published July 12, 2007
this is column 52
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Issue: 8.06
Thou Shalt Have No Other.......

“Thou shalt have no other Gods before me.”
“ Thou shalt not bow down to them ……for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God.”

Familiar words from the Ten Commandments and perhaps words that have seemingly many applications other than to the Devine Being we refer to as the Creator.

I have observed, in the past few years, a tendency for many persons to deify the so-called authority figures with whom they come in contact. Thus, if a doctor diagnoses a medical condition and advises a treatment which is completely ineffective, rather than seeking further advice elsewhere, the patient will “hang in there” in hopes that there will be a miraculous cure. After all, physicians undergo rigorous training and have earned the right to be infallible but does any human being ever earn that right?

What brought this to me with great force at this time is a personal matter. My very dear friend, who was diagnosed with an ocular melanoma eleven years ago and was subsequently treated, was advised at that time that occasional liver scans were suggested, since that organ is the destination of metastatic ocular melanoma. What she was not told is that ocular melanoma is much more aggressive than skin melanoma, extremely rare, and almost impossible to treat, after it has traveled beyond the liver. If she had known this, she would have had yearly scans, paying for those scans herself if her insurance company rejected her claims. When she had her latest scan two months ago, the tumor was already in her liver and in one of her hip bones. If the tumor had been noted before there was additional spread, her prognosis would have been more hopeful. The point of this is that we need to treat human beings as human beings, understand that to err is human and that to raise questions and advocate for ourselves is divine.

I singled out the often maligned medical profession at the present, because of what is happening with my friend. It could just have easily been some occurrence involving the legal profession or – and this is where I find deification most offensive – it could have been a member of Congress or even a representative of our judicial system. For example, a Chief Justice or one of his lesser lights, or someone higher up in the administration and this is a generic discussion and we’re not naming names.

I believe in a higher power, and although I shake my verbal fist towards the heavens on occasion at a seeming lack of benevolence and even though I question, I have not attempted a replacement.

I believe in a single higher power and other than that one and only, every one else should be brought to account. “Thou shalt have no other Gods.” That should be our mantra, cross stitched upon our brains whenever we are tempted to genuflect in front of another human being, thereby creating a forbidden idol.

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