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America's Culture War: Government and God

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Hippocratic Oath now Politically Incorrect

by  Dave Miller, Ph.D.

No profession appears to be exempt from the corrosive effects of America’s shift away from the God of the Bible and the Christian religion. Now even the ancient Hippocratic Oath, typically affirmed by medical school graduates, has been subjected to the revisionism of secular morality. The medical school at Cornell University now utilizes a revised oath for its graduates. The sources used in its formation reflect the current mindless devotion to “diversity” and being “inclusive”:

The committee members took a scholarly, systematic and inclusive approach, enriching their knowledge with background reading and categorizing the key elements of earlier medical oaths, including the classical Hippocratic Oath; a well-known 1964 revision by Louis Lasagna; the Oath of Maimonides, a medieval Jewish philosopher; and an oath for Muslim physicians (Hantman, 2005).

Because of the committee’s desire “to be respectful of the diversity of perspectives on faith and belief,” phrases that had a religious connotation were replaced by more ecumenical expressions (Hantman).

The result? The departure from the traditional Hippocratic Oath is extensive—but hardly surprising given today’s moral erosion. The new oath is completely cleansed of any allusion to the critical ethical issues of abortion, euthanasia, and sexual misconduct so integral to the traditional oath (“Hippocratic...,” 2001). If only the Word of the Creator could regain the prominence it once held in its shaping of society’s moral and ethical values. Indeed, young physicians would derive far greater benefit from simply repeating the words of the psalmist:

Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord! Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, who seek Him with the whole heart! They also do no iniquity; they walk in His ways. You have commanded us to keep Your precepts diligently. Oh, that my ways were directed to keep Your statutes! Then I would not be ashamed, when I look into all Your commandments.... How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word (Psalm 119:1-9).

REFERENCES

Hantman, Melissa (2005), “From Antiquity to Eternity: Revised Hippocratic Oath Resonates with Graduates,” Cornell University News Service, June 22, [On-line]: URL: http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/June05/Hippocratic_Oath.mh.html.

“Hippocratic Oath—Classical Version” (2001), Nova Online, [On-line]: URL: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/doctors/oath_classical.html.




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