Don’t Say Anything

Caroline Petrie has gotten her job back – for now. Given the overwhelming support she received in the press (including a petition started by the Daily Telegraph) and the broadcast media, North Somerset Primary Healthcare Trust probably didn’t want the backlash they would face if they sacked her.

That doesn’t mean that healing will be allowed to be associated with the Healer. The officially Christian country is still run by an aggressively anti-Christian Government. The Department of Health has issues guidelines that mean anyone working for the National Health Service who talks about their faith in any way to patients or colleagues could end up joining the ranks of the unemployed. It could be considered harrassment and intimidation.

This is further evidence that we are not living in a non-religious society, but rather an anti-religious society. (Not that I need further evidence, as I am confronted with this every day.) When Mrs Petrie was interviewed on the Jeremy Vine Show on BBC Radio 2, she was followed by an atheist psychologist. This woman was very concerned that someone would ask to pray from an ill person. She expressed that she would be very upset if someone asked to pray for her. (She made the point that she even rebukes those who say “God bless you” in passing.) The guest host of the show couldn’t understand why it would matter if someone wanted to pray to a God the atheist didn’t even believe in. This would obviously be done by someone showing care for her welfare. But for some reason the very mention of God to her is enough to set her off.

How do you hate Someone you don’t even believe exists?

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4 Responses to “Don’t Say Anything”

  1. Elizabeth Says:

    Possibly because deep down she is afraid she may be wrong ?
    If she truly believes God doesn’t exist, why would she expend the effort involved in hating Him ? I would expect her to just laugh off or ignore any mention of God/gods.

    I always say “Bless you !” to anyone who sneezes, even if they are total strangers. Every time, the person concerned has smiled and said “Thank you” to me.

    I wonder how long it will be before this person starts a campaign to have anyone who says such things charged with Hate Crime ?

  2. shamelesslyatheist Says:

    This is not about religious persecution at all. No one is removing Petrie’s right to be a Christian.

    While I do think the hospital was being a bit heavy-handed, at least a caution was called for. Offering a prayer is not part of any standard of care I am aware of and a health care practitioner is there to provide that standard of care. That’s it.

    Petrie overstepped her professional bounds when she offered that prayer, even if the patient was perfectly happy to receive it. It is a matter of ethics and professionalism. If a patient requests a prayer, the professional manner in which to act is to refer that patient to the appropriate chaplin, priest, rabbi, etc. These standards of conduct are there for a reason and belief in god does not give the believer carte blanche to run roughshod over them.

    Here’s a question for you: had Petrie been a practitioner of voodoo, would you be okay with her sacrificing a chicken to Baron Samedi?

    Atheists don’t hate god any more than we hate unicorns by denying their existence. If you are looking for an answer as to why we would not liked to have such an offer even if we know (and from studies on intercessory prayer, we know) they are ineffective, it is simply a matter of respect.

  3. sol Says:

    If sharing one’s faith is intrinsically a part of being a Christian, then to prevent someone from doing this is, in effect, taking away their right to be a Christian.

    A health care practitioner is not a robot. Nor does professionalism mean that faith and its expression can somehow be compartmentalised or segregated. The idea that prayer or spiritual care is the sole responsibility of yet another class of professionals is alien to Christianity. Whilst there are those whose lives are given wholly care of souls, every Christian has the responsibility to share the love of Christ wherever they are and in whatever occupation they find themselves.

    Put another way, you might say that every Christian is there to provide a standard of care. If someone rejects that care, that is their choice. The standards of conduct are provided by the Jesus in the Gospels and Paul and other writers in the New Testament epistles.

    If Petrie had been a practitioner of voodoo, I would be okay with her sacrificing a chicken if that’s what the patient wanted, though of course reasonable precautions should be taken to make sure the patient’s condition will not be adversely affected by the presence of a live, or soon to be thereafter dead, chicken. If the patient didn’t want that, she should say, “No thank you, though it is kind of you to offer.”

    I’m glad to hear that as an atheist, you don’t hate God any more than you hate anything else the existence of which you deny. I can tell you from long experience, a number of atheists do not think so logically. I deal with them on a regularly basis.

  4. Carl Bogus Says:

    I don’t mind the sentiment. At least, I don’t mind it from those with half a clue about US history. The very reason this nation was founded was to build a form of government quite different and distinct from anything else available in the world. Why are some people so insistent that now, after the success of the concept has been historically validated, we scrap it and govern ourselves like every other nation when the very intent was to do just the opposite? To those people I would ask, why do want to make the US into something that has already proven itself less prosperous. If they’re that enamored by it, go live there. I’m not defending our flaws, but we shouldn’t try to fix them by yanking the foundation out from under ourselves.


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