More and more Canadian workers are being compelled to violate their own beliefs
Two of the most commonly heard expressions uttered in the name of modern egalitarian society are “workers’ rights” and “freedom of choice.” Let an employer order a non-Christian to put up Christmas decorations, and it will not be long before news-hungry media and human-rights enforcers show up in the employee’s defence (as happened in B.C. not long ago). However, a growing number of Canadian workers are being discriminated against on conscience-related issues, and the institutions that should be protecting them are turning a blind eye to their plight. As is becoming increasingly apparent, the double standard seems to be entirely political. [Full text]
A basic requirement for the functioning of civil society, especially in a democracy, is that citizens, generally speaking, should obey the laws of the land. Christians and most, if not all, other religious groups accept that principle as an over-arching reality. The logic is compelling. If citizens, in substantial numbers, would take the law into their own hands and individually decide which laws to obey and which to disobey, then anarchy might result rather quickly. The theory is clear and essentially true but the practical situation is sometimes more complicated.
What is to be done by responsible and highly moral citizens if certain laws are inherently evil? What should citizens do if the government of the day pressures them to violate their conscience on a fundamental principle? What should they do if their government suddenly denies them the most basic of freedoms? We know from history as well as from the present global situation that Christians often encounter laws which are unjust and simply wrong. The Christian response is clear. . . [Read on]
. . .Since a fair amount of their income was the result of contraception, and surgical sterilisation, I refused to join the pool . . . According to my conscience, I could not accept any part of that income. I soon was dismissed, losing hospitalisation and surgical privileges. The letter of dismissal was signed both by our Mother Superior . . . and . . . a Reverend Canon, who at the same time was one of the secretaries of our
Bishop. [Full text]
Med Law. 2001;20(2):283-93. Review. PubMed PMID: 11495210.
Bernard M. Dickens
Reproductive health services address contraception, sterilization and abortion, and new technologies such as gamete selection and manipulation, in vitro fertilization and surrogate motherhood. Artificial fertility control and medically assisted reproduction are opposed by conservative religions and philosophies, whose adherents may object to participation. Physicians’ conscientious objection to non-lifesaving interventions in pregnancy have long been accepted. Nurses’ claims are less recognized, allowing nonparticipation in abortions but not refusal of patient preparation and aftercare. Objections of others in health-related activities, such as serving meals to abortion patients and typing abortion referral letters, have been disallowed. Pharmacists may claim refusal rights over fulfilling prescriptions for emergency (post-coital) contraceptives and drugs for medical (i.e. non-surgical) abortion. This paper addresses limits to conscientious objection to participation in reproductive health services, and conditions to which rights of objection may be subject. Individuals have human rights to freedom of religious conscience, but institutions, as artificial legal persons, may not claim this right. [Full Text]