Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Religious Predators in Hospitals

This is a repost from my old blog. My father recently passed away, and once again this sort of thing popped up, so I thought it warranted a repost:

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Religious Predators in Hospitals

So, recently I travelled to Maryland to visit my father in the hospital, and I saw several things that amazed and insulted me.

My father had an infected ulcer screen that had to be removed. Along with it came two entire liters of pus. This is in addition to the new fluid that was draining from a thumb-sized abscess on his stomach. While they were in there pulling out the nasty, they pulled his gall bladder, too. So, he's pretty well out of it, but overall much healthier than he was before he came in. Because of the sheer amount of nasty, they had him in ICU instead of recovery.

While we're in ICU, a woman comes through and says hello, exchanges pleasantries, makes some vague medical statements, then gets down to business. Did he want communion? No, he did not, but thank you. "Well, God bless you any way" she says, reaching over and drawing a cross on his forehead, and pressing her porta-cross to his lips. He couldn't fight her off, but I wanted to slap the impertinent bitch silly. If it were me, and I were tethered with IVs, and someone did that to me, I think I would have garroted someone. Failing that, I'd mark them for future retribution. People can mean well, and if they want to have their own faith, I'm fine with that, but forcing it on people who have politely turned you down? No.

The next day, in a regular room and without all the equipment, my father is laying in bed. A man comes in, says hello, asks what he had done. Is there a history of that? How is your wife. What's next? He exchanges some stories. He also makes some vague medical comments about surely discharge order are coming soon, and is there any thing he could get a nurse to get for him? No? Well, let me just leave this with you.. He produces a BE SAVED OR BURN IN HELL pamphlet, and goes into his main speech about the only important thing in life is knowing where you will go when you die. In fact, it's a matter of life and death. He's a baptist pastor of the southern variety, and he cheers people up by telling them that their mortal coil is rotting every day, and every day they grow closer to Death and Jesus (Death and Jesus would make an AWESOME band name, by the way..). It's positively revolting to me, this drivel he's spouting, and again, he's doing it in a hospital, full of people that really don't need to be thinking about how their body is rotting and they're going to die, and when they do, they're going to BURN IN HELL! The best part is when, without saying two words to me, he says to my father "Wouldn't it be nice if you were both saved at the same time?" For all he knows of me I could be a leader of my church. But no, he knows I'm a heathen by the way I shake his hand. How does he know about us? Simple. Family. The family called him to let him know we were here, and heathens, and perhaps our souls could yet be saved.

This is one of the times I am proud to be Not A Christian. I'm not associated with this sort of mentality, at all.

Seriously, this whole pushing your religion on other people thing disgusts me, and the Christians are by far the worst at it. But I know, people expect and accept this sort of behavior. Should any Christians read this and be upset with my heathen ideals, let me flip the tables, theoretically..

A man is in ICU, having just undergone major surgery. He's awake, but weak, tethered by IVs and vitals monitors. His legs are in DVT cuffs, and a wide tube is taped into his throat for a ventilator. His eyes track the people in his room, he nods and shakes his head. He can't move, can't speak, but his mind is functioning, and more than a little scared that everyone talks about him as if he isn't there. A man comes in, speaking pleasantly and softly to him. Is it a doctor? No, despite the way he asks the nurses about the procedure, and how it went. The man reaches for a get-well-soon card by the patient's bedside, festooned with angels and images of Christ. The visitor smiles, leaning close to the patient as he sets the card face down again.

"I have to tell you.. " he says, voice full of sincerity and concern, "..that you worship a false god. Your mistaken faith in this so-called deity only clouds your mind. You believe that you will go to heaven should you die? No such luck, it does exist. This moment, right now, is the culmination of your wasted life so far. Where is your god, now? Your body can't breath on its own, I see, doesn't that mean your god is calling to you? Shouldn't you be rushing to his loving embrace? I believe you should be fighting to stay alive. Ignore the calling of any god that would have you put your belief in him above your desire to live. Be strong, heal your body, and ignore those who would tell you that your fate is in the hands of the deity that, by their own logic, put you in this position in the first place."

The patients eyes dart wildly, but he is helpless to escape this morbid psychopath speaking to him. He makes a noise around the ventilator tube, catching the attention of an attending nurse. She smiles, nods, and thanks the visitor for his truthful words. The visitor reaches out, and removes the cross from around the patient's neck. He throws it in the trash along with the religious cards and a rosary that someone left behind.

"There, I've cleaned up for you. No need to thank me, I know in your heart you have forsaken your god and believe him to be the great oppressor. I'll tell your family that I've visited, so they will know that if you die today it won't be with false hope of an afterlife. You're welcome."

Is that any different from the other way around? Yes, of course there is. The Christian would be thanked. The non-christian would be arrested shortly thereafter.