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"Let Them Live" vigil honors children lost to faith-based healing practices

Posted: 9:37 PM, Mar 21, 2017
Updated: 2017-03-21 23:41:41-04

A bill aiming to address concerns over faith healing practices in the Gem State was stopped in the Senate Tuesday , leaving current religious exemptions in Idaho code in place.

A group advocating to change the law hosted a vigil inside the statehouse Tuesday evening to honor the children - past and future - who die without receiving medical treatment for religious purposes .

"There's been three in the last four months; one of them was Sunday," former member of the Followers of Christ Linda Martin said. "Prayer alone is not adequate medical care for a critically ill child."

The vigil, attracting dozens of strangers to the first floor rotunda, was especially touching for Martin.

"All of the children that have been in the news in Idaho since this started in 2014 are my relatives," Martin said. "When people come out that don't know these children, to remember them and take time out to try to protect them, it means quite a bit because I did know the children. I know the families. I've watched this for three generations and it's time for it to stop."

Although attempts at changing the legislation went unsuccessful in 2017, those advocating for the cause see the silver lining.

"It did issue some language, but that language that it had made things a little more confusing rather than really protect the kids," vigil organizer and founder of Protect Idaho Kids Foundation Bruce Wingate said. "Hopefully next session we will be able to get a bill that can repeal some of these laws."