If I were ill, I would be very glad to have nurse Petrie looking after me -- atheist though I am!
A wave of support for the nurse suspended for offering to pray for a patient gathered pace yesterday as medical and religious bodies rallied behind her cause. As health chaplains called for new NHS guidelines over spiritual care, the Christian Medical Fellowship said Caroline Petrie's removal amounted to 'religious discrimination'. The Royal College of Nursing promised to back her disciplinary case.
Committed Christian Mrs Petrie, 45, faces disciplinary action after being accused of failing to show a commitment to equality and diversity. She could be sacked after asking an elderly patient if she wanted her to pray for her. The patient, May Phippen, 79, was not upset or offended but told another nurse she found it strange and it might be upsetting or offensive to others.
Reverend Mark Stobert, vice-president of the College of Healthcare Chaplains, yesterday called for clearer guidelines to help avoid a repeat of what happened to the community nurse. He said: 'It can be argued there's a spiritual aspect to all types of care. We have been suggesting that a more organised spiritual care framework is established in the NHS in England. Such a system exists in Scotland and Wales, and we would renew our calls for something similar to be set up here too. 'It would mean individuals would be clearer about what they can and cannot do.'
Mrs Petrie, of Weston-super-Mare, North Somerset, is being supported by the RCN in the case which has been brought against her by the primary care trust for which she works as a 10 pounds-an-hour supply nurse.
The Christian Medical Fellowship's general secretary Peter Saunders said there were thousands of Christian healthcare workers and those of other faiths for whom prayer was a normal daily part of their lives. He said: 'Suspension simply for inquiring about the appropriateness of prayer is not only an act of religious discrimination but will undermine the proper provision of spiritual care in the NHS. 'Appropriate enquiries about patients' beliefs are an essential part of whole person care without which a comprehensive plan of care is less achievable. 'A sensitive inquiry as to whether a patient would value prayer may well be an appropriate part of a medical consultation especially in an NHS where some NHS trusts actually pay spiritual healers as part of the care team.
The NHS Scotland guidance states that 'while it is important that the patient's right to confidentiality is respected, it is also important to ensure this does not result in a failure to provide patients with the available spiritual or religious care'.
Some comments from Richard Littlejohn
Nurse Caroline Petrie has been suspended and could even be struck off. What was her offence? Did she turn up drunk? Did she dispense the wrong medicine or forget to empty a bedpan? Was she knocking out prescription drugs to the local pusher? Perhaps she was guilty of neglect, of deliberate cruelty, or of practising a bit of freelance euthanasia.
No. Her 'crime' was to offer to say a prayer for one old lady on the ward. It's what we used to call an act of Christian charity. But that was enough to bring her to the attention of the 'diversity' nazis at the North Somerset Primary Care Trust.
Administrator Alison Withers wrote to her: 'As a nurse you are required to uphold the reputation of your profession. Your NMC (Nursing Midwifery Council) code states that "you must demonstrate a personal and professional commitment to equality and diversity", and "you must not use your professional status to promote causes that are not related to health".' She didn't explain how innocently volunteering to pray for a patient brought the game into disrepute or how it compromised Mrs Petrie's discharge of her professional duties.
The power of prayer has long been acknowledged as part of the healing process. That's why hospitals have chaplains and there are Bibles in bedside cabinets. All over the world, nuns double as nurses. So what is so heinous about Mrs Petrie praying for her patients?
The truth is that Christianity forms no part of the 'diversity' agenda. As I wrote on Friday, in relation to the gay adoption scandal in Edinburgh, the only religion that official Britain recognises is 'diversity' itself. The NHS, like every single one of our institutions, long ago fell to the Guardianistas, who pursue their agenda with a deranged zeal.
While they genuflect to Islam and 'respect' every oddball religion from paganism to devil-worship, they despise Britain's Judeo-Christian tradition and use every extent of their powers to crush it. It's only Christianity which is singled out for such vilification, as with the airport worker suspended for wearing a crucifix and the devout Christian registrar threatened with the sack for refusing to perform homosexual marriages.
Just imagine how they would have reacted had Mrs Petrie been a Muslim offering to pray to Allah for a patient's recovery. Anyone who objected would be accused of a 'hate crime' and dumped in a skip at the back of the mortuary.
What kind of sick society have we become where self-righteous sneaks can ruin someone's career? That this happened in North Somerset and not in one of the barmier inner-city boroughs only serves to illustrate the depths to which the Guardianistas have insinuated themselves into the system. This is what the small print at the bottom of all those public sector job adverts means in reality. 'Diversity' is just another way of persecuting decent people trying to go about their daily business. This is 'investing in diversity' in action. What else do you think all those equality managers do all day?
The most intolerant people in Britain are always those who preach 'tolerance' most loudly. How does victimising Mrs Petrie square with not promoting 'causes that are not related to health'? Isn't that exactly what the hospital authorities themselves are doing? Why should Mrs Petrie, or anyone else, have to 'demonstrate a personal commitment to equality and diversity'? She can harbour whatever beliefs she likes, provided it doesn't interfere with her professionalism.
There's only one word to describe hatchet-faced harridans like administrator Alison Withers and the tell-tale creeps trying to get a dedicated nurse such as Caroline Petrie sacked for dispensing a little Christian kindness. Sick.
Liberals And Free Speech
In an interesting post today, Ilya Somin criticizes President Obama's assertion, in his inaugural address, that "The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works." Here's Somin:
This is a commonly heard argument in response to concerns about the growth of government. Who could possibly be against government when it "works"? Why not instead consider each proposed expansion of the state on a case by case basis, supporting those that "work" and opposing any that don't?But, as Somin surely knows, this argument is more than "taken seriously" by liberals today. Indeed, they assert and affirm it vigorously, even to the point of arguing that government should regulate speech in a way that restricts the speech of the powerful in order to enhance the speech of the less powerful. As long ago as 2002 I noted (here):
Taken seriously, this argument leads to the rejection of any systematic constraints on government power. Why should we have a general presumption against government regulation of speech or religion? Why not instead support censorship when it "works" by improving the marketplace of ideas, and oppose it when it doesn't? Think of all the misleading speech and religious charlatans that government regulation could potentially save us from!....
From John Stuart Mill on one of the central commitments of liberalism was to free speech. Insofar as American liberals have had a religion, one of its central tenets had always been the sanctity of the First Amendment's free speech protections. In the late 20th Century, however, much of mainstream liberalism turned away from that formerly firm conviction. Feminists favored laws against pornography. Civil rights advocates favored punishment of hate speech. Campaign finance law reformers even favored limitations on political speech, and leading liberal academics (Owen Fiss at Yale, Cass Sunstein at Chicago) began to argue that the speech of some should be limited so that the speech of others could be enhanced....Similarly, I began a post in 2006 on "The Degradation of American Liberalism" by quoting from the following from a George Will column:
For several decades in America, the aim of much of the jurisprudential thought about the First Amendment's free-speech provision has been to justify contracting its protections. Freedom of speech is increasingly "balanced" against "competing values." As a result, it is whittled down, often by seemingly innocuous increments, to a minor constitutional afterthought.I then added that I thought Will's argument
On campuses, speech codes have abridged the right of free expression to protect the right -- for such it has become -- of certain preferred groups to not be offended. The NCAA is truncating the right of some schools to express their identity using mascots deemed "insensitive" to the feelings of this or that grievance group. Campaign finance laws ration the amount and control the timing and content of political speech. The right to free political speech is now "balanced" against society's interest in leveling the political playing field, or elevating the tone of civic discourse, or enabling politicians to spend less time soliciting contributions, or allowing candidates to control the content of their campaigns, or dispelling the "appearance" of corruption, etc.
To protect the fragile flower of womanhood, a judge has ruled that use of gender-based terms such as "foreman" or "draftsman" could create a "hostile environment" and hence constitute sexual harassment. To improve all of us, people with various agendas are itching to get government to regulate speech of this or that sort.
could, and thus should, have been even stronger. For the past generation the best and brightest liberal scholars - especially but not limited to those teaching in law schools - have been hard at work creating, developing, and refining highly sophisticated theories to justify restrictions on speech (see, for example, books by Owen Fiss at Yale and Cass Sunstein at Chicago)....Here's an earlier Will column making the same points, with criticism of "a symptomatic new book, `Republic.Com,' by University of Chicago law professor Cass Sunstein. Sunstein, who is now at Harvard and who has famously called for "a New Deal for Free Speech" that would regulate speech for purposes, and in ways, similar to the way the old New Deal pioneered regulation of the economy, has recently been selected by President Obama to head the very influential Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs.
In his new position, Sunstein will oversee reform of regulations, seeking to find smarter approaches and better results in health, environment and other domestic areas, a transition source said. The office Sunstein will head is part of the Office of Management and Budget and is responsible for reviewing draft regulations and overseeing the implementation of government-wide policies aimed at making federal agencies more efficient, according to the mission statement on its Web site.Hold onto your old First Amendment!
Where Nations Go to Die
You say "stimulus," I hear "syphilis."
By Mark Steyn
Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, is on TV explaining the (at this point the congregation shall fall to its knees and prostrate itself) "stimulus." "How," asks the lady from CBS, "does $335 million in STD prevention stimulate the economy?" "I'll tell you how," says Speaker Pelosi. "I'm a big believer in prevention. And we have, er, there is a part of the bill on the House side that is about prevention. It's about it being less expensive to the states to do these measures."
Makes a lot of sense. If we have more STD prevention, it will be safer for loose women to go into bars and pick up feckless men, thus stimulating the critical beer and nuts and jukebox industries. To do this, we need trillion-dollar deficits, which our children and grandchildren will have to pay off-but, with sufficient investment in prevention measures, there won't be any children or grandchildren, so there's that problem solved.
The more interviews Speaker Pelosi gives explaining how vital the STD industry is to restarting the U.S. economy, the more I find myself hearing "syphilis" every time she says "stimulus." In late September, America was showing the first signs of "primary stimulus"-a few billion lesions popping up on the rarely glimpsed naughty bits of the economy: the subprime mortgage racket, the leverage kings. Now, the condition has metastasized in a mere four months into the advanced stages of "tertiary stimulus," with trillions of hideous, ever more inflamed pustules sprouting in every nook and cranny as the central nervous system of the body politic crumbles into total insanity-until it seems entirely normal for the second-in-line of presidential succession to be on TV gibbering away about how vital the federalization of condom distribution is to economic recovery.
The rules in this new "post-partisan" era are pretty simple: If the Democratic party wants it, it's "stimulus." If the Republican party opposes it, it's "politics"-as in headlines like this: "Obama Urges GOP To Keep Politics To A Minimum On Stimulus." These are serious times: As the president says, it's the worst economic crisis since the Thirties. So politicians need to put politics behind them and immediately lavish $4.19 billion on his community-organizing pals at the highly inventive "voter registration" group ACORN for "neighborhood stabilization activities."
"Neighborhood stabilization activities." That sounds like a line item from the Baath-party budget when Saddam sends the lads in to gas the Kurds. What does it mean in a non-totalitarian sense? Do you need a federally subsidized condom to do it? If so, will a pathetic $4.19 billion be enough?
"Stimulus" comes from the verb stimulare, which is Latin for "transfer massive sums of money from what remains of the dynamic sector of the economy to the special interests of the Democratic party." No, hang on, my mistake. Stimulare means "to goad." And, on that front, the Democrats are doing an excellent job. They've managed to goad 58 percent of the American people into opposing the "stimulus" package. They've managed to goad all 177 Republicans in the House into unpacking their mothballed cojones and voting against the bill. And they've managed to goad the rest of the world into ending the Obama honeymoon in nothing flat. Headline from the London Daily Telegraph: "US-EU Trade War Looms As Barack Obama Bill Urges `Buy American.' "
That would be the provision in the Senate bill prohibiting any foreign-made goods from being used in "stimulus" projects. So, if you own a rubber plantation in Malaysia and you're hoping for a piece of Nancy Pelosi's condom action, forget it. The EU trade commissioner is outraged at the swaggering cowboy Obama shooting from the hip and unilaterally banning European goods from American soil. But so are American companies such as General Electric. Bill Lane, an executive honcho with Caterpillar (the tenth biggest U.S. investor in the United Kingdom), says, "We are students of history. A major reason a very deep recession turned into the Great Depression was the fact that countries turned inward." Ah, yes. The Buy American Act of 1933. How'd that work out?
Even without Speaker Pelosi talking STD on the evening news, there is danger here for the new administration. Setting aside the more messianic effusions ("We needed him. And out of that great need," gushed Maya Angelou, "Barack Obama came.") as unbecoming to the freeborn citizens of a constitutional republic, it seems clear that large numbers of people voted for this president because they wanted something different, something other than "politics as usual." Not just something pseudo-different like the dreary maverickiness of John McCain "reaching across the aisle" (one of those dead phrases no one outside the Beltway gives a hoot about), but something really different. But the "stimulus" package is just politics as usual with a few extra zeroes on the end. Will you notice anything? No. Don't get your hopes up. If you're broke now, you'll be broke in October. The Congressional Budget Office estimates only 25 percent of it will be spent by early next year. The other 75 percent is as stimulating as the gal in the Nancy Pelosi Pussycat Lounge telling you she had such a good time she's penciled in a second date for spring 2010. A third of all the spending won't come until after 2011.
In a media age, politics is a battle of language, and "stimulus" is too good a word to cede to porked-up statist hacks. "Stimulus" has to stimulate-i.e., it's short-term, like, say, an immediate cut in payroll taxes that will put real actual money in your pocket in next month's paycheck. That way, you don't need to wait for ACORN: You can start "stabilizing" your own "neighborhood" right now.
But, if this fraudulent "stimulus" does pass, it will, in fact, de-stimulate, and much more than the disastrous protectionist measures of the Thirties did: Back then, America was dealing with a far less globalized economy, and with far fewer competitors. "In the long run, we are all dead," Lord Keynes, the newly fashionable economist, famously said. But, if this bill passes, in the medium term, we're all dead. It's a massive expansion of the state in the same direction that has brought sclerosis to Europe. A report issued last week in London found that government spending now accounts for 49 percent of the U.K. economy-and in the Celtic corners of the kingdom the state's share of the economy is way higher, from 71.6 percent in Wales to 77.6 percent in Northern Ireland. In the western world, countries that were once the crucible of freedom are slipping remorselessly into a thinly disguised serfdom in which an ever-higher proportion of your assets are annexed by the state as super-landlord. Big government is where nations go to die-not in Keynes' "long run," but sooner than you think.
Demographic Winter: "Schools will be turned into nursing homes. Playgrounds will become graveyards."
The article below is a reasonable extrapolation of current trends but whether the trend will continue is an open question. Both in Australia and France there are some signs of a recovering birthrate in response to government incentives
Celebrated columnist and pro-family leader Don Feder gave a jaw-dropping presentation on the coming 'Demographic Winter' at the Rose Dinner which closes the official March for Life festivities every year. Speaking to hundreds of attendees, Feder suggested that the demographic problem of worldwide declining birthrates "could result in the greatest crisis humanity will confront in this century" as "all over the world, children are disappearing."
"In the Western world, birthrates are falling and populations are aging," said Feder. "The consequences for your children and grandchildren could well be catastrophic." Feder noted, "In 30 years, worldwide, birth rates have fallen by more than 50%. In 1979, the average woman on this planet had 6 children. Today, the average is 2.9 children, and falling." He explained the situation noting, "demographers tell us that with a birthrate of 1.3, everything else being equal, a nation will lose half of its population every 45 years."
Beyond an inability to pay for pensions, it is likely that euthanasia will be one looked-to solution to the aging crisis, he said.
"Demographic Winter is the terminal stage in the suicide of the West - the culmination of a century of evil ideas and poisonous policies,'" he said. Among them he listed:
"Abortion - As I mentioned a moment ago, worldwide, we're killing 42 million people a year. It's as if an invading army killed every man woman and child in Italy - then repeated the process every year.
"Contraception - For the first time in history, just under half the world's population of childbearing age uses some form of birth control. Some of us remember when births weren't controlled and pregnancies weren't planned. With all the wailing about man-made Global Warming, carbon footprints and the ozone layer, wouldn't it be ironic if what did us in wasn't the SUV but the IUD?
"Delayed marriage. People are marrying later and later. After 35, it becomes progressively harder for a woman to have children.
"The decline of marriage and the rise of cohabitation. Not surprisingly, in relationships without commitment, people have fewer children. By the way, the left's contribution to the coming population crisis is to push the one type of `marriage' (and I use the term advisedly) that can't conceivably produce children.
"But perhaps," he concluded, "the most important factor is a culture (including Hollywood, the news media and academia) that tells people that children are a burden, rather than a joy; that pushes an ego-driven, live-for-the-moment ethic; a culture that tells us that contentment comes from careers, love, friendship, pets, possessions, travel, personal growth - anything and everything except family and children. It's a culture that can look at Sarah Palin and her beautiful family and ask why she had to have 5 children and why she didn't abort her child with Downs syndrome."
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.