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  • "A Musing Pastor"

Prudent = wise, sensible, sage, sagacious

To wear rubber gloves or not wear them...

Years ago when I worked in a durable medical equipment (DME) company during the height of the HIV epidemic, it was our policy to wear rubber gloves at all times when delivering to clients and then in disinfecting used medical equipment. Our corporation meetings would often include long discussions about how to protect our clients and our personnel from infectious diseases. It was the norm then to assume all clients 'might' have HIV and to use appropriate precautions. This practice of assuming everyone has an infectious disease and always working with personal protective garments and rubber gloves is known as "Standard Precautions".

If one of our clients had HIV, they had rights that included their decision to not report their condition. Their privacy in the matter was to be respected and it was protected by law. (It still is.) We couldn't ask them about their illness and they didn't have to explain. The watch word for delivery technicians, therapists, and anyone who came into contact with clients was "Caution". It still is.

In the last day or so it has become common knowledge that a well known actor has had HIV for about four years and kept that information to himself. In those four years, he acted and had intimate scenes with many people and has risked spreading his infectious disease with those co-workers. Some folks who have worked with the infected actor aren't very happy to discover the HIV news. It's likely that many people will now have to go and get tested for the dreaded disease.

Standard procedures keep medical professionals safe and help protect patients at the same time. Caution is the watchword in 'all' situations. In the case of the infected actor, personal responsibilty would have been prudent. For those he might have infected, it's too late. His actions can be filed under the heading, "Water under the bridge that isn't coming back." Sad...

With bombings in Paris and around the world, the newest hot button topic dividing our nation is whether to accept Syrian refugees or prevent them from coming to America. I suppose a majority of these displaced people are persecuted and it's safe to say we need to be humanitarian in response. There is probably a percentage of these refugees that are not innocent and may have ill intent upon reaching our borders. Who can know the difference between the two kinds of refugees? I'm not familiar with international laws and rules of immigration but it's likely folks coming to our borders don't have to share all of their deep dark secrets and for those with ill intent, would not claim they are terrorists anyway.

Is it okay to start a cogent conversation about being firm and fair with those persecuted people groups who seek to escape possible death? While I'm okay with our borders being a place for "tired, poor, huddled masses yearning to be free" to find hope, I also want to exercise caution. Admittedly, the cost for becoming a citizen of our nation has long since left the arena of common sense. Can we all agree our nation needs to lead the way in humanitarian efforts while protecting our citizens and addressing the possibility that some who come to our shores don't have good intentions?

As a pastor, I will respond with compassion; as one who understands "Standard Precautions" I will be vigilant and safe. I hope and pray our government proceeds in kind. We can offer fairness to those "huddled masses" and firm vigilance to those who might harbor ill will toward us. Keeping our country at the forefront of humanitarian excellence is what Jesus would expect from us. Exercising caution at all times is a God given gift called 'reason'.

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