eurel     Sociological and legal data on religions in Europe and beyond
You are here : Home » France » Religions and society » Religions and health » Secularity that is difficult to live with

Secularity that is difficult to live with

Isabelle Levy underlines in her book entitled La religion à l’hopital (Religion in hospitals), (Editions Presses de la Renaissance, 2004), that the management of religion within hospitals brings up a number of real problems. Certain attitudes or practices display the non observance of secularity on the part of the nursing staff or the patients and the disrespect of patients’ religious freedom as well.
Thus, the Stasi Commission’s report on Secularity of 12 December 2003 highlighted that "civil servants demanded they be able to work while wearing a yarmulke or headscarf, signs of their religious affiliation. Recently, house physicians also expressed this desire".
Some staff members, in the name of their religion, refuse to practice acts that come under their professional scope of activities (laying out corpses, treating patients of the opposite sex, etc.) or be on duty certain days of the week. For the same reasons, hospital directors have closed down termination of pregnancy units, claiming budget difficulties, refused to equip hospitals with areas to hold funeral vigils, and are against hiring non-Catholic chaplains.
The Stasi Commission’s report also mentioned "husbands and fathers refusing, for religious reasons, to have male doctors treat or deliver the babies of their wives or daughters. In the same way women have been deprived of an epidural. Nurses have been challenged on the basis of their supposed religion. More generally, some patients’ religious preoccupations can disrupt the functioning of the hospital."
Patients and their families have also experienced infringements of their right to freely exercise religion in public hospitals. Several injustices have been observed, including forced or prohibited religious services, refusal to call in a chaplain, challenging the right to pray and non-observance of dietary restrictions. These attitudes show that the health care personnel knows absolutely nothing about everyone’s rights and duties.

D 20 November 2012    AAnne-Laure Zwilling

CNRS Unistra Dres Gsrl

Follow us:
© 2002-2024 eurel - Contact