Friday, 6 February 2009

"Persecuted for Praying"

This is an issue that really got me thinking when I saw it in the paper

Caroline Petrie is facing the sack due to the fact she offered to pray for a patient and in doing so, broke the equality and diversity act, is this fair?

Firstly the title of my post is in quote marks for a reason, because I don't agree with this headline. She isn't in trouble because she was praying, she is in trouble because she was pushing her religious views on people in the workplace.

If a religious nurse wants to pray for a patient, that is their right but why is there this need with religious people to push their beliefs on others?

I have experienced having an extremely ill relative in the family and during this time a girl from my school, lets call her Ms X, kept informing a mutual friend of ours that she was praying for my relative. I found this more an irritation than a comfort, Ms X was perfectly aware that I am not religious and in fact we had always been acqquaintances rather than friends because of this. If she felt praying helped, fine but why inform me? When I ranted about this in front of some friends I suddenly realised one of them was quite religious herself and felt embarrassed. However, she agreed with me, saying that she sometimes prayed for my relative but that she didn't feel the need to tell me because it didn't mean anything to me.

In addition to this, Ms Petrie had already been disciplined for this when she gave a prayer card to a patient so she cannot claim she didn't know the rules and that she was breaking them.

I also wonder whether the Daily Mail would have had the same response if the story regarded a Muslim or a Wiccan or some less accepted and understood religion within our society? I can't help but think they would have been raising an outcry about patients having these beliefs forced on them. I don't see why Christianity should get a free pass if other religions would not be given the same treatment.

I think the comment about Christians being the most discriminated against group is ridiculous. Christianity affects the laws of this country, is deeply routed in the school system and the fact people like Ms Petrie think it acceptable to push their beliefs on others is evidently proof of how Christianity is given far more tolerance than any other religion in this country.

Melanie Phillips tried to get in on the over dramatisation of this story but made the mistake of including a poll in her article "Would you object to a nurse offering to pray for you"

Evidently she was not expecting 68% to have said yes! Your readers have spoken Melanie, people don't want religion being pushed on them and the Equality an Diversity act stops that happening.

What do you think? I love a good debate




  1. I appreciate your invitation to comment. I would not personally endorse any Christian pushing their view. Neither could I support anything which is insensitive, or uncaring towards a patient. However, I do believe (yes I would say that) Caroline was merely offering something, which when declined was left to one side. I also find prayer on behalf of someone in any difficulty is usually welcomed as an expression of care, compassion and hope in something(one) bigger than whatever the presenting problem happens to be.

  2. Thanks for commenting Nigel.

    I agree that it should not be pushed on others and I think an important factor in this case is that she did it at work. I think it is one thing to bring religion into your personal life and the people you meet but I feel it should be regulated when in the work place as patients shouldn't have to have religion pushed on them.

    I can understand that some people may appreciate it, though I'm sure those people could ask someone to pray for them should they wish it. As an atheist however I have not found it a comfort and have been offended by it. When you are going through a difficult time it can be almost insulting as I have thought, if there is a God who cares why is he not helping my relative without people needing to pray for her?

    As I said I understand your view, I just feel it is better suited to her personal life and that she should not have brought it into her work.