Today, I drove to the state Capitol in Nashville for the first time this year. I got my Lobbyist photo badge for 2011 and then I attended the Children’s Caucus. A Caucus is a forum to set priorities and make recommendations to help a new Governor, a new General Assembly and new leadership. Caucuses are common when a state has a new Administration and Tennessee’s new Governor Bill Haslam (R) was just sworn in. Cindy Durham, the Chair of the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth (TCCY), welcomed everyone and then made some introductions. After that, Linda O’Neal, Executive Director of the TCCY, gave the “State of the Child in Tennessee” address. Immediately following her comments, the large group of about 200 broke into four discussion groups. The goal of the each of the groups was to come up with a list of about 3-5 topics of importance which soon would be taken to the new Governor. These topics were especially important in respect to decisions about upcoming appropriations and how the new Governor might be inclined to fund programs or (as seemed inevitable) to cut funding. I said all that to give you the background of what I was participating in. Now, you might be asking yourself, what is the Christian Science Committee on Publication for TN doing at this Caucus? And, what does all this have to do with correcting impositions on Christian Science in my state? Let me tell you…………….
I am a member of the East Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth, here in Knoxville. I have formed some great relationships with its members here as well as in Nashville. Why? One reason might be to keep me “in the loop” when new legislation is introduced that concerns children and that might require an accommodation for the spiritual care of children. But, most of all, I am involved to be a resource to these key players in this state who might have questions about Christian Science and how that relates to healthcare for children. Getting the picture? Today, I sat in on the discussion group that was considering Health and Mental Health…specifically as it related to Health Care Reform. Now, my position on spiritual care in the Health Care law doesn’t require state funding; however, it does need to be accommodated in the law and my presence and thoughts were welcomed today.
Eventually, the discussion turned to something called “EBP” — Evidence Based Practice. EBP was described to mean, “using the things we know that are effective and cost less in the long run.” So, I am sitting there and all of a sudden I wanted to shout out “Hey! EBP = Christian Science.” Christian Science uses prayer that we know is effective and costs less than conventional medical costs! One EBP question to be considered today was, “does the program work?” Well, to that I can answer about Christian Science: “YES, prayer works!” Another EBP question was, “what is the outcome?” To that I mentally answered, “spiritual care for both children and adults is effective, is available immediately, and the outcome is healing.” The EBP part of the discussion ended with this thought: the goal of the Health and Mental Health groups represented here is “to demonstrate effective outcomes.” Now, I surely knew this thought related to Christian Science because in Christian Science treatment, the goal is to demonstrate effective outcomes. The evidence of Christian Science practice is found in its quick healings. Evidence Based Practice is so Christian Science!! And, the next time I meet with these folks, I intend to tell them just that.