Monday, 8 October 2007

Make note: Intolerance is not discrimination - in fact, it's frequently the only non-discriminatory response available.

I have to say that my attitude regarding tolerance towards religion has changed a fair bit in recent years. I have become, in essence, quite thin-skinned towards any philosophical organisation which preaches intolerance, bad science, or bafflingly stupid denials of reality from flimsy foundations such as "we have a book which says that it's the word of a god who hasn't bothered coming back for a while now..."

I have heard, in recent years, of Christian medical practitioners doing things like refusing to provide abortions or even morning-after pills because they put their religious beliefs in front of their Hippocratic Oath. And they shall be known as "ass-wipes".

And now this, and I have to say that I'm not really surprised:

Muslim medical students prefer to fail exams rather than examine female patients or have anything to do with alcoholism. (Times Online)

My opinion is: Fail them. They have applied for study in a position which, they surely knew before they applied, would require them to do things that would be contrary to their faith, or that would assist other people to do things that would be contrary to their faith if not their patient's faiths (if you follow that sentence structure). To get all religious: As ye sow, so shall ye reap. Or: You made your bed, now lie in it. If you can't fill the basic standards of the job, don't do it. We all have to bend to keep going. It's all very noble to take a stand like that, I'm sure, but I'm positive that it's also very, very, stupid.

For fuck's sake, at what point does a country with a constitution that separates church and state (sort of: The Queen is the head of the C of E, after all) say: Enough. Your church will not impact upon the running of our state. If you can't play a role in civic life without allowing your church to disrupt that role, you can't play it at all. By all means take part in public debate: Run for parliament, lobby for change, but follow the rules.

This is part of a larger argument, which covers the treatment of immigrants whose culture leads them to behaviour which violates existing statutes, and again, my response is: You came here, you broke the law, deal with it. If you spit in Singapore, you're in trouble. If you make Nazi gestures in Germany, you're in trouble. You have an obligation to obey the local laws: To do, in Rome, that which the Romans do.

And to do in Australia that which the Australians do. You can't be married to more than one person at a time, you can't beat her if she goes out in public unaccompanied, you can't rape the locals because they weren't dressed the way you think they should have been dressed.

If you want to practice medicine without seeing naked female flesh (weirdo) or having anything to do with alcohol (which makes me wonder: Are you prepared to dispense medicines which have an alcohol base? Or use alcohol wipes to sterilise skin? Or use alcohol to sterilise instruments? Or use thermometers which contain alcohol?), then find such a country and move there. If the local environment doesn't suit, find one that does.

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