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On Religion and American Healthcare

December 21, 2005

kr’s note: The following is an article that I had written as a short research project for Shaykh Amin and is to be posted shortly on the Darul Qasim website. I’ve posted this here for several reasons–the fact that I can’t think of a new post being among them. But more importantly, I would appreciate peer feedback from anyone who is inclined to actually spend 10 minutes and read this. The parallels between the role of religion in American healthcare vis-a-vis the American Muslim community, the Christian view of religion as an instrument for earthly glory, and pervasiveness of religion in the American landscape are some of the themes I’ve tried to bring out in the course of this paper.


Anyway, for the rest of you goldfish, I’ll have something in a few days, Inshallah
.      

    When speaking with Shaykh Amin in class one day, he raised an interesting observation that I had never really thought about before. He asked, “Why is it that there are churches on every corner in America?” When I heard this, I was somewhat dumbfounded as I had never really thought deeply about this. His question raised an interesting notion, however: if America is such a secular country, why are there such noticeable Christian establishments and institutions that permeate nearly every aspect of everyday life? Perhaps most interesting in this phenomenon was the relationship of religious motivation and healthcare. Indeed, one needs to simply observe how most of the major hospitals and healthcare systems in America are primarily Christian enterprises.  To determine how this relationship came about, I realized I would need to understand the historical implications behind this modern occurrence. In other words, while the story was now playing itself out in America, it had begun centuries earlier in Europe, as the Renaissance gave birth to an infusion of Christian beliefs into seemingly everyday works.

 With the advent of European and Muslim trade at the time of the Renaissance, goods and ideas were readily exchanged amongst the two cultures. Foremost amongst the ideas that flowed from east to west was the Muslim model for the development, maintenance, and creative spirit for institutions. As European cities were developing anew in the wake of biological and political revolutions, the theory of institutions became a reality with the development of establishments such as universities. The religious revolutions of the time also paved the way for a new and sacred outlook amongst many. Reformists such as Martin Luther had effectively removed the monopoly on spirituality enjoyed by the clergy and restored it to the commoner. This new found spiritual power, combined with innovative concepts (indigenous and imported), heralded the development of uniquely Western institutions. Indeed, thinkers such as Francis Bacon (d. 1626) and Isaac Newton even went one step further, suggesting that immersing one’s self in the development and practice of “useful arts” was not only an act of worship, but also an act that allowed for the restoration of Adamic grace. In human history, this was certainly not a novel idea, for the Andalusian philosopher Ibn Tufayl (d. 1185) (whose lone work, The Living Son of the Vigilant was translated and circulated widely amongst the elite in Europe) had expounded the idea that most people are incapable of grasping divine truth, making religion necessary for their social security and protection. Preoccupation with the divine was necessary for such security. European philosophers embraced this idea and sought to develop it further—indeed, Bacon himself had studied in Muslim Spain and was quite fascinated and influenced by Islamic philosophy—championing that the relationship between religion and social stability included undertaking religiously-influenced material projects. In historian Francis Yates’s words, thinkers such as Bacon sought “a return to the state of Adam before the Fall, a state of pure and sinless contact with nature and knowledge of her powers,” in short, “a progress back towards Adam.”

             This religious outlook therefore influenced the development of all Western institutions. One particular establishment, the development of hospitals and healthcare, perhaps serves as a prime example. The development of healthcare in Renaissance Europe was certainly not a new one; the model of Christ as “the Great Physician” served as the paradigm that intimately related worship of God with the care of the sick. As Jesus had not shunned the sick and indeed had been able to cure the leper and the blind, dutiful Christians saw it as a religious and human obligation to exert their fullest efforts towards treating disease. However, before the development of institutions in Europe, healthcare remained a primarily private enterprise. As Renaissance Europe saw the line between spiritual and mundane disappear, a similar line between private and corporate enterprise also vanished, and healthcare now began to be institutionalized as well. The corporate spirit manifested itself not only in the development of hospitals, but also in the construction of schools, orphanages, and other such related establishments to educate and assist physicians. Again, however, a religious worldview dominated these developments. In his watershed work of a utopia, New Atlantis, Bacon lists amongst the powers possessed by this heavenly society,  “the curing of diseases counted incurable”, “the prolongation of life”, and even“the transformation of bodies into other bodies”.

            As Europeans migrated across the Atlantic, these same themes followed as well. Early American societies were primarily reflections of European cities; the development of American healthcare followed the European model as well. The first American hospital, Pennsylvania Hospital, was founded in 1751 as a result of collaboration between Dr. Thomas Bond and Benjamin Franklin. It is perhaps salient to note that Franklin and Bond were both devout Freemasons, and with all illuminati theories notwithstanding, Freemasonry created the concept of the engineer—a spiritual man who immersed himself in the useful arts as an act of worship. Dr. Bond had traveled Europe extensively and wanted to create something similar in colonial America. When he approached his fellow Philadelphians for support, they asked him what Franklin thought of the idea. Bond hadn’t asked Franklin because he thought the latter wouldn’t be interested, but due to public reaction, he approached Franklin with the idea. Franklin supported Bond, and this backing was enough to convince many others that Bond’s idea was worthy of support. On May 11, 1751, Pennsylvania Hospital received its charter and began to treat patients within two years. To illustrate the purpose of the hospital, the biblical inscription “Take care of him and I will repay thee” was chosen and the image of the Good Samaritan was affixed as the hospital seal. So pleased was Franklin that he later stated: “I do not remember any of my political manoeuvres, the success of which gave me at the time more pleasure…”

            Apart from the fascinating history, the founding of Pennsylvania Hospital—the idea, the men involved, the motto chosen, etc—further reinforces the religious spirit of American healthcare. As the first American hospital, it would serve as the model for all subsequent American hospitals. Perhaps even more worthwhile to note is how a private idea evolved into a public one (through political means) and how professionals with spiritual backgrounds sought to infuse religion into their worldly occupations. This latter theme was one that became apparent in American history, as clergymen and religious scholars symbiotically developed viable and efficacious institutions. Another example is demonstrated in the case of Friends Hospital, founded by the Religious Society of Friends in 1813, with the belief that within every person is that of God or “the true light that lighteth every person that cometh into the world.” (John1:9) Adhering to that conviction, the Friends, more commonly known as Quakers, viewed insanity as a temporary impediment to worshipping God within and saw it as their mission to help the mentally ill out of the darkness. For this purpose, they founded the nation’s first private institution dedicated solely to the care of the mentally ill. It was called “the Asylum” and renamed “Friends Hospital” in 1914. Although the Friends established the hospital as a safe haven in which to care for their own, they soon opened the doors to the afflicted of all denominations. The difference between the Quaker model and other hospitals was that the Quakers viewed the mentally ill as brethren capable of living a moral and ordered existence if treated with kindness, dignity, and respect in comfortable surroundings. They even called their approach to curing insanity “moral treatment.” Thus, the uniqueness of the Quaker model was that it sought to combine the latest medical knowledge in the context of religious teachings to manage and heal patients. In addition, the relationship between clergy and professionals continues to influence American healthcare today, even in models used to provide healthcare to third world countries. In this prototype, medical treatment is joined with proselytizing; for example, the World Medical Mission was founded in 1978 when two surgeon brothers, Drs. Lowell and Richard Furman, approached Franklin Graham and expressed their desire to volunteer for a short-term assignment in a mission hospital during their vacation. Today, the Mission has established healthcare facilities in 23 countries across the world, with programs for physicians to complete their residencies, as well as opportunities for other health service workers. The meticulous attention to detail in these types of models must be appreciated.

             Indeed, religiously-motivated healthcare has become a cornerstone of American society due to the brilliant planning and development of these institutions. This is to say that such establishments are developed in the context of religious ideals, but also utilize the pragmatic worldliness of professionals to create such practical models. For example, the Advocate Healthcare System, founded in 1897 again as a joint effort between clergy, community, and healthcare professionals, has developed over the years into an intelligently constructed establishment with unique principles as its own standard. Specifically, the aptly named “MVP model” (which stands for Mission, Values, and Philosophy) was born over 100 years ago, underwent several modifications, and continues to guide the entire network of health services. Specifically, this model states that “[t]he mission of Advocate Health Care is to serve the health needs of individuals, families and communities through a holistic philosophy rooted in our fundamental understanding of human beings as created in the image of God.” The values aspect comprised of “[t]he core values of compassion, equality, excellence, partnership, and stewardship guide our actions as we work together to provide health services to others in our communities.” Finally, the philosophy employed in this model “means we understand people have physical, emotional and spiritual needs and their relations to God, themselves, their families and society are vital to health and healing…We believe all people are created in the image of God. All human beings live under God’s care and must be treated with dignity and respect.” Again, one must observe and appreciate the merging of a religious ideal with worldly realities to develop an archetype that is uniquely American.

            Despite the claims that America is a secular country, one must observe and appreciate the religious influences that permeate nearly every sector of society. As we have seen above, a preoccupation with the Divine manifested itself through various mundane and secular works, as if undertaking such projects was the pinnacle of spirituality. In other words, engaging one’s self in the useful arts of science, engineering, and technology became a means for otherworldly deliverance. With this mindset, Christians enthusiastically undertook a plethora of secular projects in a variety of different fields. Healthcare, especially, is one area wherein this relationship is quite prominent. Following the model of Christ, Christians historically understood that healing the human body was not only an integral part of their religion, but was also an act that allowed them to walk the footsteps of Christ. From the onset, American healthcare has been strongly influenced and intertwined with this philosophy; over the years, it has certainly evolved, but each step of maturation has been carefully and intelligently planned out such that while the form may change, the spirit remains essentially the same. It is perhaps this sophisticated approach that has allowed for the growth and viability of American healthcare itself.  If so, the history behind this relationship must certainly be appreciated.

 

Bibliography

Advocate Health Care, MVP Heritage, http://www.advocatehealth.com/system/about/community/faith/heritage.html.

David F. Noble, The Religion of Technology: The Divinity of Man and the Spirit of Invention, (New York: Penguin, 1997).

Francis Bacon, “New Atlantis, in Francis Bacon: The Major Works, ed. Brian Vickers (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002)

Muslimphilosophy.com, Ibn Tufayl, Abu Bakr Muhammad (before 1110-85), http://www.muslimphilosophy.com/ip/rep/H030.htm

Samaritan’s Purse, History, http://www.samaritanspurse.org/WMM_History.asp.

University of Pennsylvania Health System, Creation, http://www.uphs.upenn.edu/paharc/features/creation.html

 

 

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21 Comments
  1. That was a great article about the American Health Care System. 
    Alas our people are still too unorganized to garner such an effort to creat Hospital systems incorporating Muslim values.  We do have free clinics, and that’s a start. 
    I heard about one Muslim Nursing Home that was created a few years ago in California were rich Muslims can dump their parents (astagfirullah…yes, I know in some circumstances its warranted, but if you can afford a nursing home, you can pay a nurse to stop by in the home.)

  2. Anonymous permalink

    that was too long…if Dar-ul-Qasim and the studly shaykh amin put this up im gonna have to hack the site and cut this down…
    man i missed class with shaykh amin today…this is like the fourth class ive missed…haha but mash’Allah he has such a good heart that he still welcomes me back…
    you still owe me dinner fool…
    nigger-ul-haq

  3. Interesting read…with all of our wealth, its sad there isnt a Muslim owned and operated hospital yet in this country. I hope inshAllah, our generation will help this dream come true…

  4. Assalaamualaikum Kamran,
    Sorry, I didnt get a chance to read the whole thing.  I am leaving for Umrah Insha Allah and will be back in a few days.  Just wanted to ask everyone’s forgiveness if I’ve ever intentionally or unintentionally offended anybody in anyway.  I am really sorry for it! 
    Brother, Jazaakallah Khair for all your love that you’ve given me all these years, and especially this year.  I dont have words to tell you how much it meant to me.  Ammi (she’s my ammi now too), khalas, auntys, rehan and ofcoarse YOU will be in my prayers all the way, like always.
    I am sure this must have been a great post… i’ll definitely read it once I am back Insha Allah.  Here are my 2 e props in advance!!
    Remember me and my family in your duas please. 
    love u tons brother,
    Imran. 

  5. wow, another epic and you are complaining I make long posts.

  6. Dude, you must get real sick of folks saying “I didn’t read that, it was too long but I’m sure it was good.” Seems like that’s all the comments say. Nevertheless, this post was a great lesson in history. This was an especially accurate statement, “a preoccupation with the Divine manifested itself through various mundane and secular works, as if undertaking such projects was the pinnacle of spirituality.”  I’d say that almost every social project out there began as a tool to worship the Divine. Hospitals, like you discuss here, to the welfare system, were all established in the name of religion. Now that the religion part has been subtracted from it, we see them as secular.
    Good post…and I for one say that after reading it ALL.

  7. When speaking with Shaykh Amin in class one day, he raised an interesting observation that I had never really thought about before. He asked, “Why is it that there are churches on every corner in America?” When I heard this, I was somewhat dumbfounded as I had never really thought deeply about this. His question raised an interesting notion, however: if America is such a secular country, why are there such noticeable Christian establishments and institutions that permeate nearly every aspect of everyday life? Perhaps most interesting in this phenomenon was the relationship of religious motivation and healthcare. Indeed, one needs to simply observe how most of the major hospitals and healthcare systems in America are primarily Christian enterprises.  To determine how this relationship came about, I realized I would need to understand the historical implications behind this modern occurrence. In other words, while the story was now playing itself out in America, it had begun centuries earlier in Europe, as the Renaissance gave birth to an infusion of Christian beliefs into seemingly everyday works.
     With the advent of European and Muslim trade at the time of the Renaissance, goods and ideas were readily exchanged amongst the two cultures. Foremost amongst the ideas that flowed from east to west was the Muslim model for the development, maintenance, and creative spirit for institutions. As European cities were developing anew in the wake of biological and political revolutions, the theory of institutions became a reality with the development of establishments such as universities. The religious revolutions of the time also paved the way for a new and sacred outlook amongst many. Reformists such as Martin Luther had effectively removed the monopoly on spirituality enjoyed by the clergy and restored it to the commoner. This new found spiritual power, combined with innovative concepts (indigenous and imported), heralded the development of uniquely Western institutions. Indeed, thinkers such as Francis Bacon (d. 1626) and Isaac Newton even went one step further, suggesting that immersing one’s self in the development and practice of “useful arts” was not only an act of worship, but also an act that allowed for the restoration of Adamic grace. In human history, this was certainly not a novel idea, for the Andalusian philosopher Ibn Tufayl (d. 1185) (whose lone work, The Living Son of the Vigilant was translated and circulated widely amongst the elite in Europe) had expounded the idea that most people are incapable of grasping divine truth, making religion necessary for their social security and protection. Preoccupation with the divine was necessary for such security. European philosophers embraced this idea and sought to develop it further—indeed, Bacon himself had studied in Muslim Spain and was quite fascinated and influenced by Islamic philosophy—championing that the relationship between religion and social stability included undertaking religiously-influenced material projects. In historian Francis Yates’s words, thinkers such as Bacon sought “a return to the state of Adam before the Fall, a state of pure and sinless contact with nature and knowledge of her powers,” in short, “a progress back towards Adam.”
                 This religious outlook therefore influenced the development of all Western institutions. One particular establishment, the development of hospitals and healthcare, perhaps serves as a prime example. The development of healthcare in Renaissance Europe was certainly not a new one; the model of Christ as “the Great Physician” served as the paradigm that intimately related worship of God with the care of the sick. As Jesus had not shunned the sick and indeed had been able to cure the leper and the blind, dutiful Christians saw it as a religious and human obligation to exert their fullest efforts towards treating disease. However, before the development of institutions in Europe, healthcare remained a primarily private enterprise. As Renaissance Europe saw the line between spiritual and mundane disappear, a similar line between private and corporate enterprise also vanished, and healthcare now began to be institutionalized as well. The corporate spirit manifested itself not only in the development of hospitals, but also in the construction of schools, orphanages, and other such related establishments to educate and assist physicians. Again, however, a religious worldview dominated these developments. In his watershed work of a utopia, New Atlantis, Bacon lists amongst the powers possessed by this heavenly society,  “the curing of diseases counted incurable”, “the prolongation of life”, and even“the transformation of bodies into other bodies”.
                As Europeans migrated across the Atlantic, these same themes followed as well. Early American societies were primarily reflections of European cities; the development of American healthcare followed the European model as well. The first American hospital, Pennsylvania Hospital, was founded in 1751 as a result of collaboration between Dr. Thomas Bond and Benjamin Franklin. It is perhaps salient to note that Franklin and Bond were both devout Freemasons, and with all illuminati theories notwithstanding, Freemasonry created the concept of the engineer—a spiritual man who immersed himself in the useful arts as an act of worship. Dr. Bond had traveled Europe extensively and wanted to create something similar in colonial America. When he approached his fellow Philadelphians for support, they asked him what Franklin thought of the idea. Bond hadn’t asked Franklin because he thought the latter wouldn’t be interested, but due to public reaction, he approached Franklin with the idea. Franklin supported Bond, and this backing was enough to convince many others that Bond’s idea was worthy of support. On May 11, 1751, Pennsylvania Hospital received its charter and began to treat patients within two years. To illustrate the purpose of the hospital, the biblical inscription “Take care of him and I will repay thee” was chosen and the image of the Good Samaritan was affixed as the hospital seal. So pleased was Franklin that he later stated: “I do not remember any of my political manoeuvres, the success of which gave me at the time more pleasure…”
                Apart from the fascinating history, the founding of Pennsylvania Hospital—the idea, the men involved, the motto chosen, etc—further reinforces the religious spirit of American healthcare. As the first American hospital, it would serve as the model for all subsequent American hospitals. Perhaps even more worthwhile to note is how a private idea evolved into a public one (through political means) and how professionals with spiritual backgrounds sought to infuse religion into their worldly occupations. This latter theme was one that became apparent in American history, as clergymen and religious scholars symbiotically developed viable and efficacious institutions. Another example is demonstrated in the case of Friends Hospital, founded by the Religious Society of Friends in 1813, with the belief that within every person is that of God or “the true light that lighteth every person that cometh into the world.” (John1:9) Adhering to that conviction, the Friends, more commonly known as Quakers, viewed insanity as a temporary impediment to worshipping God within and saw it as their mission to help the mentally ill out of the darkness. For this purpose, they founded the nation’s first private institution dedicated solely to the care of the mentally ill. It was called “the Asylum” and renamed “Friends Hospital” in 1914. Although the Friends established the hospital as a safe haven in which to care for their own, they soon opened the doors to the afflicted of all denominations. The difference between the Quaker model and other hospitals was that the Quakers viewed the mentally ill as brethren capable of living a moral and ordered existence if treated with kindness, dignity, and respect in comfortable surroundings. They even called their approach to curing insanity “moral treatment.” Thus, the uniqueness of the Quaker model was that it sought to combine the latest medical knowledge in the context of religious teachings to manage and heal patients. In addition, the relationship between clergy and professionals continues to influence American healthcare today, even in models used to provide healthcare to third world countries. In this prototype, medical treatment is joined with proselytizing; for example, the World Medical Mission was founded in 1978 when two surgeon brothers, Drs. Lowell and Richard Furman, approached Franklin Graham and expressed their desire to volunteer for a short-term assignment in a mission hospital during their vacation. Today, the Mission has established healthcare facilities in 23 countries across the world, with programs for physicians to complete their residencies, as well as opportunities for other health service workers. The meticulous attention to detail in these types of models must be appreciated.
                 Indeed, religiously-motivated healthcare has become a cornerstone of American society due to the brilliant planning and development of these institutions. This is to say that such establishments are developed in the context of religious ideals, but also utilize the pragmatic worldliness of professionals to create such practical models. For example, the Advocate Healthcare System, founded in 1897 again as a joint effort between clergy, community, and healthcare professionals, has developed over the years into an intelligently constructed establishment with unique principles as its own standard. Specifically, the aptly named “MVP model” (which stands for Mission, Values, and Philosophy) was born over 100 years ago, underwent several modifications, and continues to guide the entire network of health services. Specifically, this model states that “[t]he mission of Advocate Health Care is to serve the health needs of individuals, families and communities through a holistic philosophy rooted in our fundamental understanding of human beings as created in the image of God.” The values aspect comprised of “[t]he core values of compassion, equality, excellence, partnership, and stewardship guide our actions as we work together to provide health services to others in our communities.” Finally, the philosophy employed in this model “means we understand people have physical, emotional and spiritual needs and their relations to God, themselves, their families and society are vital to health and healing…We believe all people are created in the image of God. All human beings live under God’s care and must be treated with dignity and respect.” Again, one must observe and appreciate the merging of a religious ideal with worldly realities to develop an archetype that is uniquely American.
                Despite the claims that America is a secular country, one must observe and appreciate the religious influences that permeate nearly every sector of society. As we have seen above, a preoccupation with the Divine manifested itself through various mundane and secular works, as if undertaking such projects was the pinnacle of spirituality. In other words, engaging one’s self in the useful arts of science, engineering, and technology became a means for otherworldly deliverance. With this mindset, Christians enthusiastically undertook a plethora of secular projects in a variety of different fields. Healthcare, especially, is one area wherein this relationship is quite prominent. Following the model of Christ, Christians historically understood that healing the human body was not only an integral part of their religion, but was also an act that allowed them to walk the footsteps of Christ. From the onset, American healthcare has been strongly influenced and intertwined with this philosophy; over the years, it has certainly evolved, but each step of maturation has been carefully and intelligently planned out such that while the form may change, the spirit remains essentially the same. It is perhaps this sophisticated approach that has allowed for the growth and viability of American healthcare itself.  If so, the history behind this relationship must certainly be appreciated.
    work your way up

  8. ^what’s the point of recopying the article and posting it as a comment?

  9. rooji: the problem also perhaps lies in the fact that everyone and their mother wants to become a doctor… simply so they can have the house with the three-car garage and the bling-bling cars. on a side note, i was reading the other day that in traditional chinese societies, doctors were only paid when their patients were healthy… motivating the physician to keep his patient in a sound state of health. its perhaps ironic that modern medicine is predicated on the medicine and maintenance of the disease–and in some cases the cure–but pays little to no attention on the prevention of disease.alti: yeah dude, i should tell shaykh amin youre such a bad kid… look at you, blowing him off while the bechara is trying to educate you… sigh =).pirate: the comment i made on your xanga was a sarcastic one… i read your entire post and it was a complaint more to other people who always whine that my posts are too long.sadiq: if you ever watched scrubs, there’s a lawyer guy there named Ted that totally reminds me of you. haha, inshallah if we open a hospital, you can be our attorney who threatens to jump off the roof if people don’t start respecting him.sheikhyaquba: ah yes my dear shaykh, tis quite sad that everyone writes such comments. it’s good to know that shaykhs like you and me can appreciate these longer articles and discern the various issues brought forth there =).imran: mashallah man, that’s awesome. please make du’a for me and if you go to madinah, most importantly, send my salaam to the Prophet (salallahu `alayhi wa sallam).

  10. “pirate: the comment i made on your xanga was a sarcastic one… i read your entire post and it was a complaint more to other people who always whine that my posts are too long.”The comment I left was for fun. I just forgot to add the to designate it as such. I knew it the illuminati were behind all this. The columbian Illuminati already marked the dollor bill with their symbol of an owl. Then they have the District of Columbia, Columbian Broadcasting Company (CBS), anything with columbia in its name. Now we learn they own the healtcare busines too? What is the world coming too these days? Is there anyplace left where they don’t have an influence or their tentacle into? oh thats right, 4-5pm – thats willie’s time.

  11. I am sure the above was a good article, but I am sorry bro it was really long… haha.  j/k -Yeah, I actually read it…
    Interesting, but I don’t think the present day healthcare system is as concerned with religion as it once may have been.  In the end, all that is left is Allah (swt), nothing else matters.
    salaamalaikumwarahmatullahiwabarakatu.  =)  hmm…

  12. KamKam, the problem is not with the aunties wanting us to become doctors…rather its the problem that most of us are too dumb to succeed at that task.  In UIC-COM, how many Muslims are there compared to Hindus?  Paltry.  You see the same pattern in everywhere…
    If we had more of us actually becoming doctors, maybe we might have more manpower to make a hospital or our own hospital system. 
    You don’t see Jews complaining about not wanting more of their people to become a certain profession. 

  13. Anonymous permalink

    wow the introduction itslef took me ten minutes to read. I figured that was the entire post with all that vis a vis stuff in there.

  14. I am not surprised that the first American Hospital was co-founded by Benjamin Frankilin. It’s amazing that he did so many things in his lifetime.
    I really like this description of a freemason—”a spiritual man who immersed himself in the useful arts as an act of worship.” ~  even though there are so many conspiracy theories regarding freemasons, part of their purpose must have been to do something constuctive with their skills, wealth, power, or whatever else they possessed that got them into the group.
    really good post.

  15. whoa whoa whoa. what a freakin topic. first of all, im really glad you put this up.. its a nice change from your usual stuff. the topic of the article (and the fact that you wrote on it) tells me you may enjoy reading a book written by a UofC Nobel Laureate and professor of mine entitled The Fourth Great Awakening and  the Future of Egalitarianism. I got a lot to say on the topic of the US healthcare system, so ima try to be picky choosy iA. okay, so i dunno where this assumption is comin from (though i can see it somewhat in your last paragraph) but i feel like we’re assuming that the hc system in the US, given whatever religious influences, is a simply peachy thing, worth emulating on a ‘muslim’ scale, blah. well it aint. it suffers from some of the same extremely disturbing issues that this country’s education and justice systems do. our per capita spending on hc is the highest in the freakin world (somethin like six g’s), but yet we dont have the highest life expectancy, nor lowest infant mortality rates, and furthermore, our hc system is plagued by inequality of access, by race and income. now with so many freakin assets at our national disposal, to the order of like 15% of national GDP, trillions of dollars, the problem aint no lack of hospital care, so a muslim hospital or muslim hospital system blah is not gonna magically fix problems of access inequality and distribution. problems with the hc system steep far beyond just care – they go to the very workings of the system: the relationship between physicians and patients and insurance companies, between public and private sectors in a mixed (not nationalized and not privatized) system. and so to the claim that we dont have enough muslim doctors, a lack of manpower etc, i gotta really really, tho humbly, disagree with that. if you wanna make changes in this country’s hc system that are in line with muslim ethics etc, lets make the meddies (also) get public health degrees and start workin on fixing the messed up policies that riddle it. there are so many resources already available in this system, ripe for corrective redistribution. sA. and finally, as for lookin to practices of hindus and jews… well both very much lack the legacy we have in social justice and they really dont have the sort of other-worldly mentality that we do, alhamdulillah. esp to those in the field, we really gotta revist and reclaim this muslim legacy and inject it into this familiar field. there are plenty of muslim docs and wannabe docs, and i think yall, with ur brilliant minds mA, can find equally brilliant solutions to take advantage of your dual privileges of deen and citizenship to change a really disturbin social order startin with the hc system.thanks for listenin, baraakallahu feekumpeace,IJB

  16. Anonymous permalink

    Interesting to know the origins of Christian-based hospitals. Funny, how I never gave much thought to it either.
    Just one minor correction – To say that Americans are a secular people who do not believe that religion should permeate the public sphere would be incorrect. Statistics show that the average American tends to be much more religious than its European counterparts. Plus the European idea of secularism (laicism, they call it) is very different than our secularism. Laicism respects the fact that people have their religious beliefs, but they feel that in no way should it be permitted to influence politics, and vice versa. Americans on the other hand always inject religious values into political actions and decisions.
    “Americans’ religious beliefs often spill over into the political arena. Nearly half of all Americans, for example, believe that the United States has special protection from God. Some prominent Evangelical Protestant leaders even suggested that the reason the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon were attacked was because God was displeased with America’s errant ways and no longer afforded special protection to his chosen people (Rifkin, 19).”
    “In the wake of the attacks of September 11, President George W. Bush rallied the American people by referring to our efforts to ferret out terrorists as a great crusade. Later, the president would refer to Iraq, Iran, and North Korea as the “axis of evil.” Although Europeans cringe at America’s use of religious language to define the global struggle, the White House rhetoric finds a willing audience in the American heartland. (Rifkin, 22).”
    We hold a policy of “separation of church and state,” but it doesn’t really follow what it is meant to imply. (based on Jeremy Rifkin’s The European Dream – I would highly recommend. I just got through first chapter, really interesting.)
    Apparently there is also a slightly absurd belief that Americans were meant to be the chosen people.
    White-Jacket: or the World in a Man-of-War – Herman Melville says:
    “We Americans are the peculiar, chosen people – the Israel of our time, we bear the ark of the Liberties of the world. Seventy years ago, we escaped from thrall, and besides our first birth-right – embracing one continent of Earth – God has given to us, for a future inheritance, the broad domains of the political pagans, that shall yet come and lie down under the shade of our ark, without bloody hands being lifted. God has predestinated, mankind expects, great things from our race; and great things we feel in our souls.”
    – – –
    I don’t know if what I’m saying is easy to follow through, but it’s late, and I really wanted to comment, yet my writing organization skills are slightly deficient after an onslaught of several final papers.
    – –  –
    aww, that’s cute. you called us goldfish. i doubt we’re anywhere near as a tasteful school of fish as those pepperidge farm flour-baked cookies!
    “They’re just so cute, you could bite their heads off!”
     

  17. Wow, KRS One is not f’ing around. Do you need a 130 IQ to join discussions?My Xangas have candy canes and unicorns, YAY!

  18. Dang, my IQ is only 128. I see when I am not wanted. I say good day to you sir, good day indeed.

  19. Assalam-U-Alaikum bro,
    it actually took me twenty minutes to read the whole think and then half an hour to understand it…..jk
    but MashahAllah, it is a good post, like always (minus the prince of persia one)
    Allah Hafiz
    Wasalaam….
    ps…some of the comments are as long as the post itself…

  20. Kam,
    Interesting article, but I think your premiss may be slightly off. America is a very religious, very conservative country. We are far more religious than Europe. In fact, most Hollywood movies come in a version that is for America and a much raunchier and more sexually graphic version for Europe. What you see on advertising on television and on poster in Europe is far more sexually explicit.
    America is a very devout religious country compared to most of the world. This is pretty well known. In fact, the irony is that the Pilgrims came here to escape religious persecution, which they did, but ended up creating a free country without a state religion, that allows any religion, which has plenty of advantages.
    A very interesting write-up nonetheless!
    Strong Work!Malo

  21. Great job you people are doing with this website.this site

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