8/19/06

Rights VS. Rights

The pope in his book Christianity and the Crisis of Cultures (see below) said that if we make "freedom" our highest value in our society, then we will inevitably end up with situations where my freedoms or my rights conflict with someone else's freedoms or rights.

The recent issues that have emerged around pharmacists and their values or convictions about medications that cause abortions have highlighted this problem very well. Women are supposed to have a "right" to buy medication that is legal in our country, including those that cause abortions. On the other hand, we suppose that pharmacists have the right to hold certain religious beliefs and to live by those beliefs (we call that "freedom or religion"). So what happens when those two "rights" collide? Do we enact laws that force pharmacists to act against their religious convictions? If so we have essentially said (in agreement with a spokes-woman from the so-called "Religious Coallition for Reproductive Choice" - an organization that The United Methodist Church would do very well to distance itself from) that Roman Catholics and Evangelicals cannot become pharmacists, they may not participate in one of our country's biggest buisinesses (which is another unfortunate issue for another day).

As our world becomes more complex I would imagine that these sorts of problems will become more frequent. In a pluralistic culture, I have NO idea how they can be addressed. This is one very good example of my whole claim that legislation is NOT "morally neutral." It never has been. All legislation that passes into law in our country does effectively legislate morality. My question then is "whose morality becomes law?" Whose morality should become law? And why?

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4 Comments:

Blogger Stephen said...

A comment from my wife about this issue a year ago when it actually was in the news (albeit because it was over birth control pills for women since apparently birth now begins in the act of sex itself)..."I suppose those same pharmacists' 'moral convictions' conviently allow them to fill Viagra and Levitra prescriptions left and right." :)

Sorry I had to have a chuckle, but how about we flip the coin to the other side of life...the death penalty or even war(even just war). See whenever someone likes to talk about abortion, I like to talk about death penalty. If killing is wrong as the Good Book clearly says before it was mistranslated as murder for our convience today, then by all means abortion is wrong, and so is the death penalty no matter what someone has done, and so is war no matter what someone has done.

But as to your point, I think that it is perfectly acceptable for a pharmacist to refuse to fill a perscription, but we also have to remember he or she works for a company and it is perfectly acceptable for them to have a policy in place to say you will fill a perscription or you will no longer be employed here. I find more often than not most chain pharmacies (CVS, Walgreens, RiteAid) have their own policies that supercede those of the employee.

5:22 PM, August 28, 2006  
Blogger Daniel McLain Hixon said...

Some pharmacies have pretty moderate policies.

I think I would like to qualify what you say about "killing," since the TORAH itself would qualify the commandment with the many situations in which the people are instructed to carry out capital punishment. I've been toying with the idea (and am not yet sure if this completely makes sense or not) that the reason we are instructed not to kill is not because killing is bad per se, but because it is for the Lord to give and take away life, so that to presume to take someone's life is a form of idolatry, grasping for what belongs to God alone.

But on the whole I would agree with you (and the Roman Catholic Church), since redemption and new birth is possible for any criminal we should not take away that possibility by killing them. "Let him without sin cast the first stone" I guess has always been in the back of my mind. On the other hand, we live in a messed up world with lots of us messed up people - this is why we have governments I think, and in such a world the government should do what it has to do, and (even Roman Catholic teaching agrees here too, I believe) there may be some cases where the death penalty is appropriate.

9:13 AM, August 30, 2006  
Blogger Stephen said...

No response for my moral convictions jab at the blue pills? :)

11:36 AM, August 31, 2006  
Blogger Daniel McLain Hixon said...

no. i dont see any particularly strong correlation.

9:19 PM, August 31, 2006  

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