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The Healing GodsComplementary and Alternative Medicine in Christian America$
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Candy Brown

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199985784

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199985784.001.0001

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Conclusion

Conclusion

WHY DOES IT MATTER IF CAM IS RELIGIOUS (AND NOT CHRISTIAN)—EVEN IF IT WORKS?

Chapter:
(p.200) Conclusion
Source:
The Healing Gods
Author(s):

Candy Gunther Brown

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199985784.003.0010

The conclusion considers biomedical ethics, tort law, and constitutional law. CAM providers use camouflage or self-censorship to avoid offense, and pragmatic consumers fail to ask questions, compromising personal autonomy and self-determination, impeding informed decision-making requisite for economic and political health of American democracy. The physician-patient relationship and imbalanced knowledge and power give providers ethical and legal disclosure obligations, under battery and negligence theories of informed consent, if providers suspect CAM may offend patient values or influence religious decisions. Populations vulnerable to manipulation or abuse—desperately ill, elderly, and children—are injured when fraud, deception, or misrepresentations induce choices incongruent with long-range goals, since practicing CAM changes religious reliefs. Direct government funding and sponsoring yoga or meditation in public schools distributes discriminatory benefits and burdens, endorsing religion above irreligion and certain religions above others, contrary to Supreme Court values of religious equality and religious voluntarism in First Amendment establishment clause cases.

Keywords:   biomedical ethics, physician-patient relationship, tort law, informed consent, fraud, constitutional law, first amendment, establishment clause, public schools, government funding

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