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Monday 23 May 2011

Take Up Thy Stethoscope And Walk

Christians are under attack yet again, well, according to the Christian Legal Centre, they are. Clearly our “aggressively secular” society is at work, although in this case the BBC has yet to feature. Yes, hardly has the dust settled on the Colin Atkinson case, than the Daily Mail is championing another supposedly victimised and innocent follower of Jesus.

This time, the Mail is going in to bat for Richard Scott, a GP who works at a practice in Margate. Scott has apparently told a patient, by his own account, “that faith in Jesus could give comfort and strength”. I have to confess that this is not among the various diagnoses that I’ve been offered, on the NHS or otherwise, over the years.

As usual with the Mail, the thought enters that not all the facts of the matter are being presented in the article, but we have to go with what we know. And what we know is that this story does not add up. The General Medical Council (GMC) has supposedly issued Scott a formal warning over the case, which he has declined to accept, and so the matter will proceed to a full hearing.

The possibility of Scott being “struck off” is splashed all over the story, but buried in the detail is his own observation that “the GMC may warn me [my emphasis] or decide to take matters further”. So he doesn’t face being “struck off”, at least not as a direct result of the upcoming hearing.

And we don’t hear much from the GMC, or – as patient confidentiality dictates – the family who made the complaint about Scott. We do, however, hear at length from not only the Christian Legal Centre, but also The Christian Institute, both of whom are in full-on why-oh-why mode, pushing the victimhood line.

But Scott gives the game away when he says “it is worth the risk as I wanted to do this because there is a bigger picture ... I wanted to give confidence and inspiration to other Christians who work in the medical profession”. So this follows the Colin Atkinson case by masking aggressive Christianity as victimhood, and wildly exaggerating the potential outcome (Atkinson made out he faced the sack, something his employer vehemently denied).

At the end of this particular day, neither Christianity, nor any other religion, is under attack from secularists, nor anyone else. Richard Scott is not in any danger of being “struck off”. But Christian organisations are succeeding in enlisting national newspapers (the Telegraph is also on board) to promote their own particular agenda.

Perhaps someone at the Mail could summon the courage to tell the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre that not only is he being used, but that many of his readers aren’t interested.

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