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Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
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115 Responses

  1. Comrade Kevin
    Comrade Kevin January 13, 2011 at 12:55 pm |

    I think right-wingers should start their own pharmacies and be legally forced to use only said pharmacies.

    If we’re going in this direction, why not go all out?

  2. Jen
    Jen January 13, 2011 at 1:05 pm |

    This is why conscience clauses are bullshit. It’s never enough for them. And it is never actually about the babies. If, in this case, the woman had already had her abortion, the precious innocent life was already gone, asshole.

    Sorry for all the swearing, but this drives me nuts. You don’t get to abandon your job and let people die because you don’t agree with their choices.

  3. Megan
    Megan January 13, 2011 at 1:21 pm |

    Dear world,

    If you want to save people’s lives, enter a medical profession.

    If you want to save people’s souls, become a priest.

    Pick ONE.

    No love,
    Me

    Seriously. That is beyond fucked up.

  4. Sarah
    Sarah January 13, 2011 at 1:23 pm |

    Is this illegal? If not, why not?

  5. ElleBeMe
    ElleBeMe January 13, 2011 at 1:27 pm |

    Imagine IF the PP worker gave the information that it was for an abortion post-op regimen! The holier than thou pill dispenser could actually then turn around and hold a case against PP for disclosing personal/confidential medical informaion! Thank God the nurse ordering the meds didn’t relent.

    BUt this is the next step in the “moral clause” nonsense. The WHY someone would need a medicine. AIDS medication, HIV medication, STD medications, cancer tretament meds…..

    All it takes is one homophobic pill dispenser to deny a man/woman their AIDS meds (not saying they all have it) because they don’t like gays and don’t approve of them getting treatment for a condition they did not approve of happening in the first place.

    This country is becoming a very scary place in which to exist…..

  6. Jim
    Jim January 13, 2011 at 1:29 pm |

    Comrade Kevin: I think right-wingers should start their own pharmacies and be legally forced to use only said pharmacies.

    Not good enough. Not at all.

    We had the same issue in Washington. They got shot down.
    It’s real simple. A pharamcist’s license represents a public trust. A pharmacy is not just a private business off in a corner of a stripmall somewhere. They have a public trust that enjoins them to provide all legally available medications. They may not be able to stock all of them all the time, but they have to be willing to procure them for their customers.

    Public trust – established by law, controlled by law, as enunciated by the voters through their legislators. Private opinion doesn’t come into it, and intruding it into an area of public trust is anti-democratric and a form of political corruption.

    “And if you’re a pharmacist, refusing to fill prescriptions because you don’t like the choices a patient may have made should be grounds for immediate firing.”

    Revoke their license. It’s not their property, it’s ours. That’s not just immediate, that’s a permanent firing.

  7. Kathleen
    Kathleen January 13, 2011 at 1:34 pm |

    it should be called a “moral masturbation” or “god-given right to be titillated at my boring job” clause. A pharmacist who jumps on the opportunity to FIND OUT MORE FOR MOAR JUDGEY PLEASURE is without doubt incapable of limiting her nosey posey impulses: just imagine the warm rush she gets filling birth control scrips and pursing her lips at the ladies that pick them up, snorting into her sleeve at Viagra users, making concern-troll faces at people on cancer meds… ie, someone entirely unsuited to the job.

  8. Bitter Scribe
    Bitter Scribe January 13, 2011 at 1:59 pm |

    Bravo for the pharmacist. In fact, I think she didn’t go far enough. The next time someone tries to buy aspirin, she should quiz that person about whether the headache stems from a hangover, and if the answer is yes, she should refuse to sell the aspirin because it’s immoral to drink too much.

  9. randomosity
    randomosity January 13, 2011 at 2:02 pm |

    I would so love to see these pharmacists brought up on attempted murder charges. They are refusing to fill a prescription and refusing to refer and by those actions CAUSING the death of a woman who needs that medication.

  10. lumax
    lumax January 13, 2011 at 2:32 pm |

    The best argument EVER to get this sorted out.

    Megan: Dear world,If you want to save people’s lives, enter a medical profession.
    If you want to save people’s souls, become a priest.
    Pick ONE.
    No love,
    MeSeriously. That is beyond fucked up.  

  11. Shannon Drury
    Shannon Drury January 13, 2011 at 2:38 pm |

    Here in the Twin Cities, there was a kerfuffle some time ago over Muslim cabbies who refused to pick up airport passengers carrying bottles of alcohol. “HOW DARE THEY!” was the predictable outcry. “THEY SHOULD JUST DO THEIR JOBS AND SHUT UP ABOUT IT!”

    No one said the same when the MN legislature voted to allow pharmacists to refuse to fill prescriptions on “moral grounds.”

    Interesting.

  12. Lindsay
    Lindsay January 13, 2011 at 2:41 pm |

    This woman should have lost her job, because she clearly wasn’t doing it. It is nobodys business but the girl who needs prescription, whether or not she had an abortion. I would have reported her, to her boss and the company, as well as the state. And she should lose her job as well as her pharmacists licence. And if something did happen to that girl, which she can just have it filled somewhere else… but if something were to happen to her at the discretion of the pharmacist, the pharmacist should be held liable. That is murder, this girl needs to take this medication or she could bleed to death. Sometimes in life, we just have to do things, even if we don’t want to or don’t agree with it. And this was one of those times.

  13. Nancy Green
    Nancy Green January 13, 2011 at 2:47 pm |

    That pharmacist should lose their license.

  14. Jim Tuckers
    Jim Tuckers January 13, 2011 at 3:03 pm |

    I see how much these people value ‘life’.
    Hypocrisy.

  15. Jim Tuckers
    Jim Tuckers January 13, 2011 at 3:03 pm |

    Where is the lawsuit against Walgreen’s?

  16. Evie
    Evie January 13, 2011 at 3:10 pm |

    @ Bitter Scribe
    what if this woman in need of the medication hod not in fact had a abortion? what if she had had a child whether planned or unplanned, and was bleeding out from bringing this new life into the world? The pharmacist had absolutely no right no know that either, and the nurse had every right to refuse to tell her. Next time you go to your doctor and you need a prescription for, say hemorrhoid cream, lets hope your nurse announces it through out the PA system in the whole facility, and have her assume you have that problem because you practice too much anal sex, and she announces that too. Take your moral issues somewhere else, if you really thought of abortion as wrong you should think refusing to fill a prescription for a life threatening situation is murder too, because just like unborn aborted fetuses the person would end up the same, DEAD, without the medication needed

  17. Jen
    Jen January 13, 2011 at 3:12 pm |

    Sometimes in life, we just have to do things, even if we don’t want to or don’t agree with it. And this was one of those times.

    But it wasn’t. That’s what makes this case so awful. If there was an abortion, it had happened already. The pharmacist had no way to stop that. All this jerk could do is try to make sure the woman who may or may not have had an abortion died as a result of it.

  18. Ann Marie
    Ann Marie January 13, 2011 at 3:20 pm |

    I had to take similar meds after a miscarriage. Called the one pharmacy in town open at 9 pm on January 1, when I finally got out of the hospital. Do not second-guess my doctor, buddy, whatever your moral stance is.

  19. VeggieTart
    VeggieTart January 13, 2011 at 3:22 pm |

    Comrade Kevin: I think right-wingers should start their own pharmacies and be legally forced to use only said pharmacies. If we’re going in this direction, why not go all out?  (Quote this comment?)

    I remember reading about one such company in Virginia that did this–no contraceptives, no condoms, no candy, no objectionable magazines, whatever–a Christian pharmacy. They didn’t do very well because it was a hassle to go there and to Walgreens or something like that to get other needed items.

  20. Donna
    Donna January 13, 2011 at 3:44 pm |

    There is no debate required here. The patient had a prescription from a licensed practitioner. The PHARMICIST’S morals have no business there. Their job is to follow the order. No question, (unless they can’t read the script) no debate. I may not agree with other people’s choices (so what?) but this should have no bearing on the situation.

  21. Mel
    Mel January 13, 2011 at 3:48 pm |

    How very pro-life of the pharmacist. Every life is precious and a gift from god, unless that life is the life of a woman who makes her own decisions.

  22. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig January 13, 2011 at 4:05 pm |

    Ergh. I don’t trust my pharmacists, even though they’ve always come through. I think there need to be religious tests for pharmacists to bar Christians from pulling this sort of sh*t. I don’t WANT some sniffy lady with a cross or a guy who flunked out of seminary anywhere near my meds.

  23. karen soesbe
    karen soesbe January 13, 2011 at 4:51 pm |

    which walgreen s?

  24. Chally
    Chally January 13, 2011 at 5:14 pm |

    Evie, Bitter Scribe was being sarcastic.

  25. Sonya
    Sonya January 13, 2011 at 5:19 pm |

    Interestingly, they have no problem filling prescriptions for Viagra for old men who are too old to procreate in the first place. BUT they must make sure EVERY woman pays the price for EVERY act of sex. Anyone ever wonder why there was a huge deal made about Gardasil when it first became available to protect women but then when it became available for men they didn’t make a peep? WOMEN MUST BE PUNISHED FOR SEX. These people sicken me and are too stupid to see their own hypocrisy. I don’t claim to know what “god” wants as they do but I do really really hope god hates hypocrites!

  26. April
    April January 13, 2011 at 5:33 pm |

    Shannon Drury: Here in the Twin Cities, there was a kerfuffle some time ago over Muslim cabbies who refused to pick up airport passengers carrying bottles of alcohol.“HOW DARE THEY!” was the predictable outcry.“THEY SHOULD JUST DO THEIR JOBS AND SHUT UP ABOUT IT!”No one said the same when the MN legislature voted to allow pharmacists to refuse to fill prescriptions on “moral grounds.”Interesting.  

    Interesting, indeed. There really is no logical consistency with these people. Unless you count “hatred for everyone who’s not a white, Christian male” as consistency.

  27. Nahida
    Nahida January 13, 2011 at 5:44 pm |

    Why do people become pharmacists when they don’t want to do the actual job?

  28. Jadey
    Jadey January 13, 2011 at 6:05 pm |

    Nahida: Why do people become pharmacists when they don’t want to do the actual job?  

    Not that I in any way agree with the actions of the pharmacists in this article, but I’ve noticed this question being asked before (usually rhetorically) when issues like this have arisen and it’s always struck me as a bit weird and beside the point. There are lots of reasons why people become pharmacists that are unrelated to their views on reproductive rights, including a) they rightly recognize it’s a pretty decent way to make a living if you can get it, b) it was appealing to them as they entered university and in line with their skill set, and c) it’s a family profession. As well, when entering the profession it may not have been obvious or occurred to them that reproductive rights would be at issue (especially if they are of an older cohort – I would hope more recent graduates would have a more up-to-date education in ethical issues in the profession), and most of the time, for most pharmacists, and for the majority of medications dispensed, there won’t be any relation to their particular moral/ethical principles.

    Unless they had a justification along the lines of a legitimate reason to investigate a possible incorrectly-prescribed medication (either in dosage or type – mistakes do happen) or possible negative medication interaction for which somehow information about whether an abortion had occurred or not was relevant (can’t think of anything of the top of my head, but not a pharmacist either myself), I’m pretty sure these pharmacists were in the wrong (morally, for certain, and I hope by the ethical standards to which they are being held as well). I don’t have an issue with them finding gainful employment in the first place, however, so long as their practices are sound.

  29. Katrina
    Katrina January 13, 2011 at 7:25 pm |

    Sonya, I thought that same thing during the big Gardasil issue. I don’t see them making sure every single Viagra patient is married and never cheats!

    As for this… wow. I’ve got a rabidly anti-choice troll on my forum (well, sort of troll, he talks on-topic stuff now and then, too, so that’s why I haven’t banned him (yet)), yet I think even he would think this goes too far. And when our anti-choice sort-of-troll looks like the sensible one compared to this pharmacist…! *facepalm*

  30. Bitter Scribe
    Bitter Scribe January 13, 2011 at 7:25 pm |

    @Evie
    Not too familiar with sarcasm, are we?

    My post intended to suggest that withholding medication from a bleeding woman because she might have had an abortion is as ridiculous as withholding aspirin from a man with a headache because he might have been on a bender.

  31. figleaf
    figleaf January 13, 2011 at 7:33 pm |

    Yup, I’m with Ann Marie, above. Given that Google (which isn’t reliable but is indicative) returns about 6,900 hits for the keyphrase “methegrine after abortion” and 227,000,000 hits for the keyphrase “methegrine after miscarriage” it’s not just the pharmacist’s priorities, ethics, or “conscience” that need evaluating.

    Since
    a) Planned Parenthood is a full service reproductive-care organization for low-income and otherwise dispossessed women and men, and not just an “abortion mill,” and
    b) It appears to be fairly unusual to prescribe methegrine after an abortion, but
    c) It appears to be fairly common to prescribe it after a miscarriage, then
    d) regardless of her personal opinions the pharmacist should be assumed to be professionally unprepared to do her job competently.

    And just assuming for the moment if was legal for a healthcare provider to disclose patient confidentiality in the first place, and assuming it was any of the pharmacist’s fucking business in the second, do you think the average woman having a miscarriage wants the news squalled all East Diddly Nampa, Idaho via some half-baked, poorly trained but extraordinarily nosy pharmacist? What a bunch of clowns.

    Oh, and don’t even get me started on the “pro-life” attitude towards miscarriage. Even though in their own terms miscarriage “stops a beating heart.” Very often a wanted beating heart thank you very much. Even though miscarriage and stillbirth, especially early-term miscarriage, is just about as common as abortion. I always harp on miscarriage and the “pro-life” community because it’s pretty much all the evidence required to demonstrate that they’re not interested in “life” at all. $*#$%!@@!

    figleaf

  32. GallingGalla
    GallingGalla January 13, 2011 at 7:50 pm |

    Politicalguineapig: Ergh. I don’t trust my pharmacists, even though they’ve always come through. I think there need to be religious tests for pharmacists to bar Christians from pulling this sort of sh*t. I don’t WANT some sniffy lady with a cross or a guy who flunked out of seminary anywhere near my meds.  

  33. GallingGalla
    GallingGalla January 13, 2011 at 7:58 pm |

    Politicalguineapig: Ergh. I don’t trust my pharmacists, even though they’ve always come through. I think there need to be religious tests for pharmacists to bar Christians from pulling this sort of sh*t. I don’t WANT some sniffy lady with a cross or a guy who flunked out of seminary anywhere near my meds.  

    Right, ban *every* Christian for the actions of a few. You do realize that most Christians are pro-choice and that the extremists don’t speak for us, right?

    Or, maybe we should ban ALL Jews b/c some are anti-choice, or ALL Muslims b/c some are anti-choice.

  34. April
    April January 13, 2011 at 8:12 pm |

    b) It appears to be fairly unusual to prescribe methegrine after an abortion,

    I believe it’s prescribed preemptively as a “just in case” move, as a convenience to the patient. That way, if they need it, they can get the Rx filled without needing to go back into the doctor. This is probably also because severe heavy bleeding can be a pretty time-sensitive issue.

  35. ElleBeMe
    ElleBeMe January 13, 2011 at 8:18 pm |

    VeggieTart: I remember reading about one such company in Virginia that did this–no contraceptives, no condoms, no candy, no objectionable magazines, whatever–a Christian pharmacy. They didn’t do very well because it was a hassle to go there and to Walgreens or something like that to get other needed items.  (Quote this comment?)

    They actually went out of business. Seems as if not stocking make up and birth control HURT their business…I know exactly where this place was too. It was tucked way in the back of a shopping center …so few could find it unless they were looking. And why go there when there was a Walgreens at the corner of the entrance of the shopping center….

  36. Alara Rogers
    Alara Rogers January 13, 2011 at 8:26 pm |

    GallingGalla:

    Right, ban *every* Christian for the actions of a few. You do realize that most Christians are pro-choice and that the extremists don’t speak for us, right?

    While I absolutely agree with you, the dark side of the “conscience clauses” pharmacists have demanded is that it probably will result in religious discrimination. If a corporation fears the negative publicity or potential lawsuits associated with a pharmacist who will not fill a prescription, but a conscience clause forbids them to fire such a pharmacist, they’re going to start looking for signs that someone is religious, and refuse to hire them, or fire them pre-emptively. They’re not allowed to openly discriminate against religious people, but if your resume says that you do volunteer work for your church in your spare time, or you show up to the interview with a cross around your neck, they can just never hire you. And since religious Christians are actually not only *not* used to discrimination but are generally very proud to talk about their Christianity, they can be let go because “their performance was poor” or “they didn’t work out” before an issue with birth control drugs or abortifacients ever comes up, because they will do nothing to conceal their religion from their employer… and the employer isn’t allowed to ask about their positions on abortion for the same reasons the employer isn’t allowed to ask their political party or religion, but there are basically no pro-life atheists, so if you just never hire a pharmacist who seems to have strong religious feelings, you avoid ever encountering the issue.

    The actual solution, which protects the majority of law-abiding Christians who will practice responsible pharmacy, would be to forbid the conscience clauses. Because sooner or later, women will start suing over this shit. And sooner or later, that will mean corporations will not want pharmacists who are a liability. And if they’re not actually allowed to fire pharmacists for refusing to prescribe “abortion” drugs… then they’re going to look for correlates to find people who could cause such a problem, and the biggest correlate will be signs of dedicated Christian belief.

    If pro-life Christian pharmacists really, truly want to make it hard for openly faithful Christians to get jobs as pharmacists, they can keep pushing for these conscience clauses, and keep trying to violate the rules of their profession to punish women who had sex. Sooner or later a lot of good people who are responsible pharmacists will get hurt from this because they share a religion with the pro-lifers, unless people step up *now* to put a stop to this.

  37. EAMD
    EAMD January 13, 2011 at 8:34 pm |

    Jen nails it up top. This has nothing to do with abortion, and everything to do with giving women what they “deserve”. Revolting.

  38. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. January 13, 2011 at 9:18 pm |

    Actually, what I wish (other than the removal of the conscience clause altogether) is that pharmacists would have to disclose prominently in their pharmacy that they will not fulfill certain types of prescriptions so that (a) people would not have to disclose private medical information to judgmental shitheads and (b) those of us who are pro-choice can take our prescriptions elsewhere. I really don’t think that is too much to ask.

  39. Elle
    Elle January 13, 2011 at 9:57 pm |

    I know…since I am vegetarian I will apply for a job as a butcher. Then I will stand there and refuse to sell meat, because it is against my beliefs. How long till I got fired???? 30 seconds?????

  40. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig January 13, 2011 at 10:29 pm |

    Galling Galla: Most Christians who are prochoice tend to downplay their faith. If I saw a woman with a cross necklace or an obvious Christian token behind the counter at a pharmacy, I would assume that I would not be able to get birth control there and would reconsider doing business there.
    How do you suggest we weed out the anti-choicers from behind the counter? Or should we ladies just stock up on methergrine on the quiet?
    *Further note: ‘Most Christians are prochoice?’ You’re joking, right? A significant minority of them, maybe.

  41. Brennan
    Brennan January 13, 2011 at 11:34 pm |

    @Politicalguineapig,
    I am a Christian.
    I am a feminist.
    I am pro-choice.
    I wore a cross necklace for years and remain open about my beliefs.
    How you choose your pharmacy is your perogative, but please get your stereotyping out of our discussion space.

  42. Bagelsan
    Bagelsan January 13, 2011 at 11:45 pm |

    Methergine, a medicine used to prevent or control bleeding of the uterus following childbirth or an abortion.

    “Hold up, hold up, this is medicine for someone with a uterus? Fuck that; we don’t serve their kind here!”

    Re. the Christian thing, Politicalguineapig said: “I think there need to be religious tests for pharmacists to bar Christians from pulling this sort of sh*t.” She didn’t say that Christians should be barred from working there, just from pulling shit. I don’t think a test would accomplish that, sadly, but I’d settle for permanently banning the fuckers that do make trouble.

  43. Brennan
    Brennan January 14, 2011 at 12:00 am |

    I didn’t mind her first comment, but in a response to Galling Galla Politicalguineapig also said that she would avoid a pharmacy where a Christian appeared to be working (while simultaneously insinuating that the “good” Christians downplay their identities, whereas those who assault you with visual reminders of their Christian-ness are probably up to no good.) In my mind, this crossed the line into stereotyping. This is turning into a derail on my part, though, so I won’t be leaving any more responses on the issue.

    I’m all for banning the fuckers, though I’d prefer that it be based on their observed actions rather than a doctrinal litmus test. Is that expected to happen in this case? To me, it seems obvious that she should lose her license, but I’m not familiar with state law. At the very least, I’d imagine Planned Parenthood will be finding another pharmacy.

  44. Brennan
    Brennan January 14, 2011 at 12:02 am |

    @ figleaf

    Wow. Add to that the fact that many of your hits for “after abortion” were probably referring to miscarriage, since “abortion” is the medical term for a pregnancy that ends in natural miscarriage.

  45. Nyx
    Nyx January 14, 2011 at 2:32 am |

    We give life-saving medical procedures to criminals if they need them and no one makes a fuss, but somehow it’s okay for random pharmacists to try and govern a woman’s access to medication because they think she might be somehow “immoral?”? WHAT???

    Ugh, conscience clauses make me sick.

  46. Kaija
    Kaija January 14, 2011 at 6:36 am |

    ElleBeMe: BUt this is the next step in the “moral clause” nonsense.The WHY someone would need a medicine.AIDS medication, HIV medication, STD medications, cancer tretament meds…..All it takes is one homophobic pill dispenser to deny a man/woman their AIDS meds (not saying they all have it) because they don’t like gays and don’t approve of them getting treatment for a condition they did not approve of happening in the first place.This country is becoming a very scary place in which to exist…..  

    Agreed 100%…and sadly, that exact scenario is being proposed by a governmental representative in North Carolina: http://projects.newsobserver.com/under_the_dome/larry_brown_wants_to_cut_aids_funding

  47. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable January 14, 2011 at 8:12 am |

    Nyx: We give life-saving medical procedures to criminals if they need them and no one makes a fuss,

    I’m actually pro-this. You make it sound like it’s disgusting that we treat criminals without putting up a fuss when we won’t treat women with the same respect. In reality, I think both groups are deserving of medical care without judgment.

  48. Odin
    Odin January 14, 2011 at 8:55 am |

    This is sick and wrong, but certainly not the first time this sort of thing has happened. There have been past instances of a pharmacist refusing to fill antibiotic prescriptions from a woman’s clinic because they decided it was post-abortion care.

  49. Q Grrl
    Q Grrl January 14, 2011 at 9:39 am |

    I dunno. If the “good” Christians here are so damn defensive about being tarred with the same brush as their conservative brethren, perhaps the rage should be re-directed towards the true offenders? Who cares if your precious fee fees are hurt on a message board? Your beliefs come with a very heavy price and it isn’t incumbent upon those who are hurt by the *entirety* of your religion to pick out who are the sheep and who are the wolves. That is your work friends — and don’t fool yourselves either. What was once considered “extreme” is, in fact, no longer so.

    Extreme would suggest that there is little moral, social, or political/legal support for someone’s beliefs. We can clearly see that these “extreme” beliefs now have more support and protection that those who are victimized by those beliefs such as women and queers.

    So, pardon me, but I am not in the least sympathetic to privileged sets of people whinging about how they aren’t “that kind of Christian”. You don’t get to tell me that you beneficent heart is above such matters when I still don’t have full civil rights and when I see my sisters denied life saving medical procedures. There’s a word for your whinging: sanctimonious.

  50. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig January 14, 2011 at 10:02 am |

    Brennan: Banning someone for an observed action might be fine-if they couldn’t threaten lives by withholding needed medications, as in this case. You may be just fine with having a woman die because of this pharmacist’s beliefs, as long as their license got yanked afterward. I’d prefer that pharmacist never have a license in the first place.
    Alara: Your scenario might happen in another country, but right now evangelical Christians and anti-choice Catholics are too yappy and powerful.

  51. Linda
    Linda January 14, 2011 at 10:47 am |

    Should be prosecutable!

  52. Arki
    Arki January 14, 2011 at 11:02 am |

    This is as if a Jehova’s witness ruled the country and you would get refused to get a blood transfusion because it is sin, even if you don’t believe in that. That is NUTS.
    Nobody has the right to impose their so-called morals upon anyone else, even less if it’s a life or death choice.

  53. Pharmacists refusing to fill prescriptions for potentially life-saving drugs | The Atheist

    [...] Pharmacists refusing to fill prescriptions for potentially life-saving drugs Posted on January 14, 2011 by oct4stfrancis http://www.feministe.us/blog/archives/2011/01/13/pharmacists-refusing-to-fill-prescriptions-for-pote… [...]

  54. Niki
    Niki January 14, 2011 at 12:18 pm |

    This should not be grounds for protection under any “conscience clause” (ha). The pharmacist in question would not be aiding or contributing to an abortion in any way. The abortion had been done. The abortion was finished. This pharmacist should not only be fired, he should lose his pharmaceutical license. And if this women suffers any medical reprecussions from this, he should be charged with criminal negligence.

    I ask you this. If I have an abortion today, and ten years from now I decide I find out that complications arose from the procedure that are hurting me in some significant way – I dunno, maybe there is damage to my uterus or something – could a pharmacist refuse to fill my treatment medication? And if not, how is this any different at all?

  55. Durango Joe
    Durango Joe January 14, 2011 at 12:53 pm |

    Hadn’t the cow already left the barn? If she did have an abortion, it was a done deal and nothing was going to bring that embryo/fetus back. So it wasn’t about saving a “life”, it was just about punishing the woman after the fact. Pathetic, and actionable?

  56. Vern
    Vern January 14, 2011 at 1:32 pm |

    This pharmacist was not involved in an abortion, per the story, but rather could have contributed to the death of a patient who was bleeding post surgery.

    Indefensible.

    CONTACT WALGREENS corporate to complain:

    media@walgreens.com email for press inquiries

    Investor relations:
    Rick J. Hans, Divisional VP of Investor Relations and Finance. (847) 315 – 2385
    Lisa Meers, Manager of Investor Relations. (847) 315 – 2361

    Consumer relations:
    (800) 925-4733 corporate, consumer relations

    Walgreen Company Consumer Relations
    1411 Lake Cook Rd, Mail Stop #L428
    Deerfield, IL 60015

  57. Brennan
    Brennan January 14, 2011 at 4:35 pm |

    @Politicalguineapig,
    I wouldn’t say I’m “fine” with it, I just think we’re on shaky ethical ground if we try to predict a person’s behavior based on their set of beliefs. Because there are plenty of people who can separate their personal beliefs from their professional responsibilities, there are plenty who are capable of ethical decision-making, and a great many “pro-lifers” would have filled that prescription. If what this pharmacist did wasn’t illegal it should be and if it is illegal then she should be prosecuted to the fullest extent. Beyond that, there should be more awareness and education about professional responsibilities in pharmacy school, but human beings being what we are we might still see cases like this even then.

    About this case, there are only two things I want to know: (1) did anyone ask this woman before she became a pharmacist if she was prepared to prescribe drugs to terminate a pregnancy and (2) did she say yes. If no one asked her, then the system is broken and we should fix it. If she said no, then she should never have become a pharmacist, the system is broken, and we should fix it. If she said yes, then the responsibility for this incident lies solely with her. Either way, you fix this by asking that one question, not by grilling a bunch of pharmacy students over religious doctrine.

  58. GallingGalla
    GallingGalla January 14, 2011 at 4:35 pm |

    Alara Rogers: If pro-life Christian pharmacists really, truly want to make it hard for openly faithful Christians to get jobs as pharmacists, they can keep pushing for these conscience clauses, and keep trying to violate the rules of their profession to punish women who had sex. Sooner or later a lot of good people who are responsible pharmacists will get hurt from this because they share a religion with the pro-lifers, unless people step up *now* to put a stop to this. Alara Rogers

    Totally agreed.

    I suspect that the pro-lifers don’t care about the potential ramifications (indeed, they may cheer when liberal / leftist Christians get discriminated against), because their goal is to turn the US into a theocracy, and they’re convinced that they will succeed. They may very well succeed if Democrats lose the Senate and the presidency in ’12. Even if that doesn’t happen, the climate for any legislation prohibiting conscience clauses is pretty hostile and will be for years to come.

  59. Dave
    Dave January 14, 2011 at 4:42 pm |

    I don’t agree with the pharmasists decision, but I have to ask, is it possible that knowing whether the girl had an abortion or not was medically relevent. I am no doctor, but maybe the pharmasist was just asking to be sure that she was giving the correct dosage or something. The author makes the asumption that the pharmacist denied the prescription for moral reasons, that is not the only reason a person would refuse to fill a prescription. I don’t condone the pharmasists decision, but I can easily see how this whole situation could of been one big misunderstanding.

  60. GallingGalla
    GallingGalla January 14, 2011 at 4:43 pm |

    Brennan: @Politicalguineapig,
    I am a Christian.
    I am a feminist.
    I am pro-choice.
    I wore a cross necklace for years and remain open about my beliefs.
    How you choose your pharmacy is your perogative, but please get your stereotyping out of our discussion space.  

    I was going to say something to this effect, but you put it well, Brennan. (Says this pro-choice, sex-pos, pro-sex-worker Christian who also wears a cross necklace.)

  61. Bagelsan
    Bagelsan January 14, 2011 at 5:24 pm |

    (Oh man, I haven’t baked lately and I am just all outta cookies for Christians who are “one of the good ones.”)

    Which is to say, I gotta agree with Q Grrl here. People who are part of/contribute to oppressive systems don’t get to whine when the system is called out. They don’t get to lend legitimacy (and financial support and votes and warm bodies and verbal defenses) to the oppressors and then complain when they are lumped in with them. If you don’t like the moral squalor of the other adherents to your religion please take it up with them, don’t ask the rest of us to just politely ignore them and pretend you’re unaffiliated in any way.

  62. Bagelsan
    Bagelsan January 14, 2011 at 5:30 pm |

    I kinda wish there were such a thing as that good old “feminine intuition” ’cause then I’d be able to pick out which guys were actually rapists, which Christian pharmacists were actually going to deny me medical care, which Catholic hospital would actually try to kill me, which rightwing pundit actually wanted people like me shot in the head…

  63. Greydoggone
    Greydoggone January 14, 2011 at 5:55 pm |

    Bitter Scribe: Bravo for the pharmacist. In fact, I think she didn’t go far enough. The next time someone tries to buy aspirin, she should quiz that person about whether the headache stems from a hangover, and if the answer is yes, she should refuse to sell the aspirin because it’s immoral to drink too much.  (Quote this comment?)

    Wonderful irony, this is better than Monty Python

  64. saurus
    saurus January 14, 2011 at 6:01 pm |

    I want to say something about anti-Christian sentiments. This isn’t directed towards anyone in particular.

    I think that it’s not okay to be racist just because a person of color is infringing on your rights, it’s not okay to be transphobic just because you met a really mean trans person once, it’s not okay to be homophobic because your ex dumped you for someone of the same gender, and it’s not okay to stereotype or derogate people because of their faith, even if some members of the religion have done awful things. Not okay, and not liberatory. No matter how upset you are.

    That means that even if you lost a loved one to 9/11, it’s not okay to paint all Muslims with a “terrorist” brush and say that Muslims can’t have a cultural centre in the surrounding area. Even if you are struggling towards freedom for Palestinians, it’s not okay to paint all Jews as pro-Zionist or pro-Israeli military. And even if some Christians have behaved in violent or oppressive ways to you and your own, it’s not okay to speak about all Christians or their faith with hostility or derision.

    Nevermind the stereotyping for now (do we really need to review Christians of color who are living in extreme poverty in developing countries? Christian women who need abortions? The Christian church that donated to my completely non-Christian family when we fled from domestic abuse? Your everyday Christian pharmacist who never denied you medication?) But let’s just ask ourselves: how will dismissing or derogating people of certain faith bring about the world you want to live in? That’s not a hypothetical question or accusation of hypocrisy (because sometimes anger and conflict can do wonderful things, even if they’re conventionally viewed as bad). I’m really curious: how? By what mechanism will stereotyping all Christians negatively facilitate a respectful co-existence? Is there a good answer to that question?

    Or does building a better world not matter as much as voicing our aimless spite?

    And of course, it’s a very short jump between saying “if you don’t like the anti-Christian talk, why don’t you accost your fellow Christians who are ruining your reputation for everyone?” and saying “if you don’t like the pro-life talk, why don’t you accost the women who abort because they’re irresponsible and selfish, since they’re ruining abortion rights for everyone?”

    It’s never okay for us to ignore the nuance, the diversity, and the complexities of each other’s lives. We can’t afford to. When we do that, we wipe people out. We start building a worldview that is based on caricature and erasure and convenient fables instead of real people and their real feelings and real experiences and real lives. That’s not a worldview that can sustain and nourish us. It’s illusory pudding.

    I know many of us are in pain from some of the injustice we’ve experienced, either personally or second-hand. Anger and bitterness and pain is natural, sometimes even healthy – often necessary. Some of us have been full-out traumatized from people who belong to certain groups – I, for example, have had no shortage of awful experiences at the hands of middle-class, able-bodied, white cis-men.

    Sometimes that means you just can’t associate with people who belong to those groups anymore, sometimes it means we may never overcome the discomfort with have with certain groups, despite our wiser knowledge that generalizations don’t hold. We can’t always hold hands and laugh at the end of the journey, some enemies will always remain so.

    But, I believe – or maybe it’s more like faith – that we can hold our pain without doing others injustice.

    So, let’s.

  65. Greydoggone
    Greydoggone January 14, 2011 at 6:06 pm |

    The answer is very simple. Get a photo of the pharmacist and extrapolate it across the net (Facebook etc) with the words “this is ………(name of pharmacist),….He will not give you the drugs you need if he doesn’t like your condition. Dont go to him. Tell your friends not to go to him”
    Note that at this point you haven’t broken any libel laws because you have told only the truth.
    My experience of the Holier Than Thou brigade is that they don’t like public ridicule because, basically, they are closet bullies.

  66. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable January 14, 2011 at 6:22 pm |

    saurus, I’m not tacking onto either side of this debate because I’ve been sucked in on both sides before and it ends in me getting probably incorrectly righteously pissed like I am somehow the sole arbiter of right and wrong (I’m not), but I want to point out that in your example, you’re pointing out that it’s not okay to be biased against a minority population just because you didn’t like a particular member of that population once.

    Your analogy fails because Christians in the US are not a minority group. If you can repeat all of those again by reversing roles and say “It’s not okay for a trans person to hate all cis folks just because a cis person once tried to kill the trans person by withholding medical care,” then your point is made. I, however, happen to think that the hypothetical trans person has a fucking point, and I (as a cis person) am going to take all cis folks to task when they act like assholes.

  67. Miss S
    Miss S January 14, 2011 at 8:58 pm |

    Well said Saurus.

    Your analogy fails because Christians in the US are not a minority group

    But plenty of Christians are part of a minority group. Black, Hispanic, poor, etc. I can assure you that the working class black people at the church I grew up in aren’t oppressing you. Rather, the church worked together to find solutions to the oppression that they faced, particularly racial oppression.

    Privilege isn’t as black and white as you’re making it.

  68. BenJSM
    BenJSM January 14, 2011 at 9:01 pm |

    Pill dispensers wishing to practice their religion under the facade of a pharmacy should not be allowed to sell the products of science. If you want to practice medicine with a religious framework, then you should only use the fruits of such a framework — dispense pills that blind religious faith has given you; leave the products of double-blind trials out of it!

  69. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig January 14, 2011 at 9:13 pm |

    Saurus: If they wanted to coexist, I’d be cool with that. However, the anti-choice Christians want to run my life and the life of every woman I know- and therefore, they deserve all the contempt I can muster. If the pro-choice Christians don’t want the anti-choicers to speak for them, well maybe they should start pushing back a little.

  70. Nyx
    Nyx January 14, 2011 at 10:44 pm |

    PrettyAmiable:
    I’m actually pro-this. You make it sound like it’s disgusting that we treat criminals without putting up a fuss when we won’t treat women with the same respect. In reality, I think both groups are deserving of medical care without judgment.  

    Oh, it wasn’t my intent to imply that! Sorry, I guess I wasn’t clear, and re-reading my comment I can see how it might come off that way. It just seems strange to me that our society takes as given that life-saving medical treatment of that kind is morally right, yet can turn around and say in the same breath that it’s also morally permissible to deny someone medication. Totally contradictory! The inconsistency in that ‘logic’ was what I was trying to point out.

  71. saurus
    saurus January 14, 2011 at 11:21 pm |

    PrettyAmiable: I want to point out that in your example, you’re pointing out that it’s not okay to be biased against a minority population just because you didn’t like a particular member of that population once.

    No, I’m pointing out that it’s not okay to stereotype and derogate a group of people based on traits like their bodies, their gender expression, or their religion, just because you didn’t like a particular member of that population. I stated that it’s fine and completely understandable to not want to associate with people with certain traits if you’ve been traumatized or oppressed by them before; that doesn’t mean it’s okay to erase their lived experiences. The key is not flattening and collapsing our own diversity for the sake of spite.

    And, to Politicalguineapig – I agree that people who try to trample women’s reproductive rights need a check. No argument there. My argument is with stereotyping and derogating everyone of a certain faith – we shouldn’t need pro-choice Christians to somehow prove that they’re working actively in their communities before we’re convinced that we don’t need to keep flattening their diversity.

    There’s room for everyone’s diversity, if we make it.

  72. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig January 14, 2011 at 11:55 pm |

    Saurus: ‘Flattening someone’s diversity?’ What does that even mean?
    Like I said above, I’m not opposed to diversity. However, I don’t want to end up trapped in a house with umpteen kids, which is exactly what these guys, with their misplaced nostalgia for the ’50s, want. One side has to win, and I’m pulling for the people whose victory would let me, and every woman I know, lead an independent existence by choosing when she wants to have kids and how many she wants to have. (or even IF she wants to have kids.) There ain’t a middle ground here, mmkay?

  73. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. January 15, 2011 at 12:12 am |

    saurus: No, I’m pointing out that it’s not okay to stereotype and derogate a group of people based on traits like their bodies, their gender expression, or their religion, just because you didn’t like a particular member of that population.

    So let’s say tomorrow I create a new religion. I’ll call it Kristonia. One of the major tenets of this religion will be that all people who are not blond (natural or bottle) are evil bastards who do not deserve access to medical care, jobs, housing, oxygen, etc. The people who joined Kristonia (presumably because of the traditional Sunday worship that includes beer and sports) are not morally responsible for the consequences of this denial of basic human rights because its their *religion.* And somehow calling Kristonia a religion, as opposed to a philosophy, social norm, cult, social group, team, etc. makes all the harm that flows from the hatefulness inherent in Kristonia not their responsibility.

    Religion isn’t a special class. You are not forced to participate in or join a religion. If you believe I respect that, but if you voluntarily join an organized religion that advocates harm to actual human beings – I don’t care if you call it a religion, a country club, a book club, a gym, an advocacy group, a political campaign…whatever…you’re responsible for supporting those immoral acts.

  74. saurus
    saurus January 15, 2011 at 12:55 am |

    Kristen J.:
    So let’s say tomorrow I create a new religion.I’ll call it Kristonia.One of the major tenets of this religion will be that all people who are not blond (natural or bottle) are evil bastards who do not deserve access to medical care, jobs, housing, oxygen, etc.The people who joined Kristonia (presumably because of the traditional Sunday worship that includes beer and sports) are not morally responsible for the consequences of this denial of basic human rights because its their *religion.*And somehow calling Kristonia a religion, as opposed to a philosophy, social norm, cult, social group, team, etc. makes all the harm that flows from the hatefulness inherent in Kristonia not their responsibility.Religion isn’t a special class.You are not forced to participate in or join a religion.If you believe I respect that, but if you voluntarily join an organized religion that advocates harm to actual human beings – I don’t care if you call it a religion, a country club, a book club, a gym, an advocacy group, a political campaign…whatever…you’re responsible for supporting those immoral acts.  

    A few qualms with your analogy:

    1) I never said that doing something abhorrent in the name of the religion gets a pass; I said that you can’t paint everyone of a faith with the same brush.

    2) Anti-abortion isn’t one of the “major tenets” of Christianity.

    3) There is a remarkable amount of diversity of opinion within Christianity – even within a single congregation of a particular church.

    4) Christianity is not so organized that a Christian in one part of the US can walk up to pharmacist who lives someone else and somehow fire them from Christianity for denying someone medication. You can’t prevent someone from calling themselves a Christian, regardless of how un-Christian you feel their behavior is.

    Anyway, what makes you think the Christian pro-choicers in this thread haven’t done radical work in their communities?

    Also, Christianity itself doesn’t “advocate harm” to human beings, because Christianity is incapable of advocating anything – it’s not a singular, monolithic entity. There are over two billion Christians on this planet. That’s my whole point – Christianity is full of diverse people with very different ideas and practices of morality. You can “sign up” for Christianity at your local queer-friendly, pro-choice United Church without supporting the Westboro Baptist Church in any way. You can even be Christian without going to church, just by holding a belief within yourself, quietly, disconnected from the organization as a whole. Christianity is a complicated, multi-headed thing.

    I’ll say it again – there is room in this movement for us to acknowledge everyone’s diversity. We are all capable of having a nuanced critique of Christianity without grossly stereotyping and derogating all Christians, so what do we have to lose? Why not?

  75. Bunny Mazonas
    Bunny Mazonas January 15, 2011 at 8:52 am |

    Saurus, I believe Dan Savage put it best, in response to a Christian woman who was upset by his “stereotyping” of Christians during a discussion of gay teens driven to suicide.

    Fuck your feelings.

    As an example; I am a member of a religion that is *actually* a minority group. And a heavily stereotyped one. I am Pagan, leaning towards Odinist. Often, I hear people talking about the racism within Odinist/Heathen/Asatru faith, the requirement of a genetic link to the original worhsippers, etc. Now, I know for a fact that this racism is caused by small fringe groups of Odinists who, in reality, use their faith as an excuse to push these sour beliefs, and who twist the faith to match their words.

    So what do I do? I publicly and vehemently speak against racist Odinists. I publicly state that the faith welcomes anyone of any background. I rally against the racism when I see it. I argue with the racists and pick out the many ways in which their arguments are flawed. I boycott any Heathen group, charity, organisation or area that supports, directly or indirectly, these racist beliefs. I reassure anyone interested in odinism that the faith can be and should be a welcoming place for all colours, races, genders, gender identities, sexualities and physical or mental abilities.

    What I don’t do is start crying that my fee-fees are hurt by being lumped in with racists. Because I chose that battle the day I chose this faith.

  76. GallingGalla
    GallingGalla January 15, 2011 at 11:23 am |

    Miss S: Well said Saurus.
    Your analogy fails because Christians in the US are not a minority group But plenty of Christians are part of a minority group. Black, Hispanic, poor, etc. I can assure you that the working class black people at the church I grew up in aren’t oppressing you. Rather, the church worked together to find solutions to the oppression that they faced, particularly racial oppression.
    Privilege isn’t as black and white as you’re making it.  

    In my case, queer, trans, physically and mentally disabled. A Christian who refuses to dispense life-saving medication to a woman who once had an abortion is a Christian who won’t hire me, regardless of my being Christian.

    And how is the demand that all Christians be collectively held responsible for the oppressive behavior of right-wing Christians any different than the demand that all Muslims be collectively held responsible for the oppressive behavior of some Muslims? If the latter is odious, then how is the former not any less odious?

  77. Nahida
    Nahida January 15, 2011 at 11:37 am |

    Bunny Mazonas: I argue with the racists and pick out the many ways in which their arguments are flawed.I boycott any Heathen group, charity, organisation or area that supports, directly or indirectly, these racist beliefs.I reassure anyone interested in odinism that the faith can be and should be a welcoming place for all colours, races, genders, gender identities, sexualities and physical or mental abilities.What I don’t do is start crying that my fee-fees are hurt by being lumped in with racists.Because I chose that battle the day I chose this faith.  

    These two things are not mutually exclusive.

  78. saurus
    saurus January 15, 2011 at 11:53 am |

    Politicalguineapig: Saurus: ‘Flattening someone’s diversity?’ What does that even mean?
    Like I said above, I’m not opposed to diversity. However, I don’t want to end up trapped in a house with umpteen kids, which is exactly what these guys, with their misplaced nostalgia for the ’50s, want.

    That sentence, to me, is a little bit of an oxymoron. On one hand, you aren’t opposed to diversity. On the other hand, you are actively denying diversity by summing up almost one third of the planet’s humans as “these guys, with their misplaced nostalgia for the 50’s” who want you to have “umpteen kids”. Being receptive to diversity isn’t just saying “I’m okay with lots of different people existing” – it’s also understanding that people can be fundamentally different from each other, even if they share some common traits or attributes.

    I find it a little odd to be coming to feminist website and finding myself arguing why stereotyping (mentally flattening real-life diversity into an illusory homogeneity) is wrong. It’s not an okay way to think about people, and if we are capable of understanding the complexities of each other’s lives, why resist that? Why revel in our own incorrect perceptions of each other, despite evidence to the contrary?

    I’m not saying it’s wrong to take a political lobbying group who say, “We work to end abortion rights” and conclude that “Yup, those people work to end abortion rights.” But Christians, at almost one third of all humans on Earth, are no such unified group with no such unified purpose. I don’t think you can sum up all Christians as wanting you to have “umpteen kids” when many of those Christians are queer, pro-choice, radical, etc. In fact, many right-wing non-feminist USA Christians might want you to have *no* kids, if you’re a woman of color, or a disabled woman, or poor. The babymaking stereotype doesn’t even hold true in a negative sense…

    Thinking stereotypically about people is damaging. It means viewing all women as heterosexual (thereby erasing queer women) or viewing all humans as cisgendered (and thereby erasing trans* people) or viewing all white people as middle-class Republicans (and thereby erasing homeless or impoverished white people working for the liberation of the poor). And so on.

    I hope you’re already aware of some awful legislation passed, violence done, or opportunities for community-building missed because of stereotypes. If you’re determined to stereotype, or feel it is somehow justified, I’m not sure what else I can say, except good luck building a movement in which you’ve rendered a bunch of real people as typecast characters, or as black-and-white Bad Guys, Good Guys. Of course, stereotyping is all the more destructive when it happens to a systemically oppressed group – that doesn’t mean it’s fair game if the group isn’t. Not to mention that many Christians fall somewhere in between – even if they live in a Christian-privileging place, they may still be poor, queer, disabled, trans*, etc.

    One side has to win, and I’m pulling for the people whose victory would let me, and every woman I know, lead an independent existence by choosing when she wants to have kids and how many she wants to have.

    By all means, support the people who are leading the way towards reproductive rights and justice.

    You can still support those people without stereotyping Christians – in fact, your work may be enriched by the understanding you gain of Christianity’s complexities and diversity. And you can refuse to stereotype Christians without lending support to the Westboro Baptist Church and Sarah Palins of the world.

    I’m going to note something here, because I think what can scare people off about my words is that it sounds like what I’m saying is equivalent to “we can’t say that white people are usually more racist, because some whites aren’t. Or that Republicans hate gays, because a few don’t.”

    On the contrary: of course we can problematize whiteness, or Republican culture, or even left-wing radical feminist cultures, which all have problems of their own. And Christianity too. But if we don’t understand or recognize the diversity of the people we’re talking about, it’s a shoddy analysis we’re going to have, and we’re going to erase some people who may even be members of our communities.

    A great example is rape: I think we can talk about rape understanding that it is primarily perpetuated by cismen, without dismissing or shutting down dialogue about men who are raped by women (both as kids and as adults), women who are raped by other women, rape used against both genders via racism and colonialism (such as in residential schools for Aboriginal kids in Canada) and so forth. No, we don’t always have to center those “minority” cases, but that awareness could only enrich our understanding of the pervasiveness of rape culture.

    Or, in this discussion: I can simultaneously hold in my mind that most anti-abortion advocates in the US are also religious, while understanding that I can’t separate their religion from their economic class, and that most religious people in the US aren’t fighting reproductive rights – some are even working actively towards reproductive justice, and that many Christians in the US are impoverished people of color who have limited or no access to traditional healthcare – who couldn’t pick up medicine in a pharmacy even if they wanted to.

    What do you have to lose by recognizing that Christians can be different from each other? It wouldn’t keep you from forming a critique of how Christianity can influence reproductive rights – in fact, it would only make your critique more nuanced – and it wouldn’t make more pharmacists deny women the medication they need for bullshit reasons.

    In the struggle towards reproductive freedom, you can operate just fine, if not better, without the stereotyping – so why should we do it?

  79. saurus
    saurus January 15, 2011 at 12:18 pm |

    Bunny Mazonas: What I don’t do is start crying that my fee-fees are hurt by being lumped in with racists.Because I chose that battle the day I chose this faith.  

    1. People should fight the perpetuation of “they’re the oppressor” stereotypes by thinking & talking about others without employing stereotypes. (my argument. necessary not just because many so-called oppressors are actively working against oppression, but also because many “oppressors” are also heavily oppressed. plus, many people who don’t fit the “oppressor” stereotype may also be oppressive.)

    2. People should fight the perpetuation of “we’re the oppressor” stereotypes by setting a good example for their group. (your argument. necessary because most people won’t independently learn about diversity until they’re aggressively presented with it, and because people may have been hurt by people who fit the stereotype in the past and therefore will reasonably assume the stereotype holds.)

    I believe these two paths can and must coexist.

  80. nathan
    nathan January 15, 2011 at 12:26 pm |

    There are some folks on this site who are openly hostile to religion, end of story. I’ve seen attacks on Christians, Muslims, Jews, and Buddhists over the past several months, and with the few posts made where the author explicitly mentions their religious affiliation and/or uses examples from their religious affiliation to speak about whatever issues are being present, there are always commenters bashing the connections made with religion/spiritual tradition.

    What I’ve seen on this site are that certain grievances are valid and others are deemed whining, trolling, or derailing. Anything around religion and spirituality tends to be fall under those categories, and it seems that some responders really seek a completely secular discussion, which I can understand to some degree, but think is highly unrealistic, given the diversity of readership.

    Given that the organizers and moderators almost never step in when it comes to disparaging religion and spirituality comments, I’m left to assume that the thoughts, views, and emotions of religious/spiritual folks aren’t of major importance here. I don’t see the kind of care that’s put into supporting and advocating for various other groups: queer, trans, fat, abuse victims, people with mental illness and many others.

    The problem is that with all of these groups, there are a certain percentage who are religious and/or spiritual. Within the readership of this blog, there is also a percentage of people who are religious and/or spiritual. So, there’s something fragmented about the support and advocating for going on. A Christian domestic abuse victim can come here one day and feel vastly supported, even empowered by a post and discussion. And then the next day, can see a post and comments like this, and wonder if they’re presence means anything here.

    It’s impossible to build more just, liberated societies without working across differences of belief, faith, and views of the world. Maybe it’s fashionable to say “fuck your feelings” to religious folks, but it doesn’t make for a better world. In fact, it probably ensures that people and groups will just remained entrenched in fear, hatred, and suspicion of each other.

  81. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable January 15, 2011 at 1:42 pm |

    Miss S: But plenty of Christians are part of a minority group. Black, Hispanic, poor, etc. I can assure you that the working class black people at the church I grew up in aren’t oppressing you. Rather, the church worked together to find solutions to the oppression that they faced, particularly racial oppression.

    Privilege isn’t as black and white as you’re making it.  

    I’m a member of minority populations, but that doesn’t mean that as a white person, I am not part of an oppressive group with privilege. I’m not saying it’s black and white at all, but saying that there are oppressed minorities as part of the greater oppressive population doesn’t take away from their ability to oppress within the right context. We’re talking about the Christian context in the US right now. Christians here have privilege.

    saurus: No, I’m pointing out that it’s not okay to stereotype and derogate a group of people based on traits like their bodies, their gender expression, or their religion, just because you didn’t like a particular member of that population

    So it’s a coincidence that you compared Christians to oppressed people in every instance you gave? Doubtful. Like I said, when you reverse the roles to make them more representative, your examples don’t hold.

    saurus: 1) I never said that doing something abhorrent in the name of the religion gets a pass; I said that you can’t paint everyone of a faith with the same brush.

    I agree with this, which is your major point. That said, your earlier comment falls apart because you’re making it sound as if it’s oh-so-hard to be a Christian in the US. It’s not. A Christian in the feminist movement? Maybe, if you haven’t come to terms with the privilege you’re given in the US society by virtue of your beliefs or how you were raised. Any comment that essentially says “Fuck all Christians” is unnecessary and rude, given that it doesn’t really account for nuance. Saying, hey, maybe y’all should tell the vocal minority to shut the hell up is probably pretty reasonable, since they sure as hell aren’t going to listen to non-Christians.

    GallingGalla: And how is the demand that all Christians be collectively held responsible for the oppressive behavior of right-wing Christians any different than the demand that all Muslims be collectively held responsible for the oppressive behavior of some Muslims? If the latter is odious, then how is the former not any less odious?  

    Majority v minority group in the US. If a white person is a racist, it’s the responsibility of other white people to shut that person down because he or she is contributing to oppression. If a black person says he or she hates white people, I’m not going to piss and moan if the three black people around that person don’t immediately condemn hir actions because of the US historical (and really present) context.

    nathan: I don’t see the kind of care that’s put into supporting and advocating for various other groups: queer, trans, fat, abuse victims, people with mental illness and many others.

    Orly? Because most discussion of mental illness is hand-waved when those of us who aren’t neurotypical speak up. We’ve officially had one thread that was completely moderated, and it was the only thread where people mentioned mental illness where my blood didn’t boil. I’ve seen the same thing happen with fat phobia. Also, PS, I don’t really know how you think we can talk about feminism without respectfully factoring in queer, trans, and abuse issues. They’re deeply interrelated.

  82. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. January 15, 2011 at 2:01 pm |

    saurus: A few qualms with your analogy:

    1) I never said that doing something abhorrent in the name of the religion gets a pass; I said that you can’t paint everyone of a faith with the same brush.

    2) Anti-abortion isn’t one of the “major tenets” of Christianity.

    3) There is a remarkable amount of diversity of opinion within Christianity – even within a single congregation of a particular church.

    4) Christianity is not so organized that a Christian in one part of the US can walk up to pharmacist who lives someone else and somehow fire them from Christianity for denying someone medication. You can’t prevent someone from calling themselves a Christian, regardless of how un-Christian you feel their behavior is.

    Anyway, what makes you think the Christian pro-choicers in this thread haven’t done radical work in their communities?

    Also, Christianity itself doesn’t “advocate harm” to human beings, because Christianity is incapable of advocating anything – it’s not a singular, monolithic entity. There are over two billion Christians on this planet. That’s my whole point – Christianity is full of diverse people with very different ideas and practices of morality. You can “sign up” for Christianity at your local queer-friendly, pro-choice United Church without supporting the Westboro Baptist Church in any way. You can even be Christian without going to church, just by holding a belief within yourself, quietly, disconnected from the organization as a whole. Christianity is a complicated, multi-headed thing.

    I’ll say it again – there is room in this movement for us to acknowledge everyone’s diversity. We are all capable of having a nuanced critique of Christianity without grossly stereotyping and derogating all Christians, so what do we have to lose? Why not? saurus

    1) Good.

    2) Most of the major sects of Christianity are explicitly forced birth. When you choose to call yourself a Christian you are lumping yourself in with them. Why? A good friend of mine calls herself a follower of Christ instead for precisely that reason. Why associate yourself with people who fund the forced birth movement?

    3) Diversity in individual opinion is not my issue. I care about the money and political power that are used to harm people.

    4) That there is no punishment for non-compliance is irrelevant. Where does the money go? Where does the political influence go. Simply calling yourself a Christian reinforces the power of these religious sects and in the US the rhetorical power of supposed “Christian nation.”

    5 & 6) Good for people who do radical work to help people who seek abortions. But you cannot disclaim the political and social impact of voluntarily associating yourself with the label “Christian” which is used in the US to cause a great deal of harm.

    GallingGalla: And how is the demand that all Christians be collectively held responsible for the oppressive behavior of right-wing Christians any different than the demand that all Muslims be collectively held responsible for the oppressive behavior of some Muslims? If the latter is odious, then how is the former not any less odious? GallingGalla

    Its not acceptable to hold all Muslims responsible where Islam is not a dominant political and social movement used as a way to hurt people. If you are an Afghani woman stoned to death for adultery then you have every right to call out all people who have supported the religious views that dictated that you be stoned to death. Even if some of the people in your social/political group did not support stoning, they still contributed in tangible ways to the power held by a group that killed someone. You don’t walk away from that with clean hands just because you personally didn’t agree.

  83. Bob
    Bob January 15, 2011 at 2:07 pm |

    As someone who is in school to become a pharmacist I would like to point out a few things.

    #1 Methergine is a pregnancy category C medication. This means you do not want to use it during pregnancy unless absolutely necessary.

    #2 It is the pharmacist’s duty and job to make sure the patient is not harmed.

    #3 A pharmacist is a health care professional and entitled to the information that will help with his/her job. Just as the nurse and doctor know what is going on to do their job a pharmacist needs the same info to prevent harm.

    #4 There is a chance that the pharmacist knew of the patient’s pregnancy beforehand and did not want to dispense a medication that could potentially harm the fetus

    In summary, the pharmacist asked a routine question that should have received an answer. There is nothing in these articles that state the pharmacist would have refused the medication either way, just that he needed to know if there was still a baby on board. Pharmacists are there to second guess your doctors, they generally know a lot more about medicines than a PCP and are the last line of your defense to keep you from taking the wrong drugs or combination of drugs.

    P.S. If the pharmacist was refusing on moral grounds (which is stated no where) then they suck a woman’s body is their own business

  84. GallingGalla
    GallingGalla January 15, 2011 at 2:47 pm |

    Having thought on things a bit, I continue to stand by this statement I made:

    GallingGalla: In my case, queer, trans, physically and mentally disabled. A Christian who refuses to dispense life-saving medication to a woman who once had an abortion is a Christian who won’t hire me, regardless of my being Christian.

    And yet I realize that this argument is specious:

    GallingGalla: And how is the demand that all Christians be collectively held responsible for the oppressive behavior of right-wing Christians any different than the demand that all Muslims be collectively held responsible for the oppressive behavior of some Muslims? If the latter is odious, then how is the former not any less odious? GallingGalla

    because it ignores the fact that in the US (and the West in general), Christianity and Christians are privileged whereas Islam and Muslims are marginalized.

    Therefore, I’ve some self-examination to do.

  85. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig January 15, 2011 at 2:59 pm |

    Nathan: There’s a reason for that hostility, you know. The Abrahamic religions tend to be openly hostile to women, and many misogynists use religous scriptures to back up their opinion that women shouldn’t be educated/allowed to work/ allowed any say over their own bodies. Catholic women can’t be priests, and Buddhist nuns are expected to stay in their nunneries and look after the monks. Muslim women are expected to be submissive, and Hindu women are locked into a society that hasn’t grown out of the Victorian age yet. Women have to do Descartian contortions to convince themselves it’s worth it to stay in any faith.
    A few of us, on this site, grew up outside the church, and never attended religious services growing up. How do you think we feel when we hear from the televangelists how we’re supposed to be submissive and never have an original thought in our heads? When we hear about this pharmacist and give the man or woman behind the pharmacy counter the evil eye because of her? So, yeah, you can’t really expect us to give ‘good’ religious folks a pass here.
    Short version: religion and progressive politics are like trying to run Windows on a Mac; can be done, but they don’t mix well.

  86. GallingGalla
    GallingGalla January 15, 2011 at 3:03 pm |

    Bunny Mazonas: Because I chose that battle the day I chose this faith. Bunny Mazonas

    Then again, white (including myself) USians, Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders choose to continue to live on land that was outright stolen by violence from indigenous people by white European colonizers. I keep making this point and it doesn’t get through to the “but you chose your religion” folks, that every single one of us is complicit in one or more oppressive systems. Those who live in glass houses, etc.

  87. Nahida
    Nahida January 15, 2011 at 3:33 pm |

    GallingGalla:
    And yet I realize that this argument is specious:
    because it ignores the fact that in the US (and the West in general), Christianity and Christians are privileged whereas Islam and Muslims are marginalized.Therefore, I’ve some self-examination to do.  

    I’m Muslim. I don’t get it when people bring up location. Why does it matter where people are oppressed? If there are people oppressed in other parts of the world (by Muslims,) they’re just as important as those who are oppressed here (by Christians.) Are we the only country that matters?

    If you’re going to hold all Christians accountable for the actions of a few, then I guess us Muslims are all the same too.

    At least be consistent.

  88. Bitter Scribe
    Bitter Scribe January 15, 2011 at 3:40 pm |

    Thanks, Greydoggone.

  89. GallingGalla
    GallingGalla January 15, 2011 at 3:50 pm |

    Nahida: I’m Muslim. I don’t get it when people bring up location. Why does it matter where people are oppressed? If there are people oppressed in other parts of the world (by Muslims,) they’re just as important as those who are oppressed here (by Christians.) Are we the only country that matters?

    Ok, I understand this point of your argument, and I take your point.

    Nahida: If you’re going to hold all Christians accountable for the actions of a few, then I guess us Muslims are all the same too.

    At least be consistent.

    But I’m confused by this: How am I being inconsist…owate, I got it. I’ll be quiet now.

  90. Nahida
    Nahida January 15, 2011 at 4:19 pm |

    LOL Galla, that last part wasn’t addressing you. Sorry should have specified.

  91. GallingGalla
    GallingGalla January 15, 2011 at 4:30 pm |

    Nahida: LOL Galla, that last part wasn’t addressing you. Sorry should have specified.  

    Ah, ok. No worries.

  92. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig January 15, 2011 at 6:13 pm |

    Saurus: I guess your comment wasn’t up the last time I looked. Most of the vocal Christians occupying the airwaves do fit this stereotype. How do you think it sprung into being? I know a few Christians who are prochoice, but I’m not going to be fooled into thinking they speak for the majority.
    If I think a certain group of people is actively out to harm me, of course I’m going to make assumptions about them and avoid them. I don’t smile at men on the street-too dangerous. I don’t go to church- I’m not welcome. I don’t interact with Republicans- I live in a very Democratic neighborhood, and even if I didn’t I could simply bang my head against a wall without involving anyone else.
    Like I said before, there isn’t a middle ground here and there never will be.

  93. nathan
    nathan January 15, 2011 at 8:16 pm |

    “Nathan: There’s a reason for that hostility, you know.” Yeah, no doubt. All of what you listed pisses me off as well. There are so many traditions in religious communities that are flat out oppressive and sickening. But extending all that into we aren’t going to give “good religious folks a pass” – well, that might create a little temporary safety online, but in the communities we live in, it’s basically maintaining a war between religious and secular folks. And here in the U.S., anyway, secular folks are far outnumbered, and rarely are in positions of power and influence.

    So, if you and others want to keep a black and white view on all of this, that’s fine. But it’s pretty much gonna put a stake in the heart of any social change work your doing. It’s quite easy to maintain these separations in the abstract, but good luck making an actual dent on issues like righteous American pharmacists.

    Getting shit changed requires working across differences.

  94. David
    David January 15, 2011 at 10:18 pm |

    Something on topic and something related to this little religion/non religion debate.
    On topic:
    People who don’t dispense medication because of moral objections should get their license yanked.

    Off topic: I disagree with this entire notion of holding religious moderates accountable for bad things that other christians do in the name of their faith. I’m for consistency. I’d rather spend my time singling out the people for their bad behavior – and not other superficial traits that “group” them with someone else who has done something bad. Our first impulse should be fostering communities of tolerance. By showing that we care only about bad behavior and not these superficial categories – we are sending a message that we are not trying to pull one group down, but raise everyone up collectively. I’ll call out a christian who spreads hate. But a christian who doesn’t? I don’t know about anyone else, but I don’t take some kind of pleasure in demanding apologies or help from people who have done nothing wrong.

    By the way, “no middle ground”? This is way too much like the “you’re with us or against us” rhetoric of the American right for me to ever be comfortable with such an attitude.

  95. TeaHag
    TeaHag January 15, 2011 at 11:20 pm |

    Bob,

    In which case, all the pharmacist had to do was ask if the client is currently pregnant, as this medication is not suitable for pregnant women. For that, the nurse could answer “no” without breaking any confidentiality laws, and without disclosing whether the patient had an abortion or recently gave birth. The pharmacist had no right to insist on knowing whether or not the patient had an abortion — only if she is currently pregnant.

  96. Todd
    Todd January 16, 2011 at 6:37 am |

    I have to agree to SOME extent, if it is the policy of the business not to sell these drugs sure, BUT they should not be allowed to be sold to only some people, they have no right to ask if the pregnancy was aborted. However a government approval system (simpyl a sticker on the door) to tell people that they dont have any crackpots inside refusing healthcare would help.

  97. Sonia
    Sonia January 16, 2011 at 11:05 am |

    Can someone explain why so many medicines ( a lot of them fairly benign even in large doses) need a doctor’s prescription anyways? Really, a prescription for birth control, what the fuck for? I am glad I (now) live in a country where you can walk up to a pharmacy and get just about any drug no questions asked and as much BC as I want.

  98. Miss S
    Miss S January 16, 2011 at 2:13 pm |

    How does anyone know what pro choice Christians are doing? How do you know if the women and men working in reproductive choice non profits are Christian or not? What about the volunteers at Planned Parenthood? Are you checking to see if they’re wearing a cross?

    Bunny- how do you know people aren’t speaking out against things that they don’t believe in?? I can think of quite a few Sundays that my mom and I spent discussing the sermon we attended, and what we did or didn’t agree with. I don’t need to start a blog about it- I can discuss these things with the people in my community. And you know what? Disagreeing with someone isn’t the end of the world. It really isn’t. I can disagree, share my beliefs, and keep it moving.

  99. Miss S
    Miss S January 16, 2011 at 2:16 pm |

    PrettyAmiable, please explain to me how the poor blacks in the country have any power whatsoever to oppress other people. Explain to me how the poor Mexican American population down the street has any privilege to oppress people.

    You can’t tell someone is Christian simply from looking at them, and if they don’t go to church, you might not ever know. For some people, it’s entirely an inside spiritual practice. What power or privilege do they gain? Who do they get to oppress?

    No doubt that some white men have been able to profit from this religion. But don’t think for one second that there’s a trickle-down effect and every Christian therefore gains some power and wealth.

  100. Weekly News Round-Up, Two-Day Weekend Edition « Women's Health News

    [...] Jill at Feministe points to a story of an Idaho pharmacist who refused to fill a prescription written by a Planned Parenthood nurse practitioner unless the NP would disclose whether the drug was needed for abortion-related follow-up care. [...]

  101. GallingGalla
    GallingGalla January 16, 2011 at 7:04 pm |

    Kristen J.: A good friend of mine calls herself a follower of Christ instead for precisely that reason.

    And that absolves her absolutely, I guess. Being “a follower of Christ” somehow mean you magically never oppress anybody else.

    No, I’m sorry, but if I’m culpable, so’s your friend. The fact your friend and I refer to ourselves differently doesn’t erase the fact that we’re practicing the same religion. Followers of Christ are just as likely to oppress people of other religions as Christians are, and Christians are just as likely to be in the forefront of social justice movements as Followers of Christ are.

    I mean, really, if I referred to myself as a person of pallor, does that somehow make my white privilege go away? Does that somehow make me less complicit in systems of racism?

  102. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig January 16, 2011 at 10:51 pm |

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/141044/americans-church-attendance-inches-2010.aspx#2
    Nathan, please check this out. Over half of Americans, or at least those polled, don’t attend church. For 2010, there was a little bump in attendance, but for the most part church attendance is declining. I suspect that in blue states, church attendance has gone way down, and if a few states were to leave the Union, the unchurched would outnumber them. The older, religious generation is still in power, but as the younger generation takes over, fewer religious people will hold political positions. This can only be a good thing.

  103. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. January 17, 2011 at 1:28 am |

    GallingGalla: No, I’m sorry, but if I’m culpable, so’s your friend. The fact your friend and I refer to ourselves differently doesn’t erase the fact that we’re practicing the same religion. Followers of Christ are just as likely to oppress people of other religions as Christians are, and Christians are just as likely to be in the forefront of social justice movements as Followers of Christ are.

    I mean, really, if I referred to myself as a person of pallor, does that somehow make my white privilege go away? Does that somehow make me less complicit in systems of racism? GallingGalla

    I think you and I may fundamentally disagree about how power is constructed and maintained in the US. In my view, Christianity is more than simply a set of beliefs in the US, it is a locus of power. When asshats refer to the US as a “Christian nation” they are invoking a powerful political and social movement. That movement may be disparate in many ways, but it exercises rhetorical authority on behalf of all people who identify as Christian. When the Fellowship Foundation sets up the National Prayer Breakfast, they do it in your name, regardless of whether you agree. When numerous politicians succumb to pressure explicitly from Christian political organizations to nearly sabotage legislation over reproductive care, they do it in your name, regardless of whether you agree. By calling yourself a Christian you are specifically aligning yourself, not just with a few bad apples, but with a social and political machine that causes a great deal of harm.

    This has nothing to do with your personal beliefs, I’m sure there are people who call themselves Christians, but are not believers. It is entirely the product of joining a social and political movement.

  104. nathan
    nathan January 17, 2011 at 12:18 pm |

    Kristin, would you also condemn Martin Luther King Jr. for his association with Christianity? I mean, really, you sound almost the same as those right wingers blasting Muslims on the radio and tv.

  105. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig January 17, 2011 at 6:34 pm |

    Miss S: If I saw a Planned Parenthood volunteer wearing a cross, I would be very wary of that volunteer.
    As for MLK- I’m willing to concede that the Civil Rights Movement was church-based, and it was one of the few good things that had a religious background. But by and large, when a religious movement starts, it pays to be wary. People have a natural tendency to favor destruction and seperation rather then unity and creation. This is especially true of religious people.

  106. Chally
    Chally January 17, 2011 at 10:38 pm |

    So, here is a thing: monolithising and “religion is teh stoopid and teh bad” type comments? Not really cool with us here at Feministe. There is potential for discussion around these things, but it’s not going to work for us in the context of this thread. So stay more firmly on topic, please, commenters, or don’t stay.

  107. Natalia Antonova
    Natalia Antonova January 18, 2011 at 3:12 pm | *

    Next up – firefighters refusing to put out the flames in a burning building unless they’re assured that everyone in that building is living a “moral” lifestyle! Lifeguards refusing to save drowning women in “revealing” bathing suits!

    Etc.

    Oh, and I agree with Nahida on pretty much everything she’s said here.

  108. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. January 18, 2011 at 3:42 pm |

    Nathan,

    Hell yes. Let me use another analogy that might clarify. When womanists call out feminism (as a movement and a belief system) and feminists for the bullshit racist crap that comes out of this movement, what is the appropriate response? Its certainly true that not all feminists are (overtly) racist, but its also undeniable that some seriously oppressive shit has come out of this movement. Would it be acceptable for a self-identified feminist to respond with “STOP STEREOTYPING/OPPRESSING ME!”? Would it acceptable to say feminism isn’t like that because X famous feminist did amazing work as an activist for people of color?

    No, because both responses deny the oppression and feminism’s role in that oppression. When you call yourself a feminist, you accept the consequences of sharing a label and a social movement with a bunch of people who cause harm. When you get called on it, the only appropriate response is “yeah, I know. I’m doing what I can to change it from the inside, but I recognize that’s cold comfort for you in this moment when you are harmed by the social movement I support.”

  109. nathan
    nathan January 18, 2011 at 8:12 pm |

    Best to agree to disagree on this. I have seen others on here, as well as myself, agree that there are a myriad of issues in traditional approaches of religions that are oppressive and need to be called out and addressed, but that’s not enough. No answer but all religions are always oppressive and would be better off eliminated is acceptable.

    Although the post above didn’t specify religious values as the reason for the pharmacist’s refusal, most of us, myself included, went right toward that, probably given the presence of Planned Parenthood, Idaho being a conservative state, and the fact that conscience laws have been promoted and used almost exclusively by religious folks. The thing is, though, we don’t even know if the pharmacist in question is Christian. And given that one of your points above is linking Christianity to the U.S. power structure, perhaps it might be more helpful to find out what this person’s background is before going off about how terrible Christians are.

    At the end of the day, as Galling Galla said, we’re all complicit in systems of oppression precisely because they cross over political, religious, racial, and other social boundaries. And if you think the only way to remedy this is to leave every group that has any history of oppression linked to it, then we’re basically gonna have to fold up most of our shops and start over.

  110. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. January 18, 2011 at 8:35 pm |

    nathan: At the end of the day, as Galling Galla said, we’re all complicit in systems of oppression precisely because they cross over political, religious, racial, and other social boundaries. And if you think the only way to remedy this is to leave every group that has any history of oppression linked to it, then we’re basically gonna have to fold up most of our shops and start over. nathan

    No one said people had to stop being Christians, just stop denying the oppression and your complicity. I don’t understand why this is so damn hard when we talk about religion, but easy when viewed from nearly any other vector. Yes, we are all complicit in oppressive systems. No, we can’t just fold up our tents and go home. But when someone points out the fact that our actions are oppressive denying the oppression exists is never the correct response and you sure as hell should pull out the “Noooo…you’re oppressing me by saying I’m oppressing you bullshit.”

  111. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig January 18, 2011 at 10:09 pm |

    Nathan: there was no reason for the pharmacist to refuse a completely innocous request, except for a religious one. Christians tend to be the ones who get all huffy over abortions- prolife Jews and Muslims tend to keep it to themselves, and I doubt there are many in Idaho anyway.
    I wouldn’t object to religion, per se, if there weren’t so many religious loudmouths around trying to make everyone’s lives as miserable as possible. I have no problem with people attending church- I just don’t think that an evangelist belongs on a school board or in Congress.

  112. nathan
    nathan January 19, 2011 at 1:34 pm |

    Kristin, You might be surprised, given what I have written, to know that I’m am not Christian. In fact, I have never resonated with the messages of even “liberal” Christian communities. In addition, I have frequently been an outspoken critic of exactly the kinds of things you’re pointing out. I often got in trouble at my previous workplace, which was dominated by Catholics, because I poked holes in the message that we were a diverse organization that supported and upheld everyone that was a part of it. We didn’t. The only holidays the org. celebrated were X-mas and Easter, just to give one example.

    I’m a Zen Buddhist and student of yoga, and have felt marginalized by the general sense of entitlement displayed by many Christians when it comes to U.S. history and culture. My father is a secular humanist, and feels the same. Most of my friends aren’t Christians as well. And even though I have been arguing for basic respect and working across divides, I’m well aware that it’s no easy task, and there are plenty of potential pitfalls.

    I have never denied that religion has been used as a tool of oppression. In fact, I’ve blogged frequently about abuses within my own traditions of Zen and yoga. There is a litany of sexist, racist, classist, and other -ist structures that need to be dealt with within these groups, and I’m more than willing to engage that.

    However, what I saw in some of the comments above was not a pointing out of oppression, but a complete condemnation of religion. And what I have seen amongst some sections of secular society, such as the New Atheists, is that they really pin all the world’s troubles on religion. Some secular feminists do the same. They’re going after all us, and won’t stop until the world is rid of religion. Frankly, that’s no better than the evangelicals out to convert everyone, and destroy everything that isn’t in line with their Biblical view of the world.

    That’s where I have been coming from, and not from a place of denying religious based oppression.

  113. nathan
    nathan January 19, 2011 at 2:00 pm |

    Politicalguineapig – I have had two friends who were not religious in the least, but held strong “pro-life” views. Neither is in my life anymore, but because of them, I can’t automatically go down the road of “it must be a Christian.” Whomever it was, their decision was wrong, and they shouldn’t be working in pharmacy.

    “I just don’t think that an evangelist belongs on a school board or in Congress.”

    You might want to consider the implications of this statement. If this ever because the rule of the land, it could easily be applied to other groups, including ones you or your family/friends belong to. Nazi Germany began with banning Jews from political and other power positions, and then spread out to gays, disabled folks, Communists, Socialists, artists and writers – the list goes on. Maoist China banned Buddhism and went after the mostly Buddhist, middle and upper class intellectuals. Stalin’s government eventually oppressed and/or killed anyone that disagreed publicly with his views. In all three of those cases, it began with specific group that was deemed blameworthy for most of the nation’s ills and spread out from there.

    Obviously, these are extreme examples, but they do represent what happens when the kind of thinking you’re proposing is taken to it’s logical conclusions.

  114. Tom Foolery
    Tom Foolery January 19, 2011 at 3:10 pm |

    You might want to consider the implications of this statement. If this ever because the rule of the land, it could easily be applied to other groups, including ones you or your family/friends belong to. Nazi Germany began with banning Jews from political and other power positions, and then spread out to gays, disabled folks, Communists, Socialists, artists and writers – the list goes on.

    I suppose this is the natural assumption for progressives and other statist types, but just because someone says “so-and-so doesn’t belong on a school board,” doesn’t mean they believe that they should be banned. I can think of lots of different types of people that don’t I think belong on school boards that don’t need to be banned from them — people who believe the earth is flat, people who believe Elvis is still alive, astrologers, people who think vaccinations cause autism, and so on, and so on.

    It isn’t a question of instituting new laws that govern who can be part of school boards or pharmacists or what have you. It’s about allowing ourselves to judge religious beliefs by the same standards we judge all other beliefs. If a pharmacist were to refuse to prescribe a medication because he or she believes that there’s a credible risk, according to double-blind medical studies, that an unfavorable drug interaction could occur with another medication that the patient is taking, we’d all have something to debate. But as it is, this pharmacist has the unfalsifiable belief that a particular book was authored by God, and the moral tenants laid out by this book are incontrovertible.

    Because of their current power and influence on the global stage, the Abrahamic religions are heavily privileged when it comes to how we weight the beliefs that people hold as a result of them. If a conscience-claiming pharmacist were to claim a religious objection based on Hinduism, I think it’d be a lot more likely he’d be dismissed. If he or she were a Pagan, or a Scientologist, or a Jedi, this story would be fodder for Fark.com, he or she would certainly be dismissed, and it’d be surprising that he or she made it through the interview process in the first place.

    The bottom line is that, no matter who your god is, “god told me so” is not a sufficient reason for doing anything. We as a society need to hold all beliefs to the same standards of evidence, whether you praise Jesus or hail Xenu.

  115. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. January 19, 2011 at 4:03 pm |

    nathan: That’s where I have been coming from, and not from a place of denying religious based oppression. nathan

    Okay, but that’s all *I* was trying to point out. Some commenters may be making different arguments, but my response was to someone who was saying that Christians were being oppressed by a conversation where people who have been or are likely to be denied medical care are venting about the oppression they experience.

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