Monday, October 29, 2007

Papal dispensation

There is a problem with this present Pope:

Pope Benedict XVI urged Catholic pharmacists on Monday to use conscientious objection to avoid dispensing drugs with "immoral purposes such as, for example, abortion or euthanasia."
He really doesn't get the separation of church and state idea.


Anonymous said...

You shouldnt be a pharmacist if you wont do your job properly.

The increasingly shrill voices against abortion are not only blurring the real facts in the debate but adding to this sort of impetus. It is quite possible that the American abortion lies and fraudulent tactics will find their way here properly. Such as stating the morning after pill is an abortifacient. The lack of will power of this government to face down Islamic tub thumpers has given others, like the Pope, renewed momentum.

Peter Risdon said...

The lack of will power of this government to face down Islamic tub thumpers has given others, like the Pope, renewed momentum.


Anonymous said...

Not sure how this is a 'church-state' issue. Could you amplify?

Anonymous said...

Are pharmacies over there state-owned? They're private institutions here.

Peter Risdon said...

Eric, the Catholic Church is increasingly interfering in politics. Last election, they advised people which grounds they should vote on; that's getting close to saying which candidates, which Muslim mosques do - which is why politicians court the mosques and visit them in the build-up to elections.

A secular state relies on people voting as individuals, rather than blocks.

Using the name of conscience as an opt out from societal requirements of professions is another religious encroachment on the secular state. You'll wind up having to choose your pharmacist by religion. But this isn't the aim of the church. Ultimately, this is a level to try to change public policy. The way to change policy is by debate, not boycott. In the latter case, the strongest religion wins. Then we don't have a secular state any more.

Prof, they are (on the whole) private, but socialised medicine means they're working for the state. They get paid by the state on a set scale of fees for dispensing. Only the hairbrushes and shampoos they sell alongside the pharmacy are genuinely private trade.

JohnM said...

A secular state relies on people voting as individuals, rather than blocks.

Let's recognise a distinction.

1. Organisation X tells its members how to vote, and takes actions such as collecting their ballot papers and filling them in, or threatening the person who fail to adhere.

2. Organisation Y tells its members how to vote and ejects those who publicly those who reject it's advice.

3. Organisation Z tells its members how to vote and takes no action against anyone who argues otherwise.

4. Organisation W does not tell its members how to vote because it considers it out of scope.

In other words, there are two elements: the advice and the actions following the advice.

It seems to me that there are many organisations that recommend voting policy for members, including campaign groups, political parties and congregations. I do not think it very liberal to suggest that some organisations can offer advice and others not. How is a libertarian to determine which organisations can legitimately offer advise? can the Batley Model Railway society tell it's members how to vote? In short, I see no reason to preclude any organisation (except a state one) from advising it's members on how to vote or from preventing citizens from creating an organisation that intend to offer advice.

We therefore have to consider the actions that an organisation takes in regard of it's members. I would suggest that any voluntary organisation can set it's own rules. And that includes expecting that members adhere to those rules at the risk of expulsion. Members who disagree can then either attempt to change the rules or leave. Again I see no libertarian argument against this.

Organisations who not only tell their members how to vote but take action to ensure that their will is enforced do not adhere to libertarian principles. I think we can safely condemn them without throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

At the risk of being controversial I think the Catholic church or indeed Islam has the right to eject anyone they deem to have broken their rules, but I do not think they have the right to harass or threaten the life, limb or property of said people. Liberty is the right for some iman to call Ayaan Hirsi Ali a bad or a non-Muslim. Liberty is not the right to threaten to kill Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

And to go back to your pharmacist. Why on earth should every pharmacist be the same? A few years ago many newsagents in Liverpool refused to stock the Sun. Many newsagents refuse to stock pornography - should we make them? Is it not enough that in a country where the majority support abortion that the majority of pharmacists take practical steps to do the same?

Try and think of something you disagree with that is now lawful. Should nurses be forced to assist lobotomies? How do you feel about Swedish nurses being forced to assist with state mandated sterilisations (stopped in 1970s)? Perhaps you have no moral qualms about anything.

[Before we get deep, let me say I'm an atheist who supports abortion].