Monday, February 2, 2009

The nurse who offered prayer

...Sounds like the title of an H.M.Bateman cartoon. (In this case, Melanie Phillips plays the role of the horrified waiter who was asked for a whisky and blackcurrant).

Caroline Petrie is a nurse who has been suspended after she offered to pray for a patient she had treated at her (the patient's) home.

I have prayed for many people but they have all asked me to pray for them or they do not know I am praying for them (perhaps that is against the Data Protection Act? ;-)). I am always very nervous about offering to pray for someone. I think I have done it once.

I wouldn't recommend that nurses offer to pray for people. (Most hospitals have a place of worship, normally multi-faith ones these days.) But still, it seems a trifle draconian to suspend a nurse for simply offering to pray for someone. The patient herself hasn't complained about it. But she mentioned it to another nurse, who reported the incident.

Although the circumstances were different, this reminded me of the British Airways employee who was banned from wearing (and then subsequently allowed to wear, due to a revamp of the firm's clothing rules) a crucifix around her neck outside of her clothing. The lady subsequently lost her tribunal case for discrimination. In that case, it seemed to me to be rather strange that anyone would insist on wearing a crucifix where everyone can see it. I understand that the lady launched the tribunal case mainly because she felt that Christianity was been dealt with differently from other faiths by British Airways. That's her prerogative and she lost. But I don't see that it was worth making a fuss about myself. I have never read or heard that it is a Christian article of faith that you should wear a crucifix where everyone can see it. Indeed, I remember reading something about:

And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men.

...which gives us a bit of a clue.

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