Religion’s value in the health field,education

The Luther Seminary trains students to help people with their spiritual needs.

Unfortunately, the Freedom From Religion Foundation has pressured the University to end its cooperation with Luther Seminary and the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education. 

The Master of Divinity program at Luther emphasizes a tradition of ecumenical thought and theology in Christianity. Despite the Foundation’s claim, it does in fact “engage in critical examination of claims” rather than “religious propaganda.” It encourages its students to evaluate, question, and criticize all religious and spiritual claims. It does not teach indoctrination and its objectives are fully in line with theology and religious studies programs in public and secular schools.

The Association for Clinical Pastoral Education is an ecumenical organization that recognizes the role that spirituality and religion plays in healing, and teaches students to respect and meet the needs of patients, no matter their faith.

As a chaplain through the association at the Minneapolis Veterans Affairs hospital and student, my wife and her colleagues recognize that their job is to meet the spiritual needs of patients. They respect all faith traditions. They do not proselytize nor do they force their religious beliefs on anyone.

Hospitals throughout the country recognize the relationship spirituality has to healing by funding chaplain departments with state and federal money.

I believe in separation of church and state. Organizations whose goals are to limit encroachments between religion and government must recognize the difference between initiatives endorsing particular faiths and those attempting to improve people’s access to practice, especially in medical circumstances. Through the Minnesota Faith Health Consortium, the University is attempting to provide a fulfilling education to health professionals and students who recognize the relationship patients’ faith traditions play in their health. It does not endorse evangelizing. Rather, it allows academic institutions to pool educational resources and meet the spiritual and emotional needs of medical patients and their families.

Jeff Paschke-Johannes is College of Liberal Arts psychological sciences student community adviser. Please send comments to [email protected]