My colleagues and I often care for patients suffering from hallucinations, prophesying, and claiming to speak with God, among other symptoms—in mental health care, it’s sometimes very difficult to tell apart religious belief from mental illness…. Our conclusions frequently stem from the behaviors we see before us. Take an example of a man who walks into an emergency department, mumbling incoherently. He says he’s hearing voices in his head, but insists there’s nothing wrong with him. He hasn’t used any drugs or alcohol. If he were to be evaluated by mental health professionals, there’s a good chance he might be diagnosed with a psychotic disorder like schizophrenia. But what if that same man were deeply religious? What if his incomprehensible language was speaking in tongues?
We need to continuously remind ourselves and each other that a working democracy is not a society in which leaders are always right. If there was such a society, there would be no need for democracy because we could leave governing to the leaders. Democracy is, rather, a system in which mistakes are noticed and, quite often, corrected and in which leaders accept that citizens and the courts have the right to tell them that they were wrong. – Steven Friedman in The New Age, commenting on the Chief Justice affairBACK TO TOP