‘Mr Jefferson, build up this wall!’

I know my admiration for Barack Obama borders on the sycophantic but this is something worth drawing attention to.

He plans to repeal the ‘conscience’ law in the US health system. The Washington Post reports:

The debate centers on a Bush administration regulation, enacted in December, that cuts off federal funding for thousands of state and local governments, hospitals, health plans, clinics and other entities if they do not accommodate doctors, nurses, pharmacists or other employees who refuse to participate in care they feel violates their personal, moral or religious beliefs.

The rule was sought by conservative groups that argued that workers were increasingly being fired, disciplined or penalized in other ways for trying to exercise their ‘right of conscience.’

Women’s health advocates, family-planning proponents, abortion rights activists and others condemned the regulation, saying it created a major obstacle to providing many health services, including family planning and infertility treatment, and possibly a wide range of scientific research. After reviewing the regulation, newly appointed officials at the Health and Human Services Department agreed.

‘We’ve been concerned that the way the Bush rule is written, it could make it harder for women to get the care they need,’ said an HHS official who spoke on the condition of anonymity for the same reason. ‘It is worded so vaguely that some have argued it could limit family-planning counseling and even potentially blood transfusions and end-of-life care.’

Essentially it lets medical staff with a faith-based hangup refuse to give contraception, perform abortions, perform blood transfusions – to refuse to do their jobs, in other words – if they can give a theological reason for doing so.

Predictably the faith lobby are outraged that their freedom of prejudice is going to be cancelled. A typical comment from a Christian dentist:

‘It is open season to again discriminate against health-care professionals,’ said David Stevens, head of the Christian Medical & Dental Associations. ‘Our Founding Fathers, who bled and died to guarantee our religious freedom, are turning over in their graves.’

I think, personally, that they’d be laughing in their graves.

And with all this talk about the special relationship, perhaps the UK legislature could draft its own version of the Obama amendment. It should be extended to the relatives of patients as well as medical professionals. This would save lives.

Another news story from Butterflies and Wheels shows us why these measures are necessary. The Seattle PI reports on an NYPD officer, who has had his gun and badge taken from him after reporting hallucinations and praying for ten hours at a time, is suing the police to get his gun back under a faith discrimination claim.

This insane story is worth quoting almost in full.

A police lieutenant who once reported seeing a ‘demon’ at police headquarters is suing to get his gun and shield back, claiming supervisors took them from him because of his religious practices.

Dominic Maglione, a desk officer at Brooklyn’s 90th Precinct, says in a lawsuit filed in Manhattan’s state Supreme Court that he is a Christian who worships at two Queens churches and prays and fasts regularly.

Maglione, 44, acknowledged in interviews with psychiatrists after he was admitted to a hospital 2 1/2 years ago that he was praying as much as 10 hours at a stretch and fasting twice a week, court papers say.

At the hospital, Maglione told a medical professional that he had seen a demon at police headquarters, according to a police board medical report dated Dec. 19, 2008, that was included with Maglione’s court papers.

The report also says the lieutenant lost 40 pounds in six months by fasting, and urinated on himself because he refused to stop praying to go to the bathroom.

The medical board report said there are ‘significant psychological findings precluding the officer from performing the full duties of a New York City police officer.’

‘The Medical Board believes that the lieutenant cannot be allowed to be in possession of any weapons since he feels subject to God’s will to do what God wants him to do even if he destroys himself,’ the report says.

The report also says Maglione was given the anti-psychotic drug olanzapine, usually prescribed for people with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. It says he took it once and refused to take it again.

The 22-year police veteran says that because of his allegedly ‘excessive’ religious beliefs, police officials have ‘wrongfully and illegally’ confiscated his gun and badge and compromised his ability to do his job.

Maglione’s lawsuit, filed Feb. 19, says that curtailing his duties because of his religious practices violates his First Amendment rights. He asked the court to order his return to full police work.

As Ophelia said: ‘Never mind the anti-psychotic medications, this is a religious freedom case.’


‘I’ll just type it up on my invisible typewriter’


One Response to “‘Mr Jefferson, build up this wall!’”

  1. RaiulBaztepo Says:

    Very Interesting post! Thank you for such interesting resource!
    PS: Sorry for my bad english, I’v just started to learn this language 😉
    See you!
    Your, Raiul Baztepo

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