Should Christian doctors be forced to act like atheists at work?

The UK Telegraph has this interesting article.


The General Medical Council is asking medics if it should “regulate doctors’ lives outside medicine” in a review of its guidelines on ethics.

Currently it would only be a disciplinary matter if behaviour after hours affected a doctor’s work or brought the profession into disrepute, or if they imposed their views on others.

Some respondents to an online consultation have already said they would be unhappy if health professionals “supported racist organisations” or those that “promote conflict”, or “advocated religious fundamentalism”.

[…]The GMC is to launch a full consultation on a review of its Good Medical Practice document in October.

It comes as the watchdog prepares to investigate the case of a GP in Margate, Dr Richard Scott, who is accused of upsetting a patient by offering to pray for them.

The GP says their conversation turned to religion after they had finished discussing medical options, and that he asked permission to raise his Christian beliefs with the patient, who is of another faith.

But the GMC sent him a warning letter, claiming his comments had “distressed” the patient and “did not meet with the standards required of a doctor”.

Dr Scott refused to accept a written warning, however, and so the GMC’s Investigation Committee will consider the case on Thursday and Friday, which could lead to a fitness to practise hearing.

A GMC statement on the case said: “The Committee will consider whether it is appropriate to issue Dr Scott with a warning in light of his alleged inappropriate expression of religious beliefs during a consultation, which distressed his patient.

“It is further alleged that Dr Scott subsequently confirmed, via national media, that he had sought to suggest his own faith had more to offer than that of the patient.

And this gets extended to cases where pro-life medical doctors and nurses are forced to perform abortions against their conscience. It’s not just evangelism that is threatened, it’s the freedom to not murder at the state’s bidding. This pressure to comply with the state doesn’t come out of nowhere – it occurs when the state is in control of an industry and there is nowhere else for Christians to go to find work. And it is stronger for those who work in government monopolies. Although the UK has protections for NHS doctors, things are worse in Canada and the US. Nurses in Calgary, Alberta and in New York, New York have had to perform abortions against their will.

If you are a doctor in a government-run single payer health care system, then you have a choice of one employer – the government. In the West, that government will likely be secular, and the main job of that government will be to get themselves re-elected. Conservative political parties will be able to get re-elected by delivering national security and economic growth. Even moderate conservatives like George W. Bush can deliver unemployment rates of 4.4% and 160 billion dollar deficits – so the voters re-elect conservatives because they have jobs and because they are safe. But liberal parties can’t produce jobs or balance a budget – like with Obama’s 9.5% unemployment rate and his 1.7 trillion dollar deficits. Liberals screw up the economy, and then they have to resort to bribing the electorate with government spending in order to be re-elected.

So what goodies do the liberal parties provide? Well, take health care. There is a block of voters who want to be able to engage in risky activities that make them feel good, and then get out of them by having the government take their neighbors’ money to pay for their medical bills. (Or, their neighbor’s children’s money, to be more precise, since it is much more politically acceptable to run up 1.7 trillion dollar debts than to embrace pro-growth economic policies that would lower the unemployment rate, as with Bush’s tax cuts). For example, may liberal voters want the government to provide things like taxpayer-funded abortions, so that they can engage in reckless premarital sex without being burdened by the consequences of their own choices. And the liberal party buys their votes by transferring wealth from other taxpayers to pay for these abortions.

Now, when these liberal parties go before the voters, they don’t talk about wanting to provide taxpayer-funded abortions to liberal voters. They tell sob stories about people who need medical treatment but who can’t afford it, or about hungry children who have less to eat than other children. Boo, hoo, hoo, they explain. They play on people’s fears and emotions, and, for some ignorant voters, that works. Even many Christians who decide who to vote for based on their emotions and peer pressure will fall for this – they are too busy watching “Dancing With the Stars” to read about reducing health care costs through consumer-driven health care or improving educational outcomes through school choice.

So many people vote to expand and empower government to fix problems, instead of relying on the free market. They forget about how Wal-Mart provides goods to poor families, and how provides a huge variety of goods to consumers at low prices. Having the government shuffle money around just seems to make more sense for them – it’s much simpler for them to understand than complicated things like Adam Smith. Wealth redistribution calms their fears and makes them feel “compassionate” – even though they are using other people’s money to solve problems instead of solving problems themselves with charity. But to be able to ensure that hospitals perform abortions free of charge for the whiny voters, government has to be big enough to have oversight over the daily operations of health care providers.

How do Christians fare in a health care system that is run by a secular government? Well, in the private sector, if a Christian doctor loses his job, he can find another job. But for Christian doctors in a government-run single-payer health care system, there is nowhere to run – you have to leave the country entirely. So many Christians will feel pressured to just settle with the secularists and perform the abortions. And the ones who resist are just crushed by the state.

And this is exactly what happens in Canadian hospitals, in their single-payer health care system, which liberal politicians and voters admire so much.

Many Christians vote for single-payer health care, or its precursor “Obamacare”, without knowing where this leads. But if Christians vote for bigger government, then they will find themselves losing the freedom to profess Christianity in public, as government grows to regulate and control the economy. When the secular government controls everything, anything in Christianity that they disagree with becomes a target. Again, we have already seen this in Canada. A secular government is good for Christians, and we support that, but it needs to be limited and respectful of human rights and human liberties, including the right to own property and the right to express your religion in public.

Helping people isn’t the government’s job, it’s your job. Stop trying to resolve your fears and uncertainties about life by making the government into God. Government shouldn’t have that power. It’s not their job to help others – it’s your job. It’s not their job to provide you with happiness in this life by taking your neighbor’s money, either.

A very good book to read about this is “The Road to Serfdom”, by F.A. Hayek. There is a free abridged version of “The Road to Serfdom” here, and it is number one on the list of books that all conservatives should read, according to the conservative Human Events.

5 thoughts on “Should Christian doctors be forced to act like atheists at work?”

  1. While I don’t think it would come to what I’m about to suggest – not yet, at any rate – this move has even greater dangers than you suggest.

    First, because of who the GMC is. They don’t employ doctors, and they can’t fire a doctor the way an NHS trust could. But they can do far worse. They can remove a doctor’s licence to practise in the UK at all, even privately. And I wouldn’t rate the chances of a medical doctor who’s been struck off in the UK of getting registration in another first world country.

    Second, because if the article is correct, they’re supposing that what a doctor does in his own time, even when those activities are perfectly legal, might be worth getting “struck off” for. Sure, they start off talking about a doctor, in his private capacity, supporting “racist organisations” or those that “promote conflict”. But the “advocates religious fundamentalism” one is very concerning. It’s not clear whether what’s talked about is the doctor doing so while on the job; the doctor doing so off the job; or the doctor merely being a member or supporter of an organisation that does so. But in any event, how long before merely being a conservative Christian would be sufficient to spell the end of a medical career?


  2. There are bloody footprints in the snow from previous Christian martyrs (I suggest reading FOX’s BOOK of MARTYRS Edited by William Byron Forbush – it is available online).

    Persecution is quite normal for Christians. It looks like this might be the start of it.

    As usual God is in total control.


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