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Idaho Republican sees no reason to require faith-healing parents to seek medical treatment for dying kids

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An Idaho Republican is refusing to back a proposal that would require religious parents to seek medical care for their dying children — but he won’t promise any changes to a state law protecting faith healers.

Parents are allowed under state law to substitute prayer as a form of medical treatment and carves out a religious exemption to manslaughter, capital murder and negligent homicide charges if those prayers go unanswered and their child dies.

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Critics of the law said some Idaho children are needlessly dying from treatable ailments such as diabetes, pneumonia and food poisoning-related dehydration, reported KOIN-TV.

“These are not things children die of in our time,” said Linda Martin, who has been pushing for changes to the law. “This is what children died of back in the 1800s — not in the 2000.”

Martin grew up in the Pentecostal group known as the Followers of Christ, which punishes members who seek medical care by shunning them from their church.

The church forbids the use of medicines such as antibiotics, but state law protects parents from charges if they supplement their prayers with just the slightest gesture toward health treatment — such as giving a sick child orange juice.

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A measure that would have limited the religious exemption was defeated last year, following a string of preventable child deaths, because Republican lawmakers said it would have violated the sect’s religious freedom.

“Children do die,” said state Rep. Christy Perry (R-Nampa) last year. “I’m not trying to sound callous, but (reformers) want to act as if death is an anomaly. But it’s not — it’s a way of life.”

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The state Attorney General’s Office handed down a proposal that would limit the religious exemption from prosecution under statute 18-5101 if “the child is harmed or sickened or dies.”

The amendment is backed by the child fatality review subcommittee, which is made up of law enforcement and medical professionals, that examines deaths blamed on natural causes.

The Republican chairman of the state Senate’s Health and Welfare Committee said he saw no reason to amend the law or even call for a hearing.

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“I believe the law is pretty straightforward,” said state Sen. Lee Heider, of Twin Falls. “We would encourage them to seek medical care, but we don’t force people to seek medical care — and whether it’s because they can’t afford it or, in this case, because of their heartfelt religious belief, we simply don’t do that.”

Heider said he would not sponsor the measure, but he would allow a hearing if another lawmaker asked.

“If someone approaches me wanting to carry that legislation then, yes, I’ll hold a hearing,” the GOP lawmaker said. “I can’t guarantee the outcome of the hearing. I can’t tell you what the other members of my committee would choose to do with that legislation, but if someone chooses to do that, I would be the first to stand up and give them the right to bring that legislation forward.”

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Martin, however, found little appetite among lawmakers for changing the law.

“I’ve spoken to several legislators, and there’s been no plan on presenting a bill,” Martin said.

Watch this video report posted online by KOIN-TV:

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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2020 Election

Democrats could flip the Texas state house in 2020 — and reshape the national map

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Blue Texas? Democrats have long dreamt of winning Texas’s 38 electoral votes in the presidential election. That may still be a long shot, but a recent “Texodus” from Congress has given new talk to a political transformation across the Lone Star State that could have massive ramifications down the ballot and for decades to come.

This article was originally posted at Salon.

Four of the state’s GOP members of Congress have announced their retirements in recent weeks, an unusual torrent of departures signaling that a storm is coming. And evidence shows that it’s not just hitting Texas’s federal delegation. It’s coming to Austin, too.

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‘There’s an awful lot of really good Republicans out there’: Joe Biden at Cape Cod fundraiser

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Former Vice President Joe Biden defended Republican lawmakers in DC as "decent people" during a campaign fundraiser held at Cape Cod.

"There’s an awful lot of really good Republicans out there," Biden argued, according to Washington Post reporter Matt Viser.

"I get in trouble for saying that with Democrats, but...every time we ever got in trouble with our administration, remember who got sent up to Capitol Hill to fix it? Me," he said.

”Because they know I respect the other team. I do. They’re decent people," Biden claimed. "They ran because they care about things, but they’re intimidated right now.”

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Neo-Nazi ‘Atomwaffen Division’ holding live-fire militia trainings at ‘The Base’ near Spokane: report

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One sign of the growing white nationalist crisis in America is a new outreach effort for paramilitary training.

"A neo-Nazi group focused on providing paramilitary-style training to far-right extremists has been conducting a massive recruitment drive and claims to have already conducted live-fire training with its members," Vice News reports.

"The Base, which is connected to extreme-right groups the Atomwaffen Division and the Feuerkrieg Division, has been promoting its growth on social media with photos announcing its presence in major cities across North America, including New York, Los Angeles, and Seattle, and in Europe, South Africa, and Australia," Vice reported. "The images often include a small contingent (typically one to three) of masked, camo-clad men holding weapons standing in front of The Base's flag, a black flag with three white lines running down the centre."

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