United We Stand, Divided We Fall
Strengthening the ties of CMDA
by David Stevens, MD, MA (Ethics)
Today's Christian Doctor - Spring 2013
Lately, I’ve been thinking about that famous phrase from Patrick Henry. I thought about it as I talked to an OB/Gyn member who was fired on the basis of bogus charges brought by a hardcore abortion activist in the multi-specialty group where he worked. His former bosses then made sure he couldn’t get a job anywhere else in his area. He won in court, but the judge gave almost no penalty to the former employer or compensation to him. Because he had been unable to find a similar job, he had given his services to a Christian clinic for the poor. And since he hadn’t made anything, the court decided he wasn’t owed anything, despite depleting his retirement account to survive.
I thought about that phrase when a CMDA member contacted us recently because he was being investigated by his state medical board due to a patient’s complaint. He had compassionately and competently dealt with the homosexual patient’s medical problems, but wasn’t willing to sign a form endorsing that he would make a good foster parent.
Christian healthcare professionals are pressured, censured, discriminated against, targeted and fired because of their deeply held religious beliefs. And the problem is only getting worse. I believe that we must stand together as physicians, but also more closely unite our efforts with our nurse, pharmacy, physician assistant and other Christian healthcare colleagues. Otherwise, each group is going to be picked off one by one until Christians are driven out of healthcare.
CMDA continues to strengthen its ties with the Alliance Defending Freedom (formerly the Alliance Defense Fund), the Christian Legal Society, the Becket Fund for Religious Freedom and other legal groups. We have brought more than 50 organizations together to defend right of conscience under our “Freeom2Care” banner.
We are also working to strengthen our ties with other Christian medical groups. I’m happy to announce that the Fellowship of Christian Physician Assistants (FCPA) is joining CMDA. This makes sense since PAs face many of the same issues as physicians do every day. PAs will be associate members of CMDA, and FCPA will become a “section,” a group of members sharing a common bond like our military, academic and family practice sections.
CMDA will provide a greater wealth of resources and services to PAs than they have enjoyed in the past. I trust this will draw many more Christian physician assistants into membership. If you have Christian PAs working in your practice or community, encourage them to join with us. As we increase our numbers, our voices together will be that much stronger. As Ecclesiastes 4:12 reminds us, “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”
We also want to share our resources, services, networks and influence with Nurses Christian Fellowship and Christian Pharmacy Fellowship International. We may even find areas where we can share infrastructure to decrease costs and cross promote membership so that nurses are encouraging Christian physicians and dentists to join CMDA, and we are doing the same by encouraging Christian nurses to join NCF.
This is not a totally new idea. CMDA’s Global Health Outreach has been the short-term missions outreach arm of all these Christian health associations since it was started in the late 1990s, and they all have seats on the GHO advisory council.
Ben Franklin’s words at the signing of the Declaration of Independence ring as true today for Christian healthcare professionals as they did in 1776, “We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.” It is time to more closely unite efforts. As a CMDA member, help us do that!