It is very noble to have moral beliefs and make conscious decisions to live by, but are we crossing the line when our beliefs could offend someone else? Freedom of religion does not give people the right to impose their religion on others. It is one thing to abstain from something one considers wrong and another to force others to take on those same beliefs. In a recent study by the University of Chicago, researchers found that many doctors feel they do not have to refer patients to another doctor to receive treatment if they do not morally agree with the patient. Such treatments include abortion and teen birth control. Not only will those doctors refuse to treat certain patients, they refuse to help them find someone who will. According to an American Medical Association policy statement, doctors can refuse to treat patients who are “incompatible with the physician’s personal, religious or moral beliefs,” but they must make sure that all options are made available to the patients.
People go to a doctor to see a doctor, not a preacher. Even if doctors do not necessarily agree with what those people want, doctors should explain their reasoning for refusal and tell patients where they can go to get their desired treatment. By withholding information, not only are those doctors not doing their job, but they are also not being completely honest.
Another recent example of religion conflicting with business is the Muslim cab drivers in Minnesota who refuse to serve customers carrying alcohol. Muslims cannot consume alcohol, let alone have any in their possession.
Although it may be difficult to understand and accept at first, we should respect other people’s moral decisions and take another taxi if we need to. When we come to this dilemma in our own professions, we must decide when it is acceptable to voice our beliefs without infringing upon the rights of others.
“It ends up being a personal, ethical choice,” said management professor Rebecca Jordan. “When individuals go into an organization, they may not be able to practice their religion or moral beliefs. You hopefully choose to work at a place where you can live consistently with your own moral beliefs.”
Our society is full of various cultures and beliefs that are not always in agreement. The concept of what freedom of religion really is has been in constant dispute in several cases from teaching evolution in public schools to saying “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance. Obviously, no one is going to be completely satisfied one way or the other because no two people think the exact same way.
If one has moral beliefs, by all means stick to them and practice them in the workplace, but be cognizant of what others think.
Alyssa Dizon is a sophomore broadcast journalism major from Aiea, Hawaii.