THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE PRACTITIONER IRS MEDICAL EXPENSE DEDUCTION:

7 Jan

Linda Feldmann, of Christian Science Practitioner csps.com, had White House Pool Report duty New Years eve. Linda emailed “Travel photo lid called at 10:49 p.m. Happy New Year!” signing off “Linda Feldmann, Christian Science Monitor.” A host of publications cover the White House. The Christian Science Monitor is the only pool publication with the word Christian in its moniker, oddly enough.

CCS, as  the religion is called, is the only religion named in the IRS code also allowed as a medical deduction under MEDICAL AND DENTAL EXPENSES alongside medical doctors, dentists, psychologists, psychiatrists and chiropractors despite the Church’s controversial faith healing tenets rejecting traditional medicine which has cost devotees lives. CCS is the primary advocate of religious exemptions from medicine. CCS lobbied for language in the Code of Federal Regulations. In the FYI column, Elizabeth Taylor who converted to Judaism when she married, converted from CCS. Taylor, was raised as a Christian Science Practitioner.

William James advocated for Christian Scientists. James advocating for Christian Scientists facilitated the CCS campaigns to pass legislation exempting Christian Science practitioners to have medical licenses. James was important in the philosophy of the religious experience, investigating the mystical experience with chloral hydrate, amyl nitrite, nitrous oxide and peyote. James said he came to under Hegel under the influence of laughing gas. Medicaid and Medicare started paying for Christian Science practitioner services in the 1950’s.

Christian Scientists call themselves Christian. There are those who argue with this claim in that CCS beliefs are different al almost every core Doctrine of Biblical Christianity. Christian Science is a revival of ancient Pantheism. Pantheists believe the Universe is identical with Divinity. Pantheists don’t believe in a personal God. Baruch Spinoza, a Jewish- Dutch philosopher, was the most celebrated of Pantheism. Spinoza, who laid the groundwork for the Age of Enlightenment, the 18th Century, espoused body and spirit are the same in contrast to Descartes who said body and spirit are different.

Mary Baker Eddy is the founder of Christian Science. Eddy, born in 1821, was raised in a Puritan home.  She was chronically ill growing up suffering ailments including paralysis, hysteria, seizures and convulsions. Traditional medical care was unsuccessful with Eddy’s medical care. Mary spent her time studying Bible. Eddy married often, despite being ill. Three times. Eddy married her first husband, George Glover, when she was twenty two. Six months later George Glover was dead from yellow fever.  Mary dabbled in hypnosis, occult practices of spiritualism and clairvoyance, after George’s death. Still not well, Eddy married Daniel Patterson. Patterson, a dentist, practiced homeopathetic medicine in 1853, which was unusual for medical practitioners. Around this time, Mary met Phineas Quimby.

Phineas Parkhurst Quimby, of Maine, taught that illness and disease could be cured through positive thought and healthy attitudes, changing Mary’s beliefs about treating illness. Eddy claimed Quimby cured her even though her symptoms returned. Author Anthony Hoekema wrote in Christian Science that Eddy’s tending physician, along with her own notes, dispute what has become the accepted story of the miracle that happened ‘that’ night. Quimby died in 1866. Quimby used Anton Mesmer’s ideas of animal magnetism to develop his own healing approach. Quimby said putting his hands on a sick patient’s head and tummy stimulated healing forces to flow through the head and tummy. Quimby said that disease was “error” and health was “truth,” arguing that traditional medicine was useless and it was faith of his patient in him that both diagnosed and cured his patient.

Eddy, in 1862 was Mary Baker Glover, had a spinal problem that did not respond to traditional medical care. Quimby treated Eddy using hypnosis put her in a trance. While Eddy was under, Quimby treated her with water massage. Quimby woke Eddy out of her trance. Eddy said she was cured but not by Quimby. Eddy attributed her healing to “truth in Christ.” Eddy told people that in February 1866 she had a near fatal fall. Eddy was hurt bad for days. Bible in hand, she prayed, claiming after reading two of Jesus healings she was instantly healed “the healing Truth dawned upon my senses” that she could understand the science of healing that sickness, death and human body are imagined not real, the premise of Scripture she founded Christian Science on. Eddy, when she wrote her book, “Miscellaneous Writings” penned “Truth is the power of God which heals the sick and the sinner and is applicable to all the needs of man.”           

Eddy determined to carry on Quimby’s work, saying she had a psychic dependence on Quimby, able to see his apparition and draw from his spiritual presence coming to the ‘scientific certainty that all causation rests with the Mind and that every effect is a mental phenomena.”Eddy began writing down her theories about religion, mixing together Bible and Quimby’s notions in to the book “Science and Health With Key To The Scriptures.” Eddy told people that God was the author of her theories. She, Eddy said, was God’s writer. Eddy became called Mary Baker Eddy when she  married for her third time in 1877. Around this time, Eddy birthed her religious philosophy. She called it Christian Science. 1879, the Church of Christ Scientist Eddy’s Divine healing ministry was born.  A medical tax deduction was born, one could say, or eventually.

Eddy’s claims were gargantuan, representing herself to be as infallible as Christ, calling herself the Supreme Healer, claiming to perform miracles on people crippled with disability. Eddy did not like to be told she was wrong. She did not like to be contradicted. She expected people to be obedient, to just fall in as commanded. Evidence and fact, at times, were twisted to her purposes, her challengers said. Eddy said Christian Science was revealed to her by God as scientific system of healing He based upon his spiritual laws that Eddy said had to be followed to a T, exactly, no deviation if the Christian Science practitioner wanted success. Eddy said Christian Science doctrine was incompatible with medicine or any spiritual healing system, although Eddy did dabble in negative mental energy, malicious animal magnetism, some equate to Black Magic.

Rivalries, scandals and dissension erupted as Eddy’s church formed. An independent Christian Science leader, Emma Hopkins, taught a couple, the Fillmores, who broke off creating the Unity School of Christianity. Eddy was displeased. Eddy’s goal was to spread Christian Science to the upper class, not too far off the goal of Scientology’s founder, L Ron Hubbard, when he began his church. Eddy got mad, tightening her control on the church in her effort to dissuade further abandonment of practitioners. The bible version used most by Mary Baker Eddy was the King James Bible, she said was the ‘noblest monument in English prose.”

Christian Science practitioners practice healing through prayer. The Christian Science textbook is “Science and Health.” Mary Baker Eddy explained to readers the scientific laws behind the teachings and healings of Christ Jesus helped ‘consider the allness of God, the innate perfection of man as God’s spiritual creation and how an understanding of these facts brings healing- just as they did in biblical times. The Christian Science Church lobbyists were aggressively successful to allow practitioners costs to be medical tax deductions. According to their Church, ‘practitioners address physical conditions, as well as relationship or financial difficulties using material from Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of Christian Sciences book published in 1875, Science and Health with Key To The Scriptures.”

 Devout Christian Scientists don’t use medicine. They avoid medical aid. They diagnose without medical consultation.Telepathy is used in Christian Science Treatment, considered a form of psychic healing.They oppose vaccination, immunization and quarantining contagious diseases. A doctor can set a broken bone if no medication is used. Believers claim prayer produced recovery from anemia, arthritis, blood poisoning, deafness, visual difficulties and injuries. The weekly magazine Christian Science Sentinel publishers “testimonies” in each issue. Accounts considered for publication must be ‘verified’ by three people who ‘can vouch for the integrity of the testifier or know of the healing.’ Parents whose children died under care of Christian Science practitioners have sued their Church. Rita Swan, a PhD whose baby Matthew died of meningitis under the care of CCS practitioners formed CHILD, Children’s Healthcase is a Legal Duty, Inc, to protect children from bad “inappropriate” treatment by faith healers. Swan testified traditional medical care was not sought because they did not want the CCS to abandon them for seeking a doctor’s opinion. Though Swan lost her case, church officials testified under oath CCS did not offer training or workshops or meetings for practitioners on how to evaluate a child’s condition. Another lawsuit brought against the parents and CCS practitioners resulted in a $1.5 million judgement. The practitioner took notes while the mother prayed, bedside. They all stood by as her son slipped into a diabetic coma.

 The United States Constitution promise of Religious Freedom is used by Christian Scientists to be exempt from law requiring medical treatment of children. Forty four states have statutes stating children are not neglected if they receive spiritual treatment from a recognized religion. It is of interest to note that CCS is allowed as a medical exemption though the Church of Christian Scientists refuses to allow CCS parents to seek medical treatment for their children. Practitioners, from as far back as 1888, have been charged with manslaughter for refusing medical attention to adults and children who died without traditional medical attention for treatable illnesses. 26% of child deaths between 1975 and 1995 were from parents who withheld medical care for religious reasons. In 1994, 150 people in six states were infected with measles spread by a Christian Science child whose symptoms were undetected from having not reported the illness to traditional physicians. The AMA, American Medical Association challenged Christian Science and groups with similar ideas about healing.

The Christian Science Church offers resources for churches and practitioners to comply with the IRS Code tax definitions “Christian Science readers are considered the same as ordained, commission or licensed ministers,” Christian Science practitioners are “members in good standing of the Mother Church, the First Church of Christ, Scientist in Boston Massachusetts who practice healing according to the teachings of Christian Science. Christian Science practitioners are specifically exempted from licensing by state laws. Some Christian Science practitioners also are Christian Science teachers or lecturers. Income from teaching or lecturing is considered the same as income from their work as practitioners.”

The Christian Science Practitioner lobbies aggressively for federal legislative affairs and insurance. The IRS Code says that Christian Science Practitioners and Readers who perform in their profession as a Christian Science practitioner or reader can request an exemption as discussed under “Exemptiong From Self-Employment (SE) Tax.” The IRS Code defines Ministerial Services as “the service you perform in the exercise of your ministry, in the exercise of your duties as required by your religious order or in the exercise of your profession as a Christian Science practitioner or reader. Income you receive for performing ministerial services is subject to SE Tax… only the income received for performing ministerial services is exempt…” The IRS Code says writing religious books or articles is considered to be in the exercise of your ministry and is considered a ministerial service” and “this rule also applies to members of religious orders and to Christian Science practitioners and readers.” The IRS Code says members of a recognized religious sect, member of the clergy, minister of a religious order or Christian Science practitioner or reader can request the SE Tax exemption.

Christian Science military chaplains are called “Practitioners in Uniform.” They serve in the military as commissioned military officers, as Protestant Chaplains in the Armed Forces. They meet the requirements of Chaplains. They meet the requirements of ‘Mother Church.’ Mary Baker Eddy had written in “Christian Science v Pantheism” that “In your peaceful homes remember our brave soldiers whether in camp or in battle. Oh, may their love of country and their faithful service thereof, be untop them life preservers.” The Christian Science Practitioner site states “Various federal, state and private health insurance plans provide for the reimbursement of Christian Science nursing care and practitioner treatment.” Seventeen Christian Science nursing facilites are Medicare providers where people with Medicare Part A can get reimburement. Twenty three states include “high risk” insurance plans for people with pre existinghealth conditions. Health savings flexible spending accounts can be used for Christian Science Care. The Christian Science Practitioners qualify as tax-deductible medical expenses under IRS Code Section 213(d).

 All one need to do to become a practitioner a person takes two weeks of “primary class instruction” from a ‘qualified teacher. The textbook is Science and Health. They are asked questions and given answers. A C.S. is placed after their name when the two week course is complete. After three years of full time practice, the practitioner can apply to take a six day ‘normal class.’ Upon completion the student gets a Bachelor of Christian Science, a C.S.B. certifying them as a teacher able to give primary instruction to thirty students a year.

Eddy started the Christian Science Publishing Society through a Deed of Trust, a three member Board of Trustees managing the Publishing Society. Eddy was a prolific writer, writing pamphlets abour her religion, giving sermons based on the Bible, publishing her sermons. The Christian Science Quarterly provides self- instruction Christian Science Lessons. The Herald of Christian Science first published in German is pubished today in German, French, Spanish, Portuguese and online too. Ten million copies of Eddy’s ‘Science and Health’ have sold since 2001. The Christian Scientists, describing themselves as an international news organization, publish the daily paper, The Christian Science Monitor is rumored to be losing over $13 million a year.. Christian Scientists expanded to radio and TV programming in the 1980’s. Their cable-TV venture ended in 1992 when it was discovered the church transferred $46.5 million from endowments and pension funds to cover a $325 million loss of the Monitor Channel.

The Church plans to build the Mary Eddy Library for Betterment of Humanity, expected to house over 500,000 unpublished writings and items related to Eddy.

Practitioners go to reading rooms to read Eddy’s works. The Church has reading rooms around the world. There is a reading room down on K Street in Washington DC. In the nine years of passing by it at random times, I don’t recall seeing it open.

The Church has membership in over 130 countries. In the 1930’s there were about 350,000 members in the Church. The number has declined to maybe 100,000 members in 50 countries around the world.  To discover ways to attract new members, the Church is trending towards new age- self awareness, women’s issues, alternative medicine even quoting self professed new age guru Oprah Winfrey as well as encouraing members to attend medical conferences which makes sense, after all, since Christian Church Scientists are medical deductions under Obamacare.

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