The story about Diocese of Phoenix, Arizona’s Bishop Thomas Olmstead stripping Saint Joseph Hospital of it’s Catholic status is full of examples of the Doorknob Axiom, such as this example from the Associated Press.
PHOENIX – The Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix stripped a major hospital of its affiliation with the church Tuesday because of a surgery that ended a woman’s pregnancy to save her life.
Bishop Thomas Olmsted called the 2009 procedure an abortion and said St. Joseph’s Hospital and MedicalCenter — recognized internationally for its neurology and neurosurgery practices — violated ethical and religious directives of the national Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Yes, it was a “life saving surgery” or a “procedure.” Bishop Olmstead only “called it” an abortion. Two sentences in and the story is already tainted with assumptions and subjective judgement. Other stories and commentaries would have you believe that the Bishop’s move was reactionary and based on a single incident, when in fact the disconnect between Catholic Healthcare West and Catholic moral standards has been an issue for at least seven years now.
Typically, news reporters have little practical knowledge about institutions like the Church, and it shows. Whenever there is a controversial case within the Church that makes the news, you can count on the mainstream media to use a lot of error-ridden conventional wisdom. This is how popular myth eventually becomes recognized as truth in some circles.
Reporters could easily falsify the Doorknob Axiom if they just relied on sources who actually know what they are talking about and can back it up with facts and critical analysis. One such source is Catholic columnist and commentator Jimmy Akin. Anyone who writes on a controversial Catholic story without first seeing what Akin has reported about it is committing malpractice, in my humble opinion.
Back in May of 2010, Akin wrote a column titled What are the *True Facts* Regarding the Abortion-Approving Nun? which appeared in the National Catholic Register. (This is an example of what reporting should be, regardless of the topic.) Earlier this month he weighed in on the Bishop’s stripping the Catholic Status from Saint Joseph’s by reporting the Bishop’s actual statement, not out of context snippets or oversimplified summaries.
Life threatening health problems are tragic, doubly so when they involve a pregnant mother and her unborn child, but tragedy does not negate the fact that mother and child are two individual human persons with the same dignity and rights. That is the Catholic position. Acting according to that position–even in difficult cases–is the price of calling yourself a “Catholic” health care provider. It would appear that the methods used to treat the mother did not adhere to that standard. Rather than treating both patients with the knowledge that one would certainly die as a result of the treatment, the hospital instead directly killed one of them to save the other.
It’s a line finer than some are willing to recognize but there is indeed a difference between treating two patients in a manner that will almost certainly, but unintentionally, cause the death of one and directly killing one to save the other.
If one claims to be pro-life because they believe in the personhood of the unborn child, it is inconsistent to argue that inflicting a violent death upon that person becomes permissible if the life of the mother is at stake. Death for the child may be unavoidable, but revoking the child’s right to be treated humanely is not. That is the heart of this case which finally caused the Bishop to revoke this health care provider’s Catholic status.
It seems like the standard method of conducting a study these days is to decide upon the result you want to get and then toss out any data which doesn’t agree with it. Draw the curve then plot the data points.
When you see how easily this so-called study gets taken apart with just a little critical analysis, it becomes clear that we can’t believe stuff just because the people who say it are supposed to be smart enough to know. Everyone has an agenda. Anything that claims to be an “objective” study needs to be scrutinized even harder. Objectivity is a lost virtue.
If one wants to truly be informed, relying on the news media alone will guarantee failure.
Chris Edwards posts a piece over at CATO Institution about privatizing theFederal Aviation Adminstration.
There is a better way to run air traffic control—a private sector way, as Canada has been demonstrating. In 1996, Canada converted its government air traffic control system to a private nonprofit corporation. Nav Canada has been a smashing success, providing an excellent model for possible U.S. reforms.
I agree with this in principle. Like any government agency, the FAA is riddled with inefficiency, waste, fraud and abuse. Privatization could eliminate a lot of this. The only problem I have is with pointing to successes in Canada or European countries as “models” for what the U.S. should do. I don’t like it when the left uses such arguments for justifying nationalized health care or higher gas taxes and I don’t like it when the right does it for something like privatization.
Privatization is a good goal and arguments for it should be based on the merits of that philosophy applied to the unique challenges we face in the U.S. and shouldn’t rest on what others have done elsewhere. Even if Nav Canada were a dismal failure, privatizing the FAA would still be a goal worth pursuing.
**Update** Maintaining a robust general aviation industry should be one criteria by which we judge any privatization plan, and no one sector of the industry should be subsidizing another just as no one tax bracket should be subsidizing another through higher tax rates.