Published: 3rd June 2005
The Christian Medical Fellowship has reacted to Leicester Hospital chiefs’ proposed ban on Gideon Bibles from hospital lockers which they say displays a profound ignorance of the link between spirituality and health.
‘A ban on Gideon Bibles makes no sense as an infection control measure,’ said CMF General Secretary Peter Saunders. ‘The MRSA risk is very low indeed and to be consistent hospitals would have to ban newspapers, library books and all paper from patients’ bedsides. Members of other faith communities have also quite rightly reacted to what they see as a senseless violation of human rights, with the Muslim Council of Great Britain calling it “ridiculous and extreme”.’
The move also betrays a profound ignorance of the link between spirituality and health. A recent major review of 1,200 studies in the British Medical Journal showed a 60-80% relation between better health and spirituality and tabulated a growing body of medical research showing that religious faith has a positive impact on disease prevention, coping with illness, recovering from surgery and improving treatment outcomes. The majority of these studies specifically evaluated the Christian faith. This and other scientific evidence has convincingly demonstrated that a natural by-product of religious faith is longer life, less illness, better physical and mental health, more marital stability, less divorce, less suicide and less abuse of alcohol and other substances, all outcomes that we would expect a health authority might be keen to promote.’
Saunders concluded, ‘The Gideons is a respected organisation operating in 179 countries that for over 100 years has been distributing Bibles free of charge. It is deeply ironic that such a ban is being considered in a country where 70% in the national census still claim to be Christian and where members of other faiths have not been offended. It is also sad that through this foolish concession to political correctness the secular fundamentalists are depriving vulnerable people of spiritual comfort and may well be shooting themselves in the foot with respect to promoting health.’
Philippa Taylor (CMF Head of Public Policy) 020 7234 9664
Steven Fouch (CMF Head of Communications) 020 7234 9668
Alistair Thompson on 07970 162 225
Christian Medical Fellowship (CMF) was founded in 1949 and is an interdenominational organisation with over 5,000 doctors, 900medical and nursing students and 300 nurses and midwives as members in all branches of medicine, nursing and midwifery. A registered charity, it is linked to over 100 similar bodies in other countries throughout the world.
CMF exists to unite Christian healthcare professionals to pursue the highest ethical standards in Christian and professional life and to increase faith in Christ and acceptance of his ethical teaching.