Today's headline, "AMA: Government Policies Hazardous to Gay Health," illustrates perfectly the difference between religion and science. Religion is harming and killing people with its two-thousand-year-old morality leftover from tribes that were wandering around in the Middle Eastern deserts, whereas science is trying to prevent deaths and make people happier and healthier.
The American Medical Association, the nation's largest group of doctors, adopted a resolution at their bi-annual meeting in Houston yesterday, which states unambiguously that the government's policies are harmful to gays.
First, the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy means that gays can't talk about medical issues with their doctor, because doctors are required to report a gay man to superior officers. That's bad for the patient, and violates a doctor's duty to keep patients' medical information private. And second, bans on same-sex marriage leads to health-care disparities. Gay couples become second-class citizens when it comes to their health.
It's hypocritical when conservative and evangelical religious people claim to "hate the sin, but love the sinner," yet their actual politics harms and kills people. Those who deny equal rights to same-sex couples are showing their true colors: they are bigoted and hateful, plain and simple. Anyone who would deny health care to another human, regardless of that person's sexual orientation (or sex, or religion, or color, or ...), is not a moral person.
Science, by contrast, has proved again and again its inherent morality. (And I include progressive religious people when I say "science.") Down through the ages, virtually every advance in the human condition has been through the hard work of scientists, not popes, priests, rabbis, or clerics. At just about every turn, scientists have met resistance, and even persecution, at the hands of the conservative religious zealots. In spite of this, scientists have pushed forward. They learned about human anatomy, discovered that microbes are responsible for disease, discovered evolution and how it is the foundation of our immune systems, invented thousands of drugs, and helped guide politicians to set sensible health policies.
The AMA's resolution is a breath of fresh air in the national debate about gay rights, and is yet another step forward by science, pushing back the dark immorality of the religious right.