"What's your religion?" Why do they care?
January 9, 2008 7:13 AM Subscribe
Why did the emergency-room clerk want to know my wife's religion?
posted by grumblebee to Religion & Philosophy (30 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I took my wife to the emergency room last night, because she was running a 104 fever. Turns out, she has pneumonia (and now has antibiotics and will be fine, I'm sure).
While there, we had to talk to a clerk about the financial end of things. It was all pretty straightforward. "What's sort of insurance do you carry? Who is your employer? Etc."
Then (clearly reading from the same checklist of questions), she asked, "What is your religion?" My wife just stared at her for a second and asked her to repeat the question. It threw me, too. It seemed like a non-sequitur. I've certainly never been asked my religion before, during any sort of formal, financial Q-and-A session.
We're atheists, so after a bit of an uncomfortable pause, my wife said, "non applicable." (I know there's nothing to be ashamed of, but in a big public space, with tons of people around, our atheism isn't something we tend to bring up.)
If it helps, this was New York Methodist Hospital in Brooklyn. Sure, "Methodist," but like most hospitals that are somehow associated with religious organizations, the experience of being there was -- other than this incident -- was totally secular.
Why did the the finance clerk want to know my wife's religion?