The U.S. Supreme Court has decided to let stand a Minnesota appeal court's $1.5-million damage judgment against four Christian Scientists, including the mother of a Minnesota boy who died from diabetes treated with prayer instead of medicine.
Without comment, the court rejected arguments that the award won by the boy's father--who is divorced from the mother--violated religious freedom.
The case had been closely watched since the death of 11-year-old Ian Lundman of Independence, Minn., in 1989. Christian Science belief relies on spiritual healing rather than conventional medicine.
Defendants in the case were the boy's mother, his stepfather, a Christian Science practitioner and a Christian Science nurse. In appealing the judgment, they called the case an urgent issue of religious freedom with an importance to Christian Scientists that "can scarcely be overstated."