• Contact your state legislators about faith healing exemptions

    There are four Idaho statutes that contain religious exemptions to laws designed to protect children from negligence. Most Idaho citizens can be charged with manslaughter or negligent homicide for allowing their children to suffer or die due to parents not fulfilling their obligation to provide adequate medical care.

    This year, we have a good chance of a bill that would alter these exemptions passing in Idaho, but we need your help. Below, we’ve included an email template and contact information. We’re calling on fellow concerned citizens who live in Idaho to write their legislators.

    These religious exemptions unfairly remove equal protection of the law from children based on their parent’s ideology. These exemptions are worded so that they only apply to a very small percentage of Idahoans who belong to specific religious sects. Children die each year, in often horrible and painful ways, due to these exemptions. Even Governor Butch Otter’s own task force on this issue published a report in July, 2015 to revise current laws. They found that in comparing statewide averages to specific areas where faith healing is practiced, children die at a rate “10 times the Idaho pediatric population as a whole.”

    Former members of these religious sects, who consider themselves survivors of child abuse, have been working to repeal these laws for many years. Our state leaders are under the impression that this isn’t an important issue and that their constituents aren’t concerned about it. We need to let them know that isn’t the case.

    Below is a video explaining the situation:


    Writing to Idaho legislators

    We’ve written a draft email below. We suggest you send this text as an email to the legislators listed below. Sending the text without edits is fine. However, if you have the time, please add your own thoughts and feelings to the letter. You must add your own full name and address.

    Below is a list of Idaho legislators you should contact. You can look up the legislators for your district, and if they are not part of these committees, please also contact them and mention that you are a constituent of their district.

    If you only have time to send one email, please send to the Chair of the House Health and Welfare Committee (first in the list). We encourage you to email your own district legislators and the entire list below if you can.

    House Health and Welfare Committee

    “Fred Wood” <fwood@house.idaho.gov> (Chair)
    “Kelley Packer” <kpacker@house.idaho.gov> (Vice Chair)
    “Brandon A. Hixon” <bhixon@house.idaho.gov>
    “Christy Perry” <cperry@house.idaho.gov>
    “Paul Romrell” <promrell@house.idaho.gov>
    “John Vander Woude” <jvanderwoude@house.idaho.gov>
    “Merrill Beyeler” <mbeyeler@house.idaho.gov>
    “Eric M. Redman” <eredman@house.idaho.gov>
    “Caroline Nilsson Troy” <ctroy@house.idaho.gov>
    “John Rusche” <jrusche@house.idaho.gov>
    “Sue Chew” <schew@house.idaho.gov>

    Idaho Senate Health and Welfare Committee

    “Lee Heider” <lheider@senate.idaho.gov> (Chair)
    “Sheryl L. Nuxoll” <snuxoll@senate.idaho.gov> (Vice Chair)
    “Patti Anne Lodge” <palodge@senate.idaho.gov>
    “Marv Hagedorn” <mhagedorn@senate.idaho.gov>
    “Fred S. Martin” <fmartin@senate.idaho.gov>
    “Abby Lee” <alee@senate.idaho.gov >
    “Mark Harris” <mharris@senate.idaho.gov>
    “Dan J Schmidt” <dschmidt@senate.idaho.gov>
    “Maryanne Jordan” <mjordan@senate.idaho.gov>

    Involve your friends and family

    Please share this page with friends and family with a personal appeal for them to write letters. Although the Humanists of the Palouse is sharing this information, this effort did not start with our group, and support for these changes needs to come from a large and diverse number of voices.

    We’ve created a downloadable package containing this information, if you would prefer to modify it or distribute it yourself.

    More information and resources

    You can find all the information you need on this topic at idahochildren.org. The article “Worst in the Nation” is a good summary and there are many news articles listed as well.


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