Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Locked in Theologies

Rosemary Flanigan

Our celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Center includes a series of talks given by the program planning team—and mine was last Wednesday with a title that Myra Christopher gave me: Religion. Healthcare Policy. Do the Twain Meet?

I used Richard McCormick’s 1974 case which he wrote up as “To Save or Let Die” and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The “policy” or guideline is how to determine when a severely malformed baby ought to be allowed to die—and it is simple and eminently reasonable (can it be ascertained that the baby is so damaged that he/she cannot enter into relationships—because loving God and neighbor is the purpose we have life in the first place).

The discussion avoided, thank goodness, crazy religious practices. But afterwards, George Flanagan, chaplain at the Kansas City Veterans Administation Hospital, told me of persons so locked in their “theologies” that they can’t hear proposals for another way to doing things.

McCormick had always held that moral experience is eminently reasonable—that means to me that one can engage with others (though not necessarily agree) using the power of reason.

I guess some of those of whom George was speaking would think, “If I already know the answer, why reason?”

Discouraging, isn’t it???

Link: Religion. Healthcare Policy. Do the Twain Meet?, Rosemary Flanigan lecture, July 8, 2009. 1 hour 6 seconds

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