2013.08 News: Faith Healing vs. Measles

Spoiler alert: Faith healing loses!

Naive Christians continue to believe that childlike faith in Bronze Age superstitions is preferable to the greatest advance in public health in human history, namely routine, universal immunization against common diseases. The latest example of this stubborn refusal to face reality occurred in a fundamentalist evangelical megachurch in Texas, where 16 people came down with measles after being exposed to a carrier who had just returned from an overseas trip and hugged many fellow congregation members in greeting.

Measles is seldom fatal (tho it can be) but it makes you miserable for upwards of a week, and it's totally unnecessary. Other diseases that can be prevented by vaccination are more likely to be lethal (or to have long-term health consequences like shingles or cervical cancer), but even in the absence of a death threat, failing to vaccinate your kids against them is like telling them to take off those heathenish seat belts, which only an atheist — not trusting in God for safety — would ever use.

The pastor at the afflicted church said she has no particular objections to vaccination but that it was important to spend lots and lots of time getting right with God first, then if you felt you had to, go ahead and get the shots. This is akin to the notorious wristband logic:
• "I am a Catholic. In case of medical emergency, please call a priest."
• "I am an atheist. In case of medical emergency, please call a doctor."

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