Monday workshop
Monday, October 1, 2012 (All day)

337 Cohen Hall

Adam Mohr, University of Pennsylvania

"Religious-Based Medical Abstinence as an Embodied Critique of Market-Based Medicine: the Case of Faith Tabernacle Congregation"

Abstract. Much public and academic discourse surrounding various religious groups that abstain from using medicine focuses on the ethical or legal ramifications resulting from not giving children medicine, particularly in cases of child-death. In this essay, I neither justify why nor why not these groups should use medicine. Instead, I will explain why one particular evangelical Christian church located in North Philadelphia – Faith Tabernacle Congregation – abstains from using medicine. My explanation relies neither on theology nor ideology, but is rooted in early members’ real-life negative experience with orthodox market-based medicine. More particularly, I argue that the earliest members of Faith Tabernacle formed the church because of their perceived financial, psychological, and physical abuse during their quest for healing by market-based medicine at the turn of the twentieth century. As a result, Faith Tabernacle’s medical abstinence can be understood as an embodied critique of market-based medicine.