Canyon County

New documentary on A&E features supporters, opponents of Idaho’s faith healing exemption

A new documentary on Idaho’s faith healing law, featuring its supporters and its opponents, is set to air Sept. 24 on A&E Network television.

The documentary, called “No Greater Law,” is directed by Tom Dumican and focuses on the exemption in Idaho law that allows parents and guardians to decline to seek medical care for children if it is contrary to their religious beliefs. The issue has repeatedly gone before the Idaho Legislature, but lawmakers have always voted against lifting the exemption for faith healing.

Lawmakers who support removing the exemption argue that any other person who does not believe in faith healing would be charged with child abuse for failing to provide a child with medical care. In some instances, that means allowing children to die with treatable medical issues. But, faith healing believers remain exempt from those laws, preventing criminal prosecution.

In Canyon County, The Followers of Christ congregation believes in faith healing, and the church’s supporters continually testify before the Idaho Legislature that lifting the exemption would be a violation of their Constitutional right to religious freedom.

Canyon County Sheriff Kieran Donahue has been outspoken when testifying in favor of lifting the exemption, arguing that children within his county have died preventable deaths as a result of faith healing.

Donahue is featured in the documentary, along with members of The Followers of Christ and ex-members of The Followers of Christ.

Ruth Brown: 208-377-6207, @RuthBrownNews