Events covered in the media over the past week have highlighted the public health risk posed by the collective disconnect from reality pursuant to unscientific thought. By making it a virtue to disregard the world as it exists in favor of the myths of your ancestors, a dangerous value system is created under which not only the personal health of the believer is at risk, but also that of those within the sphere of influence of the religiously inclined.
Within the U.S. House of Representatives, Republicans have been attempting to amend last session's landmark health care legislation with a bill called the Protect Life Act. According to critics, the PLA would create a loophole allowing hospitals to turn away expectant mothers without health insurance who have a medical need for an abortion. Such a loophole would run counter to decades of established law, which mandates that emergency rooms perform medically necessary treatments on any patients who come in, as part of the strings attached to taking funding from Medicare. Regardless of the ongoing abortion debate, passage of a bill with that demonstrates such disregard for the health of mothers in the name of imposing the morals of one group on another should be cause for concern rather than the applause it is receiving from such religious groups as the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops which endorsed the Act earlier this year.
The cost of religion being imposed on a powerless individual was underscored by a pending appeal in the Wisconsin court system this week. Dale and Leilani Neumann were found guilty in 2009 of the reckless homicide of Kara, 11-year-old daughter. Rather than seeking medical treatment for Kara's diabetes, the Neumanns relied on prayer as she slowly but surely slipped away from being a young girl of full capacities to the helpless creature who slipped away even as her parents knelt next to her body in prayer. This completely preventable death falls directly in the hands of those who extol the virtues of maintaining blind faith in the face of the challenges of life.
While many secularists insist on the ability of those who are spiritual and those who are not to coexist without it being harmful to either party, such an assertion must be revealed as the fallacy it is. If the overwhelming majority of a society rejects reason, that rejection has reverberations larger than the individuals doing the rejecting. Be it the helpless child of parents too arrogant in their religion to seek medical attention for their offspring, or the adult woman hampered by her nation's unhealthy spiritually fueled obsession with the unborn in her quest to perform a medically necessary abortion, a society can't be given a clean bill of health until it excises from itself the peculiar delusions which infest the bulk of its citizens.