Saturday, August 23, 2008

Desecration of the Eucharist, Conscience, and P.Z. Myers' Hypocrisy

Patrick Phillips, President of the Catholic Defense League recently said “Michael Leavitt, Secretary of Health and Human Services, representing the Bush administration, ‘got it right’ when he said, ‘Putting doctors (or anyone who assists them) in a position where they are forced to violate their consciences in order to meet a standard of competence violates more than federal law. It violates decency and the core value of personal liberty.’ Leavitt further summed up the issue at stake when he stated, ‘This nation was built on a foundation of free speech. The first principle of free speech is protected conscience’.” Leavitt was speaking about a proposed rule regarding stronger job protection for doctors and other health care workers who refuse to participate in abortion.”

Evolution News and Views is a web page of The Discovery Institute, an organization that promotes Intelligent Design: The misreporting of the evolution issue is one key reason for this site. Unfortunately, much of the news coverage has been sloppy, inaccurate, and in some cases, overtly biased. Evolution News & Views presents analysis of that coverage, as well as original reporting that accurately delivers information about the current state of the debate over Darwinian evolution. Click here to read more.

Desecration of the Eucharist, Conscience, and P.Z. Myers' Hypocrisy

Danio, guest blogger at Pharyngula, has a post advocating the denial of legal protection for health care workers who, because of religious beliefs or other moral objections, refuse to provide services such as abortions or contraception. It’s hard to believe that any person with even a modicum of respect for individual rights would support taking legal sanction against physicians, nurses, and pharmacists who, because of genuine deeply held religious belief or other moral principles, believe that such acts as abortion or contraception are immoral. From the standpoint of traditional medical ethics, healthcare professionals are only under legal compulsion to provide care in a life-saving emergency. The controversial "treatments" in dispute are not emergencies, and are certainly not life-saving. That abortion and contraception aren't life-saving is actually the point of the doctors, nurses, and pharmacists who are acting on conscience.

Danio quotes HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt, who supports the conscience protections of the federal policy:

Is the fear here that so many doctors will refuse that it will somehow make it difficult for a woman to get an abortion? That hasn't happened, but what if it did? Wouldn't that be an important and legitimate social statement?...Does the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association believe we can protect by Constitution, statute and practice rights of free speech, race, religion, and abortion—but not conscience?

Danio replies:

"Social statement?" I can scarcely get my mind around the fact that he is so openly, unapologetically endorsing a policy in which pious opinion would trump secular law.

Danio misses the irony. Pharyngula's own P.Z. Myers has been the beneficiary of lavish free-speech protection, in which his own peculiar "pious" opinion trumps secular law.

To be specific, the University of Minnesota's regulations prohibiting anti-religious bias:

Expressions of disrespectful bias, hate, harassment or hostility against an individual, group or their property because of the individual or group's actual or perceived race, color, creed, religion…can be forms of discrimination. Expressions vary, and can be in the form of language, words, signs, symbols, threats, or actions that could potentially cause alarm, anger, fear, or resentment in others…even when presented as a joke.

Myers, an associate professor at the University of Minnesota, Morris, has been publishing atheist ideology and anti-Christian hatred on Pharyngula for several years while on the Minnesota public payroll. In all likelihood, he's used some public property or publicly financed time to disseminate his spew. Recently, he desecrated the Eucharist by obtaining a consecrated Host, nailing it, throwing it in the garbage, and posting a photograph of it on Pharyngula. One doubts that his prolific bigotry is produced entirely on his own time and resources; the good taxpayers of Minnesota, including devout Catholic taxpayers, likely subsidize this bigot's performance art.

Myers has been protected from the legal consequences of his malicious desecration of the Eucharist. He continues to teach, collect his paycheck, and publish hate. All things considered, I do believe that it is better that he is free to act and express his opinion, regardless of how repellent I (and many others) find his actions. Freedom of expression, whether it is expression of anti-Christian bigotry or a belief in the sanctity of human life or a disagreement with Darwinian orthodoxy in a classroom, is our most important freedom, and I will defend it even for those with whom I most strongly disagree. In fact, I defend it particularly for those with whom I disagree. Yet Myers and his minions, who are obvious beneficiaries of the right of freedom of expression, demand the firing or silencing of scientists and teachers who question Darwinian orthodoxy, and now they have the audacity to demand that the law impose legal and professional sanctions on Christian doctors who in good conscience would not abort a baby.

In the view of Myers and his acolytes, the Constitution protects their own publicly financed dissemination of anti-Christian hatred, but it does not protect teachers' expression of doubts about Darwinism in public schools or doctors' expression of religiously motivated acts of conscience.

Myers and his minions are bigots. And censors. And hypocrites.

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