Saturday, August 31, 2013

What is Candy Gunther Brown reading?

The current featured contributor at Writers Read: Candy Gunther Brown, author of The Healing Gods: Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Christian America.

Her entry begins:
As a professor of religious studies, much of my reading is goal-directed: focused either on research or teaching. I just finished Steven Green’s The Bible, the School, and the Constitution, a fascinating book that offers fodder for both my writing and my classrooms. The book reveals that many of today’s controversies over religion in public schools have been stewing since the nineteenth century. I came to this book having just finished testifying as an expert witness in a trial of yoga in public schools in Encinitas, California. The judge accepted the defense’s argument that yoga can be taught in public schools—even though...[read on]
About The Healing Gods, from the publisher:
The question typically asked about complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is whether it works. However, an issue of equal or greater significance is why it is supposed to work. The Healing Gods: Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Christian America explains how and why CAM entered the American biomedical mainstream and won cultural acceptance, even among evangelical and other theologically conservative Christians, despite its ties to non-Christian religions and the lack of scientific evidence of its efficacy and safety.

Before the 1960s, most of the practices Candy Gunther Brown considers-yoga, chiropractic, acupuncture, Reiki, Therapeutic Touch, meditation, martial arts, homeopathy, anticancer diets-were dismissed as medically and religiously questionable. These once-suspect health practices gained approval as they were re-categorized as non-religious (though generically spiritual) health-care, fitness, or scientific techniques. Although CAM claims are similar to religious claims, CAM gained cultural legitimacy because people interpret it as science instead of religion.

Holistic health care raises ethical and legal questions of informed consent, consumer protection, and religious establishment at the center of biomedical ethics, tort law, and constitutional law. The Healing Gods confronts these issues, getting to the heart of values such as personal autonomy, self-determination, religious equality, and religious voluntarism.
Learn more about The Healing Gods at the Oxford University Press website, and follow Candy Gunther Brown on Facebook and Twitter.

Writers Read: Candy Gunther Brown.

--Marshal Zeringue