Discrimination, irrational fear, or ?

From Brother Jeff

I don't even know where to start, but I'm very upset. I lost an excellent doctor (physician's assistant PA-C) and someone I considered a friend today.

I have been seeing (name omitted) for a long time and was established with her, but until my recent major bipolar issues, the issue of religion never really came up. I'm seeing a social worker there too (name omitted), and I've been totally honest with her. It's a long story, but the issue of religion came up of course because it's still such a large part of my life, and I told her (the social worker) about my site. She looked at it and wasn't that bothered by it. But, the physician's assistant saw it too, and she became afraid that I would go out and do something like Columbine, and she won't see me anymore. I've been moved to another doctor. I like her fine, but I'm pissed that my physician's assistant would think something that terrible of me simply because I'm an atheist and I run an atheist, anti-Christian website.

I'm just amazed and appalled and deeply saddened by this whole thing. Being
discriminated against and to have people think terrible things about you because of your beliefs (or the lack thereof) never feels good. I feel like a second-class citizen now at that clinic, so I will be looking for medical care elsewhere. I don't expect finding another doctor to be easy since I am on Medicare.

What my doctor did was not just totally unethical, it was very judgmental and wrong and hurtful. I can't believe that in today's world Atheism is equated with violence and horrific acts like the Columbine school shooting. And I can't believe that (name omitted) could think something like that of me after knowing me for as long as she has.

It's just really, really sad.


Anonymous said...

You've learned a big and valuable lesson: Honesty is the second best policy!

Arguing with "believers" is like debating a brick wall!

Spirula said...

You're right. What she did was unethical and violated her oath. Now, ask yourself this question "Do I want to continue to visit a health-care provider that is judgmental (something they are also supposed to put aside) and willing to commit unethical acts in the name of superstition?"

And with that in mind, how valuable could this person be to mental health issues?

At one point in my past, I was being treated with anti-depressants. An MD I was referred to was asking me about my social life/dating situation, and I mentioned that I didn't have much of either (recently moved there). So then he asked about my church-life, to which I replied "Don't have one, don't want one". He kept bringing up the value of church life for "helping" both, and I noticed on a subsequent visit a number of tracts and a bible in the waiting room.

I dropped his sorry ass like a rock. That is an abuse of priveledge, and made me seriously question his integrity and abilities as a health care provider.

Take it as a lesson and find someone else.

Anonymous said...

When I first dropped my belief system, my wife wanted to go get counseling together for the good of our marriage. I told her as long as we found one that was secular I would go. That was a few years ago and we got thru it ok without any help from outside.

I recently dropped a doctor because he was too religious or at least acted like it. I believe that professionals pander to their patients and of course, most patients are religious, hence the doctors have to follow suit.

I wish you well, Bro Jeff. Remember me? Jim Earl

Spirula said...

Atheism is equated with violence and horrific acts like the Columbine school shooting

I forgot to add a comment about this. If you should get the chance, you might want to ask her why the Christian belief and up-bringing of Matthew Murray, Cho Seung-Hui, Andrea Yates, Eric Rudolph, Hans Missal, Deanna Laney, and Philip Badowski led them to kill. Maybe it is Christians people should be afraid of.

GodMocker said...

An excellent example of theists succumbing to the stereotype and propaganda about atheists. You're probably the first person she met in person that she knew to be an atheist, and her only point of reference is what she was brainwashed with at church.

The best way I know of to fight this kind of ignorance is to live a good, moral life, and not hide your disbelief of the supernatural. Don't proselytize about it, but don't be afraid to say the truth if someone asks, or politely correct them if they make an erroneous assumption. Eventually society will catch on to the fact that there are a lot of us walking among them, and that we're good people too.

Also, IANAL, but if the tables were reversed and an atheist doctor were refusing to see a christian patient based on religious grounds, I would expect swarms of lawyers to be descending on that clinic in a heartbeat. So, a brief inquiry to the ACLU regarding your situation might not be a bad idea. It certainly can't hurt to ask.

Anonymous said...

Hey Bro! I LOVE your site and have referred people to it along with this one in the past!

Spirula had wise words to say about this so-called care giver! However, I would take it even further and say that you have grounds for a lawsuit, should you want to pursue it. By accusing you of being crazy enough to pull off a Columbine (i.e killing kids)type act is a pretty serious accusation that would lead a person to have some devastating setbacks in their treatment!

Personally, I would be more than just hurt. I would be angry enough to contact the AMA and the state board of licensing and report her unethical behavior, pronto! I would also be contacting every local and non-local news organization, that is....after I got off the phone with the ACLU.

I may sound harsh here but it is time that WE fight for OUR rights too! Medicine is NOT religion! Doctors have no right to tell us what to believe!

On that note, I will add that we have very nice open minded family doc who enjoys a good conversation about different beliefs and lifestyles without judgment. We feel comfortable with him because of his open, non-judgmental attitude. No doubt his experiences have taken him into situations where he has seen it all, yet he maintains a compassionate attitude toward all of his patients! That is the kind of caregiver you need! Good Luck!

BTW - I purposely seek out atheists, witches, pagans, Hindu, Buddhists, Thelemites and Gnostics to do business with. I am done with the holier-than-thou treatment I get from Christians in the business world. Here in Indiana they are so obnoxious that they display signs in their restaurants, clinics and beauty salons claiming the "blood of Krayyyst"! I am NOT kidding! I am so done with them that I avoid them like the plague. You can't even get a fucking haircut without some crazy JW or fundie trying to convert you around here! So I make it a point to keep my money from them and will go out of my way to patronize a non-religious store. I go to international markets and restaurants more and have made lots of new non-christian friends that way!

Maybe this experience will act as a cathartic moment where you realize you need to make a stand for what you believe.

Good Luck

Anonymous said...

Dear Brother Jeff,

I agree with Eris on this one. If it were me, I would not let it go and I would prosecute this offense as far and as hard as I could. I am so sick of hearing about christians being victimized by a godless society. Just like pharmacists who refuse to dispense birth control products, this PA should lose her license for refusing to treat on religious grounds, which is illegal in every state in the USA.

It is not likely that such a harsh penalty would ever be imposed on anyone refusing to treat an atheist, of course. The law seems to be designed to protect the world from us, not for us. And that is the main reason I would pursue the matter; to force that hypocrisy into the light of day.

All of this is your choice of course; we should all pick our own battles depending on our individual situation. Since I love what you've done with your site, I would respect any choice you make. Good luck with your treatment.

--Brent S.

Anonymous said...

Brother Jeff,
I'm sorry that happened to you. It was very unfair. Your next course of action depends on how much work you want to put into it. Following up with a law suit is probably the right thing to do, but you have to imagine what the costs may be emotionally, financially, and time-wise. Or you can just simply find another doctor. It's your call.

Anonymous said...

I'm an atheist but I usually tell doctors right off the bat that I'm gay. If it's a problem for him/her, I simply find another doctor. Consequently, I've never been proselytized. I guess being gay is worse than being an atheist.

We're adults now and don't need some ancient book to tell us we don't know the right thing to do.

Anonymous said...

I would be saddened also. That is not right of her to have done that to you. :(

Nobody can prove Jesus or anything related. Jesus exists in a persons head until proven otherwise.

Anonymous said...

Hey Brother Jeff

Things will get better. Stay optimistic! There are non-christian doctors out there. Christian fundies often link atheists with violence, Homosexuals with Pedophiles, and Wiccans together with Satanists.
This way they can attack those that disagree with them quite easily. When my wife and I got marital counseling we got lucky. The counselor was a non-religous gay man. He lacked marital experience, but made up for that by extensive knowledge of psychology, and good listening skills.

Cousin Ricky said...

Brother Jeff observed: “…Atheism is equated with violence and horrific acts like the Columbine school shooting.”

Spirula responded: “I forgot to add a comment about this. If you should get the chance, you might want to ask her why the Christian belief and up-bringing of Matthew Murray, Cho Seung-Hui, Andrea Yates, Eric Rudolph, Hans Missal, Deanna Laney, and Philip Badowski led them to kill. Maybe it is Christians people should be afraid of.”

And possibly Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold (the Columbine killers) as well. It has been assumed that they were atheists, probably because that is what Christian society tends to assume about bad guys. However, i have been unable to confirm this of either of them. Harris was raised Roman Catholic, and ultimately got into Naziism and Social Darwinism, neither of which imply atheism. Klebold had Jewish and Lutheran backgrounds, but i could not verify his views at the time of the shooting.

Jeffrey Weise, the Red Lake, Minnesota killer, was an atheist. However, playing dueling proxies like this is inappropriate for several reasons:

- The killer’s religious views, or lack thereof, are not necessarily the reason for the crime.

- More broadly, such anecdotal correlations cannot be generalized. Hitler, Stalin, and Saddam Hussein all wore mustaches. Should we make anything of that?

- As is acknowledged on the apologetic bumper sticker, “Christians aren’t perfect; just forgiven,” belief in God or in Jesus does not necessarily make one a better person. In addition, the heinous acts of Christians such as Hitler, Torquemada, Andrea Yeats, Cho Seung-Hui, and the Phelps clan show that such beliefs don’t prevent one from being a worse person. (At this point, the apologist will contradict his bumper sticker with the circular “No True Christian™” argument. Ah, the advantages of unfalsifiability.) Given that (depending on your favorite biased source) there are between 3 million and 43 million atheists in the USA who are not shooting up their neighbors, how can a Christian equate atheism with horrific crimes?

- And, lest one forget, this whole argument is a non sequitur and a red herring. The fact that some atheists commit crimes does not imply that God exists, or that Christianity—of any flavor—is true.

twincats said...

One other thing to think about if you decide to pursue some sort of action is that the christers will immediately drop into their persecution complex and have their prejudices 'proven' by the evil atheist causing trouble for the poor, righteous xtian healer.

This will happen no matter how you go about it. Their willingness to bend the truth and outright lie for jesus has been proven time and time again.

Anonymous said...

I don't know, but if it is indeed discrimination perhaps you should pursue litigation. I mean, how else will minds about us be changed?
I feel for you, as I have already experienced some similar things in my community. I dread the day it becomes an issue at my job!

Telmi said...

Brother Jeff,

This is clearly an example of prejudice, and as some of us have observed, it is usually exhibited by people bigoted in their thinking.

One of the downsides of prejudice is that innocent people can be downgraded or misjudged. This, unfortunately, has happened in your case, but chances are you are not alone.

Sooner or later, truth will triumph.

Remain resolute but continue to be friendly or considerate.

Tony said...

This is the type of stuff that really upsets me about Christians and why I feel they are hypocrites. I went to church and was, I guess considered a Christian for many years of my life. This type of holier than thou attitude is the reason I started to question the faith I had. On Sundays I would go to church and listen to people saying that you can do this but you can’t do that, or that someone was a bad person because they had sinned. This type of behavior is why some of my family no longer talks to me. A few years back my aunt and uncle from Indian gave me a call and wanted my wife and I to come visit them. I told them that would be great because I had not seen them in years. I guess they didn’t know that I was an ex-christian. When the conversation came to the point that my aunt and I were making plans for a weekend visit the subject of going to church with them came up. I politely told my aunt that I would not be attending church with them and that my wife and I would find something to do while they attended. My aunt then tried her best to “convert me back” and when I told her I just was not interested due to my own beliefs she told me that I could not stay in her house if I didn’t attend and that I was no longer welcome in her home because they did not host sinners. I was really hurt by this. I’m sure most ex-christian came from some kind of back ground that was religious. For me it was everyone in my family except my father. He was the sinner. HA. Most of us are raised that way and when we start asking questions and the only answer we get is,” because God wills it.” And we are not satisfied with that because it makes no sense, we become the bad, poor mislead, confused, and brainwashed to them, when in my eyes it is the other way around.

Raytheist said...

I agree with the comments posted, i.e., what the dr. did borders on unethical, and you could probably make a case against here through AMA, ACLU, etc. Would it be worth the time and emotional energy? Or perhaps better to (if you'll pardon the phrase) "wipe the dust of that place off your feet" and go elsewhere?

Eris Discordia mentioned doing business with non-Christian people. I would like to know where to find such folk, but E.D.'s email isn't available. I would like to pursue that topic (doing business with non-Xian folk), if E.D. could write me privately.

Anonymous said...

I appreciate all of the comments and support, folks! Sure, I remember you, Jim Earl! :-)

Unfortunately, Medicare is a mess here in Alaska, and I can't find anyone who will take a new patient on Medicare, so I am effectively stuck at this clinic. However, I will only be going there now when it is absolutely necessary, and I will be writing a letter to them about this matter that I will insist be entered into my permanent medical records. I feel like a second-class citizen there now, and I want them to be very much aware of that fact. Beyond that, I will of course be my usual friendly and outgoing self.

I really hate that my former PA is going to get away with such unethical and hurtful behavior, but I can't really do much about it since I have to have access to medical care. Damn it all!

Anonymous said...

I really wish they would pass tougher laws in this country against that type of bigotry.

It also sickens me how so many christians whine and cry about how they are being persecuted in this nation. What a crock of BS. Brother Jeff and others who do not subscribe to their beliefs are the one's who are being persecuted. Christians have it made in this country. They have no right to complain about anything.

Jim Earl Wrote: "When I first dropped my belief system, my wife wanted to go get counseling together for the good of our marriage. I told her as long as we found one that was secular I would go."

I feel the same exact way. I use to see a christian counselor a few years back and I got nowhere with him. I didn't start seeing any of my problems being resolved until I finally started seeing a secular counselor.

Knitterman Said:
"what the dr. did borders on unethical, and you could probably make a case against here through AMA, ACLU, etc."

I agree with Knitterman. It might be worth investigating to see if you could get a case against them Jeff. They shouldn't be allowed to get away with that type of crap.

Non-believers need to stand up to these christian bullies and let them know that this country is for all people regardless of beliefs, lifestyle or race.

Unknown said...

You live in Freeport IL, I am sorry to say this is very previlant here. I live here too. People in this town are very intolerant of anything that doesn't fit into their normal view. I used to attend Crossroads church when it was New Covenant Assembly and I can tell you stories that would absolutly make you vomit. I have been black balled from the community because I left there and told people my story. I couldn't keep a job because influential people who were on the pastoral staff made certain that I didn't get hired anywhere. It wasn't until my father in law hired me that I could keep a job. As soon as the church found out about where I was working my customer base dropped.

Epicurienne said...

Can't give any new advice that the earlier posters didn't come up with...but it sucks donkey dicks that this has happened to you.

If it's supposed to make me believe that Christians are loving, caring people....it did the opposite.

I checked out your website, and I think it's awesome!

Pageviews this week: