A thought-provoking discussion of the conflict between society’s right to protect all children and the constitutional...

BAD FAITH

WHEN RELIGIOUS BELIEF UNDERMINES MODERN MEDICINE

“Every year, tens of thousands of Americans refuse medical care for their children in the name of God,” writes Offit (Vaccinology and Pediatrics/Univ. of Pennsylvania School of Medicine; Do You Believe in Magic: The Sense and Nonsense of Alternative Medicine, 2013, etc.) in this exposé.

As recently as 2013, writes the author, “the CDC identified thirty-thousand children whose parents had chosen not to vaccinate them for religious reasons.” Offit examines the beliefs and practices of the Christian Scientists for whom prayer, rather than medicine, is a tenet of their faith as it relates to sickness. He also looks at the Catholic Church, which still sanctions exorcism but not abortion; instances of unsanitary circumcision practices among certain groups of ultra-Orthodox Jews in New York City; and faith-healing cults such as the Faith Tabernacle Congregation, which also opposes vaccination. Targeting what he terms “destructive cults” that claim to act in the name of God when they demand that members rely solely on prayer and reject medical treatment, the author clarifies that he is not making a broadside argument against religion. He is sympathetic to parents whose decision to refuse medical treatment leads to a child's death, but he supports the right of the courts to override such decisions in order to protect a child's life. Offit recounts court battles in which medical authorities obtained injunctions allowing them to treat children—e.g., administering necessary blood transfusions. In 1967, a Massachusetts court sentenced a mother to five years of probation because she failed to allow medical treatment for her daughter, who subsequently died as a result. A few years later, Congress passed the Child Abuse Protection and Treatment Act, which included the right of children to lifesaving medical treatment but exempted parents or guardians who were adhering to “the tenets and practices of a recognized church.”

A thought-provoking discussion of the conflict between society’s right to protect all children and the constitutional guarantee of religious freedom.

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-465-08296-4

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Basic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 21, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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IN MY PLACE

From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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