FOR TEXAS CAM PRACTITIONERS – ON PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY
(From Webster) Profession (Pronunciation: pr*-*fe-sh*n): a calling requiring specialized knowledge and often long and intensive academic preparation b : a principal calling, vocation, or employment c : the whole body of persons engaged in a calling.
Professional (Pronunciation: pr*-*fesh-n*l, -*fe-sh*-n*l): a: of, relating to, or characteristic of a profession b: engaged in one of the learned professions c: characterized by or conforming to the technical or ethical standards of a profession.
Words have power, especially the words above. They clearly delineate the underlying concept of what it means to be a professional, using equally powerful words like “specialized knowledge,” “long and intensive academic preparation,” “principal calling,” “learned,” “technical or ethical standards.” Powerful words, indeed.
Virtually every natural and alternative health professional in this state has expended hundreds of hours and, in most cases, thousands of dollars to achieve the level of expertise that earns the title “professional.” However, it is curious that, when a threat to one’s very livelihood is presented, relatively few of those same professionals are willing to step forward and take an active role in their profession’s defense. Why is that?
A number of reasons come to mind; none are valid any longer. The first, most likely reason is that, somewhere along their path to earning their degree or certification, someone in a position of authority said something like “If you keep your head down and stay out of sight of the authorities, you’ll be okay.” In response, we give you Texas’ 79th and 80th legislative sessions. At no other time in this state’s history has there been such a concerted, wide-ranging assault on health freedom in this state. While we, as a group, were successful in defeating it these last two times, make no mistake. Those same people who floated several anti-health freedom bills will be back again.
Yet, when the final tally was taken, only a very small group of people played key roles in this historic success. Many wrote, faxed and called, yes. But it takes MUCH more than that. You should know that several of our group suffered health setbacks in the aftermath of these sessions, simply because we were asked to wear so many different hats, and there were so relatively few of us. We can’t do it alone.
Second, many choose to affiliate themselves with our community by portraying their practices as spiritual ministries. That is certainly a valid personal choice and was, at one time, an effective INDIVIDUAL defense against governmental encroachment on health freedom.
No longer. Just a few months ago, a couple who ran a “health ministry” in Dallas was shut down by the authorities. While the offending modality (colon hydrotherapy) is, indeed, available only with a medical doctor’s prescription, the precedent has now been set in this state. The leading legal minds in the field of public health have weighed in on this subject, and the verdict is unanimous: freedom of religion is not a sufficient defense if the authorities come calling at your door, whatever the reason.
Every holistic practitioner must undoubtedly take the spiritual aspect of his/her clients’ health into consideration, but such an affiliation does little to either protect or advance the acceptance and visibility of our professions as a whole. At the same time, a compelling argument can be made that, when threats such as those posed during the 79th and 80th sessions arise, those who choose to keep out of sight because they erroneously perceive themselves to be already protected under freedom of religion directly benefit from the efforts of others who choose to publicly stand their ground against such encroachment. As such, they in effect get “something for nothing.” Pardon us for being blunt, but how does that square with the concepts embodied in the definition of the words “profession” and “professional?”
Third, many look at the monetary costs of contributing to a professional organization and make a personal economic decision that it “just costs too much.” In response, I again refer you to the 79th and 80th legislative sessions. If ANY of the bills we opposed had been enacted into law, many of us would have ZERO professional income. How does that compare with a donation to an organization with a PROVEN track record?
For those of you who are not familiar with the current state of politics, please let us enlighten you. In order to pass or defeat bills it takes MONEY. Yes, it shouldn’t be that way, but consider the alternative: ever been to Vegas? Are you good at shooting craps? By not actively supporting the existing professional organizations which advocate health freedom in this state, that’s exactly what you are playing, with your own profession as the bet. Does THAT square with the definitions above? Think about it!
We don’t subscribe to most of the agenda put forth by the Texas Medical Association (TMA), but they have one important thing in their favor. When a physician is licensed in this state, it is a GIVEN that he/she will join the TMA. Why? Because, regardless of an individual doctor’s personal differences with the TMA, when the chips are down, he/she KNOWS their interests will be protected and advanced.
The results of the 79th and 80th legislative sessions provide the Texas Health Freedom Coalition and its allies with an impressive track record. NONE of the threatening bills made it out of committee, and we were able to have our own health freedom bill heard for the first time! Is that a record worthy of your support? It’s your decision.
The Executive Committee
Texas Health Freedom Coalition