Sunday, September 14, 2008

From nudge to tsunami

More idea refinement... The distinction between "grassroots nudges" and "cultural tsunami" is not a quantum leap, but a continuum. A single individual's beliefs and behavior can serve as a miniscule nudge to the culture as a whole. But individual joins with individual until the collective weight of several individuals in concert packs a much bigger punch. And, sometimes what begins as a tiny individual effort can gather momentum as others are moved, until the effect on the culture is quite significant.

Mike Koelzer I have recently become acquainted with a fine example of this very thing. In 2002, Grand Rapids pharmacist Mike Koelzer realized that dispensing artificial contraceptives was contrary to his Catholic faith, and started informing his customers that he would no longer be filling prescriptions for contraceptives. Though he received many angry responses, Koelzer stuck to principle, saying, "...I was and am willing to lose the business in order to not be a part of something I don't agree with."

That was six years ago. Whether inspired by Koelzer or impelled by their own individual convictions, more pro-life pharmacists have since followed Koelzer's example, and have stopped selling prescription or OTC contraceptives. So much so that the folks at Planned Parenthood are now 'very, very concerned' over this nationwide trend, and legislatures in at least three states have passed unjust laws intended to force such pharmacists to violate their consciences in this matter. The battle is engaged; a possible tsunami in the making.

ABC featured the above in a recent story, which you may view here (video) or here (printable text version). Koelzer is now a national speaker on these issues, and in 2007 founded, where you may read more, and find links to other related sites.

In hindsight, I wonder: What was it like when nobody much was watching, when it was just Koelzer's tiny, insignificant, personal decision? I wonder whether Mr. Koelzer was tempted to cave in to his customers' ire, and return to business as usual. He might have reasoned that he was only injuring his business and his family by being so 'stubborn', and that little or no good was likely to come of it.

Or, what if Koelzer had been faithful, but nothing much did come of it? What if he had lost his business, seriously disrupted his family life, and no one ever acknowledged his principled stand? Would his principled 'nudge' still count? Would it count with God?

In this case, of course, the nudge has grown into a meaningful force. Nudges can grow into tsunamis. But maybe some nudges remain tiny, to all except God.


Bo Kuhar, PharmD said...

Great stuff and there are hundreds more who have been successful and also those who have suffered great trials in sticking to their principles, morals and faith.

I opened my totally 100% pro-life pharmacy in 1987 when it was definitely less of an issue and certainly not "mainstream" as the left loves to call running with the lemmings.

God bless Mike and ALL pharmacists and health professionals who still HAVE a conscience and follow it despite the difficulties it poses. Great saints and martyrs have given their lives for those principles. Our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ gave His life because he so loved the world that He desired to save it. Let us not reject His merciful gift of salvation.

Dr Bogomir Kuhar, PharmD
Founder and Exec. Director of
Pharmacists For Life Intl

Jerry said...

1987!! That qualifies as prophetic.

Thanks for visiting my little blog, and thanks for reminding me to include a link to your Pharmacists for Life International site in this post.