So nurse Caroline Petrie who was suspended for offering to pray for a patient has now been reinstated. The media is full of the rights and wrongs of Christians vs political correctness and the language of triumph and victory pervades it all. After the defeat of the Christian BA worker who wasn’t allowed to wear her cross – the Evangelical Christians have their victory with Caroline’s reinstatement and are really milking it. Whoever you think are the good guys and the bad guys in this case, let’s explore what is at the heart of this story.
As far as I can see it’s no more than a question. Ok, so it wasn’t “can I get you a drink?, or “would you like a takeaway?”, or “what football team do you support?”, but simply would you like prayer? As we now know, the patient politely declined but wasn’t in any way offended or upset by the question.
Now it’s not for me to go into research studies which prove or disprove the power of prayer, or go on at length about people I have seen healed as a result of prayer, but honestly, what harm could that question do? Have we found anyone who would be seriously upset or offended by it?
We seem to get so concerned about anything around faith being misconstrued we decide to play it safe with our over zealous political correctness- could we have got this wrong? I have spoken to ardent atheists who have no problem being asked that question, indeed one person I know has valued the approach of Christian medical staff and their prayers and remains a firm athesist. If you believe there is nothing to pray to then why would you be worried and what harm can it do? She did not feel threatened or upset- in fact just the opposite. Many of us want to believe in miracles even if we don’t.
If a Muslim or Jewish nurse offered to pray for me I would graciously accept ther prayer even though I do not share their faith- I’d like to take all the help I could get.
So how about this prayer for the weekend:
Dear God (if you are there)
Help those in need (if you can) and give us the faith (if we’re capable) to do what it takes (if we can be bothered) to help each other (without meaning or taking offence) in any way we can.
Amen (or fingers crossed)