Faith based medicine has deep, important roots
A recent letter to the Citizen by Barry Cote entitled “No funding for faith based medical programs” is alarming and misses the mark in a lot of ways. Here are some of the most basic examples.
The issue of the Hamlets policies pertains solely to MAID, not to the organization’s attitudes or convictions regarding the LGBTQ community. We do not even know what such convictions might be, or even if they have any public statement on the issue. Tagging them as potentially against LGBTQ rights is a complete red herring and distractor.
Secondly, the use of faith based and private organizations to administer health care is well established in the form of denominational hospitals and health centres that have provided essential care for the sick and elderly in the western world and abroad for centuries. So there is a precedent that reaches deeply into our history and culture, and cannot be removed. At this point removing all such hospitals just to conform to authoritarian secularism would be disastrous. Mercy and caring are part of faith. They are important.
The recent vindication of the Little Sisters of the Poor by the U.S. supreme court concerning their convictions regarding the inception of human life after the Obama government tried to force them to violate said principles is another example of the upholding of personal convictions and beliefs. If the state removes the right to such convictions it is the oppressor, not faith based organizations.
Regarding the Canadian constitution, it guarantees under sections 2 a and b, the following: “Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms: a) freedom of conscience and religion b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression. This includes freedom of conscience guaranteed to Hamlets (H&H) regarding assisted suicide. The state interfering with such freedom of conscience would be the real violation.
The Hamlets already made provisions with Island Health to provide transportation to another facility for those wishing euthanasia, so what’s Mr. Cote’s problem with that? Lori Hamilton’s statement that anyone knowing all this and then demanding MAID at the Hamlets would be guilty of reprehensibly dishonest behaviour is absolutely accurate. Only the most contemptible person would act that way.
I suspect that what lies at the heart of Mr. Cote’s objection is a deep dislike, not to say hatred, of organized religion and genuine faithful conviction. But that, as they say, is another matter and has little to do with a mistaken idea of the separation of church and state.