Janet Malek's Programmatic Secularism

A forthcoming essay in Christian Bioethics interrogates the claims of Janet Malek, who has argued that religion ought not to have any role for clinical ethics consultative work.

A forthcoming essay in a special issue of Christian Bioethics on the role of religion in clinical ethics consultation (responding to Janet Malek's claims in her paper "The appropriate role of ... religious worldviews in consultative work," HEC Forum 2019) will be published later this year.

The issue is guest edited by Jeffrey Bishop and Jordan Mason.

Abstract. Programmatic secularism aims to secure public reason from rival rationalities, notably those from religious experience and education. The gathering of knowledge in clinical ethics into a concrete array of consensus claims and consensus-derived principles are thought by Janet Malek to secure such public reason—an essential tool for clinical ethics consultants to execute their professional role. The author compares this gathering of knowledge to an understanding of what technology is. Accordingly, the following interrogates Malek’s programmatic secularism, which is a moral technique (technology) that not only homogenizes moral dialogue but also dehumanizes persons as it tyrannizes the creative freedom for moral conversation and genuine encounter. Thus, the reader is encouraged to dissent of such a vision for delimiting the role of clinical ethics consultants according to the rule and measure of technology, the ontology of our age.