We're planning to require payments to religious people for performing religious rituals. There are two big and obvious things wrong with this:
- It puts the government in the business of directly supporting religious activities. We won't let churches give food to the homeless if they also hand out pamphlets, but we will pay them to pray?
- It doesn't work. Let me repeat that. Prayer doesn't work. It doesn't make sick people better. It doesn't work instead of medicine, and it doesn't help in addition to medicine. The reason for having the medical advisory board in some of the health care bills is to save money by not paying for procedures that don't work, so we have more money for things that do work. This proposal to pay for prayer is an utter waste of money, an intellectual fraud, and just a way to funnel federal money to churches.
Or even better, Church of Universal Life ministers start a side job of praying over people. You could do a whole hospital ward at a time, or hell, if you're working from home, you could pray for the whole country, all the sick people at once. Okay, that's far fetched, but I'll bet ministers, legitimate and otherwise, do find ways to scam this in very unChristian, Jewish, Muslim, Santorian, and Zoroastrian ways. I imagine evangelical megachurches bussing in thousands of people with insurance cards and praying over them all at once. I wonder if insurers would offer different rates if you pray over more than 1000 people at a time.
* Kerry and Kennedy are for it because Christian Science is based in Massachusetts, so it's just a case of constituency overcoming principle. Hatch is from Utah. He was the senator who got food supplement makers the right to sell pretty much whatever they want, with virtually no regulation. Guess who contributes to him. I wonder if the Mormon church is planning to go into theraputic prayer as a fundraiser.