Proxy War Over… a Nurse?

7 02 2009

(Entle again)

There has been some noise about how a Christian nurse in the UK was suspended, at least temporarily, for offering to pray over a patient.  Needless to say, the patient didn’t appreciate it.

The patient, believed to be in her 70s, refused [the prayer] and Mrs. Petrie insists she left the matter alone.

The sick woman contacted the trust about the incident and Mrs. Petrie was challenged by her superiors.

So far, the only information we have about this is “he-said-she-said.”  GREAT stuff to go off of.  Mrs. Petrie also claims that the woman wasn’t offended, but that “[she] was concerned that someone else might be.”

Even better!  Now it’s not even an imminent problem either!

I think that however much prayer should be kept to oneself, there is no interpretation of freedom of speech that does not allow somebody to ask you whether or not you would like to be prayed over.  Admittedly, it’s not the nurse’s place to be administering prayer to the needy in the first place, but that doesn’t mean it’s rude and arrogant to ascertain whether or not your faith will be well received.

Don’t get me wrong, I would have had a problem if this had gone on and Mrs. Petrie had started lecturing about hell and the evils of a godless life and the dangers of recovery without divine intervention, but it didn’t.  The complaint proffered by the patient was that it MIGHT offend SOMEBODY ELSE.  Why are we getting so worked up about this?  This whole issue with the nurse is just a proxy war to evict all religion from the nursing profession.

Atheists and Humanists shouldn’t be fighting to evict religion from the entire nursing profession – that’s the next step toward becoming what we hate.  When was the last time you heard of a radical group trying to make sure their opinion was the only opinion, and using limits on freedom of speech to get there?  If the places in this argument were swapped, and Christians were railing against atheist influence in a profession, there would be outrage in the atheist community if freedom of speech was limited without good reason.  It would be one thing if Petrie was foisting her religion on others, but she wasn’t.

What do you think?  Should a prayer offering be punishable as long as refusal is acknowledged, or is it a violation of the patient’s rights either way?


Inauguration and Rick Warren

20 01 2009

Obviously the justices’ addition of “so help me god” is unconstitutional (Biden and Obama can say it, but it’s not part of the oath), but that’s already been widely discussed thanks to the lawsuit, so I’m just going to deal with Warren’s contempt for the  Constitution and non Christians.

Watching the invocation, I actually thought it seemed much better than I had expected. Sure, it shouldn’t have been done at all, but it could have been worse. He even said that we should not divide ourselves with religion.

“Our Father in heaven,”

Nonono shut up!

“hallowed be your name,”

Shut up shut up shut up!

“your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven.”

So much for that, then. Reciting a Christian prayer immediately changed the nature of the invocation from something that, while explicitly religious, was not willfully exclusive, into a Christian invocation, and the argument that it is being done simply for the sake of good will or whatever (bad arguments, but at least they’re pretending not to be insulting anyone) vanished in a puff of smoke.

Obama has fairly consistently been exactly the opposite of this, so I’m not worried that this is a sign of things to come, but it still bothers me, although that he specifically countered this sort of religious exclusivity in his speech, and that Warren ended up clashing with the tone of the whole thing was nice.  So I guess Obama gets a thumbs up, and Warren gets a rather different gesture.