She claimed that Jesus was himself protection from the flu and suggested that people avoid the virus by repeating the phrase, “I’ll never have the flu.”
“We’ve already had our shot: He bore our sicknesses and carried our diseases,” Copeland said. “He redeemed us from the curse of flu, and we receive it, and we take it, and we are healed by his stripes, amen.”
Just be firmly resolved not to eat the blood, because the blood is the life, and you must not eat the life with the flesh. – Deuteronomy 12:23
That’s just one of several Old and New Testament scriptures used by Jehovah’s Witnesses to explain why their religion refuses to accept blood transfusions.
Followers are quick to point out that other than accepting blood, Jehovah’s Witnesses are told to seek and receive the best medical care available.
Seventh-day Adventists’ beliefs about medical care made headlines in 2014 when a British couple, Nkosiyapha and Virginia Kunene, pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the death of their 5-month-old son from severe vitamin D deficiency, or rickets. Although the religion’s lifestyle includes a vegetarian diet and abstinence from alcohol, tobacco and other drugs, the Kunenes’ extreme views on rejecting medical care are not shared by their church.
In fact, Seventh-day Adventists have no issue with standard medical treatment but do emphasize a holistic approach to health, which they practice in their not-for-profit Adventist hospital system, with divisions around the world.
Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims
Vaishnavism, the major branch of the Hindu faith, considers the killing of animals, especially cows, to be sinful. Therefore, the religion does not condone the use of any drugs, implants, skin grafts or medical dressings that contain parts of pigs or bovines.
Sikhs also disapprove of any animal-based products for medical use. But both religions allow for exceptions in cases of emergency or when no other options are available.
Both Sunni and Shiite Muslims also do not approve of any drugs, medical dressings or implants that contain porcine ingredients. But they too allow exceptions for emergencies and when no alternative drugs or materials are available.
Swan was a Christian Scientist who left the church after the death of her 16-month-old son, Matthew, from spinal meningitis in 1977. Matthew was treated only by a Christian Science practitioner for nearly two weeks before Rita and her husband, Doug, were allowed to take the boy to a doctor. The Swans have since dedicated their lives to tracking and exposing child deaths due to medical maltreatment.
Christian Science practitioners are said to be “independent and self-employed individuals” who charge “modest fees” for their services, which include “prayer … and its power to heal all forms of suffering.”
Christian Science nurses can provide physical assistance and a “healing atmosphere” to their patients but do not “diagnose, administer drugs, or provide any sort of physical therapy or other medical treatment.”
But the religion does not go as far as to ban outside treatment, saying instead that members are “always free to choose the kind of health care that meets their present needs.”
“Christian Science has changed to some extent,” Swan said, “although the textbook still discourages medical care, and they have a tendency to believe the text should be followed to the letter.
Correction: A previous version of this story misstated the language Copeland used in her video.