Coakley: “You can have religious freedom but you probably shouldn’t work in the emergency room”

Last evening, while on Broadside with Jim Braude, I told Jim that Scott Brown was trying to prevent Nuns like the Sisters of Charity that taught me from performing medical procedures contrary to their religious beliefs.  Today Martha Coakley told WBSM Radio Host Ken Pittman that those nuns should not work in an Emergency Room.  The audio can be found here.  This exchange starts at 9:34 into the audio.

Ken Pittman: Right, if you are a Catholic, and believe what the Pope teaches that any form of birth control is a sin. ah you don’t want to do that.

Martha Coakley: No we have a seperation of church and state Ken, lets be clear.

Ken Pittman: In the emergency room you still have your religious freedom.

Martha Coakley: (…stammering) The law says that people are allowed to have that. You can have religious freedom but you probably shouldn’t work in the emergency room.

There you have it folks.  You should be denied a job because of your religious beliefs, because of laws dictated by the state. This is what Martha Coakley believes.

About Rob "EaBo Clipper" Eno


  1. As a Catholic, admittedly one with issues with the Church over issues from the past decade and the Church’s inexcusable response, or lack thereof, to the child molestation scandals, I am very offended by her taking a position that people with religious beliefs should not work in emergency medicine.  That is so preposterous as to be laughable, but I am afraid that is what she really believes.

    This from the DA who allowed a pedophile priest to stay free rather than prosecute him allowing additional children to be victimized by this priest.  This from the DA and AG who refused to prosecute Cardinal Law for his role in the cover up of the priest abuse scandal.

    Someone needs to call her on this and fast. Best would be Cardinal O’Malley, but all religious people should be concerned as she has stated her position clearly.  Your ability to do a job depends on your religious views.  Not a lawyer, thank God, but this sounds like out and out discrimination to me.

    What will she do next in advancement of her agenda, support a tax plan whereby whether you are taxed or not depends on whether you are in a union or not?  Oops, she already supports that bill.

    The more I learn about her positions the more concerned I become.

  2. Martha is obviously loosing it.  Still we can’t let up.  I just got a call from a man volunteering with Organizing for America in their Chattanooga, TN office asking me to support Martha.  I told him he had 5 minutes to convince me after which time I told him I had already voted absentee for Scott Brown.    

  3. If my understanding is correct this was proposed primarily for Catholic based hospitals..presumably for systems like the Caritas system down the street.  Do these hospitals take any federal or state funding?  And what kind of strings are attached to accepting that funding if they do?  since the state can legally say what a hospital is or isn’t, seems they could threaten to pull their licensing and so forth if they failed to comply with state regs.

    Parsing words, I think it may be a bit a stretch to say Coakley would advocate for restricting ones place of employment based on any religious beliefs.  It’s sounds more as though she said it would not be wise to do so.  Like she is putting the onus on the individual…rather like saying if you are a drunk, it’s probably not a good idea to become a bartender.  so I’m I’m prepared to give her a very strained “pass” on that one.

    That said, it does not excuse the gross misrepresentation of Brown’s position on an amendment (that failed by the way) on a bill he voted for twice (initially and after Romney vetoed it).

    Personally I don’t have a problem with the position even if the amendment passed.  The state has already gotten Catholic services out of the adoption business because they insist they allow same sex adoptions.  Catholic hospitals are essentially religious institutions..exemptions for religious reasons are given in many government policies…they can excuse one from military service, and even the Amish will be exempted from the Healthcare mandate being proposed and they don’t have to send their kids to school.  Jehovah’s witnesses are excused from saying the pledge of allegiance in schools…there are certainly exemptions from all kinds of things for religious beliefs.

  4. This may be translated as a true communist or some other secular ideological push to banish religous thought from society. Personally..I liked the “uhhs” and “ums” which preceded the thought. Beavis or Butthead?

  5. There are TWO halves to the Establishment Clause – no establishment of official church and NO SUPRESSION OF ‘THE FREE EXERCISE THEREOF’.

    The phrse ‘separation of church and state is NOT in the Constitution or Bill of Rights, and is in fact from a personal letter to a friend from the noted Deist, Thomas Jefferson.  The Free Exercise Clause is why the Supreme Court sits under a SCULPTURE OF THE TEN COMMANDMENTS!!

    (thank you for letting me get that out…)

    At the time of the debate, it was suggested that Catholic institutions have employees on staff who would agree to dispense, similar to an Orthodox Jew who might hire a Christian to work on the Sabbath.  The amendment was proposed to protect INDIVIDUALS who could not provide the service without violating sincere belief.

    Gary – the hospital per se cannot accept state funds and entirely deny the service.  To date, no Catholic institution that I am aware of has entirely banned service.

    ULTIMATE irony – did you know Obama has proposed exempting the Amish from the national health care plan FOR RELIGIOUS REASONS????

  6. The First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

    Unless we’re talking about a federally owned hospital – and I sure hope not, because that would be socialism! – I don’t exactly see how the First Amendment applies here. Congress isn’t involved here, unless I missed something. And even if its a state-run hospital, its still not clear the Amendment applies, based on everything I’ve read about the way the Supreme Court has incorporated the First Amendment.

    More broadly, and more importantly, in our free market system no one has a right to hold any particular job. To suggest that employers should be forced to employ people whose religious beliefs prevent them from fulfilling all of the duties and responsibilities of that their position requires would be to interfere with both the individual and the company’s right to freely contract. That’s not what we want, is it?

    Finally, she wasn’t saying “You should be denied a job because of your religious beliefs.” She was saying that if your religious beliefs don’t allow you to fulfill all of your job responsibilities, you shouldn’t have that specific job. That’s the role “work in the emergency room” plays in that sentence.

    Should a Christian pacifist be a police officer or a member of the military? No.

    Why? Because they might have to kill someone to protect us!

    Would it be a violation of their religious beliefs to tell them this? No. Of course not. To suggest otherwise is to suggest that pacifists have a right to join the military, lest the state us their religious beliefs as the reason for not giving them that kind of job. Yikes!

    And even MORE broadly – do we want to create a system when individual medical providers are allowed to prevent individuals from getting the legal urgent care they need? Even if its for a valid personal reason, that would seem to open the door to all kinds of crazy rationing. What if Muslim doctors decide that their religious beliefs prevent them from treating Christians? Or if liberal doctors decide that their beliefs prevent them from treating conservatives? I say NO!

  7. … burn as much time possible with any pro-Coakley supporters, then drop the bomb on them at the end of the call that you’re firmly in the Brown column!

    The 5 minutes they spent with you is 5 minutes that they are NOT making calls to people who could possibly be influenced.

    Nicely done.  I’ll do the same if we get any calls, but I suspect I’m on some big bad R list since I’m running for State Rep.

  8. Think any of her “best friends who are Republicans” are happy with the ad that ominously says “Republican” 10 times in a deep brooding voice while written in blood red letters?

  9. But in keeping with DA’s position (as I read it), the responsibility would be to not place oneself in an occupation where religious values could be violated.

    In some of the examples you cited as you extended your argument, a Mormon or a Muslim would not work in a situation where they could be expected to sell alcohol. I don’t believe (I could be wrong) that Christian Scientists generally don’t become MD’s (CS practitioners).  

    Exemptions go both ways….the government should offer them whenever possible, but the individual has an obligation to abstain from those situations where those beliefs could be compromised.  Some devoted religious sects will forgo jury duty under penalty of imprisonment.

    I think the state should leave the Catholic hospitals alone, or any faith based institution that chooses not to engage in a specific practice…and stop threating funding if they don’t play by the states version of morality.  By the same token, institutions that accept funds must factor in what future demands could be a contingency of taking funds.  That in a nutshell, is my overwhelming opposition to the single payor system medical system….once the government “owns” healthcare, all bets are off…we are at the mercy of some anonymous government person or body to do the ethical and benevolant thing, when they have a vested interest in reducing costs (yikes).

    and this

    But I would suggest that implementing this and other current proposals to cover pharmacies, would in the long run provide ample ammunition for other cultural minorities to impose their values on the majority.  

    That already happens in this society.  Think about how many government policies are desgined specifically to protect the rights or beliefs of some minority in society (hate crimes, affirmative action, same sex marriage, equal protection clause of the Constitution).  Rights, at an abstract level are usually enumerated to protect the minority.  

  10. …since when is a Hospital “The State?”

  11. That is my first question.

    Secondly, a why shouldn’t a Mormon or Muslin be able to work as a grocery store clerk, where only a small portion of the products sold is booze.  Should they be able to deny me the ability to pay for a six pack or make me go to another go to another check out counter.

    But let’s be clear what Brown and many others around here advocate…a woman is raped and she goes to the nearest hospital for treatment.  She is traumatized (and no doubt in shock) and she is frightened that the rapist impregnated her and she is denied a pill that would prevent this.  Yes, I understand there are some people who are opposed to this.  But medical professionals MUST care for their patients, particularly a victim of a violent crime.  Instead, this policy would further traumatize this victim of a violent crime.  Is it so outrageous to suggest that ANYONE who would (inadvertently) re-traumatize a rape victim by denying them a morning after pill, should not be treating rape victims?  Rob and Ken apparently think the immediate needs of these victims must be secondary to the needs of people who have the option of being there.  Rape victims do not choose to be in a emergency room seeking compassionate treatment.  That is not the world I want to live in.

    To your last point, don’t you think that someone who assaults a police officer is more dangerous than someone who assaults you or I and their action should have a more serious consequence?  Or is someone who assaults one of Rob’s former nuns because they are a nun, doesn’t that indicate they are a lower level of life than if they assaulted you or I?  Currently there are laws that recognize those assaults/crimes as worse than assaulting you or I.  I think that is reasonable and I support that…you apparently do not.  In that vain, I think that someone that assaults someone based on their race or sexual orientation as more “hateful” (and dangerous) than some drunk who may try and punch you or I in a bar.  Government is not trying to protect these “minorities”, ie, police officers, members of the clergy, racial minorities who are victims of crimes for who they are…it is a recognition that PEOPLE WHO COMMIT THESE NARROW CRIMES ARE FAR MORE DANGEROUS TO SOCIETY and deserve greater punishment than crimes against random people.  What is so hard to understand about that?

  12. Tell us how awesome Senator Coakley will be.

  13. Here words were “You probably shouldn’t work in an ER”.  Which I took to mean…either she would leave the choice to the individual or make it a contingency of employment.  I choose to give her the benefit of doubt and take her to mean that an individual has the responsibility to not work in a situation that would be contrary to their deeply held views.

    Brown offered a very narrow exemption for what I guess we would term conscientious objectors.  If my place of employment had expectations that I would go contrary to my beliefs (whether illegal or not) I would either have to compromise my own beliefs and comply, decline to participate, or find another job.

    In your scenario, the woman raped would NOT be denied treatment… individuals would be permitted to decline to partake in the dispensing of that med…doesn’t mean it would unavailable from other personnel.

    The last statement was simply examples of where religiou/moral beliefs are used to grant exceptions and how rights and laws are most often adopted to protect the minority….because your previous statement was concern that a minority could impose their views on the majority…which is odd, because both the left and the right have had histories of imposing those very policies (for differing causes and reason of course).

    p.s. and for the record, I generally don’t agree with specific laws for things like hate crimes.  We have laws against assault, robbery, rape and murder…By making the penalty more severe based on who the crime is against implies that person has more value or is afforded more protection.  I could make an exception for law enforcement or public safety in general because it impacts the public more directly…but I think it would stop there.  To say someone is more dangerous because of the motivation behind the crime is debatable…people who would harm another are dangerous…I don’t give a crap what their motivation is.  I have no problem if the motivation is part of the sentencing decision and increases the penalty, but not an automatic “You killed XYZ person because of ABC and the penalty is X”….you were the one who rails about mandatory minimums just a few weeks ago…so which is it…mandatory minimums only only when a specific group of people is the victim…if that is your position, I submit we start with child rape victims.

  14. what is your point…sure Scott Brown is closer to you ideologically as martha is to me…but really they are two peas in the same pod…just at opposite ends.  You surprise me in that you want to whack her on a personal level–I will avoid that with Brown, but he has as many personal and professional shortcomings as Martha, albeit different ones.  Again, what is your point?

  15. Should a pacifist be a police street patrol officer becuse they cannot shoot another?  Maybe not.  Can they be a dispatcher or bookkeeper?  Maybe yes.  But it’s up to the person to opt out, not the institution to presumptively deny saying, you can’t handle this.

    Must a dematologist perform brain surgery because both are done in the same institution? Must every person do every job?   Apparently only as applies to abortion.

  16. …no one on the Left is talking Up Martha Coakley. This election is now all about Scott Brown.

    Where is the Pro-Martha argument?  What will persuade not the hard-core Democratic constituency, but my 66 years old, blue-collar unenrolled voter dad that he should vote for Martha?

    There has been NONE.  The motivation is “She’s not Scott Brown.”

    That’s not a good enough reason.

    That’s why she will lose, and lose big.

  17. Intellectually I could make a very strong case for Scott Brown winning for a while, but it was all hypothetical.  While I thought he had a real chance, I still viewed him as an underdog who would probably fall short.

    It didn’t really sink in for me until yesterday when I was eating Breakfast.  It finally became real.  Now I feel that he will win.  If the Democrats had another shoe to drop, they would have dropped it.  We’re into Friday now and Monday is a holiday.  What’s left is the last minute push and GOTV.  That’s the part of the campaign I always felt best about.

    We really are going to win this.

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