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Sunday, May 02, 2010

Unprincipled Laws?

A judgment against freedom of conscience is ironically set in logical tones while being illogical. It was in response to an appeal by a psychologist who was fired for refusing "to give advice on sexual intimacy to a homosexual couple." I would that this would be reasonable, and that the couple would be better served by another psychiatrist.

 Laws made clear that the court did not view legislation protecting individual conscience as justifiable, calling it an irrational position that “is also divisive, capricious and arbitrary."

"The conferment of any legal protection of preference upon a particular substantive moral position on the ground only that it is espoused by the adherents of a particular faith, however long its tradition, however long its culture, is deeply unprincipled," said Laws in his ruling.

So there he is, a member of the judiciary, whose only authority comes from legislation, and he considers it unprincipled to apply the law when it is clearly applicable. Which case is more guilty of being unprincipled here? And the leap of logic sounds insane:

 Laws said that if the law created special exemptions for adherents of one belief, then it would lead to a disenfranchisement of the rest of the members in society, and would lead to “theocracy, which is of necessity autocratic.”

Did anyone miss that huge leap? Upholding one's right to exercise conscientious refusal to act -- which does not take away the possibility of the patient obtaining the same services from a more sympathetic psychologist -- leads to a theocracy? Doesn't theocracy require the adherence to and imposition of a specific religion? He seems to suggest, therefore, that no one is to be granted legal exemptions based on belief, i.e., all must comply with the secular principles of the state. Is that not autocratic?

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