Don’t let hard-fought rights be taken away
The Obama administration’s proposed accommodation to the HHS mandate that all private health care plans must cover contraceptives, sterilization and abortifacients does nothing in essence to change this violation of religious liberty. Insurance coverage would still have to be funded through the premiums of the employer and fellow employees. The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees religious freedom to all citizens. The Catholic understanding of the sacredness and eternal significance of the sexual union of husband and wife precludes the use of contraception — which divorces the unitive and procreative meanings of this act.
Although U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen claims that contraception is “essential to the health of women and families,” nothing could be further from the truth. In the 50 years since the use of oral contraceptives has become prevalent, they have been linked to increases in: migraine headaches, breast cancer, heart disease, heart attacks, strokes, blood clots, high blood pressure, uterine cancer, infertility, depression, uterine fibroids, and anxiety disorders (http://www.ditchthepill.org/).
Over the years since the Bill of Rights was ratified in 1791, thousands of soldiers have sacrificed their lives to protect our liberties. No one, not even the president of the United States, has the right to take these liberties away. It is a tragedy that Senate Democrats on March 1 voted to table the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act; they need to realize that Catholics who understand the Church’s teaching and U.S. citizens who understand the Constitution will not allow the issue of religious liberty to be so easily tabled.
— Sister Mary Rose Reddy, DMML, M.Ed. Rochester, N.H.
I am disappointed that your editors did not correct the misnomer that Brian Fraga made in “Next steps” (In Focus, March 4). He writes, “the government mandates on contraception.” It should read, “... and abortion.” The secular media conveniently omits the word when writing about the mandate. He also writes, “abortion inducing emergency contraception.” Again, it is no longer contraception when the life exists; it is abortion.
If we want this mandate overturned, we have to be focused. The secular press is shouting that this is about contraception. The Catholic press must shout back, “This is also about abortion!”
In general, I felt that the overall slant was accommodating to Obama and not encouraging Catholics that we can win this. Stephen Schneck of Catholic University is throwing a wet towel on everything by saying that the issue of the mandate “does not have political legs.” The Catholic press should make this battle against the mandate a crusade in all senses of the word. Start by interviewing people that will inspire us, not discourage us.
— James Carmody, Stratford, Conn.
Progressives’ true aim
Re: “Catholic contributions” (Editorial, March 4).
You briefly recount some of the great contributions and services the Catholic Church has given to secular society that would be lost if the Church were forced to comply with the HHS mandate, and end with the hope that the government would not inflict this grievous loss on the American people “out of sheer self-interest.”
Progressivism has been hostile to organized religion from its inception and has sought to make the state the supreme arbiter of right and defender of justice in society. The progressive is driven by the belief that by using the state, guided by reason and scientific methods, they can make a better society through the reconstruction of its values, beliefs, mores and institutions.
Progressives see religion as an obstacle to progress. In the progressive mind, the poor in America would be better off without religiously affiliated social work, schools or hospitals. Should the Catholic Church be driven out of these fields, the government or more secular organizations would quickly take over the roles as they have in my own Diocese of Rockford, which is now out of family services due to onerous ideological burdens put on the diocese by the state of Illinois. I suspect that progressives watched with interest as the gay rights agenda began driving the Church out of family placement services and realized that we could be driven from the public square entirely.
— Joseph Richter, Byron, Ill.
Conscience of worker
Re: “Right to Work” (God Lives, Feb. 26).
A perspective that Msgr. Owen F. Campion does not include is the protection of the conscience of the worker. Employees who join a union as a condition of their employment are forced through coerced dues to contribute to many organizations that work directly against Church teaching. Many unions give financial support and publicity to pro-abortion politicians, Planned Parenthood, the former-ACORN entities and many other organizations that have little to do with the rights of the employee in his/her workplace and trample on the dignity of the human being.
Where is the due concern for the right of the employee to his/her own conscience and determination?
— Regina Wachtel, White Lake, Mich.
The photo caption for “Young Catholic keeps focused on faith at MIT” (In Focus, March 18) incorrectly identified Natalia Guerrero. She is pictured second from the left in the photograph.