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Religious symbols in hospital

A number of letters have appeared in The Times lamenting the absence of religious symbols in the hospital. To the best of my knowledge, the hospital has no objection to patients bringing in their personal religious symbols to place at their bed side. On the other hand I see no reason why a state hospital, financed by taxpayers of all faiths, should cater only for one faith, even if it is in a majority.

Although people like Maureen German (May 9) would like the world to see that Jesus died for all mankind, it's not the hospital's task to show that. Consider that the crucifix is not exactly a pleasant image. To someone lying injured in bed, the sight of a man slowly dying of wounds inflicted in a cruel form of Roman execution is unlikely to have the positive, calming effect that one needs to help healing. Perhaps Catholics have become so accustomed to this image that it's not easy to see past their beliefs and just see what is being represented. Imagine going to a hospital and seeing big colour posters of wounds and injuries all over the place.

If, say, Malta's population is 90 per cent Catholic, would these letter writers agree that 10 per cent of all religious symbols should be divided between deities and symbols of these other faiths? Chances are that they would feel uncomfortable if their bed happened to be situated right beneath the Hindu Krishna, the Wiccan Goddess or an atheist symbol. Jesus said, "do unto others as you would have others do unto you". I also distinctly remember reading about the importance of letting your actions show your faith, rather than words, outward appearances and symbolism.

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