Maine nurse defies the civil magistrate...

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The nurse is belligerent in her defiance of public health orders of the civil magistrate that she not expose the healthy to her possible contagion. Quarantines are a basic tool employed by public health officers in defense of the citizens under their authority. In past centuries, the civil magistrates quarantined heretics also. Since those days, the loss of civil magistrates' will to quarantine heretics did not keep them from understanding their duty to quarantine those who posed a severe public health threat. That all changed in my lifetime, with AIDS...

Read Randy Shilts's And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic, 20th-Anniversary Edition. When the public health officers of San Francisco tried to shut down the city's bathhouses where sodomites went to have anonymous multiple sex partners per visit, those sodomites rioted and our nation's public health officers lost the will to guard the public's health. 

Now we're facing another threat to public health and it appears to be shaping up as another public relations event with nasty male authorities on one side and a sweet-looking young nurse defying them as the press, again, records it all. Ebola is highly contagious and usually fatal. Thus whether in Africa, Europe, or North America, it is of the essence of the responsibility of civil magistrates to do what is necessary to keep those who are possibly contagious from infecting others. This nurse has indicated her belligerence. We know she won't submit to a quarantine. She says she doesn't like to be quarantined. So then, what is the civil authority going to do about it?

Tim Bayly

Tim serves Clearnote Church, Bloomington, Indiana. He and Mary Lee have five children and big lots of grandchildren.

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