Friday, February 20, 2015


As a teenager, I walked away from the Roman Catholicism that I had been brought up with over a dispute about the existence of Satan. My high-school classmates believed it existed and I did not.

In my own understanding, the physical appearance often ascribed to Satan - goat hooves, horns and tail, and often the entire head of a goat - were indicative of his place in people's minds. Satan was a scapegoat, the ultimate means of dodging responsibility for the things that people did. And maybe this a good reason to believe in a supernatural adversary. After all, taking the responsibility for bad acts upon yourself isn't exactly a recipe for a high degree of mental health.

But as I've grown older, it occurs to me that God can also be a convenient scapegoat for the things that people want to do, but don't want to own. One such case, perhaps, is that of a lesbian couple in Michigan, who had the pediatrician they selected for their baby turn them down.

After much prayer following your prenatal, I felt that I would not be able to develop the personal patient doctor relationship that I normally do with my patients.
Doctor Vesna Roi
Doctor Roi never mentions the sexual orientation of the parents in her letter explaining why she won't treat their baby and apologizing for not breaking this news to them in person. And I understand why she wouldn't. But maybe she should have left that part in, and the prayer part out. But I don't know. Perhaps the Christian god does tell his followers that they shouldn't associate with certain sorts of people.

But perhaps it's more likely that prayer simply became the means by which Doctor Roi reinforced her own discomfort with a couple who turned out to be on the other side of a culture war battlefield.

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