Haaretz continues it big “investigative report” on how psychiatric drugs are being used in the Haredi community. See the entire distortion yourself here: Psychiatric drugs become talk of the ultra-Orthodox community.
The thrust of their accusations are:
1) Haredi Rabbis and leaders have gotten professional psychiatrists to prescribe medication to people with spiritual problems, not medical ones.
2) Said people are being forced to take these pills against their will.
Haaretz has cleverly conflated these two points to make the “scandal” bigger. “People are being forced to take medication that is against their will and is not even the appropriate medication. Terrible!” Take a moment to read the story carefully and a different picture emerges.
Let us examine claim number one, that medicine is being used to treat spiritual conditions, not medical ones. To which I say, so what? Many medications are good for multiple issues aside from their main purpose and are often used as such. If a patient is extremely uncomfortable and in pain because of urges that conflict with his values and lifestyle and begs a doctor to help them, why is it unethical for doctor to prescribe a medication that will bring relief to their suffering?
Answer: It’s not. Here is where Haaretz deliberately, slyly mixes this issue with the issue of coercion. Since the patient is being coerced then it is unethical to give them medication, especially medication prescribed for other, more “legitimate” purposes. Then again, if the patient is being coerced, then even legitimate uses of medication should be prohibited. A person suffering from mania or OCD has every right to refuse medication, so long as there is no danger to himself and others. Boiled down, the only legitimate issue Haaretz brings up is the so-called coercion being placed on unwilling patients. Whether or not the medication is primarily prescribed for what the patient is suffering or not it is irrelevant if the patient requests it on their own. Unless Haartez proposes refusing to help people in pain who are begging for relief by any means necessary.
Which brings us to the issue of coercion, which is quite simple. If their is any evidence of actual physical coercion, then the police should be involved. Haaretz makes no mention of any violence directed against the complainants but rather “pressure” and “coercion”. But these are adults we are talking about. Adults have the choice whether to resist “pressure” and “coercion” or cave into it. Every society, haredi or secular, puts pressure, tremendous pressure, on it’s members to conform to it’s ideals and values. What those ideals and values are may vary, but enormous pressure is put on each and every member of society to conform to them. If you live in Ramat Gan or Manhattan, the pressure to conform and support the leftist cause de jour is no less than the Haredi pressure to live within it’s religious rules.
People who are part of the Gur Hasidic group, who have been married and have participated in that society can expect to feel pressure and push-back should they choose to rebel. And they are free to leave. The woman in the article did not have to take the medication, but she could not expect the continued support of her husband and community if she is not doing her part to help matters as is understood by the society she CHOOSES to continue to live in. A woman married to a yuppie husband in Tel Aviv can expect the same type of treatment should she decide to shave her head and join the Neturei Karta.
The difference between children and adults are that adults are believed to be mature enough to make their own decisions. If pressure was an excuse, an out, then personal responsibility would cease to exist. Haaretz would have no problem with pressure being brought to convince a violent and abusive father to get help, regardless of his desire to do so. Neither would they mind medical professionals prescribing medication to reduce those violent tendencies and help him get back to his family, even if he agrees to take the only reluctantly. But since they have no understanding or respect for religion, especially as practiced by “those” Haredim, the usual double standard is out in full force.
Once again, the high priests of “multiculturalism” and “understanding” demonstrate their utter hypocrisy and rank hatred toward Hareidim. Never mind pain and suffering, never mind the truth, if Hareidim do it, it is wrong no matter what “it” is.