The deeper the roots of a tree, the taller and broader it’s canopy. With President George Washington, we can see the deep anchor of his faith and continual gratitude for divine Providence led to a legacy that included a broad array of issues with unique, thoughtful resolutions.
In fact volumes continue to be written not only about Washington’s impact on the founding of our democracy, but also about his contemporaries who assisted the growth of our fledgling country. With the celebration of Washington’s birthday amid the flurry of debate over health care reform, I’ve selected one such individual to share with you today.
Dr. Benjamin Rush was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. His appointments as a Surgeon General to the Continental Army in 1777 as well as a Professor of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania gave him the opportunity to contribute to the beginning dialogue of health care in America. He wrote:
“Unless we put medical freedom into the Constitution, the time will come when medicine will organize into an undercover dictatorship to restrict the art of healing to one class of Men and deny equal privileges to others; the Constitution of the Republic should make a Special privilege for medical freedoms as well as religious freedom.”
Interesting, isn’t it, that the umbrella of our Founding Father’s legacy included a counsel not to restrict the art of healing. A previous post here, The Soul of Medicine: spiritual perspectives and clinical medicine addressed too this basic reality of spiritual care by our populace: “Americans spend about $1.5 billion annually on books on spirituality and religion, and about 40 percent have sought out complementary and alternative therapies.”