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Moral Concerns 2016

Gatlinburg Families In Need!!


Donated items such as:

Adult warm coats

Children's warm coats

Gloves for children

Hats for children


Please bring to CBC in Highlands by December 18th, so the items can be transported to the distribution center.


Otherwise please feel free to contact Boyd's Bear in Pigeon Forge, TN, which is a distribution center for the people in shelters with your donations.


Right of Conscience (Religious Freedom)


“Breathtaking decisions” are being made nationwide as I type this piece. An ever increasing demand to legalize Physician’s Assisted Suicide (PAS) and Euthanasia is being heard across the land—the truly “breathtaking decisions” I refer to. The individual consciences of your fellow Americans are being assaulted and encouraged to ignore their guaranteed freedoms as outlined in the 1st and 14th amendments to the Constitution of the United States. These Amendments were specifically enacted to protect all of us from forced religious conformity (a state religion) and forced denial of the freedom of an individual’s religious conscience (right of conscience). This assault  is omnipresent in our current common discourse on individual rights versus law; but no where so blatantly stated as by Martin Castro, the chairman of the United States Commission on Civil Rights.


The United States Commission on Civil Rights has published a briefing report, “Peaceful Coexistence: Reconciling Nondiscrimination Principles with Civil Liberties”; 2016. Herein, the Commissioners essentially state that whatever is legally permissible must take precedence over any individual’s rights and, moreover, demands that said individual meet the demands of another despite any cost of his own rights—i. e., Conscience Freedom. For Mr. Castro and his commission anti discrimination clauses as created and defined by courts are seen take precedent over any personal right of religious freedom as granted by the Constitution. If it is deemed legal in court, your own conscious objection cannot be used to justify your non-compliance. This definition of Peaceful Coexistence is essentially “our way or else”.


As applied to medicine, such forced compliance essentially demands that a medical professional must meet any demand for service by a patient determined to be legally permissible regardless of one’s own conscience beliefs as to the ethicality of their own participation. In essence, denying the right of conscience of said medical professional. If it is legal, you must participate.


In June 2016 a group of philosophers and bioethicists gathered at the Boucher Foundation in Geneva, Switzerland, to participate in a workshop on Healthcare Practitioners’ Conscience and Conscientious Objection in Healthcare. A consensus statement on conscientious objection in healthcare outlined ten points of agreement  of the participants that included the need for the conscience objector to explain their objection, personally assure that any objected care will be provided by others, be prepared to incur financial or other punitive consequences of their action, and, as regard to medical students, be forced to participate in training in these objectionable fields so as to be certain that future patients in an emergency are not denied these services. While merely a workshop held in Switzerland that has no legal status in the United States, it portends the trend in future ethical thought and action.


The “breathtaking decisions” mention above will be made under the influence of just such influences. Among other issues, this may directly effect the availability and justification for use of PAS and euthanasia as a means of cost control. Stay tuned and  be informed.


Briefing Report;“Peaceful Coexistence: Reconciling Nondiscrimination Principles with Civil Liberties”; A Briefing Before The United States Commission on Civil Rights Held in Washington, DC; 2016; available at




Published August 29, 2016 | By admin


On the 7th, 8th, and 9th of June 2016 a group of philosophers and bioethicists gathered at the Brocher Foundation in Geneva, Switzerland, to participate in a workshop on healthcare practitioners’ conscience and conscientious objection in healthcare. Conscientious objection is the refusal by a healthcare practitioner to provide a certain medical service, for example an abortion or medical assistance in dying, because it conflicts with the practitioner’s moral views. Aim of the workshop was to discuss the ethical and legal aspects of conscientious objection in healthcare, in view of proposing some guidelines for the regulation of conscientious objection in healthcare in the future.

At the end of the workshop, the participants formulated a consensus statement of 10 points, which are here proposed as ethical guidelines that should inform, at the level of legislations and institutional policies, the way conscientious objections in healthcare is regulated. The 10 points are the following:

1 Healthcare practitioners’ primary obligations are towards their patients, not towards their own personal conscience. When the patient’s wellbeing (or best interest, or health) is at stake, healthcare practitioners’ professional obligations should normally take priority over their personal moral or religious views.

2 In the event of a conflict between practitioners’ conscience and a patient’s desire for a legal, professionally sanctioned medical service, healthcare practitioners should always ensure that patients receive timely medical care. When they have a conscientious objection, they ought to refer their patients to another practitioner who is willing to perform the treatment. In emergency situations, when referral is not possible, or when it poses too great a burden on patients or on the healthcare system, health practitioners should perform the treatment themselves.

3 Healthcare practitioners who wish to conscientiously object to providing medical treatment should be required to explain the rationale for their decision.

4 The status quo regarding conscientious objection in healthcare in the UK and several other modern Western countries is indefensible. Healthcare practitioners can conscientiously refuse access to legally

available, societally accepted, medically indicated and safe services requested by patients in practice for any reason. This is in part due to the cost-free environment in which practitioner choice of service occurs, and in which the practitioner bears no substantive burden of proof. The burden of proof to demonstrate the reasonability and the sincerity of the objection should be on the healthcare practitioners.

5 Accordingly, in such countries, the reasons healthcare practitioners offer for their conscientious objection could be assessed by tribunals, which could test the sincerity, strength and the reasonability of healthcare practitioners’ moral objections to certain medical services.

6 Policy makers should ensure that in any geographical region there is a sufficient number of non-conscientious objectors for patients to obtain the medical services they need in a timely manner even if some healthcare practitioners conscientiously object to providing that service. This implies that regional authorities, in order to be able to provide medical services in a timely manner, should be allowed to make hiring decisions on the basis of whether possible employees are willing to perform medical procedures to which other healthcare practitioners have a conscientious objection.

7 Healthcare practitioners who are exempted from performing certain medical procedures on conscientious grounds should be required to compensate society and the health system for their failure to fulfil their professional obligations by providing public-benefitting services.

8 Medical students should not be exempted from learning how to perform basic medical procedures they consider to be morally wrong. Even if they become conscientious objectors, they will still be required to perform the procedure to which they object in emergency situations or when referral is not possible or poses too great a burden on patients or on the healthcare system.

9 Healthcare practitioners should be educated to use a framework of decision-making incorporating legal, ethical and professional arguments to identify the basis of their objection.

10 Healthcare practitioners should also be educated to reflect on the influence of cognitive bias in their objections.


Angela Ballantyne (Otago University), Robert Card (State University of New York, Oswego and University of Rochester Medical Center), Steve Clarke (Charles Sturt University), Katrien Devolder (University of Oxford), Thomas Douglas (University of Oxford), Alberto Giubilini (University of Oxford), Jeanette Kennett (Macquarie University), Sharyn Milnes (Deakin

University), Francesca Minerva (University of Ghent), Maurizio Mori (University of Turin), Christian Munthe (University of Gothenburg), Justin Oakley (Monash University), Ingmar Persson (University of Gothenburg), Julian Savulescu (University of Oxford), Dominic Wilkinson (University of Oxford).



Gene Editing (Gene Manipulation)



Medical science is on the cusp of an application of truly revolutionary and frightening new technology—the mapping of the human genome has lead to the subsequent development of the means to alter the very pattern for each individual life. Such a revolutionary concept must give a thinking person pause for consideration. For the Christian, each human as created in God’s image by definition and represents great value. Each person is much more than the mere total of their physical parts. By reducing a person to only physical and biochemical processes, the God given value of each one of us is lost—our spiritual being.


Innate genetic processes are randomly responsible for each person’s uniqueness. The DNA of each cell in our body contains the information responsible for this uniqueness—hair color, eye color, height, a multitude of physical traits. In addition, the genes (DNA) along with environment influence our personalities, interests, as well as physical and mental abilities. As I write, scientists are diligently working to identify specific genes and patterns for as many different traits and characteristics as possible. Of course, this includes the possibility of identifying specific genetic causes of diseases or the inherited risk factors that can lead to future diseases. While this knowledge is seemingly a good thing, the subsequent use of this information and resulting techniques to modify genes now leads to the dilemma of just what do we do with it and who will decide?


Techniques are now possible to remove and/or replace specifically identified gene sequences in any specific cell. This could be wonderful news for persons with known inheritable diseases; but with what implications? Even if it would not be possible to cure their present malady, it might be possible to perform gene editing for correction in their descendants. The means of control of heredity are only limited by the imagination of the scientists.


This certainly seems to be an entirely a noble cause. Yet, we, as a people must be very thoughtfully approach the actual implementation of such therapy. First, it seems quite foolhardy to do any manipulation for physical or mental traits alone. Second, any such manipulation will be unrecoverable and passed on to future generations with unknown consequences. Third, the possible success and/or complications of any manipulation will be impossible to predict and influence. Fourth, no experiment can possibly evaluate any specific outcomes or their effects over generations. Does man have the hubris to proceed with such experimentation on mankind?


In essence, man has come to the place in his history wherein he has the ability to “control” his genetic future. This becomes the ultimate use of eugenics, and we have not been able to responsibly control its implementation in the past. Just who will control these processes and how will they be used? Will the costs of such manipulations result in the exclusion of the vast majority of mankind from the “benefits” of possible “therapeutic” effects? Can we really trust our collective selves to judiciously and honestly use this science?


For the Christian who believes we God’s handiwork, we are each “fearfully and wonderfully made”,; any gene editing represents man’s ultimate challenge to God as we attempt to usurp control of His very creation from Him. As Christ’s representatives on earth every Christian has the responsibility to be informed and express their views on this topic and its applications.

(Pay special attention to Francis Collins M.D. and Ron Cole-Turner Div., Ph.D.)