Assault on pro-life doctors

8928257201_d2ce02e317_zThe Hippocratic Oath specifically forbids physicians from committing abortion or euthanasia.  So that oath isn’t used much in the medical profession any more.  But doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals in the United States can still refuse to perform abortions on the grounds of conscience.

But now a concerted effort is underway to eliminate that conscience provision.  Lawmakers, professional organizations, and medical ethicists are considering making it a requirement that doctors do whatever their patients request.  “Personal morality has no place in medical practice.”

Under the proposed changes, a pro-life obstetrician must either perform the abortion or arrange for someone else to do it.  Or go into a different specialty.  Or leave the medical profession.

Wesley J. Smith reports on what is happening, linked after the jump, focusing on a recent article in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine. [Read more…]

Fox News co-president is ousted

512px-Fox_News_Channel_logoFox News has been a successful conservative-leaning news network.  But it seems to be coming apart.

First, its president Roger Ailes lost his job for sexual harassment.  Recently, the same charges brought down its biggest star, Bill O’Reilly.  And a group of black employees is suing Fox for racial discrimination.

Now Bill Shine, the co-president who succeeded Ailes, has lost his job, reportedly for not taking action when all of these complaints came up during his watch.

The owner of the network, Rupert Murdoch, and his sons who have taken over the business have fired Shine, with possibly more changes to come.

Are we seeing the end of conservative news? [Read more…]

Sexual harassment brings down Bill O’Reilly

512px-Bill_O'Reilly_at_the_World_Affairs_Council_of_Philadelphia_(cropped)Fox News sacrificed its top-rated program by firing Bill O’Reilly for multiple charges of sexual harassment.  The same charge earlier brought down the head of Fox News, Roger Ailes.

Other conservatives have recently been brought down by sex scandals, including the governor of Alabama.  Here in Oklahoma, a state legislator was ousted for sexual harassment after doing things like making his executive assistant go with him to strip clubs.

What can explain such behavior?  I know, original sin.  But surely simple decency, good manners, and common sense–the first use of the law–can restrain at least the most grotesque external expression of our inner lusts.  What these men were accused of doing is certainly not “conservative” behavior.  And it hurts the credibility of conservatives everywhere.

Photo, Bill O’Reilly at the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia.jpg: World Affairs Council of Philadelphia derivative work: Karppinen [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons [Read more…]

Student suspended for disagreeing with Muslim professor

male-213729_640Muslims believe that Jesus was not really crucified.  According to the Qur’an, 

That they said (in boast), “We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah“;- but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no (certain) knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they killed him not:-
Nay, Allah raised him up unto Himself; and Allah is Exalted in Power.  (Qur’an, sura 4 (An-Nisa) ayat 157-158)

This is taken to mean either that Allah substituted someone else for Jesus, making the other person look like the “prophet,” or that he created an illusion so that a spirit-shape only appeared to be Jesus, which was the teaching of some Gnostics.  In any event, Muslims believe that Jesus, while He existed and was a great prophet, did not really die on the Cross, but that He was rather taken up into Heaven.

At Rollins College, a Muslim professor, in light of his religious commitment, claimed outright that Jesus’s crucifixion was a hoax.  A Christian student took issue with that and argued otherwise.  Whereupon he failed the class and got suspended from school.

Let me offer some perspective based on my four decades as a professor:  In a secular school, professors may talk about religion, including their own, as long as it is relevant to the course and as long as they do so objectively, without imposing their religious views on their students.  In discussing Milton, even when I was teaching in a secular college, I could talk about the Christian concepts of creation, fall, and redemption.  “This is what Milton believed.  You need to know this to understand Paradise Lost.”

The professor here could say, “We Muslims don’t believe that Jesus died on the cross.”  That would be interesting and could prompt some illuminating discussion.  But in claiming outright that Jesus’s death was a “hoax” and then punishing a student for disagreeing, in accord with his own Christian religion, the professor was clearly “imposing” his religious beliefs on the class.  Professors aren’t supposed to do that.

But what about issues of diversity?  Wasn’t the student being insensitive to the professor’s religious beliefs?  Cultural diversity, sensitivity, tolerance, etc., are supposed to manifest themselves in the way faculty members treat students!  Not the way students treat faculty!

Faculty members have the power here.  It’s their job to treat their students appropriately, including showing respect for their religious sensibilities.

I don’t know the whole story.  Maybe the student was disruptive, disrespectful, and breaking other campus rules.  But treating Muslims equally means holding Muslim professors to the same standards as Christian professors in the way they handle their religious beliefs in their classes. [Read more…]

Group morality vs. individual morality

In the context of a discussion of the conflict between education secretary Betsy DeVos and the teachers’ unions, S. M. Hutchens cites an interesting point made by the late theologian Reinhold Niebuhr.

In his book Moral Man and Immoral Society, Niebuhr contrasts group morality to individual morality.  Groups form a “collective egoism” that resists self-criticism.  Whereas individuals are capable of repentance and change.

What are some applications of this observation?

[Read more…]

Starving patients to death

starvation_by_ivnkadsyra-d4f57bcEuthanasia laws have a way of expanding.  Once a society accepts the concept that sick people should be “put out of their misery,” the benefit can be applied ever more broadly–to those who are not terminally ill, just depressed; to people who cannot give consent; to the mentally handicapped; to children.  What begins as a humane-sounding way to end heart-breaking suffering, to be used only in rare and carefully defined cases, turns into something ever-more brutal.

Oregon legalized assisted suicide in 1997.  A new law would allow caregivers to deny food to those who have written an advance-care directive allowing for non-treatment.  Not just intravenous nutrition, but actual eating and drinking, even if the patient is hungry and wants to eat. [Read more…]