Posted by Christopher Johnson | Monday, March 30th, 2009 | Uncategorized | 42 Comments
Don’t get Katherine Ragsdale wrong. No one supports freedom of conscience more strongly than Katie Rags. As long as your stupid conscience does what she tells it to:
Let me say a bit more about that, because the religious community has long been an advocate of taking principled stands of conscience – even when such stands require civil disobedience. We’ve supported conscientious objectors, the Underground Railroad, freedom riders, sanctuary seekers, and anti-apartheid protestors. We support people who put their freedom and safety at risk for principles they believe in.
But let’s be clear, there’s a world of difference between those who engage in such civil disobedience, and pay the price, and doctors and pharmacists who insist that the rest of the world reorder itself to protect their consciences – that others pay the price for their principles.
This isn’t particularly complicated. If your conscience forbids you to carry arms, don’t join the military or become a police officer. If you have qualms about animal experimentation, think hard before choosing to go into medical research. And, if you’re not prepared to provide the full range of reproductive health care (or prescriptions) to any woman who needs it then don’t go into obstetrics and gynecology, or internal or emergency medicine, or pharmacology. Choose another field! We’ll respect your consciences when you begin to take responsibility for them.
If you’ve read much antebellum American history, you probably recognize that argument. Think chattel slavery is a great evil? That’s your right. Want to ban chattel slavery in your state? That’s also your right. But it is not your right to demand that I agree with your view of the world.
Once again, we see the modern Episcopal weltanschauung in full flower. There is only one right answer. Mine. So we need to keep talking until you realize how right I am.
But Katie Rags takes matters a step further. In her ideal world, if you think that the unborn are human beings, you would literally be forbidden from holding certain professions. You couldn’t be a doctor or a nurse or a pharmacist or any other kind of medical professional. Ever.
Unless, of course, you decide that your principles really don’t matter that much and whore them out to the Zeitgeist like Katie Rags did. In which case, the sky’s the limit.