Whatever your conscience tells you must be right
How do Bush’s exciting new ‘conscience’ rules work, anyway? What exactly do they rule in, and out? Are there any limits? I haven’t seen any mentioned in the news coverage so far.
Well I suppose I’ll just have to look at the rules themselves – though not all 132 pages of them if I can help it. But judging by the Health and Human Services page on the subject, they haven’t ruled anything out. It’s just a matter of ‘conscience’ and ‘personal beliefs.’ So no matter what damn fool thing you believe, you have the ‘right’ to deny medical services to anyone and everyone as long as you announce that it’s a matter of your conscience. Worse than that, no matter what cruel unjust misogynist bigoted damn fool thing you believe, you have the same right.
How stupid is the Bush administration, exactly? What is going to prevent ‘devout’ Muslims from refusing to treat members of the opposite sex? Or refusing to treat women who are not wearing hijab? Or refusing to treat Jews? What is going to prevent ultra-Orthodox Jews from refusing to treat members of the opposite sex? What is going to prevent ‘devout’ Christians from refusing to treat homosexuals?
It doesn’t look as if that has even crossed their minds, but why wouldn’t it have? Do they think people inside American borders don’t act that way? But even if they were right about that – does it not occur to them that issuing what amounts to an open and warm invitation to act exactly that way might encourage people to do so? Does it not occur to them that ‘conscience’ can cover a lot of territory and that not all of it is anodyne? Does it not occur to them that even they might find a real theocracy a little uncomfortable to live in?