the organization Protect Idaho Kids stated on his website that due to the fact they were unsuccessful in the Legislature to pass laws, they should manipulate public opinion.  They mixed together a recipe for fake news, using a false narrative and unsubstantiated statistics. They are then funding advertisements designed to look like news reports in the media outlets to sway public opinion.

  • In 2016 – 2017, the “Let Them Live” media campaign was driven by a false narrative of an Idaho woman who claims her rare heart condition was not treated by her parent’s involvement in a religious sect that refuses all medical treatment for their children. Mariah Walton’s mother has refuted the claim that she was trying to treat her daughter’s health condition with prayer. Mariah’s parents were UNAWARE of the rare heart defect. They used holistic care, chiropractic care as well as prayer to provide for their daughter’s asthmatic childhood symptoms. Bruce Wingate, April Hoy and other leaders of the campaign were been made aware that Mariah’s condition should not be construed as ‘faith healing’, yet they continued to promote the false narrative for political gain. See Sara Walton Brady’s testimony at Child At Risk:Faith Healing Exemption Workgroup 
  • 2017, the group wrote and supported a bill 1182 that would change Idaho child neglect statute to target CPS involvement for all parents who didn’t follow a standard treatment of care for their children. (See our article and analysis of S 1182)
  • In 2018, they hatched this newest campaign with little documentation, numbers stretching a course of three decades and a heart wrenching march with caskets from a the park to the Capitol. 

What is their final goal?

There is a very real move on the part of our Child Protective community to remove parental right to the choice of health care treatment options for their children. This organization seeks to create statute to increase governmental authority to remove children based on personal opinion that courts should mandate a specific method of care. Watch Jean fischer’s statements to the Legislative Workgroup August 2016.

Year after year, legislation has been brought up by this organization to force parental compliance to state standards of medical care. Each year, legislators have responded saying the protection of religious freedom and parental authority must be upheld in Idaho.

Every life is precious. Our hearts go out to each of these families. But this isn’t just about life, is it?

Those coffins are a stark reminder of how precious life is, but this campaign also reminds us how precious truth is, applied truthfully. 

So, let’s mourn the loss of life and stand up for the truth that keeps us free. 

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Statistics from the State of Idaho:

More Information from Health Freedom Idaho about: 

Paul Offit  |  SB 1182 

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