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Posts Tagged ‘jehova’s witnesses’

Where religious freedom stops, and murder begins

October 4, 2011 2 comments

I woke up this morning to the news of a young woman’s death. Nothing special, one would be inclined to think, people die every day. But this case was special. And it made me angry to the point of screaming to the world “WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE?!”

This young woman was 30 years old. She had been the victim of a car accident and had been committed to hospital care in her home town of Baia Mare, Romania. She had good chances of survival. All she needed was a damn blood transfusion. But guess what? She had the misfortune of being a Jehova’s Witness. Her family insisted that she not be given the transfusion that would have saved her life, because their religion forbids it. The doctors, bound by law – dealing with a person that, under the circumstances, could not decide for herself – had to abide. She never stood a chance. Even though the medical team tried their best, using ┬ácult-approved substitutes for blood, and a battery of various drugs, the woman was too weakened by the accident, and the anemia she was previously suffering from to survive.

This case is tragic not only because a young woman died, but because a young woman died when she could well have lived, had it not been for the absurdities of religion. Of course the holier-than-thou romanian orthodox christians jumped to defend their own religion, even though nobody had even mentioned it, filling the internet with “no true scotsman” arguments. This is less important. What’s really important is the ethical debate that ensues: where does religious freedom stop, and murder start?

The Constitution of most countries in the world guarantees religious freedom. The Hypocratic oath that doctors around the world take when they begin their careers binds them to respect and preserve human life. In most countries, euthanasia (or assisted suicide, as it’s often called), is illegal. So, to conclude: it is considered murder if you help a suffering, terminally ill patient to die a peaceful, painless death, but it is seen as perfectly normal to let a young woman die because her religion forbids blood transfusions.

I, for one, find it absurd that it is considered illegal to stop someone’s suffering, but perfectly legal to idly stand by and let someone die when the means to save their life exist and are readily available. Also, I find another thing absurd: that some doctors refuse to perform abortions out of moral and / or religious conviction, and that the bible mongers picket abortion clinics and scream bloody murder whenever they get the chance, yet the same religious people let their own close relatives die, and that is, in turn, NOT murder…

The plot thickens, though, to reveal yet another dark side of religion: brain washing. There are 12 years between the ages of 18 and 30. Twelve full years when that poor young woman could have decided to abandon that murderous cult. But the effects of childhood brainwashing were so deep and irreversible, on the one hand, and there was no one there to help her see reason, on the other, that she was still a member of the cult at the time of the accident, therefore signing her own death sentence.

The questions remain, dear readers, and the debate could carry on for ages: who decides where religious freedom stops and murder begins? Why do the legislatures of the world stand idly by as cults of various denominations refuse medical care for their followers? Who is responsible for this young woman’s death? Is her family not as guilty as the person behind the wheel? And most importantly, one last question for all the believers out there: what kind of benevolent, all-knowing, all-seeing deity allows for these atrocities to happen? How long will you continue to worship an unfair, mass-murdering psychopathic figment of some primitive sheep-herder’s imagination and call him your god?

Later edit: after publishing this it occurred to me that it’s very very similar in content to a post by fellow Romanian atheist Zerg, which, if you can read Romanian, can be found here

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