Author Topic: Criminalize hospital bed proselytizing!  (Read 1068 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Astreja

  • Fellow
  • *******
  • Posts: 3323
  • Darwins +367/-1
  • Gender: Female
  • Agnostic goddess with Clue-by-Four™
    • The Springy Goddess
Criminalize hospital bed proselytizing!
« on: March 31, 2014, 02:28:56 PM »
Because of the potential for abuse, I would like to see laws that explicitly prohibit attempted conversion of a bedridden inpatient from any philosophy to any other philosophy, by anyone, for any reason whatsoever.  I also think that this should be prosecuted as a felony, with penalties in line with crimes such as uttering threats or unlawful confinement.

Here is the rationale behind this proposal:

  • A patient may not be capable of making an informed decision due to pain, medication or other factors relating to their hospitalization.
  • The patient is at a clear disadvantage, unable to opt out by just getting out of bed and walking away.  A patient on a respirator may not even be able to express verbal objections.
  • The patient may be outnumbered by family members or others who want to "save" him.
This wouldn't prevent religious individuals from praying with family and friends, if able and willing, and would not restrict silent prayers in the room or family prayers outside the room in a suitable space, such as in the hospital chapel.  It would, however, prevent Aunt Josie and her 12 born-again kids from flashmobbing an incapacitated family member and exploiting their vulnerability.

What do you think?  Is this something doable, and more importantly, is it something that should be done?
Reality Checkroom — Not Responsible for Lost Articles

Offline OldChurchGuy

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 2101
  • Darwins +190/-3
  • Gender: Male
  • One of those theists who enjoys exchanging ideas
Re: Criminalize hospital bed proselytizing!
« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2014, 10:19:16 PM »
Because of the potential for abuse, I would like to see laws that explicitly prohibit attempted conversion of a bedridden inpatient from any philosophy to any other philosophy, by anyone, for any reason whatsoever.  I also think that this should be prosecuted as a felony, with penalties in line with crimes such as uttering threats or unlawful confinement.

Here is the rationale behind this proposal:

  • A patient may not be capable of making an informed decision due to pain, medication or other factors relating to their hospitalization.
  • The patient is at a clear disadvantage, unable to opt out by just getting out of bed and walking away.  A patient on a respirator may not even be able to express verbal objections.
  • The patient may be outnumbered by family members or others who want to "save" him.
This wouldn't prevent religious individuals from praying with family and friends, if able and willing, and would not restrict silent prayers in the room or family prayers outside the room in a suitable space, such as in the hospital chapel.  It would, however, prevent Aunt Josie and her 12 born-again kids from flashmobbing an incapacitated family member and exploiting their vulnerability.

What do you think?  Is this something doable, and more importantly, is it something that should be done?

Interesting idea.  Has this happened in your life?  I'm not aware of any situation in mine so it seems a bit reactionary.

But, it wouldn't be the first time I was wrong.

As always,

OldCurchGuy
Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle - Philo of Alexandria

Whether one believes in a religion or not, and whether one believes in rebirth or not, there isn't anyone who doesn't appreciate kindness and compassion - Dalai Lama

Offline Nam

  • Laureate
  • *********
  • Posts: 18290
  • Darwins +640/-134
  • Gender: Male
  • I'm on the road less traveled...
Re: Criminalize hospital bed proselytizing!
« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2014, 01:39:03 AM »
Christian response (in the US):

"Another attack on religion[1] by atheists trying to destroy America's religious freedom."[2].

Paraphrased, of course. But that's the gist.

-Nam
 1. When Christians say this, like on FAUX NOISE, they actually mean "Christian".
 2. when they say it they just mean for Christianity
"presumptions are the bitch of all assumptions" -- me

Offline wheels5894

  • Fellow
  • *******
  • Posts: 4578
  • Darwins +294/-1
  • Gender: Male
Re: Criminalize hospital bed proselytizing!
« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2014, 04:10:50 AM »
Maybe things are different in the USA because, although there are chaplain wandering round wards at times, they are usually directed to people who have asked to see them. I have been spoken to a few times but in no way trying to convert me or even interest me in the religion.

However, I can quite see how this could be different if the wrong sort of people are allowed to be chaplains - strongly evangelical etc. - and even see how much worse one make a patient who feels terrible from whatever they are in hospital to have treated if they are told they are off to hell!

I'd say it should be a disciplinary offence for chaplains to anything like evangelising to anyone if they have not been specifically asked to do so with the penalty of being banned from the wards.
No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such that its falshood would be more miraculous than the facts it endeavours to establish. (David Hume)

Offline Graybeard

  • Professor
  • ********
  • Posts: 8433
  • Darwins +884/-28
  • Gender: Male
  • Is this going somewhere?
Re: Criminalize hospital bed proselytizing!
« Reply #4 on: April 01, 2014, 06:36:01 AM »
Because of the potential for abuse, I would like to see laws that explicitly prohibit attempted conversion of a bedridden inpatient from any philosophy to any other philosophy, by anyone, for any reason whatsoever.
Your “philosophy” is a little vague.
“Bedridden” does not seem to be relevant. 

Here is the rationale behind this proposal:

Quote
A patient may not be capable of making an informed decision due to pain, medication or other factors relating to their hospitalization.
To secure a conviction, someone is going to have to prove, beyond reasonable doubt that those conditions are serious enough to prevent the “informed decision”. Neither does it address the same problem if the patient is at home or elsewhere.
Quote
The patient is at a clear disadvantage, unable to opt out by just getting out of bed and walking away.  A patient on a respirator may not even be able to express verbal objections.
The emphasis on patient mobility seems irrelevant if the patient can speak and say to staf, “Get these arseholes out of here!”
Quote
The patient may be outnumbered by family members or others who want to "save" him.
Again a definition of “outnumbered” will be required. As it is, “outnumbered” means “more than one.” But that “one” could be a fervent fundamentalist.

Quote
This wouldn't prevent religious individuals from praying with family and friends, if able and willing,
What of the life-long religious person who is nevertheless unable to express a view but can clearly hear what is happening?
Quote
and would not restrict silent prayers in the room or family prayers outside the room in a suitable space, such as in the hospital chapel.
Why would a bedridden person be in the chapel?
Quote
It would, however, prevent Aunt Josie and her 12 born-again kids from flashmobbing an incapacitated family member and exploiting their vulnerability.
In the UK, you can write a “living will” – i.e. your wishes should you be incapacitated.

Quote
What do you think?  Is this something doable,
Possibly but the wording would have to be very carefully drafted… on second thoughts, it’s probably impossible to draft.
Quote
and more importantly, is it something that should be done?
Not if you are a politician. Interfering with a dying person’s religion is about the last thing you should do: however well-meaning, you are going to be savaged and become unelectable.

In the 19th century, at the time of a religious revival, a law was passed to prohibit proselytizing in a police station. It was there for several reasons: (i) to silence police officers who had been bitten by the godbothering bug and wanted to preach to the incarcerated and (ii) to prevent do-gooders from taking up police time by engaging officers in religious debate.

This could be adapted for hospitals with allowance made for chaplains. Obviously, it would have to depend upon the views of the patient being known, but it would cover any proselytizing regardless of the numbers, place, philosophy involved, although, given a vegetative patient, it is hard to see how there would be a conviction.

You are probably in a better position than I to decide on how this would run in the US with "no government interference in religion" and "free speech."
Nobody says “There are many things that we thought were natural processes, but now know that a god did them.”

Offline Astreja

  • Fellow
  • *******
  • Posts: 3323
  • Darwins +367/-1
  • Gender: Female
  • Agnostic goddess with Clue-by-Four™
    • The Springy Goddess
Re: Criminalize hospital bed proselytizing!
« Reply #5 on: April 01, 2014, 10:29:25 AM »
Thanks for all the input.  Consensus seems to be that this isn't pervasive enough to require legal intervention, and might cause more problems than it solves.  My own knowledge of the problem is anecdotal, from someone who  had just lost a family member whom they knew to be non-religious, and from individuals who, when in the hospital for a procedure, had been set upon by a particularly aggressive chaplain.

I have had experience with unwanted preaching at the front door and also at my dad's memorial (he donated his body to medical science).  The donors were commemorated at an interfaith service that was essentially different flavours of Christianity with no secular speakers.

Graybeard, in response to "Why would a bedridden person be in the chapel?" what I was actually proposing was for the family to pray for the patient rather than "over" the patient in the hospital room.  He (and anyone sharing a room with him) wouldn't be forced to listen to their ruckus because the group prayer would be elsewhere.

Reality Checkroom — Not Responsible for Lost Articles

Offline Anfauglir

  • Global Moderator
  • ******
  • Posts: 6749
  • Darwins +485/-5
  • Gender: Male
Re: Criminalize hospital bed proselytizing!
« Reply #6 on: April 01, 2014, 10:42:44 AM »
A patient may not be capable of making an informed decision due to pain, medication or other factors relating to their hospitalization.
To secure a conviction, someone is going to have to prove, beyond reasonable doubt that those conditions are serious enough to prevent the “informed decision”.

Biggest problem I have, is that it could be a HUGE stumbling block on the right to die issue.  Coming at it the other way to Greybeard, if a court agrees that this person - conscious, coherent, but in pain and on medication - cannot make an informed decision about religion, no more could they do so about their right to die.

More pertinently, it is also saying that they are unable to make informed decisions on their treatment.  Its not an argument I would want to pursue.
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?

Offline Disciple of Sagan

  • Postgraduate
  • *****
  • Posts: 976
  • Darwins +60/-0
  • Gender: Female
  • Current mood: Malcontent
Re: Criminalize hospital bed proselytizing!
« Reply #7 on: April 01, 2014, 12:30:40 PM »
Biggest problem I have, is that it could be a HUGE stumbling block on the right to die issue.  Coming at it the other way to Greybeard, if a court agrees that this person - conscious, coherent, but in pain and on medication - cannot make an informed decision about religion, no more could they do so about their right to die.

More pertinently, it is also saying that they are unable to make informed decisions on their treatment.  Its not an argument I would want to pursue.

As a supporter of a (terminally ill/in perpetual pain) individual's right to die, I couldn't agree more.

While I understand and sympathize with the points made in the OP, imagine the can of worms being opened up if the patient happens to be a minor with the parents/family being the ones being kept from doing the praying.
The cosmos is also within us. We are made of star stuff.

The only thing bigger than the universe is humanity's collective sense of self-importance.

Offline Willie

  • Postgraduate
  • *****
  • Posts: 843
  • Darwins +120/-1
  • Gender: Male
Re: Criminalize hospital bed proselytizing!
« Reply #8 on: April 01, 2014, 01:39:04 PM »
Interesting idea.  Has this happened in your life?  I'm not aware of any situation in mine so it seems a bit reactionary.

It has happened to me. When I was 17 my appendix ruptured, resulting in emergency surgery followed by a 10 day hospital stay. A minister came to visit one evening, a couple of days into my stay. I politely told him that I wasn't interested in talking about religion. He politely left, and did not return. A day or two later, a girl who appeared to be about the same age as me showed up. We engaged in idle chatter, and sometimes just watched TV. She stayed for about an hour. She didn't say why she was there, and I didn't ask. I was just glad for the company. She returned on two or three more evenings and engaged in similar small talk and TV watching before she finally came out with the purpose of her visits. She was part of some kind of youth ministry through her church. I told her (politely) that I didn't believe in any of that, and that I had already been down that road and had no interest in pursuing it further. She seemed understanding, and stayed for the rest of her usual one hour visit without bringing it up again, but she did not return after that.

Offline Nam

  • Laureate
  • *********
  • Posts: 18290
  • Darwins +640/-134
  • Gender: Male
  • I'm on the road less traveled...
Re: Criminalize hospital bed proselytizing!
« Reply #9 on: April 02, 2014, 12:20:43 AM »
I was proselytized by a cop once, he was giving me a ride somewhere (I was in the back so no way out--i wasn't being arrested for anything at that time) and the first thing he said to me, "Have you accepted Jesus as your Lord and Saviour." I replied, "Have you?" He didn't speak to me again until he dropped me off.

This all reminds me of that day, I think was 18 or 19, or something at the time. Trapped and nowhere to go. Forced upon you and what can you do, especially if it's a person with "power" over you?

Sadly, I bet that happens all the time concerning police as if those who accept Jesus don't commit crimes.

-Nam
"presumptions are the bitch of all assumptions" -- me