About me
Archive
About me

Divine answer to earthly question

close

Warning: This post was published more than 11 years ago.

I keep old posts on the site because sometimes it's interesting to read old content. Not everything that is old is bad. Also, I think people might be interested to track how my views have changed over time: for example, how my strident teenage views have mellowed and matured!

But given the age of this post, please bear in mind:

  • My views might have changed in the 11 years since I wrote this post.
  • This post might use language in ways which I would now consider inappropriate or offensive.
  • Factual information might be outdated.
  • Links might be broken; embedded material might not appear properly.

Many thanks for your understanding.

Gideons International recently asked Leicester NHS Trust if it could put Bibles into patients’ bedside lockers. The hospital responded that they would like some time to investigate whether or not there was a possibility that having the same Bible there for each occupant might pose an MRSA risk. To me, that seems a sensible request.

Iain Mair, executive director of Gideons International UK doesn’t think it’s sensible:

They are saying there’s a potential MRSA risk, and we say that is nonsense

I’m not sure what expertise Mr Mair has in the field of infection control, but I’m fairly convinced that he doesn’t have quite the same qualifications as the Trust’s Infections Control team. He claims that Gideons International have commissioned reports from consultants to disprove the theory. Surely there would be little point in commissioning such research if he is not then going to allow the Trust to examine the research prior to reaching a decision on the matter?

The tabloids have become (predictably) become angry about a ” hospital plan to ban Bibles” recently. Despite the fact that there is, as yet, no such plan. But that’s not the kind of thing that’s stopped them before. Other papers called it ‘tantamount to banning the Bible from NHS wards’. That’s obviously not true either.

The Leicester NHS Trust also wish to take time to consider whether allowing the provision of these Bibles would appear as the Trust favouring one religion over another. Which is a fair enough thing to consider. Unless you’re Iain Mair, in which case…

It’s political correctness gone mad.

It would clearly be impractical to have a whole library of religious books supplied to each patient. And yet, I wonder if Mr Mair would think it ‘PC gone mad’ if all patients were to be supplied with copies of the Koran, and, along with his plan, given advice that ‘other religious texts are available’.

The Trust wants to investigate the possibility of tracking which patients have come into contact with which texts, so that potentially infectious ones could be removed from circulation. That seems fair, if something of an invasion of privacy. The best solution, as I see it, would be to make patients aware that religious texts were freely available to take away and take home. That way, the religious texts get further than just being something to read when you’re bored in hospital, and the infection problem is essentially overcome.

I’m sure the Trust will come up with a solution that will be appropriate to all parties. Although, frankly, I’d be rather less inclined to help when Gideons International want to make such a fuss over such a small issue. But that’s probably just me.

This 614th post was filed under: News and Comment.






More posts worth reading

What I’ve been reading this month (published 3rd April 2017)

What I’ve been reading this month (published 4th March 2017)

What I’ve been reading this month (published 6th February 2017)

Useless computers cost £2bn (published 6th January 2008)

Photo-a-day 310: Marks and Spencer’s tired estate (published 6th November 2012)

Thoughts for 27th February 2008 (published 27th February 2008)

Photo-a-day 295: Extensive destruction (published 22nd October 2012)


Comments and responses

Comment from sjhoward (author of the post)


by sjhoward

Comment posted at 02:31 on 5th June 2005.

Apologies for the horrific typos in the post title – I’ve corrected them now, so hopefully only email subscribers will be shocked at two out of five words being spelled incorrectly.


Comment from Pieter


by Pieter

Comment posted at 14:01 on 6th June 2005.

The other faiths don’t agreee with your comments

http://uk.news.yahoo.com/050603/144/fkckp.html


Comment from sjhoward (author of the post)


by sjhoward

Comment posted at 21:23 on 6th June 2005.

Thanks for your link, I read it with interest. However, I still don’t see how anyone can fail to agree that it is sensible to ensure that these books are not spreading MRSA. How the reaction can be “ridiculous and extreme”, as a member of the Muslim Council of Great Britain says, is simply beyond me.

Prof Harminder Singh’s comment (“in 30 years of working with interfaith groups this has never been an issue”) makes more sense – but then, MRSA hasn’t been such a big issue for the last thirty years. The virus has only been around for about twenty years, and has been causing the NHS a problem for much less time than even that.

I have to admit that I find the ‘offending people of other religions’ idea slightly less convincing in a general sense, but given that only 44% of people in Leicester call themselves Christian, I guess it’s quite important to look at the feelings of the majority non-Christians.

The most comical thing about all of this is that (if and) when the Trust completes its thorough investigation into the issue and decides that the medical evidence says they don’t pose a threat, and so the Bibles can be replaced, the popular press and religious activists will claim a victory. The tragedy is that most people will believe them.


Comment from sjhoward (author of the post)


by sjhoward

Comment posted at 22:41 on 8th June 2005.

Zoe Williams has written an excellent Grauniad column on this subject, which is well worth a read.


Compose a new comment



Comment

You may use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong> .

If you would like to display a profile picture beside your comment, sign up for Gravatar, and enter your email address above.

By submitting your comment, you confirm that it conforms to the site's comment policy. Comments are subject to both automatic and human moderation, and may take some time to appear.



The content of this site is copyright protected by a Creative Commons License, with some rights reserved. All trademarks, images and logos remain the property of their respective owners. The accuracy of information on this site is in no way guaranteed. Opinions expressed are solely those of the author. No responsibility can be accepted for any loss or damage caused by reliance on the information provided by this site. This site uses cookies - click here for more information.