How Is the Racist Judge Like a Christian Pharmacist?

I suspect by now, you’ve heard about how a judge in Louisiana refused to issue a marriage license to an interracial couple.

… [Keith Bardwell, justice of the peace for Tangipahoa Parish's 8th Ward] told Hammond’s Daily Star in a story published Thursday that he was concerned for the children who might be born of the relationship and that, in his experience, most interracial marriages don’t last.

“I’m not a racist,” Bardwell told the newspaper. “I do ceremonies for black couples right here in my house. My main concern is for the children.”

I haven’t heard anyone defending his actions. Which makes sense, because he’s a bigot. Even government officials are calling for his resignation.

Bardwell’s conscience told him he should not issue the license — and he chose to follow his conscience instead of the law. He hasn’t said this is the reason for his thinking, but the Bible has been used to make the case against interracial couples. Bardwell directed the couple to another justice of the peace so he wouldn’t have to perform the action himself. I also wonder: If he can’t fulfill the requirements of his job, why did he go into that line of work in the first place?

And how are all these details any different from those of Christian pharmacists who refuse to dispense Plan B because it goes against their personal beliefs?

They, too, want to be protected by “conscience clauses”; they sometimes direct patients to a different pharmacist; they can’t fulfill the requirements of their job… but many Christians defend their actions.

What’s the difference?

In both instances, the offenders ought to be stripped of their titles and out of their jobs.

(Thanks to Tyson, for raising the question)

The Creation Museum’s founder Ken Ham says today that the Bible does indeed forbid interracial marriages, but it’s only referring to “spiritual” races, not “color” races:

At [Answers in Genesis] we have always taught that biologically there is only one race (Adam’s race), however, spiritually, there are two races (the saved and unsaved). It is the two spiritual “races” that God clearly instructs in His Word not to mix in marriage. In other words, when someone asks me “does the Bible deal with interracial marriage?” I answer, “it sure does, it makes it clear the saved ‘race’ should never knowingly marry the unsaved ‘race’ — and that’s all the Bible teaches about ‘interracial’ marriage.’” Biologically, there is no such thing as “interracial” marriage as there is only one “race” — we are all descendants of one man, Adam. There are different people groups, particularly because of the Tower of Babel.

Right…

So, Christians and atheists, God hates you if you get married. Same to any two married people who believe in a different invisible person.

But, apparently, Ham is totally fine with two atheists getting married…? (Yay for two “unsaved” people!)

  • Andrew Morgan

    Well I think an obvious and important difference is that in this case the person is a public official, whereas in the cases of Christian pharmacists we’re usually talking about private individuals working for private companies. I think that’s probably the most important difference.

    The second difference is that this is an instance of racial discrimination by the State which denied citizens basic civil rights. To me at least, it’s not clear that a private pharmacist failing to provide Plan B rises to the level of denying someone basic civil rights, and certainly not through State action.

    As an atheist I think both instances are absurd, but this one is both a) far less ethically murky and b) far more grave an injustice, whereas denying Plan B is closer to just being unfortunate and silly.

    I haven’t quite worked out all of the details in my mind though, so I’m interested in other opinions.

  • http://thebitchreport.blogspot.com/ Milena

    To me at least, it’s not clear that a private pharmacist failing to provide Plan B rises to the level of denying someone basic civil rights, and certainly not through State action.

    Women have a civil right to control their reproductive systems, so I’d say refusing to provide Plan B, especially in areas where there may only be one pharmacy (as is often the case with these Christian pharmacists), is denying someone their civil rights. Not necessarily State action, but the consciousness clauses that permit these pharmacists to do this do amount to State action (or at the very least, State inaction to prevent women’s rights to bodily autonomy from being infringed upon).

  • http://littlelioness.net Fiona

    I like your point, Andrew, about the pharmasists being private companies etc. The only problem is when there isn’t a second place to go to. Like in rural Australia when the dr refuses to prescribe the pill to an unmarried woman, or the chemist won’t sell something. There is no choice then.

  • Michael

    I agree with Andrew. At least in terms of the law, there is a very distinct difference between state action and private action.

    However, pharmacists are regulated by the state so it would make sense that the state could require them to behave a certain way. There may end up being a Free Exercise problem there, though.

    Apparently this Justice of the Peace hasn’t read Loving v. Virginia. That’s another way that this case is different from pharmacists – there’s no clear existing case law on the subject. It’s much easier for a court to say no to an action that the Supreme Court spoke on clearly and without dissent that something very new.

  • Richar
  • Rick

    Also, in the case of refusing a marriage license, and referring to another judge, there is not such a time constraint on arranging things with the new judge. The effectiveness of emergency contraception falls off rather quickly with time, so the consequences of refusing it are more pronounced, even when an alternative is offered.

  • Valdyr

    There is no choice then.

    Unrelated, but I saw a church sign today that I found darkly amusing:

    YOU HAVE A CHOICE
    CHOOSE JESUS

    My eyes scrolled down looking for the other half of the choice, to no avail.

  • pete

    “At [Answers in Genesis] we have always taught that biologically there is only one race (Adam’s race), however, spiritually, there are two races (the saved and unsaved). It is the two spiritual “races” that God clearly instructs in His Word not to mix in marriage”

    Quick shift the goal posts!,we cant have our beloved bible being proved fallible at all.

    Opps but culture includes people beliefs and rituals etc ,dang it! oh dear still racism. :(

  • Richard Wade

    Conscience clause laws are undiluted horse shit. Private companies can be forbidden from firing employees who whimsically and arbitrarily refuse to do their jobs incident-by-incident based on their claim that their religious beliefs object to it. This can be a religion they make up on the spot.

    Will a steak house have to keep a waitress on the payroll even though she refuses to serve steaks because she’s a vegetarian? How about a FedEx guy refusing to deliver a package to the SSA?

    Hey, if you want to follow your conscience, good for you but you have to be willing to take the consequences.

  • Heidi

    I think they’re exactly the same. Christians having a get-out-of-selling-legal-items free clause is ridiculous.

    If it’s ok for a Christian pharmacist to deny women Plan B, what happens if you get a Scientologist pharmacist? “Sorry, man. I can’t in good conscience supply you with anti-psychotics. You really need your body thetans cleaned out.” Or whatever the hell it is they do.

    Or what if a Christian cashier refuses to sell you condoms because they think you may have unapproved non-godly sex? Can that cashier stand there and say “well, he looks gay, so he can’t have condoms. And I’m sure those two aren’t married.”

    Or maybe a strict Hindu won’t sell you a pound of hamburger at the supermarket because cows are holy. Please. Do your job or get a new one.

  • Cherilyn

    He is right about one thing- there’s no such thing as ‘race’. Biologically we have just as much in common as somebody of a different race as we do our own. It’s just people and our endless obsession with labeling and seperating society that have made it important. The rest of it is BS though and it makes me laugh how christians can explain away parts of the bible that nobody follows anymore.

  • David

    Why do we allow government in the marriage business at all? Is government the atheist’s religion?

    Of course a private business should not have to sell you a product they do not want to carry. If the availability of the morning-after pill is the real issue here, how about, instead of taking the lazy “there oughta be a law” route of giving more moral authority to a government filled with irrational people, we treat the disease and not its symptoms.

    Why do adults have to go to a pharmacy to buy emergency contraception if it has been deemed safe? Why isn’t it available everywhere?

  • Neon Genesis

    On the subject of Ken Ham, he’s obviously never read 1 Corinthians 7:12-14.

    To the rest I say—I and not the Lord—that if any believer* has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he should not divorce her. 13And if any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him. 14For the unbelieving husband is made holy through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy through her husband.

  • Andrew Morgan

    Women have a civil right to control their reproductive systems, so I’d say refusing to provide Plan B, especially in areas where there may only be one pharmacy (as is often the case with these Christian pharmacists), is denying someone their civil rights.

    I don’t disagree that women have the right to control their own bodies, but it’s not clear to me that that right means other people must perform certain duties on their behalf, regardless of whether or not it is against their personal beliefs.

    There are a lot of rights that individuals possess that don’t then mean other people need to give them things, e.g., I have a right to keep and bear arms, but nobody is required to furnish me with a weapon.

    If it’s ok for a Christian pharmacist to deny women Plan B, what happens if you get a Scientologist pharmacist? “Sorry, man. I can’t in good conscience supply you with anti-psychotics. You really need your body thetans cleaned out.” Or whatever the hell it is they do.

    Or what if a Christian cashier refuses to sell you condoms because they think you may have unapproved non-godly sex? Can that cashier stand there and say “well, he looks gay, so he can’t have condoms. And I’m sure those two aren’t married.”

    I’m not sure that I find those as abhorrent as you do. These examples don’t make it plain that allowing conscience clauses are ridiculous absent an argument. If I knew my local pharmacy was staffed by pharmacists, I’d shop somewhere else. But the business can employ whomever they like.

    The only problem is when there isn’t a second place to go to. Like in rural Australia when the dr refuses to prescribe the pill to an unmarried woman, or the chemist won’t sell something. There is no choice then.

    I agree (though I’m not sure if it negates the question of whether your rights allow you to make specific claims against another person), though this sentiment can run in the opposite direction too, summed up nicely by Heidi:

    Do your job or get a new one.

    Which would be preferable: a rural doctor who doesn’t prescribe Plan B, or no rural doctors since they won’t practice where they’ll have to distribute Plan B? If doctors are so scarce in a region, wouldn’t you run the risk of making them even more scarce by forcing them to violate their beliefs?

    Will a steak house have to keep a waitress on the payroll even though she refuses to serve steaks because she’s a vegetarian? How about a FedEx guy refusing to deliver a package to the SSA?

    Hey, if you want to follow your conscience, good for you but you have to be willing to take the consequences.

    I actually agree with you. The flipside of my argument — that employees and owners should not be compelled by the state to perform actions they find abhorrent — is that employers and owners should be free to fire who they want for failure to perform their job, even if it is for religious reasons.

    So while I’m not sure if I have a problem with pharmacists not prescribing Plan B, I also think that the pharmacy should have a complete right to fire a pharmacist who refuses to do so.

  • Andrew Morgan

    If I knew my local pharmacy was staffed by pharmacists, I’d shop somewhere else. But the business can employ whomever they like.

    That should obviously be “staffed by Scientologists.” :)

  • Tacticus

    If the staff are not prepared to hand out what has been prescribed or is legally available then they are not pharmacists they just play one

    If a doctor is not prepared to treat their patient to the fullest of their ability they are not a doctor and should have their license revoked

  • http://thebitchreport.blogspot.com/ Milena

    I don’t disagree that women have the right to control their own bodies, but it’s not clear to me that that right means other people must perform certain duties on their behalf, regardless of whether or not it is against their personal beliefs.

    There are a lot of rights that individuals possess that don’t then mean other people need to give them things, e.g., I have a right to keep and bear arms, but nobody is required to furnish me with a weapon.

    If you go into a gun store and demand a gun and meet all the requirements for a licence, I doubt they can still refuse to sell it to you without facing the threat of legal repercussions. Besides, it’s not the same thing. Pregnancy can directly affect a woman’s health. Owning a gun on the other hand, not so much. The law states that a woman can obtain Plan B from a pharmacist, the pharmacist is there to dispense it. He or she is not there to make moral and medical decisions for the woman. Not to mention that it is a much more emotionally-taxing experience to be afraid that you might end up pregnant and then have the only pharmacist in the area refuse to sell you Plan B.

  • http://godlessliberalhomo.blogspot.com libhomo

    Druggists who refuse to handle Plan B prescriptions are bigots too, bigoted against women.

  • Pingback: St. Eutychus » On sticks and logs()

  • David

    The law states that a woman can obtain Plan B from a pharmacist, the pharmacist is there to dispense it.

    So in other words, anything the customer wants, the customer should get, or big, bad government should come get them? What about all of those scam homeopathic products? They’re legal. Should every drug store be forced to sell them, despite scientific proof of their lack of health benefits?

    My problem with organized religion has nothing to do with the silly mythologies, it’s the assault on the rights of the individual. A business owner has the right to stand up and say, “I will not sell this product because it is immoral.” We may all agree that they are wrong in this specific case, but tomorrow we may need that same right to fight against a pseudoscientfic product we all oppose. It works both ways, as frustrating as that may be sometimes.

  • Miko

    @Andrew: The second difference is that this is an instance of racial discrimination by the State which denied citizens basic civil rights. To me at least, it’s not clear that a private pharmacist failing to provide Plan B rises to the level of denying someone basic civil rights, and certainly not through State action.

    This situation shouldn’t be viewed in terms of civil rights, since as you mentioned the pharmacy is a private institution. Rather, in this case the pharmacist would be violating his/her contract with his/her employer. Since the employer is stocking the drug, he/she apparently has no problem with its being dispensed, so the employee should do the job he/she was hired to do or face the consequences.

    As an atheist I think both instances are absurd, but [denying the marriage license is] far more grave an injustice, whereas denying Plan B is closer to just being unfortunate and silly.

    I disagree. The marriage license is a fiction created by the government. While their are some financial incentives, a couple could if necessary have a free-market marriage and decide to not care that it isn’t recognized by some government bureaucrats. Denying someone access to medication is a much more serious thing.

    @Milena: Women have a civil right to control their reproductive systems, so I’d say refusing to provide Plan B, especially in areas where there may only be one pharmacy (as is often the case with these Christian pharmacists), is denying someone their civil rights.

    No, they don’t. If they did, their civil rights would be violated if they lived in an area that had no pharmacies, if they were born before the necessary technologies were created, or if they were unwilling to pay the market rate for the necessary goods/services. Remember that civil rights are agent neutral: if a woman had the right to demand that a certain pharmacy give her the medicine, it would logically follow that she had the same right to demand the medicine from some stranger on the street.

    Rather, women have the right to stop other people from interfering with their reproductive choices.

    the consciousness clauses that permit these pharmacists to do this do amount to State action

    And this is where the problem comes in. Without the state trying to enforce its will on the market, these pharmacists would just be fired and the problem would go away. (Similarly, as Fiona mentioned, prescriptions become a stumbling block, so we should likewise remove the government’s authority to prevent the sale of the medicine without a prescription.)

    If you go into a gun store and demand a gun and meet all the requirements for a licence, I doubt they can still refuse to sell it to you without facing the threat of legal repercussions.

    Sure they can. But it’s doubtful that they can do it without facing unemployment.

    Pregnancy can directly affect a woman’s health. Owning a gun on the other hand, not so much.

    Lacking a means of self-defense can certainly affect a woman’s health.

    @David: Is government the atheist’s religion?

    In my experience, almost all anarchists are also atheists. Since there are many more open atheists than open anarchists, the converse doesn’t really hold. That said, while there are some atheists who have an unexamined faith in statism, in my experience their number is fairly small. If you look at the politics of average atheists, they tend to favor free speech, church/state separation, sometimes school/state separation, open immigration, drug legalization, ending our current crop of wars, ending the PATRIOT Act, closing Gitmo, and a wide swath of other anarchist positions. While I can understand where you’re getting the parallel from, I don’t think it holds up too well since the average atheist tends to favor far less government than your average theist.

  • Miko

    @David: A business owner has the right to stand up and say, “I will not sell this product because it is immoral.”

    And to forestall the wave of comments protesting the uneven balance of power implicit in this statement, it’s important to remember that consumers have the corresponding right to boycott the store until the owner reconsiders.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Beth

    Off topic, but I agree with you Milena. Pharmacists absolutely have a duty to dispense any medication which has been approved for sale. Period. Value judgments have no place there.

    By the way, I think comparing Plan B with gun sales is ridiculous. Plan B is a safe, legal medication which prevents pregnancy and affects one person. A gun is obviously quite different.

  • BrettH

    I think something that didn’t get mentioned a lot but is very important to the topic is that pharmacists have to be licensed by the state. If there was one pharmacy in town, and they wouldn’t sell Plan B, it would make a lot of sense for me to start selling it myself… except that I’m not licensed. I think that no pharmacist should be forced to sell a drug they have a moral objection too, but they should have their license revoked immediately the first time they do.

    I don’t know how it works in practice, but when Plan B first started getting in the news, pharmacists were only allowed to refuse to fill the prescription if someone else could fill it instead. If they were the only pharmacist they were required to fill it themselves.

    (edited to add a comment to David)
    @David
    The difference with things like homeopathic “drugs” is that you don’t need a prescription to buy them. If your pharmacist doesn’t sell them, you still have plenty of other options. And if there are none in the area and you believe in crazy things like homeopathy, you could always start your own business selling them.

  • Carlie

    Pharmacies are different than most private businesses in one crucial respect: they have been granted a sole monopoly on dispensing several classes of medication that are crucial to keeping people alive and in good health. That, in effect, causes them to have an element of public service and therefore a responsibility to the public that is at a higher level than your average grocery store. I think it’s perfectly fine to hold them to a high standard in terms of treating all people and their prescriptions equally. Because the thing is, there’s nowhere else to go. There is no other way to obtain prescriptions than via a pharmacy. That means they ought to have to provide them.

  • Matt

    I think that pharmacists should be aware of their responsibilities when they apply for the position. You simply can’t pick-and-choose, particularly when things like birth control are perfectly legal. What if a pharmacist who believed in Scientology refused to fill a prescription for anti-depressants? What if I was a Christian and refused to sell condoms? I should be aware that any store I work in will have a variety of products for sale, as I’m not being paid for deciding which products are “acceptable” for paying customers. I’m sorry, but the “conscious clause” could be heavily exploited.

    If I worked at a supermarket, what if I refused to sell meat to my customers? What if I was subsequently dismissed for not being an effective employee? I certainly would not have a case for religious discrimination if I refused to sell a legal item that is being purchased by someone else.

    As someone else said, not everyone has the option to head to another distributor, particularly during urgent cases in a small town.

  • pete

    Yeah i pretty much agree with BrettH i think there is a very big difference between homeopathic drugs and remedies that can even often be sold at the local supermarket, and things needing to come from a licensed pharmacist.

    I mean where would it ever stop, would hospitals and doctors and ambulance staff etc be able to refuse blood transfusions for reason of their personal moral opinion.Should doctors be allowed to bring their own opinion of faith belief into their practice,and push it on others by suggesting folks are sick because they lack religious faith.

    No bodies saying any pharmacist need take this plan B themselves.Just as nobodies trying to make laws that people need have to be gay.

    If folks were looking to totally ban faith man wouldnt the faithful be quick to all start squealing.

  • Andrew Morgan

    @Miko

    I disagree. The marriage license is a fiction created by the government. While their are some financial incentives, a couple could if necessary have a free-market marriage and decide to not care that it isn’t recognized by some government bureaucrats. Denying someone access to medication is a much more serious thing.

    Yeah, you’re right; I got that one wrong. I hate to admit it but I suspect the mistake stems from that I’m not a woman and so my initial perception was skewed.

    @BrettH

    I think something that didn’t get mentioned a lot but is very important to the topic is that pharmacists have to be licensed by the state.

    I think this is an interesting angle I hadn’t considered originally. I’m not sure where to go with it just yet but it seems crucially important at first look.

  • David

    But, people, why should the government force you to go to a pharmacy to buy Plan B? Who is being protected?

    The original comparison was between a racist judge denying a marriage license to an interracial couple and a pharmacist who will not fill a prescription on moral grounds. The judge works for the government, and the government imposes a monopoly (ridiculously, in my opinion) on marriage, so his actions are clearly wrong. If there were only one chain of drug stores allowed to exist legally in the country and they refused to sell you Plan B, then the comparison would make sense. But you’re saying a private business must be forced to sell a product they find immoral because it is inconvenient for their customers to have to look elsewhere.

    Believe me, I think emergency contraception should be available in every gas station and 7-11 in the country. So why are we giving government a pass on these issues when it is our government’s doing that a judge could deny an interracial couple the right to marry, and it is our government’s doing that emergency contraception is so difficult to obtain when a woman desperately needs it?

    Should we just shrug and say, “Government works in mysterious ways!” Or are we critical thinkers?

  • Matt

    David said,

    “But you’re saying a private business must be forced to sell a product they find immoral because it is inconvenient for their customers to have to look elsewhere.”

    I don’t think that’s exactly the case. I certainly do not think that, say, a Christian business should be forced to provide products that go against their beliefs. I think that we’re talking about pharmacies like Rite Aid and Walgreens. If we let this conscious clause exist, where would it end? Could a Scientologist refuse to distribute anti-depressants?

    Believe it or not, there are some cases in which a woman who needs emergency medication does not have many other options, particularly in a small town that may not have much transportation availability. If a service is legal in the state, I don’t think that someone working at a pharmacy should be able to say, “Due to my religious beliefs, I can’t sell this.”

    As I said before, I should be aware that any store I work in will have a variety of products for sale, as I’m not being paid for deciding which products are “acceptable” for paying customers. I’m sorry, but the “conscious clause” could be heavily exploited until every legal item that a religious employee deems personally “offensive” could not be sold.

    You don’t work there to make personal judgments. It’s ridiculous.

  • David

    Let’s make the distinction between an “employee” and the business owner. I’m saying the business owner should have the right to not sell products of which they morally disapprove (and, of course, we have the right to boycott the store and shame them into doing the right thing or go out of business). A rogue pharmacist who just up and decides they don’t fill prescriptions contrary to a business owner’s wishes should be fired. The business owner should have the right to make that call.

    If a Scientologist owned a pharmacy and refused to dispense anti-depressants, I’m sure they would have a tough time keeping customers. So, yay, free market.

    We seem to be making moral judgments here, as in businesses “should” do this or that, and then attempting to force those moral judgments on others through government rather than protect the rights of the individual. Sounds familiar.

  • Carlie

    But, people, why should the government force you to go to a pharmacy to buy Plan B? Who is being protected?

    The government does force you to go to a pharmacy to buy it, and pharmacies do have a monopoly on the product. It’s illegal for anyone else to sell it but a pharmacy.
    It really doesn’t matter how many brands of pharmacies there are; the fact is that there is a limitation on how you can get the medication that has been imposed by the government. Therefore, pharmacies work in the public interest, and therefore have to do. their. fucking. jobs.

  • Matt

    David,

    I’m merely pointing out that this conscious clause could be exploited until every religious employee tries to have their way with perfectly legal services. What if I worked at a market and refused to sell meat to any customer? As I said, I was mainly referencing pharmacy chains like Walgreens and Rite Aid. These are not your average mom and pop businesses that are independently managed.

    I’m not making any moral judgments. I’m simply pointing out that these clauses are ridiculous in nature. If a service is deemed legal by state law, why should *I* impose my private views on any paying customer? What if I didn’t sell someone a DVD at a movie store because I disapproved of the content?

    People should be aware of the job requirements at a pharmacy. You don’t always get your way.

  • http://www.banalleakage.com martymankins

    The only difference is what Andrew Morgan said, about one being private and one being public (government).

    Otherwise, the intent is the same.

  • Andrew Morgan

    @Matt

    If a service is deemed legal by state law, why should *I* impose my private views on any paying customer? What if I didn’t sell someone a DVD at a movie store because I disapproved of the content?

    But you’re not “imposing” anything on anyone by failing to provide a service as a private enterprise.

    I think the example you give is a good one, since it’s common and perhaps analogous. What is wrong with a store not selling a DVD because of the content? Plenty of large retailers (Wal-Mart, etc) don’t sell adult magazines, or even magazines that are risque, like Maxim.

    Should Christian bookstores be forced to carry explicit bestsellers since we have the right to free speech?

    To continue with Wal-Mart, since many have pharmacies, is it objectionable for a Wal-Mart to not carry Plan B at all? If so, why? And if it isn’t objectionable, why should it then be objectionable if a particular person doesn’t want to dispense it (assuming that’s okay with their employer)?

    The government does force you to go to a pharmacy to buy it, and pharmacies do have a monopoly on the product. It’s illegal for anyone else to sell it but a pharmacy.
    It really doesn’t matter how many brands of pharmacies there are; the fact is that there is a limitation on how you can get the medication that has been imposed by the government. Therefore, pharmacies work in the public interest[.]

    I think this is probably the reason that would make me come down on the side of disallowing pharmacist objections. Among their other capacities, pharmacies are, as far as I can see, merely a gatekeeper to drugs that are regulated by the government. As such, their primary function seems to be the end part of a large process by which the government controls what we can and can’t consume, and under what circumstances. In that sense I agree, then, that pharmacies are public-interest enough to disallow these clauses.

  • Neon Genesis

    We seem to be making moral judgments here, as in businesses “should” do this or that, and then attempting to force those moral judgments on others through government rather than protect the rights of the individual. Sounds familiar.

    But then isn’t the government acknowledging a religion and violating the Establishment clause? And why should the employer’s religious beliefs be given special priveleges over the customer’s religious belief? What if a woman wants to buy medicine that goes against the employer’s religious beliefs but it’s the religious beliefs of the woman that she should have the right to buy it? Who’s religious beliefs do we decide to give special privilege to then? Why should the employer’s religious beliefs that they should not have to sell them the drug be given more privilege then a woman’s religious beliefs she should be allowed to buy the drug? Because she’s a woman?

  • muggle

    If you have a problem selling drugs, don’t be a goddamned pharmacist. Find some other way to earn a living!

    Here we go again with the argument that private enterprises have the right to discriminate. So it’s okay if we go back to no blacks at lunch counters again? Really? I’m amazed at how many go for this lame argument.

    If you can’t compromise your “values” because of something your job asks of you, it’s the job you should quit, not the service, not doing what you’re getting paid to do.

  • Gibbon

    The government does force you to go to a pharmacy to buy it, and pharmacies do have a monopoly on the product. It’s illegal for anyone else to sell it but a pharmacy.
    It really doesn’t matter how many brands of pharmacies there are; the fact is that there is a limitation on how you can get the medication that has been imposed by the government. Therefore, pharmacies work in the public interest, and therefore have to do. their. fucking. jobs.

    By that logic, you are beinged forced to buy alocohol from a bar or liquor store when the government requires that those businesses obtain a license in order to sell alcohol.

    The difference with pharmacies is that even though they are technically providing a public service, they are not doing so at the behest of the government. The pharmacy is still a private business, and therefore can decide on its own what products it will sell. The benefit of private ownership is that in the free market any pharmacy that sells a wider range of products that includes contraceptives, will have the competitive edge over any pharmacy that has a more limited range.

    The added benefit of private ownership is that any business can fire an employee who refuses on the grounds of their religion, to do the job that the company hired them for. But if pharmacies were state owned, that employee could in theory bring a lawsuit on the grounds that the state is violating church/state separation. On the flip side, any employee of the state who refuses plan B to a customer on the grounds of their religion would also be violating the separation principle.

    The benefit of the pharmacies functioning as private businesses is that they can discriminate on the grounds of religion. If the private sector can not discriminate, then you effectively have authoritarianism.

  • pete

    Yeah i agree Neon Genesis.If you happen to be a christian pharmacist needing to sell a product that needs to be available, doesnt mean you need to take it yourself.

    Andrew Morgan Says:”Should Christian bookstores be forced to carry explicit bestsellers since we have the right to free speech?”

    Do explicit bestsellers need to be sold by folks with a special licences like pharmacists.I just dont see any real connection.

    What if the only hospital in your little town far away from anywhere else, happens to belong to or be run by some freaky faith believer who dont believe folks should have blood transfusions.

    The same thing for marriage licenses if you can only get one through somebody like a judge with a special licence to marry people,then keep your own faith belief out of the business.No body saying you need to marry somebody you dont agree should be married.Its you decide to be in the business of marriage then be prepared to do your job cause you should have thought about what the job might envolve when you decided to make it your profession.

  • Polly

    It may be that the owner of the pharmacy (assuming it’s not the pharmacist himself) would like to be rid of this nuisance employee but can’t fire him because of the risk of a lawsuit? Why not complain to the owner? Maybe he can “re-schedule” the pharmacist or take some other actions that reflect the liability to the business that that pharmacist is creating without actually going as far as firing him?

    I agree 100% that there’s no such thing as a right to be furnished things you’d like to buy.

    As for the lunch counter comparison? Maybe a business should have the right to hire, fire, and deal or not deal with anyone they want? I’m sure that if they want to lose the business, someone else will gladly pick up the slack and make a killing.

    If pharmacists won’t sell you what you want, someone else from somewhere else will gladly set up shop and provide what’s missing. This may even provide impetus for some online transacting in this industry.

    I’m not a Libertarian. I’m not even opposed to government involvement where the problems are too big to be engaged adequately by individuals or firms. But, inviting the government to micromanage your life and your business is usually a bad-trade in my view.

    Plan B is a safe, legal medication which prevents pregnancy and affects one person. A gun is obviously quite different.

    Yeah, for one thing you definitely should avoid self-administering it orally! :)


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