SMMN Vol. 4, No. 1

Spiritual Massage Ministry Newsletter

          Vol. 4, No.1                                    ISSN 1080-3262                                      March 1999






Mary Brewster and Albert Schatz

The First Amendment

The following is quoted from Sybil on Religion, American Civil Liberties Union. 1996. 

"Religious liberty - the right of each and every American to practice his or her own religion, or no religion at all - is among the most fundamental of the freedoms guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. The principle of religious liberty, because it is built into our Constitution, has kept the United States relatively free of religious conflict that has torn many nations apart.

"The founders of this country, who were themselves of different religious beliefs and backgrounds, thought that the best way to protect religious liberty in their view nation was to keep the government out of religion

".That's why they created the First Amendment. In addition to guaranteeing free speech and a free press, the First Amendment says that the government "...shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibit the free exercise thereof..."

"The Establishment Clause guarantees the separation of church and state by prohibiting the government from supporting or promoting religion in any way.

"The government can't "establish" Christianity or any other religion as the official religion of the United States; it can't provide financial support for any religion, and it can't promote or endorse any religious beliefs or practices.

"The Free Exercise Clause means that you are free to worship as you choose and that the government can't penalize you because of your  religious beliefs."

State constitutions and

religious freedom

The book Religious Liberty and State Constitutions  by Edd Doerr and Albert J. Menendez provides information that may protect spiritual massage healing as prayer, a form of worship, and a religious ceremony.  "Arkansas, Nebraska, Ohio , and Wisconsin ... have the most explicit guarantees of religious liberty. North Carolina has the fewest. Forty-six states explicitly protect freedom of worship and conscience." (See page 4)

"Medical Freedom"

The Constitution of the Republic should make special provision for Medical Freedom as well as Religious Freedom. To restrict the art of healing to one class of men and deny equal privileges to others will constitute the Bastille of medical science. All such laws are un-American and despotic. They are fragments of monarchy and have no place in a republic.- Dr. Benjamin Rush

Dr. Rush was Surgeon General of the Continental Army of the United States and one of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence.

Feedom for  Religious Healers

Some state medical practice acts specifically exempt Christian Science Healing. We believe the Establishment Clause, the Free Exercise Clause in the First Amendment and the equivalent of these two clauses in some state constitutions must also exempt spiritual healing of all kinds, including spiritual massage healing, regardless of their religious denominations.

` Spiritual massage healing, including spiritual massage healing, does not harm people.The Medical Practice Act of  Arkansas exempts "Massage therapist" most likely  because the Medical Board has concluded that massage therapists have not actually harmed people. This is more evidence that massage does not cause harm.

On the other hand, medical practrice excludes two potentialy harmful surgical procedures. The Minnesota Medical Practice Act  excludes " "A person who practices ritual circumcision pursuant to the requirements or tenets of any established religion." Also. "Ear piercing does not constitute the practice of medicine." - Hicks v. Arkansas State Medical Bd. 260 Ark. 31, 537 S.W.2d 794 (1976).


Medical Practice Act. Exemptions. "3. The practice of religion, treatment by prayer or the laying on of hands as a religious rite or ordinance.

"4. The practice of any of the healing arts by Indian tribes in this state."

The exemptions also include the following:

"2. The administrations of family remedies including the sale of vitamins, health foods or health food supplements or any other natural remedies except drugs or medicines for which an authorized prescription is required by law."

Constitution. Article 2. Declaration of Rights. Section 12. "The liberty of conscience secured by the provisions of this Constitution ..."


Medical Practice Act. "Exemptions... The practice of Christian Science, with or without compensation," and "Massage therapist."

Constitution. Article II, Declaration of Rights, Section 24:  "All men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own conscience... "No human authority can, in any case, or manner whatsoever, control or interfere with the right of conscience: and no preference shall be given by law to any religious establishment, denomination or mode of worship above any other."

"Section 25. Religious morality and knowledge being essential to good government, the General Assembly shall enact suitable laws to protect every religious denomination in the peaceable enjoyment of its own mode of public worship.


Medical Practice Act. Section 2063. "Nothing is this chapter shall be construed so as to discriminate against any particular school of medicine or surgery, school or college of podiatric medicine, or any other treatment, nor shall it regulate, prohibit, or apply in any way with the practice of religion."

Constitution. The Declaration of Rights in Article I of the California state Constitution protects  Freedom of Religion as follows:

"Section 4. Free exercise and enjoyment of religion without discrimination or preference are guaranteed... The Legislature shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion."


Medical Practice Act. "The provisions of this chapter shall not apply to ... any Christian Science practitioner who does not use or prescribe in his practice any drugs, poisons, medicines, chemicals, nostrums or surgery." Moreover, Christian Scientists may practice "for compensation, gain or reward, received or expected."

For Nurses and Physical Therapists: "Nor shall" [the Medical Practice Act] "prohibit the care of the sick with or without compensation or personal profit, in connection with the practice of the religious tenets of any church by adherents thereof, provided such persons shall not otherwise engage in the practice" [of nursing and physical therapy] "within the meaning of this chapter." 

Constitution. Article First, Declaration of Rights" reads as follows.

"Section 3. The exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination, shall forever be free to all persons in the state; provided, that the right hereby declared and established shall not be so construed as to excuse acts of licentiousness, or to justify practices inconsistent with the peace and safety of the state."

"Article Seventh, Of Religion" reads as follows. "... No preference shall be given by law to any religious society or denomination in the state. Each shall have and enjoy the same and equal powers, rights and privileges, and may support and maintain the ministers and teachers of its society or denomination ..."


Medical Practice Act "Individuals exempt..  In general. - The title does not limit the right of ... A Christian Science practitioner, who is accredited by the First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts, from... Dealing with human ills in accordance with the tenets of Christian Science, and Charging for services."

"Practice medicine" does not include... Performing a massage or other manipulations by hand, but by no other means."

Constitution. "Article 36. That as it is the duty of every man to worship God in such manner as he thinks most acceptable to Him, all persons are equally entitled to protection in their religious liberty..."

"Article 41. That monopolies are odious, contrary to the spirit of a free government and the principles of commerce, and ought not to be suffered."


Medical Practice Act. "Chapter 147: Minnesota Statutes 1998, Chapter 147. Section 147.081 does not apply to, control, prevent or restrict the practice, service, or activities of:

"11. A Christian Scientist or other person who endeavors to prevent or cure disease or suffering exclusively by mental or spiritual means or by prayer."

Constitution. Article 1. Bill of Rights. Section 16: "The right of every man to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience shall never be infringed,... nor shall any control or interference with the rights of conscience be permitted or any preference be given by law to any religious establishment or mode of worship."


Medical Practice Act. Chapter 9. Article 1. Section 45:9-18.1. "This chapter shall not apply nor shall it in any manner be construed to apply to persons practicing healing by spiritual, religious or mental  means if no material medicine is prescribed or used and no manipulation or material means are used."

Constitution. Article 1. Rights and privileges.

"3. No person shall be deprived of the  inestimable privilege of worhipping Almighty God in a manner agreeable to the dictates of his conscience...

"4. There shall be no establishment of one religion  preference to another..."


Medical Practice Act. "Healing by prayer and spiritual means" is specifically excluded from coverage by the Pennsylvania Medical Practice Act. This is "An Act relating to the right to practice medicine and surgery and the right to practice medically related acts..." The Act defines "Medicine and Surgery" as "The art and science of which the objectives are the cure of diseases and the preservation of the health of man, including the practice of the healing art with or without drugs, except healing by spiritual means or prayer."

Constitution. Article I, Section 3: "Religious Freedom. All men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences" and "no human authority can, in any case whatever, control or interfere with the rights of conscience, and no preference shall ever be given by law to any religious establishment or modes of worship."


Medical Practice Act. §1312 "Faith cure; mind healing; laying on of hands" of Title 26, chapter 23. "Medicine and Surgery" read as follows:

"The provisions of this chapter shall apply to persons professing and attempting to cure disease by means of 'faith cure,' 'mind healing,' or 'laying on of hands," but shall not apply to persons who merely practice the religious tenets of their church without pretending a knowledge of medicine or surgery."

Constitution. Chapter I, Article 3 of the Vermont   provides "That all men have a natural and unalienable right, to worship Almighty God, according to the dictates of their own conscience and understandings, as in their opinion shall be regulated by the word of God; and that no authority can, or ought to be vested in, or assumed by, any power whatever, that shall in any case interfere with, or in any manner control the rights of conscience, in the free exercise of religious worship."

Chapter !!, Section 68: "...All religious societies, or bodies of men that may be united or incorporated for the advancement of religion and learning, or for other pious and charitable purposes, shall be encouraged and protected in enjoyment of the privileges, immunities, and estates which they in justice ought to enjoy."


The book The Great Quotations on Religious Freedom was compiled by Albert J. Mendez and Edd Doerr, who "are among the leading experts on religious freedom and church-related issues. Between the two, they have published 26 books and well over a thousand articles, book reviews, and other items in scores of publications." We are indebted to the authors for this important book which resulted from "forty years of research and professional investigation." We are grateful to the authors and recommend their book highly.

The authors provide "a wide array for sources, covering many centuries of human thought, [which] has been utilized to make this [book] a truly comprehensive vade mecum of great thoughts and noble ideas that have stirred the souls and moved the consciences of generations past and present.

"All manner of men and women have been included, from early church fathers to Enlightenment philosophers and American Presidents, from popes to anticlerical European statesmen. Opinions on these subjects are as diverse as the individuals quoted.

"The quotations gathered ... are unique, a collection of materials not found in any other source... The sources of the materials include: Presidential letters and inaugural addresses, papal encyclicals, books, speeches, essays, church and rabbinical resolutions, pastoral letters of bishops, testimony before Congress, newspaper editorials, magazine articles, declarations of church councils, and court rulings.

It is significant ... that 26 of our Presidents have made statements on this subject. (With the exception of Ronald Reagan's groundless comment about God's 'expulsion' from public schools, the presidential utterances have been universally laudatory.)

"A special feature of this book is a compilation of major judicial quotes that bear on religious liberty from the Davis v. Beason ruling of 1872 to the present. Most of these are from the U.S. Supreme Court, but a number of federal appellate decisions and state supreme courts rulings have also been included. The magnificent rhetoric of such towering Supreme Court Justices as William J. Brennan and William O. Douglas make stirring reading and will fill the reader with justifiable pride in the rightness and continuity of these opinions.

"Finally, the breadth and depth of this collection of great quotations should dispel the notion, frequently articulated by spokespersons for sectarian special interests, that the principle of separation of church and state is a recent invention or one concocted or espoused mainly by 'communists' or 'religious haters." Rather, it has been championed by an enormously wide spectrum of men and women of diverse religious, social, and political views."


Thomas Paine. As to religion, I hold it to be the indispensable duty of all government to protect all conscientious professors thereof, and I know of no other business which government hath to do therewith. Common Sense. 1776.

George Washington.Every man, conducting himself as a good citizen, and being accountable to God alone for his religious opinions, ought to be protected in worshipping the Deity according to the dictates of his own conscience. Letter to the United Baptist chamber of Virginia. May 1789.

Thomas Jefferson: Certainly, No power to prescribe any religious exercise, or to assume authority in religious discipline, has been delegated to the General Government... I consider the government of the United States as interdicted by the Constitution from intermeddling with religious institutions... I do not believe it is for the interest of religion to invite the civil magistrate to direct its exercises, its discipline, or its doctrine. Letter to Rev. Samuel Miller, January 23, 1808.

Second Vatican Council. The Vatican Council declares that the human person has a right to religious freedom. This freedom means that all men are to be immune from coercion on the part of individuals or of social groups and of any human power, in such ways that no one is to be forced to act in a manner contrary to his own beliefs... The Council further declares that the right to religious freedom has its foundation in the very dignity of the human person, as this dignity is known through the revealed Word of God and by reason itself. This right of the human person to religious freedom is to be recognized in the constitutional law whereby society is governed and thus it is to become a civil right. Declaration on Religious Freedom. Approved, December 7, 1965.

Walter F. Mondale. The Queen of England is Defender of the Faith but the President of the United States is Defender of all faiths. Address to B'nai B'rith, Washington, D.C. September 6, 1984.

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