Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Death of Ama Sumani - it's a Religious Issue

Some people want to keep religion out of politics.

I'm not one of them.

The deportation of the Ghanaian woman Ama Sumani and her death today of cancer back in her native Ghana is a religious issue. It reveals that those charged with the decision to deport her from the University Hospital of Wales in January believed that her terminal illness - for which she was receiving treatment unavailable to her in Ghana - was not sufficient grounds for extending her right to remain in the UK to continue that life-extending treatment.

In making this judgment, the immigration officials in the British government were clearly not moved by the Biblical regulations concerning the treatment of the destitute within society:
  • He (God) defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the alien, giving him food and clothing (Deuteronomy 10:18)
Furthermore, we see specific Biblical injunctions against efficiency (albeit in an agrarian context) that make life harder for the poor:
  • When you are harvesting in your field and you overlook a sheaf, do not go back to get it. Leave it for the alien, the fatherless and the widow, so that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. (Deuteronomy 24:19)
The system, says Almighty God, must have slack in it for the sake of the poor. Efficiency, much less money, are not the bottom line when it comes to issues of social justice.

The decision to remove Ms Sumani was described as "atrocious barbarism" by leading medical journal The Lancet.

The more modest publication Philosopher's Tree also sees it as an immoral and irreligious act.

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1 comment:

No Borders Wales said...

The deportation of Ama Sumani (described by Lin Homer, chief executive of the Border & Immigration Agency, as “not exceptional”) not only shows a total lack of compassion, it suggests a vindictive cruelty in the methodology of the Border & Immigration Agency.

By denying her the drugs she needed & the support people were willing to give, the Border & Immigration Agency are guilty of no less than culpable homicide.

It is horrific that someone receiving treatment vital to their survival can be removed from hospital against their will. What is chilling is that this is the operational practice of a government funded executive agency.