January 16, 2010

Should conscientious public servants resign when their job conflicts with their religious principles?

There's been a lot of talk about Martha Coakley's blunt statement that those who want to adhere to religious scruples against abortion and birth control "probably shouldn't work in an emergency room." I put up a long post about it earlier today, and I'm not going to repeat myself here. The point of this post is to compare Coakley's statement to something John F. Kennedy said about the conflict between public service and religion back when he was running for President and questions were raised about his Catholic religion:
I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute; where no Catholic prelate would tell the President -- should he be Catholic -- how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote; where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference, and where no man is denied public office merely because his religion differs from the President who might appoint him, or the people who might elect him.
I believe in an America that is officially neither Catholic, Protestant nor Jewish; where no public official either requests or accept instructions on public policy from the Pope, the National Council of Churches or any other ecclesiastical source; where no religious body seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly upon the general populace or the public acts of its officials, and where religious liberty is so indivisible that an act against one church is treated as an act against all....
I do not speak for my church on public matters; and the church does not speak for me. Whatever issue may come before me as President, if I should be elected, on birth control, divorce, censorship, gambling or any other subject, I will make my decision in accordance with these views -- in accordance with what my conscience tells me to be in the national interest, and without regard to outside religious pressure or dictates. And no power or threat of punishment could cause me to decide otherwise.

But if the time should ever come -- and I do not concede any conflict to be remotely possible -- when my office would require me to either violate my conscience or violate the national interest, then I would resign the office; and I hope any conscientious public servant would do likewise....
So, according to JFK, the President is supposed to make decisions "in the national interest, and without regard to outside religious pressure or dictates," and if, because of religion, he can't do that, he should resign. Kennedy doesn't limit his resignation imperative to the presidency. Such a limit would make sense, as there is only one President, and the nation's reliance on his judgment and action is extreme and unique. Kennedy applies his imperative to "any ... public servant." If you take a public service job, that is, then what you owe the public is service according to the public interest "without regard to outside religious pressure or dictates."

Is an emergency room employee a "public servant" to whom Kennedy's resignation imperative should apply? That job is not an "office." You aren't elected to it, but you are, by taking that job, holding yourself out as ready to perform the duties associated with it. Is it right for you to take exemptions for your own sake at the expense of the public you were hired to serve? Maybe your need for an exemption from part of the job is a conflict between personal and public interests that should lead you — if you are conscientious — to resign.

I think Kennedy's imperative becomes too harsh at this point. For one thing, there is a long tradition of religious health care workers serving the public. There is a special energy and altruism that comes from religion that we shouldn't want to lose, even as government money and mandates reach deeply into health care. Nor should we want to alienate and marginalize citizens who belong in the mainstream of American life. Even those of us who believe in the importance and the right of access to abortions and birth control should want to find ways not to brutalize these workers. We shouldn't want to demand that they give up their livelihood unless they are willing to commit what they believe is murder. I hardly think John Kennedy meant for his vision of the separation of church and state to include something so perverse.

130 comments:

David said...

How far we have fallen since that declaration.

TheCrankyProfessor said...

If all the Catholics in all the emergency rooms in Massachusettes (sic) resign, that'll create an actual, as opposed to Obama's notional, health care crisis.

Sadly, if all the consistently pro-life Catholics resigned it wouldn't make quite the same dent.

(I'm a Roman Catholic myself)

The Drill SGT said...

Althouse said...Is an emergency room employee a "public servant" to whom Kennedy's resignation imperative should apply? That job is not an "office." You aren't elected to it, but you are, by taking that job, holding yourself out as ready to perform the duties associated with it. Is it right for you to take exemptions for your own sake at the expense of the public you were hired to serve?

Is an emergency room employee in a private Catholic Hospital a "public servant"?

How about a Lawyer, CPA? retail business owner? Sales clerk?

can they all be told that based on a legal mandate passed after they statrted work, they no longer can perform their profession or business?

Must all retail businesses sell RU 486?, condoms? If you refuse, can the city close your business? Can you mandate that any Muslim resturant or store must serve alcohol and pork? It would be simplier and in the "public interest" to eliminate dietary choices for Muslims and Jews in the Army. Should they be told to take it or get out? How about prisons? I'm not sure how far you think this train of thought is justifiable?

Inside the Philosophy Factory said...

Robert Audi is a philosopher who has a couple of good books on the topic. After taking a few graduate courses from him, I came to the conclusion that individual public servants ought to permit religious reasoning to inform their decisions on the job. To demand otherwise creates an unreasonable situation, as no truly religious person can simply segment off the influence of religion.

Lem said...

With the unstoppable scientific advances coming (nanotechnology, biotechnology) these questions will only get more difficult to answer with any certainty.

Derek Kite said...

In most jurisdictions, to fire someone for their religious beliefs would be a good way to get sued.

What if a doctor or a nurse would not work on the sabbath? Etc.

Derek

vbspurs said...

Ann Althouse wrote:

I think Kennedy's imperative becomes too harsh at this point.

Never mind about it being too harsh, the question is: is he right?

In his preamble to his promise to resign, his thoughts on the matter are revealed. It's not his religion that would be forcing him to do so, but his conscience.

And unless Martha Coakley can put into law anything which governs our individual consciences and how we would act on them, as inconsistently as human beings do, I think she should keep her own counsel when opining on any other but her own.

Cheers,
Victoria

Peter V. Bella said...

Coakley made an incredibly stupid comment. She does not think before she flaps her gums.

She also forgot the official record. Brown did vote for the measure. Deeds speak much louder than words.

Chase said...

Can you say "no-brainer"?

Because any one seeking to force someone to commit a violation of conscience in such issues borders on inhuman, at a level of personal and tribal selfishness that shows itself most clearly in communist and socialist dictatorships.

Drill Sgt and Victoria said it best.

Rose said...

Haven't you wondered why every business doesn't hire some Jehovah's Witnesses and people from other religions who do not celebrate holidays - to work on those holidays? There's no reason to be closed...

Conversely, at the same time we are discussing this - discussing NOT allowing Christian/Catholic people to exercise conscientious objections, we are also moving towards allowing people of OTHER faiths all manner of exemptions based on THEIR faiths - a woman wanting her driver's license pic taken while she is in a burkha... in Britain, burkhas in swimming pools, Sharia Law, hundreds of examples like this for the religion that demands you not even draw a cartoon about it, a religion that butchers its women, but this extreme callousness towards our own religions - towards Catholic/Christian TOLERANT people.

Maybe the answer is the Catholic/Christians have to take a more militant stand, like the Muslims - no more crucifixes in urine as art...

David is right. How far we have sunk. The left is so intolerant - and that is what Martha Coakley's statement shows you - the fact that she felt comfortable making that statement, felt that people AGREE with her, that tells you alot. About how disrespectful they have become.

Peter V. Bella said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
vbspurs said...

I thought Altousians might be interested in two modern historical cases where people resigned their office, rather than go against their religious beliefs/consciences.

1- King Baudouin I of Belgium.

He, in effect, "abdicated" for one whole day, rather than put his signature (as he was forced to do, being a constitutional monarch) on a Bill which liberalised Abortion in Belgium. The law went into effect, and the next day, he was King again.

Most legal scholars in Belgium said that was a very special case, and was tolerated solely because the King was well-known to be highly Catholic. Indeed, after his death, King Baudouin is most likely on his way to canonisation.

2- Grand Duc Henri of Luxembourg just last year on December 2 2008 was forced into a constitutional crisis on the topic of euthanasia (a bigger topic in Europe, than it is in the USA, because of nationalised heath care).

He has likewise refused to sign the Euthanasia Bill, citing his inability due to his Catholic beliefs, and his constitutional powers were threatened to be removed from him, turning him into effect, a mere cipher. The matter is in limbo at the moment.

Curious detail: The Grand Duke is the nephew of King Baudouin (his mother, Josephine-Charlotte, was the King's sister).

Maybe you guys see Kings and Grand Dukes as relics of the past, and perhaps they are.

But the topics they are acting on principle against couldn't be more modern.

Cheers,
Victoria

vbspurs said...

Oops, the way I phrased it made it seem that King Baudouin was not dead yet. He died in 1993. There have been innumerable calls to start the canonisation process on his behalf, by people from all around the world.

Recent kings getting the halo aren't that odd.

The last Emperor of Austria-Hungary, Karl I, has already been beatified by John Paul II.

AJ Lynch said...

Drill Sgt asked some good questions.

rhhardin said...

The handy thing about principles is that you don't have to defend them.

Anything you want can be a principle.

That suggests that the question is over-abstracted.

I'd guess it's settled by cultural expectations that are peculiar to the US.

Joe said...

I'm Catholic and I told my employer that I can not DIRECTLY aid operations that would make Abortion or the Death Penalty more available. I said DIRECTLY, meaning I would not aid the entity in supporting these things, but if needed I would INDIRECTLY aid the corporation, e.g., taking over the work load of those staff that DIRECTLY work on Abortion or Capital Punishment issues. Yes, I am INDIRECTLY abetting a sin, for which I will answer to God. BUT:
1) I like to eat and I have a mortgage to pay; and
2) I believe that our corporate work is valuable, apart from these issues, and that working on other issues, even as work on the "objectionable ones" continues is still in the public interest.
I'll let God sort it out....

That having been said, should management ask me to DIRECTLY aid projects furthering Abortion or the Death Penalty. I would respectfully decline. Should I be ORDERED to do so, I would tender my resignation....

I believe in compromise, and work-arounds, but I also believe that if no compromise or work-around is available, then it is perfectly OK for my managers to ask/order, but equally necessary for me to refuse and resign. It is up to each person to mark out that "bright line" and then pray that it not be breached, if that be God's Will. But IF that internal bright line is crossed, then the Faithful have no recourse but refusal, resignation and unemployment....even in today's job market.

I would say that for Observant Jews (Work on the Sabbath), Devout Muslims (sale or Handling of alcohol or pork), or any other "real" religion...Sorry being "Jedi" doesn't make the grade.

Cedarford said...

"one can have a productive debate over whether the law should mandate that, if you want to practice medicine of any sort, you must check your religious scruples at the door and do all which the state mandates. There are reasonable arguments to be made, for and against."

This line of thought, and what Althouse mentioned about people involved in the health and safety of the general public has to factor in REASONABLE ACCOMODATION

Can people with certain views do their share as citizens or hold jobs with their personal moral limits and beliefs accomodated?

WE have a long history of trying to accomodate, vs. the state coercing people to be personally participatory.

We didn't force conscientious objectors to fight when we had a draft, we found alternate service. We work to find ways to have someone keep a federal or private sector job if they have a religious need to have certain days off. We don't force Muslims to agree to sell beer if they work as a concession employee at a convention if we can have them just as easily work the cleanup crew.

Unfortunately, that is not enough for some - now it's abortion zealots, in the past it was people interested in forcing others to conform to majority belief that opposed CO status for anyone or wanted to force orthodox Jews to work Saturdays. The abortion zealots have really pushed this..and embroiled Catholics and Muslims and other groups in serious litigation over matters like pro-choice forces attempting to make medical schools require that med students & residents personally participate in helping in an abortion to learn a "core" procedure of ob-gyn. Or the push to force pharmacists and nurses to make contraceptives available as a condition of employment or license even though no service is really denied because alternate providers will dispense contraceptives or abortificants.

Then there ARE certain jobs that will best not be done by someone whose religious belief would compromise the public's right to certain things.
Common sense things. We have the Pollard checklist if you go for a security clearance thanks to the Zionist that gave away America's top secrets to Israel who gave them to the Soviets for Soviet Jew visas - who claimed he had 1st loyalty to Israel over America at trial. And we should not give a Muslim a job in the US military if he believes that he can not kill "brother Muslims" under any circumstance in America's defense.
Or assign creationist teachers who refuse to teach evolution.

But Coakley's whole argument is as stupid as she is.
Medical ERs are a team function. You can have requirements like ER will mention morning after pills and where to obtaim them as part of post ER-followup, but this can be done without the state coercing each person to sign on to the State line..As long as the organization achieves the goal set, there is no need to have each person personally forced to violate their beliefs.

Trooper York said...

Richard Nixon was born a Quaker but he was always fascinated by the ritual and panoply of the Catholic faith especially in the days of the Latin Rite which was the norm for the time.

He was discussing it one day with one of his staff, noted drunken Catholic Daniel Patrick Moynihan. Nixon asked “Tell me Pat, do really believe in it. I mean you know the whole thing.”

Indicating Haldeman and Ehrlichman who were both Christian Scientist and in the room at the time, the jauntily juiced Moynihan said “Yes I do Mr. President and not only that I even believe in doctors.”

traditionalguy said...

To put this in context, JFK was then facing the question of whether a President can be impeached for adhering to the tenents of the Catholic Church. Rather than have that happen, JFK was announcing in advance that he would quit before he could be impeached, thus defusing the Protestant/Catholic war still simmering in 1960 almost 300 years since the late 1600s. Today we have a Radical Feminist Secular religion at war with any governmental officers adhering to the tenents of the Catholic Church that clearly prohibit members from assisting in abortions. It remains to be seen if that Radical Feminist religion will be as tolerant as the Protestant churches have been to seek a reasonable compromise over their Raison D'etre as a political party.

mariner said...

It's those evil conservatives again, trying to force their religion on everybody else.

Oh ...

Trooper York said...

Of course one of the huge problems facing us today is that President Obama does not believe in doctors either.

Brian Day said...

I think that this phrase is key:"...where no Catholic prelate would tell the President -- should he be Catholic -- how to act..."

The Pope, or a Bishop does not, nor has not told a politician what to do. Up to now all a bishop has pointed out is what the Catholic Church teaches and how a politician's public stance/actions is in conflict with what the Church teaches. There have been calls for an examination of conscience and possibly the voluntary stopping of receiving the sacraments until such time that the politician's actions conforms with the teachings of the Church.
You've noticed that not a single recent politician has been excommunicated so far.

If you are a Catholic politician who supports position in conflict with the Church, then fine - just don't call yourself a Catholic in good standing.

wv: woopess - Martha Coakley - too many whoops.

Trooper York said...

I just went to Mass tonight and the Gospel was my all time favorite. It was the miracle at Canaan where Jesus changed the water into wine.

If he had only stuck with that and left all those lepers and tax collectors and love thy neighbor stuff alone, well it would be a lot more fun to be a Catholic.

vbspurs said...

wv: woopess - Martha Coakley - too many whoops.

THE BEST.

Harsh Pencil said...

In Minnesota here we had an issue, if you will recall, with Muslim (Somali) cab drivers refusing to take people with alcohol or seeing eye dogs in their cabs.

I have no problem with any cab driver refusing a fare. But then they need to go to the back of the cab line. The cab line is essentially run by the government and the government should not be in the business of deciding which reasons are legitimate for turning down a fare and which aren't. For instance, if you get a fare which is too close to the airport, the answer to the cab driver was always "better luck next time".

former law student said...

Haven't you wondered why every business doesn't hire some Jehovah's Witnesses ... who do not celebrate holidays - to work on those holidays?


Hey if I have to be taken to an emergency room after a car wreck, I sure don't want the docs to have religious scruples against blood transfusions.

If you are a Catholic politician who supports position in conflict with the Church, then fine - just don't call yourself a Catholic in good standing.


Like the pedophile priests and ther bishop enablers? The hierarchy had a remarkable tolerance for sinners -- when is the bishop of Providence going to excommunicate Bernard Law?

ricpic said...

Typical bloodless statement from JFK, who, of course, as a creature of the state believed in nothing but power. America is a Christian Nation. That is the only thing that will save us from the depredations without end of the Secular State against the Nation.

Harsh Pencil said...

One more thing. The emergency room thing is just another example of Coakley not knowing the proper role of government. What I mean is, why not just let issues like this be between the employer and the employee like Joe above worked out. Why does the government, the monopolized use of deadly force, need to get involved here?

Harsh Pencil said...

Former Law Student

The hierarchy still has "remarkable tolerance for sinners." Protecting pedophiles is itself a sin, but tolerance for sinners is an integral part of Christianity in that we all are sinners.

jag said...

If the demands of your job violate the tenets of your faith, yes, resign. Better to enter the kingdom jobless......

However, this spiritual advice is probably more relevant to attorneys, CPAs, bankers and real estate brokers than emergency room staff.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I'm a Catholic and I don't understand why this is such a big effing deal.

FIRST OF ALL: we are taking a fairly rare occurrence....a rape victim coming to the hospital immediately after the rape, wherein a 'morning after pill' would be effective for a very short time. OR where the victim might be counseled about abortions. Counseling about abortion at that point, so early after the event, seems to be completely out of the mission of "emergency" care.

SECOND: If there is need for the pill or counseling, I'm sure there must be more than ONE person in the emergency room who could step in and take over that task from the religious objector. It isn't like there is major urgency to counsel the person about abortion in the emergency room. And the pill can easily be handed over by a different worker.

THIRD: The issue is FORCING the religious objector to do either the counseling or the 'morning after pill' dispensing when there are others who are working there and who CAN do the job.

The whole thing is a tempest in a tea cup.

FOURTH: If it is a religious hospital or religious charity the government has no right to force action. AND Neither do the patients who have the ability/choice to go somewhere else or who can be directed to another hospital.

It isn't an emergency. The woman can be treated for injuries, bleeding, broken bones and directed to go elsewhere for an abortion.

The entire issue is a red herring to divide us. In fact....I don't even see why this is a political issue at all that the government should be concerned with.

Ciarand Denlane said...

Does "religion" per se really do any work in the analysis? I'm a pro-life agnostic. If I worked in a health care position (I don't), would my situation be at all different from an equally pro-life Catholic?

Trooper York said...

I have long thought that Catholic charities should not take a dime from the government. We should only do what we can do with our own donations.

Then we can tell the government to go screw. Piously of course.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I have long thought that Catholic charities should not take a dime from the government. We should only do what we can do with our own donations.

Then we can tell the government to go screw. Piously of course.


I agree.

And in Latin, with suggestive hand gestures.

The less you are beholden to "The Government" the better. No strings attached to the puppet.

Trooper York said...

Also, if the Hospital goes secular they should change the name to avoid any association with the Church. Change St Mary's to the "The House of Abortions, No Waiting."

Then you can knock yourself out and kill as many babies as you want.

And as Barry O would say, "hey if the fetus comes out alive you can whack it anyway. No biggie."

edutcher said...

Nobody has mentioned the fact that Jack, like all the other Kennedys, was Catholic like Jimmy Carter was Southern Baptist - something to show off if it meant a few more votes.

When Norman Vincent Peale and the rest of the Protestants had tried to put him before their little Inquisition, if he had been any kind of a man, he would have told them to cram it in the same place as their 98 (?) theses. They had no business asking him such things and he certainly should not have put up with it (and Mitt Romney should have taken the same stand when people started the same thing with him).

In answer to Ann's question, the next time you see a Leftist resign a post because it conflicts with his religion principles (John Dewey, the real opiate of the masses, Sieg Heil [take your pick]), that's when we should discuss this.

Titus said...

My parents are catholic.

My mother goes to mass every day.

Both of them on Sundays.

They have given quite a bit of money to their church in Waunakee.

They volunteer for the church picnic and many other causes.

They are pro choice and pro gay marriage.

Are they real catholics?

Titus said...

Trooper York-tits.

Oligonicella said...

Did I miss something in the evolution of female physiology that dropped the time frame from months down to minutes, making an abortion an emergency procedure?

Patm said...

Also, remember Kennedy's idea should have no bearing at all on Catholic hospitals.

Titus said...

I sense that Martha Coakley has muff dived in the past.

Anyone else sense that she has ate some carpet?

Joe said...

Titus, the short answer is "No, your parents are NOT 'real' Catholics."

The Big Three are Embryonic Stem Cells, Abortion and Euthanasia.

As my Bishop said, "We may debate and disagree about the marginal tax rate, but there can be NO debate about Embryonic Stem Cells, Abortion and Euthanasia." One can NOT be Catholic and Pro-Choice.

I believe Pope John Paul II said, "There are many ways to worship Christ, this is what it means to be Catholic."

Your parents may be saved, they may be Christians, but they are NOT Catholics...in a theological sense.

Now practically, as long as they aren't busy leading Catholics for Choice and declaring abortion a right outside of Mass every day or Sunday...yeah I guess they ARE Catholic, because the Church doesn't necessarily know or want to know their heresy. HOWEVER, they have severed, in part their Communion with the Church, even if not their Communion with God, by their Pro-Choice stand....

kynefski said...

We didn't force conscientious objectors to fight when we had a draft, we found alternate service.

No one was ever conscripted into service as a health professional.

Titus said...

Thanks Joe.

I am not going to relax your message to my parents because they would probably be upset.

They are not any members of any "associations" though, except the American Legion.

I think their view on gay marriage is likely because I am a fudgie.

They live in Wisconsin not Mass as well. They hate Mass. Too many people and not enough land.

My husband and I are going out for Indian tonight.

Titus said...

Just to clarify I am not really a "fudgie" because I don't do anal.

I am just a fag.

Thank you so much.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joe said...

Sorry Titus…..
I disagree with my Church on a number of issues, celibacy, priestesses, and the like…doesn’t mean I’m going to Hell.

Same thing for your parents…the Church COULD be wrong…we won’t know until Jesus comes back, will we?

I am fairly certain that upon His Return, the Pope, Fred Philips, Jeremiah Wright, Martin Pfleger, Michael Lerner, Pat Robertson and Rick Warren will all be a little put-off by what Jesus informs them.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

"Should conscientious public servants resign when their job conflicts with their religious principles?"

(Italics added).

Should blogger-pundits be in the business of believing that they can decide what does and does not conflict with a public servant's religious principles? Do blogger-pundits live inside each public servant's mind and have some sort of privileged access to each public servant's personal philosophy and how that informs that public servant's beliefs? And even if they did, do blogger-pundits fancy themselves as spokespeople for the religions whose principles allegedly conflict with that public servant's beliefs?

Questions, questions. Not that they'll ever be answered - no matter how relevant they are.

David said...

Titus, of course your parents are true Catholics.

So what if they advocate some stuff the Church thinks are sins? Does that make them sinners? Well, only God really knows, but God is in the sin forgiveness business (certain restrictions may apply). If we eliminated all sinners, the Church would be mighty small.

Julius Ray Hoffman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Donna B. said...

DBQ is correct -- administration of the 'morning after pill' is not an emergency as it can be obtained OTC and works up to 76 hours after intercourse (consensual or not).

Another version of the pill is available up to 56 days after the woman's last period. That one is not available OTC, and requires a commitment to have a surgical abortion if the pill fails to cause a 'miscarriage'.

Still... not something that must be dealt with in an ER.

AND... why must I profess to be a believer in some 'established' religion to be a conscientious objector to providing compounds designed to prevent conception, implantation, or to spur a miscarriage?

I am an atheist, wholeheartedly support birth control methods (including those that prevent implantation), but balk at abortion... especially abortion after the fetus is viable... 22 - 25 weeks now.

BUT - I also think that an OB should know how to do an abortion because it might be necessary to save a mother's life someday.

Peter V. Bella said...

JFK was Catholic. He had no problem in violating the Church's rules regarding adultery. In the 1950s and 1960s- the time of JFK's public service- adultery was also a criminal offense in most states, thus, JFK, a "conscientious" public servant had no problem or moral qualms about violating the laws of the Church and the laws of the land.

Kennedy is a very poor example of conscientious public servants.

DADvocate said...

Kennedy's and Coakley's reasoning open up the door for religious discrimination on many levels. The government will prosecute you for discriminating on religious grounds but Coakley would support religious discrimination.

Julius Ray Hoffman said...

How the hell did this even become an issue? People who work in hospital emergency rooms should be reasonably accommodated for their religious beliefs. It's just another aspect of having a diverse workforce, and its an issue that any employer in this country has to deal with. Employees are due respect just as all human beings are, and the accommodation flows from just that simple respect!

The only time an employer wouldn't accommodate an employee like this is if they aren't valued. In this scenario, does Coakley value the emergency room worker? Nope! She's decided that they are worth more as pawns of her political power game than for the job they do.

The other conclusion you get, of course, is that Coakley is against diversity, at least when it is politically expedient for her.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ritmo Brasileiro said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
peter hoh said...

At the other end of the spectrum, we have the nurse who removes patients' IUDs because IUDs go against her religious beliefs.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

Oh boy. I just read the post in its entire ludicrousness and boy is it a doozy.

Roe v. Wade is the law of the land and this decision, along with various other legislation, represents the compromise that the American people have made on the abortion issue. It will not be overturned and this is why pro-"lifers" and their political machines have been reduced to fighting these petty battles along the periphery.

So... the state has every right to make sure that hospitals allow patients to access their rights as determined by the law of the land. If they don't want to, they can forego federal funding. It's as simple as that.

However, I don't think every provider should be required to participate in actions that undermine their ethical judgment. That is a different story.

And this doesn't even touch the fact that morning after pills, in the instance of rape or otherwise, don't even abort fetuses, but prevent their implantation or suppress ovulation. But that kind of reasoning involves the capacity for understanding science, which as far as lost causes on the Althouse blog go, matches their just as blundering misapprehensions regarding civics and American government.

Julius Ray Hoffman said...

At the other end of the spectrum, we have the nurse who removes patients' IUDs because IUDs go against her religious beliefs.

Patient has sued. Patient will win. Seems to me that this is the sort of obviously abusive case that lawyers love to take. Cha-Ching!

Fred4Pres said...

Coakley should not be accusing anyone of misconduct when it comes to rape:


UPDATE: More thoughts from Dan Riehl and William Jacobson. [LATER: From the comments at Jacobson's: "Realistically speaking, though, most 23-month-olds who've been raped with a hot curling iron don't require the morning after pill."]

Glenn Reynolds

Trooper York said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Julius Ray Hoffman said...

Hey Althouse-

I gotta question for 'ya. Could pass it along to a law professor-- if ya' happen know any??? HA!

Coakley didn't say that hospitals should be forced to provide emergency contraception.

What she said is that individual workers should be forced to, or they should quit.

There's a big difference between the two when it comes to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, isn't there?

Take a big public hospital. Coakley's comment would mean that if any emergency room nurse/doctor refused to administer emergency contraceptives, they should resign or be fired. But almost any public hospital should be able to make the reasonable accommodation that someone else should administer the contraceptives, or consult with the patient about them?

So Coakley's commment is really insisting on a rollback of these Civil Rights Act protections, isn't it?

Flexo said...

Kennedy was a lousy Catholic.

There is nothing in the Catholic faith, properly understood, which contravenes or is inconsistent with one's duties as a public servant under the Constitution, properly understood.

The Drill SGT said...

kynefski said...
No one was ever conscripted into service as a health professional.


Of course we did. Until 1972 we drafted Doctors.

The Drill SGT said...

actually as I recall, drafting doctors went on after the lottery was in place and inactive.

Doctors or at least individuals (who wanted to be doctors) had been called up before they became MD's and had stalled in order to get MD's and officers bars.

Long after the draft, we still got our pound of flesh as it were to ensure that nobody thought in the future that stalling avoided the inevitable.

and of course the Army needed the Docs :)

Brian Day said...

Ritmo said in part: Roe v. Wade is the law of the land and this decision, along with various other legislation, represents the compromise that the American people have made on the abortion issue.

A small correction. Roe v Wade was a compromise that nine judges have made. It was NOT decided by the American people.

wv: fryge - a place to keep your fried food.

Cedarford said...

Joe said...
Titus, the short answer is "No, your parents are NOT 'real' Catholics."

The Big Three are Embryonic Stem Cells, Abortion and Euthanasia.


Horsecrap. That is the big three for the right-wing fetus lover segment acting on guidance of a reactionary 19th Century Pope.

Prior to that, Catholics went on belief that life began at the "Quickening".
And "being a true Catholic" was based on true ideological vs. very recent "blessed Blastocyst" political Catholicism.
It was about the Holy Trinity, the Nicea Council & Creed, the believe in transubstantiation of the soul, the Pope as leader.

Not bullshit like the Fetus People's adoration of Terri Schiavo as a Saint.

===================
Julius Ray Hoffman's 8:06 statement....

Exactly, Julius! Well said.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

Those nine judges are chosen by presidents that the people elected. As are every one of the nine judges that sit on the court at any given time - including this time. All chosen by presidents the people elected and not once have they decided that they were in a position to reverse the decision.

MeTooThenMail said...

Ritmo:
You are intentionally being misleading or dense.
As a physician, I am confronted on an hourly basis by situations that test my moral and ethical code.
In this case, Ms. Althouse has correctly interpreted the meaning of the AG's statement: your provision of healthcare is owned by the Federal government.
There is no mention here about end of life care, but here there are many more and increasingly complex issues as to what can, should, will be done, for how long, and often the choices made by patients or their proxies are in direct opposition to a healthcare provider's beliefs.
In the calculus of Ms. Coakley, none of this matters. You will do whatever is asked of you, and if you cannot, then you should get out of healthcare ( the ED is a small segment of a large healthcare system.
What is so striking is that she told the truth about what the dominant view of Federal (read: Obama) healthcare is all about.
The unmitigated hubris to think that she or anyone else can dictate not just choices of care, but matters of conscience smacks of despicable authoritarianism.
And yes, I will get out of the ICU and the ED, and the hospital, and my office if this happens. So too, will tens of thousands of doctors, from all walks of life, every ethnicity, and likely most religions.
In sum: good luck with that.
Oh, and when Rome shutters its hospitals and the Federal government takes them over, the transition to authority rule will be firmly and irretrievably in place

AJ Lynch said...

Let's crunch the numbers shall we? There were 1,736 rapes in 2008 and there are about 80 hospitals in Massachussetes.

That means, on average,there were 21 rapes per hospital in 2008 or about 2 rapes per month per hospital!

So it is hard for me to see where this is a crisis or an election issue except for the fact that Coakley, an idiot I assume, made it an issue for some dumb reason.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

Nothing I love better than when physicians try to interpret abstruse legal jargon!

Even better when they try to (mistakenly) interpret obscure blog comments.

I commented on the title of the post and on nothing having anything to do with what some silly attorney general happens to (mistakenly) believe. So continue on your winding and adventurous rant all you want. It still doesn't have anything with what I said, or the law of the land - you know, the land which contains the wanna-be theocracy we Philadelphians refer to as "Massachusetts". They have a penchant for that sort of thing up there, going all the way back to the uproar those prissy Puritans raised when objecting to foregoing a "religious test for office", otherwise known as The First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

howzerdo said...

C4, you can characterize it as the beliefs of the "right-wing fetus loving segment" if you choose, but Joe's post isn't horsecrap. Before the election in 2008, tucked inside our weekly bulletin at Mass was a sheet that said while many other issues are very important, the life issues are the most critical when voting as a Catholic; they included the three Joe lists (abortion, stem cells, euthanasia) and the death penalty. In a section that was specific to the election in New York (where there were some rumbles at the time that the issue might come up in the Legislature), it urged us to advocate that Catholic hospitals and providers not be forced to violate conscience.

garage mahal said...

Well we all know it's fine to stray from the Vatican on some of their stances.....say Iraq. Never been a "just war" in their estimation.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

I also love it when physicians threaten strikes. Still trying to think of when they ever carried through.

Does anyone know of any other profession that loves to think of itself as a form of organized labor?

Physicians are (sometimes) such an incredibly silly bunch.

Lem said...

How to speak Ritmo Brasileiro in Five Easy Steps.

Trooper York said...

"Does anyone know of any other profession that loves to think of itself as a form of organized labor?"

Teachers.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

That's a good point by the Trooper. And an insane display of jealousy by the inane (and occasionally drunken) Lem.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

Lem, as a prelude to my (indoor, and later) outdoor entertainment for the evening, I'd like to ask you what's the most complicated work of literature, art or science you've ever read?

Fr Martin Fox said...

Dr. MeToo:

Your conscience must yield to the demands of the State. Isn't that what freedom means?

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Maybe your need for an exemption from part of the job is a conflict between personal and public interests that should lead you — if you are conscientious — to resign.

That might be true in some cases, but I don't see how it would apply here. A person who has a conscientious objection to abortion would certainly also believe that it was not in the patient's best interest to have an abortion. Thus, no conflict.

MeTooThenMail said...

Ritmo:
I made no mention of strike.
Do you have any idea of the availbilty of hospital neurologists now as compared to 10 years ago? How about 5? Neurosurgery anywhere in America except the large metro areas? How about general surgery?
Come on man, what are the numbers? What are the trends?
Do you even have the faintest idea of what you are talking about?
What will happen when California is forced to
lift its liability cap?
Wanna' make some guess?
There is no need for strike. Attrition. Locum tenens. Migration.
That's all it will take to cripple an already doctor-short nation.
You want acute stroke care? Oh, I'm sorry. I'm just a silly doctor. Do it yourself.
So wise are you.
And intentionally misleading, even more so now.
You're out of your depth on this one.
Word.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

Anyway, getting back to the other thing, one sometimes redeeming trait among physicians is that they can be an insanely competitive lot. They don't (and won't) resort to strikes to accomplish anything. The ones who speak like that when it comes to any given issue that's getting under their skin are the ones who usually have the least understanding of that issue. Got to admire the passion, though - even if they completely lack any pragmatic, practical understanding about that stuff. They're kind of like a collection of Ron Pauls, in a way.

Props to Pogo for never threatening to go on strike. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that he's a pediatrician.

Trooper York said...

"Does anyone know of any other profession that loves to think of itself as a form of organized labor?"

Baseball players.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Ritmo said...

They have a penchant for that sort of thing up there, going all the way back to the uproar those prissy Puritans raised when objecting to foregoing a "religious test for office", otherwise known as The First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Oddly enough, in my copy of the Constitution that's covered in Article VI, section 3

Lem said...

I want to protest the Ritmo Brasileiro blog INFLATION ;)

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

Oh no! I've been threatened with not receiving treatment for a hypothetical stroke in a debate over whether what a feckless and idiotic Democrat in MA claims regarding federal funding has any merit!

The humanity! The passion! The absurdity of the pointless and completely irrelevant ad hominem.

I have no problem with liability caps, the fact that they've been shown to be completely ineffective at driving down costs notwithstanding. And if you want specialists to not be "driven out" of practice, I suppose they could always endeavor to make their specialty less risky.

Go into primary care. Word. It's where hoi polloi would like to see you in the first place, Che. Or ask your medical school for a full refund and invest a small remainder of it into tuition to become a midwife or nurse practitioner.

Word.

I like that.

I thought we were talking about conscientious objection and federal funding, anyway. What the hell happened?

Trooper York said...

"Does anyone know of any other profession that loves to think of itself as a form of organized labor?"

Whores.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

Even better, IIB. At least I knew it was in there somewhere.

As far as the history is concerned, I'm pretty sure I was right on the Massachusetts delegation objecting to it, though. Right?

Trooper York said...

I just said that to see if you were paying attention.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

I dunno, Trooper. If whores have a professional accreditation organization or something, I sure suspect that many of them aren't abiding by whatever standards might be in place.

Of course, whores never go on strike though, either.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

I'm a whore to blog controversy.

Word.

Synova said...

Kennedy: "-- in accordance with what my conscience tells me to be in the national interest, and without regard to outside religious pressure or dictates."

Well... outside religious pressure is the dictates of a Pope or religious leader.

But internal religious pressure *is* the conscience. And Kennedy said that he would follow his conscience.

"It would be simplier and in the "public interest" to eliminate dietary choices for Muslims and Jews in the Army. Should they be told to take it or get out?"

Good point.

And probably more applicable to the ER situation than it may seem since getting someone else to administer the pill is likely about as difficult as making alternative meals available in the military.

Lem said...

How you know you are dancing a Ritmo Brasileiro?..

the beginning the middle and the end are the same.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

Why are you so obsessed with what I say, Lem?

Am I getting in the way of your 5-star contributions, somehow?

Anyway, the evening is young. My night is just beginning. I won't be hung over, stupefied, yammering by 5 AM like Lem, but you get my drift.

So who's up for fish tacos? (AND NO, TROOPER - I DON'T MEAN THE HUMAN VARIETY! GET YOUR MIND OUT OF THE GUTTER. Although I did have some of that last night in another form) -- let's go support our local Stephen Starr restaurants.

Trooper York said...

Hey I love the fish taco.

Variety is the spice of life. Or so they say.

Trooper York said...

Now Posh in not the Spice Girl of life because on American Idol she looked like freakin Skeletor.

But that's for another day.

MeTooThenMail said...

Ritmo:

I take back what I said.

Well almost.

You are intentionally misleading.

And dense.

And most certainly a troll.

Here's an idea: why don't you leave health care to the grown ups?

You know, the people who actually have experience seeing patients, and stuff, know a lot more about being doctors, and seeing patients and stuff, than you do.

And while you're at it, crawl back under the rock from where you came.

What you fail to realize, is that when you talk out of your ass, act like an insulting, arrogant, masturbatory jerk, and continue to troll, and troll again, is that people actually are mocking you.

So despite the attention, your being made fun of.

Keep it up.

I'm sure you will.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

How'd they get a Spice Girl on American Idol? Isn't there a cross-national conflict of interest? Oh, forgot about that Simon Cowell bloke.

Anyway, here's Posh Spice's best interview ever. Enjoy!

Speaking of variety and fish tacos, I had some really good rustic Italian cuisine last night.

The date liked it.

Trooper York said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ritmo Brasileiro said...

Who the hell is this "MeTooThenMail" nutcase and what makes him think he has a clue about what I know or do for a living? Are these seriously the kind of opinionated goofballs who go into neurology? Where is there any relevant response to my sublime rebuttals of his completely off-topic comments?

Unfortunately on the internet if you want to make a point, you have to, actually, you know, make a point every now and then. There's sometimes thought involved and not just the sort of reflexive responses that you get when you bang on someone's knee with a rubber mallet.

Isn't there any thing you can find to do to cool your jets on a Saturday night? All this self-induced stress can't be good for you. Heal thyself, Physician. And then, read a book or something. Take your mind off of these invisible demons.

And don't be so darn reflexive. The mind is about more than just a series of Pavlovian responses, my friend. I'd urge you to ponder that, sometime. Seriously. It'd do you good.

Trooper York said...

Posh was a judge. As was Mary J the next night.

Of course if they are going to judge fish tacos they are lucky because Ellen Degenerous is coming on board in Hollywood week.

And she knows from her fish taco. Just sayn'

wv: uplik, what Ellen did when she hooked up with Portia De Rossi.

Trooper York said...

And if your date is what you call rustic Italian cuisine, well you know what that means.

Fish taco wise that is.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

That guy should become the mascot for Afroman's records.

Lem said...

You (Ritmo Brasileiro) are intentionally misleading.

And dense.

And most certainly a troll
.

Mission Accomplished

vbspurs said...

Why do people who share Martha Coakley's political views never ask if it's ethical for medical doctors to strike?

That happens on the continent all the time. (Twice when I was in France, in 1992 and 1997, they were on strike)

How anyone cannot find this criminal, is beyond me. From Time Magazine:

For three hours, a hemorrhaging pregnant Antwerp housewife with four children waited for an ambulance to take her to the hospital. Before it arrived, she died. In Louvain, a four-year-old girl suffocated to death while her parents tried for an hour and a half to summon medical assistance. All over Belgium last week, the sick and the dying similarly went without medical attention, except—when it could be provided—in dire emergencies. The reason was a crippling doctors' strike in which 85% of the nation's 12,000 physicians and dentists closed their offices. [...]

Hundreds of striking medics streamed across Belgium's borders for "extended vacations" in neighboring Luxembourg, France and Germany. Those who stayed home left their phones off the hook or linked them to tape recordings that informed callers where emergency service was available.


That was _1964_. But that's the reality of physicians tied to national health care, who have salary caps.

Cheers,
Victoria

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

Famous words spoken by Lem and other dipshits.

I like Lem better when he drinks. At least then, he doesn't resort to letting even more confused and feckless ghost commentators think for him.

Or maybe he's just a mean drunk tonight.

Maybe he's on some of that famous red-state meth.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

Oh, I see what's wrong with him. He's a Red Sox fan. Those comments about the theocracy known as Massachusetts must have irked him.

But everyone else here disagrees with Croakley, too. Not only that, but I actually provided the only relevant reasoning for why her view would surely not prevail.

And I got attacked for it. By a fucking NEUROLOGIST for chrissakes!

Go figure.

What a way to make a mockery of one's own interests.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

Anyway, the fish tacos call. I'll let Lem get drunk off the marinade.

Lem, what part of Jersey are you from? How close are you? Are you from the part that lives under New York's shadow or the part that lives in Philly's shadow? Or are you from the shore?

Mmmmmm.... fish tacos. They serve tequila there, too. Just saying.

Lem said...

The key to Ritmo is that you have to back (Blame Bush) to go foward..

its the Obama doctrine chapter 1

Lem said...

Oh, I see what's wrong with him. He's a Red Sox fan.

Spoken like a Coakley adviser.

downtownlad said...

Ann thinks it is perfectly ok for pharmacists to refuse to sell AIDS drugs to AIDS patients who happen to be gay.

Lovely.

DADvocate said...

...what's the most complicated work of literature, art or science you've ever read?

I read the recipe for making pancakes this morning.

Tell me the most complicated work of literature, art or science you've ever read. I'll claim to have read something more complex and, therefore, be smarter, better informed and more enlightened than you. Indeed, you wouldn't need to waste your time and effort posting here anymore as any thing I would post would overrule your comments.

Synova said...

DTL, one of these days you're going to realize that you are not the center of the universe. But without the identity of being hated and persecuted, will you still exist?

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

Tell me the most complicated work of literature, art or science you've ever read. I'll claim to have read something more complex and, therefore, be smarter, better informed and more enlightened than you. Indeed, you wouldn't need to waste your time and effort posting here anymore as any thing I would post would overrule your comments.

No need. Unlike Lem, I don't tell anyone else that they are wrong to post comments and have no business doing so.

What is wrong with the people here tonight? Are they that incapable of reading and putting a darn thing into context? What is it?

Ritmo Brasileiro said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ritmo Brasileiro said...

Spoken like a Coakley adviser.

This didn't come out right. It probably should have read... "spoken... (hiccup)... like ... (belch)... a Coakley...(wretching and vomiting noises) ... advisor!"

bagoh20 said...

"Should conscientious public servants resign when their job conflicts with their religious principles?"

It should be considered a disability with full benefits for life, unless you convert to atheism in which case you must do any nasty thing requested by anybody.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

The key to Ritmo is that you have to back (Blame Bush) to go foward..

You were the one that said "Mission Accomplished", dumbass.

How many Bacardis have you had so far?

bagoh20 said...

If I say I do not want to perform an abortion because: "I find it immoral." and I am an atheist, and another nurse refuses because she is a Catholic, are we on equal ground?

Synova said...

"If I say I do not want to perform an abortion because: "I find it immoral." and I am an atheist, and another nurse refuses because she is a Catholic, are we on equal ground?"

The right to homeschool rode fairly squarely on the right of the religious to follow what was a sincere matter of conscience.

But it opened a door to those who wanted to homeschool because they felt it was best for their children but didn't have a religious compulsion.

In a sense it's not a fair thing, but at least it worked to push back government overreach.

Alex said...

Bottom line is this last-minute revelation will cook Brown. If there's one thing MA voters hate - it's fundie Rethugs. Hallelujah say the Democrats!

DaveW said...

Ann thinks it is perfectly ok for pharmacists to refuse to sell AIDS drugs to AIDS patients who happen to be gay.

That's not even close to on point. Catholic institutions have no problem dispensing drugs for or treating someone with AIDS regardless of how one contracted the disease.

The Drill SGT said...

DaveW said...
Catholic institutions have no problem dispensing drugs for or treating someone with AIDS regardless of how one contracted the disease.



FWIW DTL: I don't of any Christian faith that refuses to save the lives of sinners. The Catholic position is particularly strong in this regard. Saving lives no matter what, regardless of the perceived value of the life is what (to this non catholic) is the common thread that seems to bind their positions on:
- abortion
- contraception
- Euthansia
- Death Penalty

vbspurs said...

I don't of any Christian faith that refuses to save the lives of sinners.

In my cultural experiences, it's been the Protestants who have a greater problem with accepting people who are gay than Catholics. That goes for lay people, as much as the professional religious. Note that one of the most entrenched anti-gay groups in the US are Black-Americans. Who are Pentacostal protestants...

The different attitude may be one of the reasons why almost the entire British intellectual establishment, from Victorian times, to Bloomsbury, to today (see Andrew Sullivan), is Roman Catholic.

DaveW said...

No one else mentioned this so I will. When you talk about abortion and Catholics the subject is about as serious as it can get. Opposition to abortion is fundamental to Catholic belief and is founded in the belief that all life is created by God.

Participation in abortion is so contrary to Catholic belief that it incurs automatic excommunication.

CCC 2272: "Formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense. The Church attaches the canonical penalty of excommunication to this crime against human life."

That excommunication occurs "latae sententiae", that is, automatically and by commission of the deed itself. Nobody has to catch you doing it and you don't get a letter from your Bishop or the Pope. Material participation in an abortion automatically excommunicates you from the Catholic Church.

This is the level of offense we're talking about, at least when we're talking about serious Catholics (which admittedly is probably a minority of professed Catholics).

former law student said...

The striking Belgian doctors "charg[ed] that the law was the first step toward socialized medicine."

Well no wonder they struck.

CCC 2272: "Formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense. The Church attaches the canonical penalty of excommunication to this crime against human life."

What canonical penalty was attached to sodomizing a schoolchild? Besides an extended vacation in the Southwest.

Aaron said...

Well, to be blunt, I don’t think even Kennedy himself believed it. When Kennedy was pushing for what became the Civil Rights Act of 1964, he cited the golden rule. So much for separation of church and state. So I think the best way to understand what Kennedy said was to see it as an expediency necessary for a nation that had some trepidation about a catholic president.

As for whether it is true generally about America, I always say this. If we repealed every single law motivated to a significant extent by faith we would have to repeal:

The voting rights act of 1965
The Civil Rights Act of 1964
The 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments.

And as if that is not enough, the Declaration of Independence as well. I find it continually bizarre that in a nation explicitly founded on the belief that there are inalienable rights endowed to us by our Creator, that there are people who think there has to be a strict separation between faith and policy.

First, we the voters can have all the religious tests we want. It is our God-given right. I myself confess that I will never vote for a president who doesn’t believe in divine punishment. That can be hell, karma, what have you, but I want our president to believe that even if he or she gets away with bad behavior in terms of human justice, that one way or the other they will suffer for their sins. I think the practical value of that approach is self-evident.

Second, our legislators are allowed to base their laws on their morality which in turn is based on faith. Bluntly, I don’t know where they think we get our laws otherwise. There is no completely logical, non-religious argument for even murder, let alone the harder stuff. If you boil it down, it always comes down to either a leap of logic or a leap of faith.

Indeed, even our belief in freedom of religion is in fact based on a certain religious point of view. We believe in freedom of religion not because this is not an overwhelmingly Christian country, but because it IS overwhelmingly Christian. You’re welcome.

Now then we get to the people who don’t make the laws, but instead carry them out. Bluntly if the law requires you to do a thing and your faith requires that you abstain, first, if it is possible, you should try to see if someone else can do it and if it is possible to recuse yourself. So if you are a judge and you believe you are not allowed to rule in favor of a right to abortion as a matter of faith, but the law says otherwise, then you must either defy your faith or recuse yourself. Of course a president can’t do that, and so if he sees that kind of situation, yeah, I guess s/he has to resign. But that is only in a situation where the law says s/he MUST do something contrary to a command in faith that he MUST NOT do. Or I suppose you could imagine a case where faith says you must do a thing that you must not do by law. But how often is that, really, where there is no discretion in any direction, either under faith or under the law?

(to be continued)

Aaron said...

(cont)

And then in truly fascist fashion, the left thinks that every doctor in every emergency room is now an arm of the government, so that no dissent can be tolerated. Take Brown’s legislation as an example. It said that if a doctor objected to abortion, he or she didn’t have to perform it. but at the same time, the law said that hospitals had to plan for that eventuality and be ready with a plan to make sure the patient still gets her abortion. So in that case, the woman gets the abortion, but someone else gets their hands dirty. So where is the problem? But to the fascists on the left even this is not acceptable.

As for the founders, they have always recognized exceptions for conscience. If you were a pacifist, you could opt out of the military. And the founders of the Fourteenth Amendment were appalled by the fugitive slave act of 1850, which said that any ordinary citizen could be conscripted to help capture a slave. Before the civil war there was a riot in Christiana, Pennsylvania when several slaveholders and United States officials attempted to capture an alleged fugitive slave (I say alleged, because the process of declaring that person to be a slave was such an outrage on due process, no one could have any certainty that any person declared a slave was indeed a slave). In the middle of it, three Quakers came along and were told they were conscripted to help the United States Marshals. I don’t know how Quakers say, “f--- off,” but that is pretty much what they said. They were tried for it, and were acquitted, most likely by jury nullification. And their lead lawyer? Thaddeus Stevens, who later went on to be called the father of the Fourteenth Amendment.

The notion that you cannot enter a profession without committing acts that people of good and normal values (with their faith often being the source of their values) consider appalling needs to go away. And its another good reason not to let government run our entire health care system.

Aaron said...

FLS

> [in respose to catholic opposition to abortion] What canonical penalty was attached to sodomizing a schoolchild? Besides an extended vacation in the Southwest.

Well, let me ask you, which is worse. To be buggered or killed? Duh.

Yeah, the catholic church screwed up on the pedo priest issue, but it has no bearing on this issue. Duh, again.

But you are not interested in debate. You are just interested in demonizing the other side so that no one listens to them. Alinsky would be proud. The left demands a level or moral and ideological perfection in its opponents that they would never expect of themselves.

I mean seriously, let’s take a concrete example. Obviously you are pro-abortion. Of course you are, because you elect serial adulterers to high office. Better for them to screw around on their lives if their girlfriends can abort freely. But I find it continually amazing that the left considers itself feminist, while arguing that Bill Clinton serial adultery, sexual harassment and even possible rape are not disqualifying factors for a president. How feminist is it to have a president that treats women as nothing more than a source of sexual gratification and when they dare protest, pulls out the old tried and true “nuts and sluts” defense.

The catholic church has its greatest moral failure in its pedo priests. I would say the democratic party has its greatest moral failure in its support of bill Clinton.

And then of course there are other hypocrisies, such as the fact that obama can’t seem to find a democrat worth nominating that have paid all of their taxes—no wonder democrats love taxes, its not like they have to pay them. Or that they give us a safe schools czar who ran an organization that seems a-okay with pedophilia. I didn’t realize that Nambla was such an important constituency of the Democratic party.

And for that matter there is you claiming to be for equality of opportunity, after you said incredibly bigoted things about learning disabled people, going as far as to say a dyslexic should not be a firefighter.

So I would be really careful before you start throwing that word “hypocrisy” around.

DaveW said...

DTL,

"What canonical penalty was attached to sodomizing a schoolchild? Besides an extended vacation in the Southwest."

I am not a cannon lawyer DTL and I don't know what the canonical penalty is for a priest violating his vows.

When I read this post and thread I thought it was about the MA senate race and conscientious objectors in medicine and my comment was directed to that topic. By the way, even Ted Kennedy supported conscientious objector provisions in health care, and did so just prior to his death in a letter to the Pope.

However, if the priest scandals are a big issue for you you might want to read up on Coakley's sordid role in the cover-up.