Separation of Church and State, and State and Medicine

While we all have different opinions of “one nation under God” being a historical statement or one that puts the Church into the State, I think most of us agree that the State shouldn’t have the right to tell the Church what to say. 

I recently read this blog article by Dr. Scherzer on the American Association of Physicians and Surgeon’s website.  What really hit me was the story that unfolded between Dr. Scherzer and one of his patients, who felt that the doctor’s office was no place for a political standing.  Anyone that knows me, knows I’m not the one to get into a political debate with.  I feel that too many people take their political standing to heart and have no interest in listening to the reasoning of the other side.  Some people’s political views are as close to their heart as their religious views, and there is no way to rationalize with someone when their heart is involved like that.  But the doctors of our country didn’t bring the political arena into their offices by choice.  Our government has bullied its way into their private practice, and now that the door is open, doctor’s have every right to an opinion.  If I saw a “Vote for X” sign in my doctor’s office, I’d likely make a mental note, but otherwise ignore it.  It is the same to me as a neighbor who puts a sign up in their yard.  I’m not going to go knock on their door and tell them why I think they are voting for the wrong person.  I acknowledge it, but nothing more.  But when any group is cornered by the government the way our doctors are, they are going to fight back a little bit louder than just a “Vote for X” sign.  You have to expect that.  This doctor didn’t isolate his patients by pulling their records and saying “Oh, you voted for so-and-so.  Well, I can’t treat you.”  That would go against any doctor’s oath.  Doctors aren’t closing thier doors to just the people who voted for Obama, they are closing their doors to everyone because the government is trying to take control of their private practice in a way that doesn’t allow the doctors to do business anymore. 

Be Aware
If you voted for Obamacare, be aware that these doors will close before it goes into effect.

 

From aapsonline.org, by Dr. Scherzer

Being politically active while practicing medicine is fraught with hazard. That is why the majority of physicians remain close-mouthed during this critical time for their profession. Let me provide a few examples.

One new patient walked out after seeing my T Shirt with the 2012 Penny, and heading saying, “Tax for Nothing” (for NOT purchasing health insurance) (AND, simultaneously, “’Thanks’ for Nothing”) – “Obama, We Don’t Want Your Change.”

Another patient (from the UK no less) told me I was being unprofessional, photographed the sign on my door, and walked out. (They were unaware that Governor Jan Brewer had posted a photo of it on her Facebook page months ago.)

For many years I cared for a wonderful fellow who is a local TV weatherman. Long ago, he made it clear that he favors health care for everyone, which he considers a Right. Over the years, we had a number of honest and calm conversations about this issue. Unfortunately, when I posted a sign on my office door saying that, “If you voted for Obamacare, be aware that I will close my doors before it is fully implemented,” he took personal offense.

Upon seeing that message, upset and comfortable, he walked out the day of his appointment this past April. He wrote, informing me he was sorry that he had to discharge himself from my practice. I, in turn, left a phone message telling him I did not accept his discharge, asking him to call back. I pursued this effort several times until he finally did phone me. As luck would have it, his call came while I was riding in a NYC Taxi on my way to the 4/15/10 Tea Party in the Big Apple.

We had a good chat, telling each other that emotions got in the way for both of us. I admitted that if I had to do it again, I would reword my sign, not  mentioning anything about those who voted for the health care bill.

A few weeks later, my patient returned to my office only to find himself overcome by feelings of sadness when he saw the sign that remained on my door. By then I had added two T Shirts to my Anti-Obamacare message.

Almost in tears, he told my back office nurse that he was sorry, but he could not stay. A doctor’s office, he said, should be “Like Church” – and politics should be excluded from it.

Little does he know how intensely we both agree. I wrote him, letting him know how sorry I was that we had parted, and that I had been hoping to welcome him back with a great big Man-hug. There has been no further contact.

I can’t help but wonder if any conscientious Pastor would hold his tongue if Uncle Sam told him what sermons he could read – or not – and how much money should be deposited on the Collection Plate.

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One response

Health care should be separate from government just as the Church is. The government is not permitted to establish a state religion. The result is that there is a plurality of choice for religion in America and religion thrives. The same should not be true for health care but the entire economy. When you examine the issues closely, the difficulties in the economy are invariably due to government intervention. That includes the housing boom and bust, the devalued dollar, the great depression, and high unemployment. The Founders hit the nail on the head when they did not permit the federal government to establish a state religion. They should have carried their logic just a bit further and extend the concept to the economy (not just health care).

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