Faith-Healing And Snake Oil In Nashville

Nashville’s largest healthcare provider, St. Thomas Health, has been running this super-creepy “faith-healing” ad campaign for the past year or so now. I can’t even tell you how offensive and obnoxious I find it. It exploits is based on a quote from the Gospel of Luke, “nothing shall be impossible with God,” and while they leave out the “with God” part, the images that accompany the campaign are so overtly religious, it’s obvious what they’re selling here: faith-healing, snake-oil, and promises of miracles for those who believe.

Imagine seeing this image plastered all over town, on billboards, buses and full-page newspaper ads:Screen Shot 2014-06-11 at 5.36.07 PM_0

How does this not trivialize religion?


The TV ads are even worse. Seeing a team of doctors and nurses holding hands in prayer over an operating table does not make me want to go to this hospital. It makes me want to run in the opposite direction, as far and as fast as possible. It does not inspire confidence in the surgical team. It makes me think of this charlatan:


On top of which, there are quite a few things that are impossible at St. Thomas Hospital. An abortion, for one thing.

I’ve been really uncomfortable with this ad campaign for a long, long time, and while I haven’t posted about it, others have (notably the Huffington Post, here, and this medical blog, here.) Interestingly, some of the campaign’s biggest detractors are religious people. From the latter link:

As I drive home from work (at an unashamedly for-profit hospital) everyday, I pass one of Nashville’s omnipresent “Nothing shall be impossible” billboards. While I am a Bible believing Christian with complete faith in God’s miraculous healing powers, the sight of the ad campaign makes me uneasy. I’m not one to be particularly politically correct or easily offended but the ad campaign gives off the illusion that if you become a patient at St. Thomas, God’s healing power is on your side.

To me, the scriptural slogan seems to imply an unintended opposite effect- it minimizes the power of God. My God cannot be contained within one hospital’s walls. He does not work in ways that we can direct with publicity stunts, let alone ways we can ever hope to understand. He may choose to heal you as a patient at St. Thomas…but he may not. That’s for him to decide, not for hospital admins looking for a raise to direct.

It’s just so tacky to exploit peoples’ religious feelings to sell something. It’s gross, and it’s disrespectful. And let’s take a look at exactly what kind of miracle we’re selling here, shall we?

Few of the people I spoke to had any idea about the actual context of Luke 1:37. It comes when Mary questions the angel Gabriel about how she will become pregnant since she is a virgin. Gabriel points to her cousin Elizabeth, who is pregnant after many years of having been barren, and announces, “nothing will be impossible with God” (NRSV). Indeed, Mary does become pregnant. The implication of draping this verse across a hospital entrance is that any kind of healing is possible: a barren woman becomes pregnant, and then even a virgin becomes pregnant.

St. Thomas Health does not offer fertility treatments.

So much fail.


Filed under advertising, Nashville, religion

Houston, You Have A Problem


I guess this is a start.


Busy few days in Houston, Texas. On Friday, I shared the news of a 3-year-old who found a gun in mom’s purse and shot himself in the head with it. He died.

Then yesterday morning, we have this:

A 4-year-old fatally shot himself Sunday morning with a gun he found at his babysitter’s house in north Harris County, officials said.

Relatives said the boy’s mother, Ashley Beal, had left him overnight with a babysitter so she could celebrate her birthday. Authorities aren’t sure how Codrick Beal found the gun in the home in the 1900 block of Imperial Stone Drive.

Now it’s Monday morning, and we have news of a 6-year-old who apparently has shot himself was shot by his 5-year-old brother. News is still coming in on this one.

All of this comes as the Republican legislature in Texas, as here in Tennessee, debates even looser gun laws. If I were Pat Robertson I’d be thinking God is screaming, shouting, hollering at y’all to knock it off.

But you know, suffer the children, etc.


Filed under gun control

Some Accidents Are More Accidental Than Others

Law & order, Florida-style v.1:

BRADENTON, Fla. (AP) — Police say a 2-year-old boy was killed after a Florida woman who was drunk crashed an SUV loaded with passengers.

The Florida Highway Patrol says 24-year-old Shameka Jones of Winter Haven drove her vehicle onto a shoulder in Manatee County on Saturday afternoon. The vehicle went airborne, overturned several times and struck several trees.

The accident killed Isaac Solomon of Winter Haven, who police said was not wearing a seatbelt or child restraint. Jones, two adult passengers and a 6-month-old boy were seriously injured. Seven other children suffered minor injuries.

Jones was charged with DUI manslaughter and other counts.

Law & order, Florida-style v.2:

On July 26, 2014, William DeHayes was showing off his gun collection to Carson Hoover and his wife, Katherine, when DeHayes’ antique revolver fired, fatally striking Katherine in the temple. At the time of the shooting, DeHayes—who had just taken opiates and a muscle relaxer—used a Western-style draw (“like a cowboy would” he told police) to unholster his grandfather’s hand-me-down firearm. DeHayes didn’t know that the 65-year-old gun—which had a history of misfiring—was loaded.


Despite the family’s pleas to try DeHayes for negligent homicide or involuntary manslaughter, state attorney Brad King declined to press charges—stating that DeHayes’ “conduct, no matter how outrageous, does not constitute a crime.” In a letter denying Bryan’s case, King wrote that in Florida, an accidental discharge of a firearm that kills someone—even if it is the result of gross negligence—cannot be prosecuted.

Aside from the fact that Shameka Jones is African American and William DeHayes is white, what the hell is the difference between these two cases? One is a DUI, one is someone fooling around with a gun after taking drugs.

DeHayes says he feels terrible about what happened, he’s contemplated suicide, his life has been completely ruined, he’d “give my life to take it back,” he won’t go near guns anymore, blah blah blah. Yeah I’m pretty sure Shameka Jones feels the same way. As does every other idiot who does something stupid which results in the death of an innocent person. And no, I’m not saying Shameka Jones shouldn’t be prosecuted — she should. And so should William DeHayes. Because that’s how law and order works in this country.

Gun negligence needs to be prosecuted. Every time, every case. If “feeling really bad” about what happened isn’t punishment enough for any other crime, it shouldn’t be punishment enough for gun negligence. Get a fucking clue, people.


Filed under Florida, gun control

Only In Nashville

Songwriter Gary Nicholson has written more hits for more superstars than most of today’s young whippersnappers could ever hope to write (you can check out his songwriting resume here). He also lives in my neighborhood, and last week showed up at a Metro Planning Commission meeting to voice opposition to a truly ridiculous subdivision that had been proposed — a teensy tiny lot big enough for a magnolia tree and some idiot wants to put a dang house on it. That’s such a Nashville thing these days. I like to say I pick up my dog poop on our daily walks because if I don’t some idiot developer will plant a 3-story condo on it.

Anyhoo, Nicholson voiced his opposition in song form, and it’s truly an “only in Nashville” moment:


Filed under music, Nashville

Congratulations, Unidentified Texas Family! You’re Our 2nd Amendment Heroes Du Jour

Three-year-old Texas child finds gun in mom’s purse, shoots self in head, dies:

HOUSTON — A 3-year-old boy has died after accidentally shooting himself in the head in northwest Harris County Friday afternoon.

It happened just after 12:30 p.m. in the 7400 block of Betanna, according to the Harris County Precinct 5 Constable’s Office.

The child was rushed to Memorial Hermann Hospital by Life Flight, but doctors couldn’t save him.

Investigators say the boy found the gun in a purse up on a shelf.

So much for our “safest, most responsible citizens evah:

Harris County Precinct 5 Captain Romeo Chapa tells us they believe the child’s parents have a concealed handgun permit […]

Don’t they teach you in those concealed-carry classes not to leave a loaded gun where a three-year-old can get his hands on it? Or are those classes mostly “long evenings of platitudes, Obama jokes, and belligerent posturing”? Just wondering how they do it in Texas.


Filed under gun control

Good News Friday

Sorry I’m a bit late with this. A few little pieces of good news. Enjoy!

• The internet is saved!

• A Berkeley researcher working on another problem has accidentally found a cure for color blindness. This should help all of those people who see this dress as white and gold. It’s blue and black, people. Duh.

• The Democratic National Committee unanimously voted to adopt a resolution calling for a “Right-to-Vote” Amendment to be added to the U.S. Constitution.

• Still more economic good news, this time it’s growth in GDP.

• The Dept. of Justice admits it has been misinterpreting the “derivative citizenship” statutes of U.S. immigration law since 2008, leading to the improper deportation of U.S. citizens.

• Obama vetoed the Keystone pipeline bill.

The era of processed junk food is over.

• Morgan Stanley will pay $2.6 billion for its role in the 2008 global financial meltdown. Not nearly enough … not nearly enough. But it’s something.

• Virginia has agreed to compensate the remaining victims of its forced sterilization program.

• This:

Seven medical specialty societies, the American Bar Assn. and the American Public Health Assn. on Monday joined forces to declare gun-related injuries, which annually kill an average of 32,000 Americans and harm nearly twice that number, “a public health crisis” that should be studied and solved “free of political influence or restriction.”

Duh. But it wasn’t too long ago that these groups would have been too scared and intimidated by the NRA shouters and screamers to even dream of supporting such a logical idea.

Good News, Tennessee Edition:

• Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry House has been added to the National Register of Historic Places. Though built in the early ’70s, it was recognized as a cultural resource. The Ryman Auditorium, which has long been associated with the Grand Ole Opry, was recognized in 2001.

• Despite losing to the Minnesota Wild last night, my beloved Nashville Predators are the top team in the NHL. In the whole friggin’ National Hockey League, you guys! This has been such a long time coming. We are playoff-bound, and I smell a Stanley Cup!


Filed under Good News

Congratulations, Unidentified KY Man! You’re Our 2nd Amendment Hero Du Jour

From the annals of “safest, most responsible evah:

Police concluded the man accidentally discharged his gun inside his car when the gun shifted between the driver’s seat and the console. The man reached for the gun and unintentionally fired it while reaching, Grimsley said.

His name was not released.

The man was not cited. He was was treated at Greenview and released.

Of course the man wasn’t cited. That would be wrong. And it might undermine the myth of the safe, responsible gun owner. And we certainly can’t have that.


Filed under gun control