Scholarly Articles and Other Contributions
 

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2008

Abstract

This Monograph derives from a Lecture, under the same title, given in Sydney, Australia, honoring Michael D. Kirby, AC, CMG, Justice of The High Court of Australia. The first part of the Monograph analyses the significant contributions that Justice Kirby has made as a compassionate champion of human rights and acknowledges what is styled as the Kirby Ethic which, in turn, is seen as the foundation for the body of work of the Justice as well as the moving force in his private life as well. Building upon a theory of transcendent idealism which interprets God's purpose as safeguarding the dignity and promoting the salvation of each human soul, the Kirby Ethic embraces eloquently the principle of Love as set forth in St. Paul's Letter to the Corinthians. This, then, becomes not only the cornerstone of the Ethic, itself, but also the yardstick by which the effectiveness of any discourse or implementation of human rights is measured. Without its recognition and acceptance, any coordinate effort to advance the values of honesty, compassion, justice, human goodness and dignity - together with the nobility of life's purpose and the need for tolerance of diversity would be unattainable. The impact of the Kirby Ethic, in a very real way, is tied to an acceptance of moral and ethical values and principles rooted in religion. It is an Ethic of necessity tied, as well, to interdisciplinary approaches to shaping and testing normative values codified in law. The Monograph proceeds to test the extent to which religion impacts, clarifies and shapes the medico-legal deliberative process. Specifically, the Monograph focuses on a comparative (jurisdictional) analysis of the extent to which law, religion, and medical science interact when biomedical conflicts arise. The conclusion drawn is that all three disciplines are, indeed, compatible and not antagonistic this, because both biomedicine and religion respond to the enigma of human suffering. The law, then, serves as a construct through the passage of wise and humane legislation, fair administrative policy making and judicial interpretations designed to assure both distributive and corrective justice in the delivery of health care resources and in the advancement of medical science. This, in turn, promotes an efficient delivery of health care and, thus, combats human suffering as well.

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