What about religious liberty of self-employed?

Re: “Catholics respond to revised HHS regulations” (News Analysis, Feb. 17).

As an NFP-only family physician, I know there are thousands of faithful Catholics like me who are self-employed sole proprietors.

“Federally approved contraceptive” is as evil to us as “KKK-approved lynching.” In both cases, somebody dies, one is just bigger, thus more visible, than the other. There is nothing in the revised HHS regulations that protects our religious liberty; rather, we would be forced to pay for such abominations in purchasing health insurance through state exchanges.

The government has thus “gone out of its way” to deny our constitutional religious liberty to those of us self-employed faithful.

Gary Yarbrough, M.D., via email

Plenty of minuses

Re: “Pro-life pluses” (Editorial, February 10).

Asking us to think what it would be like if the pro-life movement never existed is so unrealistic that it could only result in a waste of mental energy that could have been directed toward constructive suggestions on how to end the barbarism of abortion that continues to rob our nation of its preborn citizens and their heritage.

We should have done a better job of marketing our product; we are selling a concept, whether we like it or not. My observations as a longtime pro-life activist and a lifetime in marketing and sales tell me that the pro-life movement could improve substantially in a number of areas.

An objective look at the 40-year struggle reveals that we are disorganized, burdened by fragmentation, duplication, overlap and choir preaching. We are even divided in the most critical areas of strategy and tactics. The waste of millions of dollars and millions of labor hours has caused an enormous drain from our potential strength and has been a major impediment to victory.

If pro-life leaders were more willing to humbly relinquish authority and to merge forces, then by sheer force of numbers our power and influence would be magnified a hundredfold. Had pro-life groups been united on a clearly defined marketing strategy, under a more central command, abortion would have ended decades ago.

Like your Jan. 20 issue, in which you quote Roe v. Wade repeatedly, the pro-life movement virtually ignores Roe’s companion decision, Doe v. Bolton, even though it changed and expanded the reach of Roe v. Wade and sentenced millions more of our preborn babies to a violent death.

What really surprises me about your editorial is that you assume a premise, then you argue from it as though it were true.

What would St. Thomas Aquinas say?

Charles N. Marrelli, Irvine, Calif.

Bias in article

Re: “Catholics weigh in on gun control regulations” (News Analysis, Jan. 27).

Brian Fraga purports to present a range of Catholic perspectives on gun control. He makes numerous assertions suggesting that the Catholic Church at large supports gun control and confiscation. To support his assertions, he selectively cites liberal gun control advocates and takes Church doctrine far out of context to imply a theological argument in favor of gun control.

The OSV article begins by stating that “the nation’s bishops [advocate] for strengthening regulations of firearms as a necessary component of building a culture of life.” As evidence, the author cites a recent statement by three Catholic bishops, but fails to mention that their opinion in no way represents a consensus; nor does it carry any weight as Catholic doctrine. Next he cites a statement by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which calls for “controls on the sale and use of firearms, regulations on handguns ... as well as legislation to protect society from deadly weapons such as assault rifles.” Like the previous example, the statement does not represent Church doctrine, and should not be interpreted as such. Contrary to what is implied in the article, the USCCB statement is hardly about gun control at all. The document, which runs about 13,000 words, mentions gun control just two times (including once in the footnotes). The overriding purpose of the USCCB statement is to address larger societal issues surrounding criminal justice, human rights, community and the culture of death.

Fraga’s misuse of the Catechism of the Catholic Church is far more problematic. He cites No. 2316 as evidence that the Church favors “regulation of the production and sale of arms.” He neglects to mention that the paragraph in question is clearly addressed toward nations, not individuals.

As Catholics, we are called to exercise prudence. In the case of protecting innocent lives, prudence dictates very careful consideration about the choice to carry a firearm, the training and care that should accompany that decision, and the potential use of deadly force. I do not take that responsibility lightly — nor should anyone who chooses to own a firearm. But to deprive me of the right to defend myself and other innocents is reprehensible.

James Kofalt, Wilton, N.H.

Corrections

In “Faith-based dorms at secular schools” (News Analysis, Feb. 17), the credit for the photo should have been attributed to Florida Institute of Technology.

“Pope Benedict’s powerful influence on the Church” (In Focus, Feb. 24) should have noted that Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone is a Salesian, not a Missionary Oblate of Mary Immaculate.