This just in:
I have a question on which I’d like your thoughts. The best hospital and physician group in my area is a Catholic health system. Under a new health plan I’m considering selecting them as my provider of choice. However, as a gay man in California who lived through the Prop 8 disgrace, I am loathe to increase the wealth of, or in any way support, the Catholic Church. The recent flap over contraception has made me even more wary of the Catholic Church’s role in the public/secular sphere.
This hospital does not allow abortions to be performed on premises, which is a position I don’t support.
My dilemma is there are no other hospitals nearby that come close to the quality of care provided by this high-ranking Catholic hospital/health system. What’s your view of the ethics of a gay, pro-choice, pro-contraception person choosing to receive treatment from a Catholic health system?
Dear person who wrote me this:
Hi! Thanks for writing!
Okay, so your caring so much for the bigger picture means that, as far as I’m concerned, you personally deserve the greatest health care in the history of gauze.
That said, my view of the ethics of a pro-choice, pro-contraception person choosing to receive treatment from a Catholic health system is that it depends. After all, it’s only in the strictest philosophical sense that ethics have any appreciable currency at all beyond the realm of everyday life.
The pertinent question here, in other words, isn’t what all people should do under any circumstances. It’s what you should do given your circumstances.
And given only what you’ve here told me, my vote is that you should definitely opt for the healthcare plan that includes the excellent Catholic hospital.
And I think you can do that and sleep perfectly well at night, too. Because Catholics are just like everyone else. Some of them are good, kind, thoughtful, sensitive, aware, and gracious. And some of them are conservatives.
Har! Conservative jokes!!
Well, here on this blog, anyway.
But seriously: Catholics are no more uniform in their actual, personal beliefs than are all the individuals within any other unimaginably gargantuan category of people. Most Catholics I know are so liberal they’d give Benedict a heart attack. They believe in God—not (necessarily) the Pope.
But relative to your insurance plan, so what? When any given health care professional in a Catholic hospital is tending to your needs, you have no idea what their spiritual or political beliefs are. And generally speaking, you don’t care. You just want them to help heal you.
If in their heart of hearts your doctor, nurse, or therapist believes in gay rights, is pro-contraception and sex education, and thinks Pope Benedict’s first name should be Arnold? Cool. And if he or she is secretly anti-gay, pro-ignorance, and thinks all women should remain barefoot and pregnant?
Let them treat you, too.
Let them send you back out into the world, feeling better and ready to carry on fighting the good fight.
You know what they say: He who helps his enemy hurts himself.
Okay, fine, I just made that up. But they should say it, because it’s true.