Separation of religion and medicine?

Separation of religion and medicine? January 16, 2014


Religion in the sick room

Last Friday I was sitting at the local urgent care type facility, waiting for the doc to come back with confirmation that my partner had the flu. I had finished catching up on all my emails (thanks to technology and a really smart phone). I immediately became bored (I try to not play games on my phone), and began perusing the sick room we were in. My girl was on the bed cot sleeping while we waited, and having looked through the many pamphlets on the wall, I turned to look at the single holder for magazines next to the counter sink that had enough room for 5 or 6 magazines, and a Bible.

Now, I had scanned this magazine holder upon first entry into the sick room. This second perusal had me realizing upon that first scan, it did NOT even register in my brain that the bible was even there! I recall seeing the magazines, but not that brown covered book. Wow. Some serious self-reflection arose as to what the meaning of overlooking something so simple could possibly mean. But that’s a topic for another day.

After I finished my self-reflective rumination, it immediately hit me that we were sitting in a doctor’s office.  Not a church.  Not a synagogue. We were not in a place that had anything to do with worship whatsoever. So why was this Bible even in here?

Then it hit me that most of the patients that visited these sick rooms would most likely be Christian. Not that that’s a bad thing, or anything. If a patient that is a follower of the Christian religion were to come in to sick unit, in dire straits, it would probably help to pick up that handy Bible and go straight to their favorite chapter and verse to calm their frazzled nerves.

But, then, I had to ask, where is the Qur’an for the potential Muslim that might come in here sick? How about some Vedic scriptures for the Hindu? A Jewish person was covered, for the Old Testament was in the first section of that book.  Yet, that section just isn’t the same as the Torah.  A thorough search in the sick room did not yield a copy of the Tao te Ching (of which I’m quite partial to, so definitely would have picked it up and started at my favorite verse, number 27, had it been there).

Essentially, my point is this:  if any particular place of business is going to go to the trouble to offer solace to the wandering religious community member, in all fairness, all religious scriptures, texts, or verses should be showcased, as was that Bible.  As a pragmatic community member, I’m really not of the opinion that religious text should even be in a doctor’s office.  But I liken it to that old phrase, “separation of Church and State” never really happens. So why should there be separation of medicine and religion?


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