By Michael J. Talmo (originally published in Medic Debate)
13 May 2022 – Bigotry is an ugly thing. In my country, the US, it has had a long and nasty history. From treating black people and women as second class citizens via slavery, Jim Crow Laws, and blaming Eve for the fall of the human race in Genesis, to persecuting gay and transgender people, to barring atheists from holding public office, to demanding that people be vaccinated in order to work in some professions and attend school. I consider all forms of bigotry to be unacceptable, stupid, and cruel.
The dictionary definition of a bigot is:
“The fact of having and expressing strong, unreasonable beliefs and disliking other people who have different beliefs or a different way of life:”
Bigots are angry, frightened people who need to oppress and humiliate others in order feel important. and superior. They jump to conclusions. They don’t look deeply. Their world is only as big as they are. They can’t see beyond the tip of their own noses. And most of all they don’t take into account the harm and consequences that their actions can inflict.
The latest salvo of bigotry occurred on May 2, 2019. Former President Donald Trump issued a new rule through the Department of Health and Human Services that as reported by NPR “allows anyone from a doctor to a receptionist to entities like hospitals and pharmacies to deny a patient critical—and sometimes lifesaving—care” if they ‘have a ‘religious or conscience’ objection.”
Do I really have to state the obvious folks? The idea that the feelings of a doctor or other medical professionals should come before the needs of a patient is beyond stupid. And although a New York federal judge rightly struck down this idiotic rule in November 2019 and President Biden to his credit voided it last April, which doesn’t excuse his acts of medical bigotry, bills similar to it are being pushed in state legislatures throughout the country. This is mainly due to the efforts of Project Blitz, a coalition of Christian groups that want to shove their version of theology down everyone’s throat as reported in SourceWatch and the Guardian.
We have long ago decided that discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin is wrong. In 1964 President Lyndon Johnson (1908-1973) signed the Civil Rights Act into law. This along with the 1954 US Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka outlawed segregation. In 2020, the US Supreme Court ruled that discrimination on the basis of sex also applies to gay and transsexual people when it comes to employment in most cases. As far as I’m concerned, if a business cannot deny service to a person because of the color of their skin, then a business or professional, which includes medical professionals, cannot deny care to a person who is gay, bisexual, transgender, or unvaccinated. But there are bigots who are determined to keep trying and they don’t even want to allow people who’s rights they are violating to be upset with them or to sue them for damages as reported here, here, and here.
As shown in this 2015 article, religious bigots claim that “they are the ones who are being bullied. It’s bigotry toward them. It’s hatred directed at them. It’s discrimination against them… They are tired of being made into the bad guys… It is they, many argue, who are the freedom fighters in this debate.” Jeepers creepers, talk about being off-the-wall delusional. They want to deny people they don’t approve of health care and expect them to be all nice and happy about it. What these fanatics are doing is engaging in what Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) called projection, accusing others of what they are doing. This is also known as DARVO an acronym for Deny, Attack, Reverse Victim and Offender.
Facts to Consider
If you think that being forced to give service to people you don’t want to serve is violating your rights or imposing morality on you I’m going to be blunt: it isn’t. Sorry Charlie. I hate to piddle on your parade. If you can’t handle the presence of LGBT+ people for crying out loud grow up. If you’re so afraid of COVID-19 that you want to refuse treatment to unvaccinated people you have no business being a doctor or a nurse—find another job. Like it or not, the life of the patient comes first. If people who don’t fit your definition of morality offend you merely by existing it isn’t a crime. Denying them medical care or any other kind of service is. In fact, it is a crime against humanity.
If you think that racial bigotry is different or worse than bigotry directed at other groups wake up. Bigotry is bigotry and all races are capable of it. I’ve met a lot of people over the years, both black and white, who play this card in order to justify their prejudices in other areas. They try to rationalize that being against racial bigotry makes it okay to be a bigot in other areas. And that’s okay. You have the right to be a bigot. You have the right to enjoy being a bigot. You have the right to hang out with other bigots. Maybe you don’t want to be a bigot, but can’t help it. And that’s also okay. But you don’t have the right nor is it ever okay to impose your bigotry on others.
Over two years of COVID-19 should have made it obvious that gay and transsexual people are not the only ones who are going to be denied medical care. But for those who still don’t get it here are some facts to consider.
Back in 2012, NBC News reported on a survey that was conducted in the UK: 54% of the 1,096 doctors who participated supported denying medical care to patients who smoked and who were obese; such policies were already being carried out in some parts of the UK back in 2007 as reported by the British Medical Journal; CBS news reported that some doctors in the US are also refusing to treat overweight people; some practices in Florida won’t treat people who weigh over 200 lbs; in June 2019 NBC News reported that a lot of doctors ignore the needs of elderly patients and don’t give them the same level of treatment they give to younger patients; in 2019 Medical Xpress reported that a “secret shopper’ survey of 194 Michigan primary care clinics found that as many as four out of 10 primary care doctors would turn away patients who have been taking the pain killing medications (such as Percocet) long term.”
What I’m trying to explain here is stare decisis, established legal precedent. Meaning, once you give the government the power to do something, such as passing laws that allow doctors and other medical professionals to deny people care for religious or other reasons, it will expand that power in ways you hadn’t planned on. So, if you smack your lips and revel at the thought of transgender people and other members of the LGBT+ community being denied medical care, remember that it can also happen to you, your spouse, your children, your grandchildren, your parents, your friends, or to other relatives for being overweight, for smoking, for not being vaccinated, for not wearing a mask, or for just being old. This is why civil rights, justice, and equality must apply to everyone or they will mean nothing.
“As mankind becomes more liberal, they will be more apt to allow, that all those who conduct themselves as worthy members of the community, are equally entitled to the protection of civil government. I hope ever to see America among the foremost nations in examples of justice and liberality.”
It Is God’s Will
Small-minded petty people want to think that their oppression of those different from them is justified and righteous. They claim they are doing what they are doing for the public good, or to protect society, or their children. But they usually invoke religion to justify their meanness. They claim that they are doing what God wants them to do. Really? I think not.
I Corinthians 10:12 issues this warning:
“Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall”
In other words, don’t be so sure that what you’re doing is right or that you know what you’re talking about—especially if you never even bothered to read the Bible all the way through or studied much, if any, American History.
Many of my countrymen think that America is a Christian nation. Not so! The fact that most Americans identify as Christians is irrelevant. The fact that “Nature’s God” is mentioned in the Declaration of Independence is irrelevant because it is a deistic term and has nothing to do with the Biblical version of God. Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), our third US President who wrote the Declaration of Independence, was a deist. A number of our Founding Fathers were also deists. But they believed in the freedom of religion as well as the freedom from religion which is why God is not mentioned anywhere in the US Constitution, the document that actually governs us. This is also one of the reasons why the First Amendment is part of Bill of Rights.
Nevertheless, from the founding of America religious groups have tried to impose their religion on others. This is how “under God” got in the Pledge of Allegiance back in 1954—it wasn’t there when Francis Bellamy (1855-1931) created it in 1892. This is how “In God We Trust” was put on all of our money in 1957—prior to that it was on some coins starting in 1864 under the Administration of Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865). This is why we have a plethora of sex taboos imposed on consenting adults like making prostitution illegal.
The Treaty of Tripoli, drafted in 1796 under the Administration of George Washington, ratified by unanimous vote in the US Senate, and signed into law in 1797 by our second President John Adams (1735-1826) emphatically states in Article 11:
“As the Government of the United States of America is not in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character or enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen;” (in modern terminology Muslims)
“And like all ratified treaties, Article VI of the US Constitution which governs treaties, makes it part of “the supreme law of the land.”
At the May 2, 2019 press conference that I mentioned previously, President Trump piously declared:
“Every citizen has the absolute right to live according to the teachings of their faith and the convictions of their heart.”
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”
Psalms 33:15 says that God made everyone’s heart alike.
This is why it says in Proverbs 14:12:
“There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”
In Matthew 7:21 Jesus declares:
“Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father…”
In Matthew 25:31-46 Jesus explained that in the Day of Judgment the wicked that will be condemned to eternal punishment, those who didn’t do the will of the Father, are those who didn’t feed, clothe, and help the poor, the needy, those in prison, and those who are sick. Jesus explained that if you deny those in need you deny him.
Looks like a lot of self-righteous holier-than-thou doctors, nurses, hospital administrators, and health insurance bureaucrats who think that denying people medical care is the godly thing to do are going to be in some deep kimchi if the Judgment Day that they so passionately believe in takes place.
Don’t Be a Little Man
I’m not talking about stature. I’m talking about being petty and small-minded. And obviously, I’m not just talking about men. For every little man there is also a little woman.
In his book “Listen Little Man” Doctor Wilhelm Reich (1897-1957) put it this way:
“The great man was once a very little man, but he developed one important quality: he recognized the smallness and narrowness of his thoughts and actions. Under the pressure of some task which meant a great deal to him, he learned to see how his smallness, his pettiness, endangered his happiness. In other words, a great man knows when and in what way he is a little man. A little man does not know he is little and is afraid to know.”
Don’t be afraid to know. Don’t be afraid to understand that there is a colossal difference between knowing something is true and believing you know it’s true. Believing isn’t knowing. Belief doesn’t equal truth. A lot of people don’t know the difference between a fact and a belief. They get an idea in their heads and it becomes holy writ. “I believe therefore it is so.” This is an example of delusional thinking. So, learn to look at things deeply. Don’t jump to conclusions. Don’t fall for the hype. Look at the facts. Don’t let fear control you. Most of all, look at the consequences of your actions.
Let me also say this: refusing to provide medical care to anyone is reprehensible and should be illegal. However, I do think that doctors and nurses should be able to opt out of performing abortions along with anything that involves taking a life. That is, provided that the mother’s life isn’t in immediate danger where action must be taken.
Do not misunderstand me. I’m pro-choice. I want abortions to remain legal because women have a right to decide what to do with their bodies. Again, remember stare decisis, legal precedent. If a woman can be forced to give birth then both sexes can be forced vaccinated along with whatever else the government wants to do to them. Without the right to choose, you become a slave owned by the state.
No, I don’t believe that life begins at conception because there was life before conception. Both egg and sperm cells are alive. When the sperm fertilizes the egg cell, or the two gametes join, you have a zygote which eventually becomes a fetus. These stages of development in the womb are not humans–they are potential humans and calling them babies as in “kill the baby” is manipulative and dishonest.
And opting out only applies to medical personnel who would actually perform an abortion. It does not apply to hospital administrators, health insurance companies, pharmacists, and employers who provide health coverage to their employees. And to all medical personnel I say, like it or not, providing gender-affirming care, providing birth control devices, etc. doesn’t involve killing anything so quit whining—shut up and do your jobs. Also, like it or not, abortion is a legitimate medical procedure and there are doctors and nurses who will do that procedure so let them be. Equal access to health care by everyone is universally recognized as a human right,
Bitch, moan, and lament all you want believers, but face the truth: there isn’t a religion on the face of this Earth that can prove the existence of any God. If any had to go into court and offer concrete proof for such a supreme being they would fall flat on their face. Since no religion can prove its tenets, no type of religious dogma should ever have the force of secular law. It’s that simple folks. An important lesson that history has taught us is that it is best and wisest to keep religion out of government.
There are many beautiful things about the Christian religion: the fellowship, the community, the sense of belonging, singing together, praying together, having comfort in the belief in an afterlife. But there is beauty and meaning in all religions. I’ve had Jewish girlfriends with whom I went to Passover Seders with, Christian friends and girlfriends that I went to church with, I’ve been to Ashrams, I still practice Taoism. So, if it’s Christianity that gives your life joy, purpose, meaning, and comfort, go right on believing it.
But Believing in God doesn’t make you better than anyone else. Not believing in God doesn’t make you better than anyone else. Being stronger, faster, and smarter than most people doesn’t make you better than anyone else—only more capable at performing certain tasks.
Regardless of whether Bible stories are true or myth, what’s important are the spiritual truths that they convey. The most important of those spiritual truths is love which is why it says in I John 4:16 that “God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.” I personally feel that when you embrace someone you love or look into their eyes you will find more God there than in the fanciest and most ornate cathedral. For love is life. If we don’t learn to love one another then we will most surely wind up destroying one another.
The Golden Rule says it all: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
In other words, if you wouldn’t want to be denied access to health care then don’t do it to other people. It’s not nice, it’s not Christian, and it’s just plain wrong.
Copyright Michael J. Talmo 2022