Medicare vs. Religion

img_0050My father is a chronic pain sufferer.  He is 69 years old and has undergone a heart attack, triple bypass surgery, high blood pressure and cholesterol, a detached retina, and now he can’t walk for more than a few minutes without being in severe pain.  He has a complete pharmacy in his medicine cabinet. He is on Medicare and Medicaid and recently I took him to Pain Management Associates at 15 Park Creek Dr.  Near Greenville Memorial Hospital.  This is one of the only Pain Management places in

Greenville and this is where his personal physician referred him.  This place really wanted every one who came their to realize that these doctors put their faith in the lord and if you want to be pain free, you better do it too.

I don’t have a img_0051problem with a private business displaying whatever they want to on their own property, but when they are graciously excepting our tax dollars to treat patients, does this violate the the separation of church and state?  I don’t know?  I have to think on it more and maybe read some case law but it seems to me that if my father is on government assistance and their is not a secular choice for his pain management, then the religious imagery should be taken down.  On top of that, what the fuck are these doctors trying to say?  That medicine doesn’t matter?  Faith will cure your pain?  If that’s the case, my father’s personal physician should have referred him to church.


8 Responses to “Medicare vs. Religion”

  1. phillipnathan Says:

    Obviously I am a little slanted on this issue. But as slanted as I may be, I shall give my honest opinion on this matter. Some years ago, I spent my time as a volunteer chaplain at a hospital. As a chaplain I had to take an open approach to dealing with all persons equally, regardless of religous affiliation. The whole seperation of church and state is an issue that is and has been an indifferance for me personally. I am open minded, I am one that takes a step back looks at the position of all involved. In my experience with persons that have been ill, or who are in recovery tend to be open to religion. Albeit, those who I have had the experience with were also of religious affiliation. I might have come across an athiest or two, but they did not tell me. I look at it this way, we each have a right to show our belief. This is not seperation of church or state. But, I do feel that it is inapropriate if you are funded by government dollers, and you do not specify pubicly that you are a religously affiliated, then yes, it is not right. But if the office does confess religous affiliation, then no, I dont feel it inapppropriate. And yes, if it is the case that medicine doesnt matter, then I will gladly pray for him, and I will do it for free….

  2. @phillipnathan

    The problem with praying for people is that its a bit of a slap in the face to non-religious people, just as someone sacrificing a goat and blessing you with snake oils. In essence you are saying “fuck you, I’ll subject you to my religions ritualism whether you want it or not”.

  3. phillipnathan Says:

    Well, if I do pray for someone, what would it matter if they do not believe. In their mind wouldn’t I just be talking to myself anyway?? As far as the snake oil goes, it only works if it is extra virgin.

    Prayerfully yours…..

  4. It matters because you are forcing someone to be a secondhand part in your specific ritual, and its also arrogant. I’m pretty sure both of those problems could be solved by not telling the person that they are being prayed for.

  5. sorry to hear about the pain your father is suffering. I’d tell you I will pray for him but that is not what you wish. 😉 I will say that there are numerous studies out now that show pain diminishes with people who profess a faith in God.
    As for whether or not there should be displays reflecting faith – the separation of church and state was not to keep church out of the state but to keep the state out of the church. Many people have tried to make it something it wasn’t. They came here to be free from the ‘government’ meddling into their religious beliefs.
    Many hospitals have a Catholic history. This does not mean every doctor believes or that it is shoveled down the persons throat like medicine.
    One look at Washington D.C. and you see the 10 commandments etched in the brick/cement of many of the buildings.

  6. Gloria,

    Thank you for your thoughts. My father is a Catholic and would appreciate the prayers.

    I would like to challenge you on your statement that about the separation of church and state. The Establishment and Free Exercise clauses in the first amendment of the constitution states the following:
    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

    This wording specifically states that the government cannot establish any kind of state sponsored religion and it specifically states that citizens can practice which ever religion they choose, or none at all.

    The majority of the founding fathers were not Christians, they were deists. Not only that, but Franklin, Jefferson and Adams all had a strong distaste for Christians and Christianity. This clause was put into the constitution because they fought partially to be free from the rule of the Church of England and they wanted to make sure that religion would not have that kind of power over the new fledgling democracy. Not the other way around.

    Benjamin Franklin:

    “The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason.” Benjamin Franklin Poor Richard’s Almanack, 1758

    “Lighthouses are more helpful than churches.”

    “He (the Rev. Mr. Whitefield) used, indeed, sometimes to pray for my conversion, but never had the satisfaction of believing that his prayers were heard.”

    “I have found Christian dogma unintelligible. Early in life, I absenteed myself from Christian assemblies.”

    “Some volumes against Deism fell into my hands. They were said to be the substance of sermons preached at Boyle’s Lecture. It happened that they produced on me an effect precisely the reverse of what was intended by the writers; for the arguments of the Deists, which were cited in order to be refuted, appealed to me much more forcibly than the refutation itself. In a word, I soon became a thorough Deist.” Benjamin Franklin, from his autobiography

    George Washington:

    “Religious controversies are always productive of more acrimony and irreconcilable hatreds than those which spring from any other cause. I had hoped that liberal and enlightened thought would have reconciled the Christians so that their [not our?] religious fights would not endanger the peace of Society.” George Washington Letter to Sir Edward Newenham, June 22, 1792

    John Adams:

    “The divinity of Jesus is made a convenient cover for absurdity.” John Adams

    “The government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.” John Adams, Treaty of Tripoli, article 11

    “But how has it happened that millions of fables, tales, legends, have been blended with both Jewish and Christian revelation that have made them the most bloody religion that ever existed.” John Adams, letters to family and other leaders 1735-1826

    Thomas Jefferson:

    “Millions of innocent men, women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burned, tortured, fined, and imprisoned, yet we have not advanced one inch toward uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half of the world fools and the other half hypocrites.” Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Virginia

    “The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the Supreme Being as His father, in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter.” Thomas Jefferson, Letter to John Adams, April 11, 1823

    To say that this country was founded as a Christian nation is a falsehood.

  7. to say I am impressed with your list of quotes would be true. If I had the time (more importantly if I thought it would really matter) I could put together a list of quotes also. I think it is safe to say for every quote against christianity there is a quote for it.
    Here are some other tidbits (not a complete listing)
    looking up over the Speaker of the House in the US Capitol are the words “In God We Trust.”
    The Supreme Court building has carvings of Moses and the Ten Commandments.
    God is mentioned in stone all over Washington D.C., on its monuments and buildings.
    As a nation, we have celebrated Christmas to commemorate the Savior’s birth for centuries.
    Prayers have been said at the swearing in of each president.
    Each president was sworn in on the Bible, saying the words, “So help me God.”
    Our national anthem mentions God.
    The liberty bell has a Bible verse engraved on it.
    The original constitution of all 50 states mentions God.
    Chaplains have been on the public payroll from the very beginning.
    Our nations birth certificate, the Declaration of Independence, mentions God four times.
    The Bible was used as a textbook in the schools for many years
    and of course our money still says “In God we trust”
    now there is a move to change all of that but obviously it is a part of history.
    Mandated religion absolutely not but there is evidence to show that keeping God out was not the plan.

  8. Geez, I’m surprised you didn’t mention the words under god in the pledge (note, the national anthem is not the pledge. the anthem does mention god, but only at the bottom verse, which I doubt most people have heard). Just because our symbols of state and country are covered in symbols of ritual of a particular faith does not a christian country make. If that were the case then one could argue that New England is a christian nation, and that Australia is a dreamer nation (aboriginal religion). You must look to a country’s laws to determine whether it be religious or secular or atheistic. In the case of turkey, its religious. In the case of China, its atheistic. In the case of the US, it is secular. The USA permits ALL religions, has a fundamental separation of church and state, and allows its politicians and other government employees to be as religious or irreligious as they’d like.

    note: you do know that “in god we trust” was added to the one, two, and three cent coins during the civil war to help raise the god fearing young men into fighting the war, right? The slogan was adopted to more and more coins slowly, and after a little over 100 years, every dollar bill being produced said in god we trust. The 1860’s-1960’s weren’t exactly the birthtime of our country, at which time the money said “long live the king”**.

    **as long as he stays the hell away from our newly founded country.

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