Courts walking the line between science and a parent's faith

Most states have child abuse laws allowing some religious exemptions for parents who shun medicine for their sick children, but a few recent cases highlight thorny legal issues for parents following less-recognized faiths.

Existing laws have gradually accounted for more well-known and established faiths, such as Pentecostalism, Christian Science and Jehovah's Witnesses.

But recent cases in the news have judges and child care advocates dealing with parents who claim adherence to lesser-known faiths, such as the Minnesota family following an Internet-based group's American Indian beliefs, and an independent Oregon church that has been investigated in the past for the deaths of members' sick children.

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