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Readers Write: Religion isn't exempt; A racist, 'civil' past; Guns and domestic abuse

Letters to the editor for the weekly print issue of March 19, 2012: Supporting Obama's birth-control mandate, one reader says, Religious liberty doesn't give you liberty to impose your views on others. Another asks, Was America's anti-Semitic past really more civil? Another flags an omission in a piece on US gun culture: A woman is more likely to be killed if her abuser has a gun.

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Religion isn't exempt

The Monitor's View of Feb. 20 ("The birth-control mandate") suggests that the federal government is for the first time entering the "business of defining religion." But that boundary is already long settled.

To the exact degree that practicing an employer's religion is a legal condition of employment, the religious authority controls the conditions of employment. But if religion is not a condition of employment, even a religious employer must obey the public laws on equal-opportunity hiring and health insurance.

The mandate was to provide employee insurance coverage that includes birth control. Our tax system has always made us pay for things majority rule deems necessary regardless of our moral objections.

For example, one could claim conscientious objector status, but not withhold taxes from military spending. One is free to keep kosher or halal, but cannot withhold taxes from pork subsidies.

Religious liberty does not mean you have the liberty to impose your religious restrictions on others.

A 'civil' past of racism?

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