According to the Center for Inquiry, good health care is beset by ignorance—the ignorance of faith and the ignorance of the anti-scientific (with apparently a great deal of overlap):
1. The imposition of religious dogma on health care, resulting in limited access to and even the denial of medical services;
2. The shameless marketing of sham remedies, sold as “natural” or “traditional” cures, often accompanied by the rejection of scientifically proven treatments.
According to the website campaign “Keep Health Care Safe and Secular” started by the Center for Inquiry, there are three main areas where faith and quackery attack good health care: reproductive health, vaccines, and alternative medicine.
Presumably, the Center for Inquiry is all about choice and freedom of inquiry, so it’s odd that they should start a campaign that attempts to end choices and extinguish inquiry. For instance, their pro-vaccination campaign seems hellbent on forcing people to get vaccinated. Their reproductive health campaign seeks to force taxpayers to pay for other people’s abortions and birth control. And their alternative medicine campaign seeks to snuff out any medical practices that fall outside the “conventional medicine” umbrella.
I fail to see how this campaign has anything to do with inquiry. The Center for Inquiry has already decided the issue for all of us. They’ve done the inquiring and the research, and we just need to fall in line.
I’m so sick of this pompous attitude. There is a reason why people don’t listen to pro-vaccination campaigns, pro-abortion rants, and diatribes against alternative medicine. Because they are just as manipulative, arm-twisting, intractable, and unreasonable as they say their opponents are. If anything, inquiry requires an open mind.
How can one have an open mind when the state is forcing you to think along certain lines? It’s no coincidence that the Center for Inquiry is more focused on changing laws than changing minds. Because they know what’s best for you. But how is that any different, or any better, than what they say has been happening with the religious right? They say religion has forced its way into politics, and its ideological assumptions have colored research and shaped laws. Yes. And secularism has done the same, and will do far worse if the Center for Inquiry has its way.
There’s no way around that. But even a secularist should be able to think clearly enough to see what’s at stake here. You don’t have to be a genius to ask yourself this question: “Which ideology provides the most freedom of thought and deed to the greatest variety of people?” Faith-infused politics doesn’t force people to pay for birth control and abortions, that’s true. But it has also provided the platform for pro-abortion activists to exercise what they believe are their rights. Faith-infused politics hasn’t forced anyone to get or not to get vaccines. It hasn’t forced anyone to adopt a particular view of medicine.
And let’s not forget the origins of hospitals and institutionalized health care in the first place. It wasn’t some secular organization that created modern medicine. It was the church, you dim-witted, history-challenged tyrants.
For all their espousals of open-mindedness, the Center for Inquiry has a vision for the world that is unbendingly totalitarian and as narrow as the edge of a scalpel. The Center for Inquiry is right: religious dogma—faith—is the problem here. But not the Christian faith. As is proved time and time again, the greatest threat to freedom and inquiry in the world is the irremediably close-minded secular faith.