Faith, Freedoms and a Fest 

When freedom harms other people

Two months ago, Boise Weekly took some flack for referring to Boise Democratic Rep. John Gannon's proposed measure criminalizing so-called "faith" healing as a "faith-healing bill." Online commentators thought we should have called it a "faith-killing" or "murder-by-neglect" bill. We stuck with "faith healing" because that's what believers call it—"faith-killing" is a bridge too far when it comes to editorializing. That so-called "faith healing" results in the death or permanent disfigurement of children is a fact, however, and one Idahoans have long had trouble reconciling with religious freedom guarantees under the First Amendment.

Gannon's bill would have lifted protections for parents who withhold medical care for their children on religious grounds and leveled criminal charges in cases when kids die or suffer disability from illnesses or injuries that could have been treated by health care professionals. It didn't make it to the Statehouse floor, but the issue remains alive and well—and every bit as controversial.

Sandpoint Reader Editor-in-Chief Cameron Rasmusson delved into the issue with a riveting feature that profiles some of the victims of "faith healing" as well as efforts to legislate against the practice for the protection of children. Find his report, republished from the Reader. (Full disclosure: I co-owned and served as Reader editor from 2004 to 2012, and I remain on the masthead as editor emeritus.)

Speaking of situations in which one person's perceived freedom harms another—though in no way as dire as "faith healing"—BW Staff Writer Jessica Murri investigates a scuffle between homeowners in the McCall area that made it to the floor of the Idaho Senate. The gist: when a resident decided to rent out his property to vacationers, the noise and traffic ran afoul of his neighbors. They want the ruckus to stop, and they want the law on their side.

Finally, you're going to start seeing a lot more Treefort Music Fest coverage in the coming weeks, as we gear up for the kickoff of the fifth annual downtown art/film/tech/culture extravaganza. Check the Filmfort schedule and get more details on the movies in Screen.

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