Martha Coakley mindset a 'threat to American freedom,' says critic

Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley / Kathryn Jean Lopez
Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley / Kathryn Jean Lopez

.- Massachusetts Senate hopeful Martha Coakley has come under fire recently for her comments that Catholics who oppose emergency contraception shouldn't work in emergency rooms. Analyzing the remarks in an article this past Saturday, one political commentator said her “No Catholics Need Apply” mentality is a “genuine threat to American freedom.”

Kathryn Jean Lopez, editor of the National Review Online, criticized Coakley's statements in a column on Saturday and examined what she believes to be their far-reaching consequences.

Lopez's article focused on the history and involvement of Catholics in health care, citing the Sisters of Providence as an example. In 1858, Mother Joseph and her sisters traveled some 6,000 miles from Montreal with tools in hand and literally built St. Joseph Hospital, the first permanent hospital in the Northwest, said Lopez. She also stated that similar stories about America's first hospitals, orphanages and schools “abound.”

“If Democrat Martha Coakley is elected to the U.S. Senate on Tuesday as the elected successor to Edward M. Kennedy, she might eventually encounter the statue of Mother Joseph that stands in National Statuary Hall,” Lopez said.

“But Mother Joseph doesn’t belong in the U.S. Capitol, if you follow Martha Coakley’s thinking,” she continued. “Not if Mother Joseph wanted to run her hospital in accord with what her faith taught (and still teaches), what her life gave witness to, and what her habit represented.”

Speaking on the widespread implications of Coakley's on-air statement, Lopez argued that  “Martha Coakley is effectively saying that faithful Catholics can’t work in emergency rooms, whether in public or Catholic hospitals” and that “faithful Catholics cannot be pharmacists” either.

Lopez also argued that Coakley “is saying what the U.S. Senate just said: that an American should not have the freedom to choose whether or not his tax dollars will fund abortions.”

“They will be so used, consciences be damned,” the National Review editor wrote.

Lopez then raised the question of what religious liberty means in our society and what its place is in legislative debate. “Is religious freedom a concession by the State?” she asked. “Or is religious freedom really about the fact that government is limited in its scope and competence, and that some realms of life stand outside the circumscribed authority that a free people is willing to grant its government?”
“Coakley believes that religious liberty is not something endowed by our Creator,” reasoned Lopez, “but something the law allows, something the state can change depending on who is in power, or what’s polling well.”

Lopez warned that much hangs in the balance for Massachusetts voters on Tuesday. “The issues they’re grappling with now are national issues of conscience, ones in which the very concept of freedom is up for debate and, even, sale.”

Lopez concluded by saying that “Martha Coakley’s 'No Catholics Need Apply' mindset represents a genuine threat to American freedom – and not just the religious kind.” To read the full column, visit:


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