16 February 2012

Barbara Boxer: Insurance rights trumps religious rights

Senator Barbara Boxer has been trashed by some pro-life activists lately regarding an example she gave about the possibility of, as the Washington Examiner put it, "a dangerous precedence of religious rights trumping the right to be insured." I agree 100% with the validity of the example Senator Boxer gave; however, the conclusion is wrong.

This is a quote from the Washington Examiner:

"I mean, are they serious?" [Al] Sharpton [of MSNBC's Politics Nation] exclaimed, "How do you make a law where an employer can decide his own religious beliefs violate your right to be insured?"

"Oh absolutely," Boxer said, "Let's use an example, let's say somebody believes that medicine doesn't cure anybody of a disease but prayer does and then they decide no medicine."

"No medicine!" she exclaimed, "Under the Blunt amendment, they could do just that."
Yes, they could do just that. To which I say, "What's wrong with that?" If your religious beliefs are in conflict with the beliefs of your employer, maybe you should look for another employer.

I will give an example. Supposed the Church of Scientology has a hospital. If I understand correctly, the Church of Scientology doesn't believe in the use of some medications, most notably, psychiatric drugs. Presently, I am on three different psychiatric drugs: two to mask the symptoms of my mental illness, which has been given the label schizoaffective disorder, and one to combat the sedation of the other two. Obviously, I would not seek treatment for my illness in a hospital run by the Church of Scientology. Likewise, I would not seek employment at such a hospital because I would have a strong conscientious conflict with they way they practice medicine. This, however, is no reason to force the Church of Scientology to compromise their religious beliefs.

This touches on a couple of issues that I have a problem with:

Number one: Staff at Catholic schools, particularly teachers and support staff, should all be Catholic. The reason there is such a thing as "Catholic schools" is to set a Catholic example to the students. Catholicism is not forced on the students, but the students should see the value of Catholicism through the example of the persons that work at Catholic schools. If a person is not a practicing Catholic, it is impossible for him to set such an example, and, therefore, should not be working at a Catholic School.

Number two: There was a problem at the hospital where I seek treatment for my illness regarding a program they were running for persons with same-sex attraction disorder. This is a Catholic hospital, and this particular program conflicted with Catholic morality. For this reason, the archbishop became involved in discontinuing this program.

While waiting to see my doctor one day, I overheard another doctor comment on the archbishop's action. I did not intend to eavesdrop, and would have rather this doctor kept his private discussion with other staff in private and not where all the patients, including myself, were forced to hear. He said, "This is a hospital. We should be practicing medicine, not religion."

The whole idea of a "Catholic hospital" is to practice medicine with a Catholic approach; hence, abortions, sterilizations and other immoral procedures are not performed at such hospitals (at least they shouldn't). I don't know how the above mentioned program violated Catholic morality; however, I can assume that it reinforced addictive and destructive behaviour commonly labeled homosexual. Such misdirected treatment of persons with same-sex attraction disorder has no place in a Catholic hospital, which should be a place of compassion and healing.

Religious rights must trump the right to be insured. If you don't agree with an employer's morality concerning insurance, don't seek employment from them.