Skip to comments.Religious Freedom or 'Silly Prejudice'? (Should health care workers have the right of conscience?)
Posted on 06/22/2009 5:45:19 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
It seems one mans religious freedom is another mans ridiculous prejudice.
One government official fumed that Catholic doctors were refusing to perform abortions-abortions that were perfectly legal. He wrote in a memo: After all, these scruples are in most cases nothing but ridiculous prejudices . . . One is tempted to ask: where does state authority come in these cases, or else, is the state, perhaps, not anxious to assert its authority in this particular instance?
Well, Nazi Germany was seldom hesitant to assert its authority, even over religion and individual conscience. As described in the June/July issue of First Things, the government official I just quoted was a Nazi bureaucrat who was none-too-happy that doctors in Italys Lake District-a heavily Catholic region-wouldnt perform abortions. The Nazis, you see, had legalized abortions in countries occupied by the Germany army. Refusal to participate in government-sanctioned procedures drew his ire.
Fast forward to today, where there is heavy debate over whether medical professionals can be exempted from performing services that violate their religious beliefs.
The comparison is fair. And disturbing. But the problem isnt restricted to medical practice.
Just last month, the New Hampshire legislature voted down a gay marriage bill because the governor had the audacity to insert language that would protect clergy and religious organizations from being forced to participate in gay marriage ceremonies or from providing marriage-related services.
As reported in the Concord Monitor, one New Hampshire legislator opposed what he called the totally unnecessary and harmful amendment because it entrenches homophobia in statute.
So, one mans religious freedom, it seems, is another mans homophobia-or silly prejudice, as the Nazi official called it.
Another legislator was quoted as saying, "It is puzzling to me, why we would allow some to discriminate and others not."
Maybe he is wondering, as the Nazi official did, where state authority comes in this case.
As I write in the upcoming June issue of Christianity Today-which I urge you to read-totalitarianism thrives when the state succeeds in what Hannah Arendt called the atomization of society. Arendt, a political theorist who fled Nazi Germany, described how totalitarian states seek to create a mass of individuals isolated from the very structures that have held civilized societies together for eons. Once individuals are alienated from families or from their faith communities or civic groups, they stand alone before the power of the state.
Is the United States teetering on the edge of totalitarianism? No.
But, should we Christians be concerned when the government seeks to strip health care workers of their right of conscience? Should we sniff out danger when a state fails to protect the religious rights of clergy, or wedding planners, or photographers who choose not to participate in same-sex marriage ceremonies? Or when a new administration considers whether or not to force faith-based groups to cease what it considers discriminatory hiring practices?
Should we be concerned? Yes, we should.
As a self-employed bookkeeper, I refused to take on quite a few clients when I was working full time.
Lots of reasons, but mostly just thought the client was too smarmy in their way of doing business for me to be involved.
The real question is, what is the source of the jurisdiction that presumes the power to deny an American their pre-existing right of conscience - since the First Amendment explicitly acknowledges it?
Abortion is the ultimate sacrament of the liberal faith.
I think this illustrates exactly the crux of the matter. Liberals do not want you to have the ability to opt out on conscience whether it is abortion, teaching kids political propaganda or paying out the ying yang for government programs you don’t believe in. Liberty is the stake in the heart of liberalism. The Popular Sovereignty of a people choosing their own way is exactly what they do not want you to be able to do.
We need laws of conscience protecting the rights of religious people and all citizens to opt out. We need to be careful though. That ability to opt out may in the end provide an argument for the left to push through all kinds of horrible legislative ideas with the argument but “this doesn’t apply to you so why do you care”.
Because the First Amendment says we can and you cant stop us.
Posters on the Boston Herald message board that applaud the removal of the “Conscience Clause” justify they’re position by saying that those person “took an oath to be doctors”. Actually, they took an oath to do no harm. Both the old and new versions of the Hippocratic Oath contain prohibitions on abortion and Euthanasia.
And yet these same Liberal Looneys think the right of conscience should exempt a soldier who refuses to deploy with his unit if he has moral objection to the war.
On the other hand, what if someone refuses to rent out a property to someone that has a poor credit record, or is a felon? What if that person happens to be black? Does race supercede common sense?
I purport that race should not be a deciding factor in any way - period.
I wonder what the bases is for his judgment.
In my judgment we are.
I wonder if they snort and scoff at doctors who say they wouldn’t do a lethal injection for a convicted murderer.
Clearly, there are limits, but your example is faulty. The landlord in your example has no scruples about renting out property, they are using unlawful and immoral discrimination to use mere skin color as a premise for whom they will and will not rent out to.
The doctor who refuses to perform abortions refuses them for everybody. Males, too.
All I'm asking is, where's the jurisdiction? What you described is a thought crime. Thought crimes are considered common, now. But are they legal? What about the 1st Amendment? What about property rights? Should minorities have special rights superior to non-minorities? Who decides, by what criteria?
We have a doctrine of negative rights in this country - whatever isn't specified as a power of the government, isn't - and everything else is legal. Where does the constitution prohibit a racist from using racism to decide who to rent his property to?
When the country was founded, there was an acknowledged distinction between the roles of law and morality. Laws were to be moral, but not all morality was to be codified, because it was impossible to get common agreement on all morality everywhere, or to do so without losing freedom.
So you say, "There is probably a limit to how one applies his conscience towards refusing service to others." Indeed, there probably is - now. All I'm asking is, where does it get it's jurisdiction?
Don't count on the law restricting your ability to "discriminate". I saw my old landlady Leona Helmsley EMPTY ENTIRE BUILDINGS with little more than a bag of cockroach eggs.
The right to exclude oneself from a medical procedure that by definition kills an unborn baby is the right of any medical profession, because that does not involve removing anybody elses rights.
The right to discriminate against person who has the proper information, credit, and money to rent an apartment, infringes on that persons right to live where they want in a free society.
Minorities already have special rights, Ask anybody who has lost their job in order to allow a minority to keep theirs. Or anybody who has been passed over for promotion in order to have a minority promoted in his place. The definition for this is Affirmative Action.
Where does the government and law get it's jurisdiction: At one time the government in this country received it's authority from the governed. Today I think a cabal of elite are in charge and through legal manipulation, media control, and campaign finance rules they manipulate the system to keep their positions of authority.
I agree completely. I wasn't really expressing a quandary, but rather reflecting on the fact that liberties often allow things that, while legal, aren't moral.
You point out that: "The right to discriminate against person who has the proper information, credit, and money to rent an apartment, infringes on that persons right to live where they want in a free society."
But in response, I could point out that requiring someone to rent their property according to predetermined legal qualifications, presupposes jurisdiction over the use of that property, and the operation of business in general. And I question where such jurisdiction is derived.
Once private property is involved, where does the privacy end, and the social obligation begin? The basic premise is that the limitation of accessibility of any private property towards any particular person, does not deprive that person of access to other property, and so does not deprive them of freedom. Otherwise, there would be no private property rights at all.
An example is Free Republic itself, and it's ban on liberal arguments, lawfully made through it's private ownership. Yet, at the same time, that private ownership would not allow restrictions based on race.
That's where the 14th Amendment causes so many problems, because while used to justify protection against racism and "inequality," it does so by creating the legal mechanism of privilege in replacements of rights. And once fundamental freedoms were jurisdictionally transformed into limited privileges, Pandora's Box was opened, and there has been no end to the trouble that's resulted from it.
The original Constitution is about nothing but privacy and equality. Thus freeing the slaves merely required their explicit acknowledgement as included in the definition of "the People." Instead, we got the Civil War Amendments and had our rights presumed into privileges.
Did you move to New Zealand or something, that doesn't seem to be true in the US of A anymore.
You could have fooled me, I read McCain, Romney threads here all the time.
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