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May 25, 2011

Should doctors prescribe prayer as medicine?

by juju2112

Bryan Fischer on the American Family Association Blog thinks that stopping doctors from proselytizing to their patients constitutes a hate crime. Why? It violates their freedom of religion!

“A hate crime is usually defined by state law as one that involves threats, harassment, or physical harm and is motivated by prejudice against someone’s race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, sexual orientation or physical or mental disability.” –

If facing harassment because others have prejudice against your religion is a hate crime, then Dr. Richard Scott of the U.K. is the latest victim of the P.C. police.

He is facing an official sanction from the professional medical body in England, the General Medical Council (GMC) for having the effrontery to suggest to a patient that nurturing his spiritual life might be one part of a holistic course of treatment.

Maybe you don’t know this, but when a doctor prescribes a treatment, it should be proven to work. We can’t screw around coddling your beliefs when people’s lives are at stake. If you believe in faith healing, great! Just prove that it works through the process outlined in the medical profession, and it can be legal. Yes, that will involve experiments that account for bias.

An article in the Christian Post clarifies this a bit:

Scott explained to The Telegraph, “What I do is I ask people and say ‘there is something extra I can do and discuss with you, would you like to talk about it?’ So I give people an option to talk about something that may be well useful to them should they choose to take it up.”

If people choose to talk about faith, he begins by encouraging people to attend his local church. Out of eight patients he would ask, two would attend his church and one patient’s life would change, he said.

So, he doesn’t technically prescribe prayer. He proselytizes and asks them to attend his church, where they will be told that they need to pray. This is inappropriate because religion does not alleviate people’s illnesses. Doctors are supposed to help people, not fill their head with mindless delusions.

The AMA blogger goes on:

It makes no difference to the Tolerance Nazis that study after study has shown the beneficial health effects of faith in God and prayer, or that Dr. Scott only broached the subject with this patient after a lengthy consultation, and after medical checks had been performed and referrals for further care were arranged.

We’re not tolerance nazis, we’re reality nazis. What studies are you referring to? I’m skeptical, so let’s see them. Prove that it works. Take the treatment through the scientific process. Then it will become reality, not blind faith.

It doesn’t matter whether the patient agrees to it. Patients don’t have a good understanding of what works and what doesn’t. It’s the doctor’s responsibility to prescribe the most effective treatment.

It once was said of the Puritans that they were afraid that somebody, somewhere, might be having fun. Well, secular fundamentalists are afraid that someone, somewhere might be exercising his freedom of religion, and they will commit hate crimes to put a stop to that nonsense.

Poisoning people’s minds with your religion is a curious way to have fun. If you want to proselytize, do it outside of the doctor-patient environment. And it’s not a hate-crime. It’s quality control.

Honestly, wishing problems away as a form of treatment? This is sickening.

Read more from What's the Harm?

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