Get your policies out of my pants

Two updates from the morality front.

Published March 13, 2007 8:29PM (EDT)

Two updates from the "trying to force your own definition of morality on others" front:

1.USA Today reports that the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine Gen. Peter Pace, has announced that he thinks that homosexuality is "immoral."

"I believe homosexual acts between two individuals are immoral and that we should not condone immoral acts," he's quoted as saying. "I do not believe the United States is well served by a policy [i.e. allowing gay soldiers to serve openly] that says it is OK to be immoral in any way." He then likened homosexual acts to members of the armed services having adulterous affairs. (Here's more from the Chicago Tribune.)

The general's remarks are stirring up predictable outrage, including this statement from the Web site of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network:

"General Pace's comments are outrageous, insensitive and disrespectful to the 65,000 lesbian and gay troops now serving in our armed forces ... Our men and women in uniform make tremendous sacrifices for our country, and deserve General Pace's praise, not his condemnation. As a Marine and a military leader, General Pace knows that prejudice should not dictate policy. It is inappropriate for the Chairman to condemn those who serve our country because of his own personal bias. He should immediately apologize for his remarks."

2. In better news, the Associated Press reports that Kroger Co. is reiterating to all pharmacists that their job is to dispense medications, not to impose their morality on others. Or, to paraphrase less bluntly, that even if a pharmacist has moral qualms about handing out, say, the morning-after pill, he or she has to make "accommodations" to ensure that patients can still get Plan B. (This particular announcement came after a woman in Georgia claimed that she wasn't allowed to buy Plan B at one of Kroger's stores because of a pharmacist's personal beliefs.)

The article doesn't make it entirely clear what those "accommodations" would be, but I'm guessing it might mean finding another pharmacist who doesn't have hesitations about doing his or her job. The whole thing still strikes me as pretty ridiculous -- I mean, if you don't want to fill prescriptions, don't get a job as a pharmacist. Maybe we need to evaluate potential pharmacists with the same selection process used for jury duty, and kick out anyone who answers yes to questions like, "Will you refuse to sell birth control because it goes against your personal beliefs?" But in the meantime, I'm happy to see that chains like Kroger (along with CVS, Rite Aid and Walgreens) are at least acknowledging the problem.

By Catherine Price

Catherine Price is an award-winning journalist and author of Vitamania: How Vitamins Revolutionized the Way We Think About Food. Her written and multimedia work has appeared in publications including The Best American Science Writing, The New York Times, Popular Science, O: The Oprah Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Washington Post Magazine, Salon, Slate, Men’s Journal, Mother Jones, PARADE, Health Magazine, and Outside. Price lives in Philadelphia.

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