Saturday, July 03, 2010

The erosion of religious freedom By George Weigel

The erosion of religious freedom

By George Weigel

Connoisseurs of political kamikaze runs will long debate what finished off Martha Coakley in the recent Massachusetts election to fill the seat Edward M. Kennedy held for 47 years.

The baseball fan in me likes to think it was Coakley’s bizarre charge that Curt (“Bloody Sock”) Schilling was a Yankees fan—a gaffe in Red Sox Nation commensurate with claiming that the late Senator Kennedy had been a George W. Bush fan. Yet there was another clumsy Coakleyism that ought to have enraged a considerable part of the Bay State electorate. Pressed by an interviewer on what Catholic physicians, nurses and other health-care workers should do when they cannot in conscience provide certain services or conduct certain procedures, Coakley replied, “You can have religious freedom but you probably shouldn’t work in the emergency room.”

A month earlier, speaking at Georgetown University, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton offered a similarly diminished view of religious freedom when she declined to use that term, substituting “freedom to worship” in a catalogue of fundamental human rights that included a striking innovation. Asserting that people must be free to “choose laws and leaders, to share and access information, to speak, criticize and debate,” the secretary of state then averred that people “must be free … to love in the way they choose.” For those with ears to hear in Gaston Hall that day, the promotion of the so-called LGBT (lesbian/gay/bisexual/ transgendered) agenda had just been declared a human rights priority of the United States, in the same sentence in which the secretary of state had offered an anorexic description of religious freedom that even the Saudis could accept (so long as the worshipping was done behind closed doors in a U.S. embassy).

One has to wonder if there is a connection here.

Finish reading his column:

GEORGE WEIGEL COLUMN



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