Letters to the Editor for the weekly print issue of April 9, 2012:
Regarding Rodney K. Smith's March 12 commentary, "When government clips the wings of religious freedom": Citizens have the right to freedom of, as well as freedom from, religion.
If the Roman Catholic Church chooses to provide medical services to the public, it has a moral duty to practice medicine according to the established ethics of the profession – which include contraception.
lue Hill, Maine
I agree with Mr. Smith that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act should be restored in some manner to our Constitution. But he is wrong to equate the Obama administration's requirement that religious employers provide complete health care for their employees with a violation of the em-ployers' religious freedom.
Employers' denying birth control coverage in the name of religious doctrine to employees who don't subscribe to the same religious beliefs – especially when the religious group is engaged in secular activity – is a form of religious dictatorship.
Catholic hospitals and universities have become large secular institutions hiring people of all religious persuasions and serving diverse populations. While Catholic bishops say that the mandate violates the church's religious beliefs, what about the employees' rights to health insurance that covers birth control and other related services?
While religious beliefs may prohibit the use of contraception, nothing in President Obama's decision requires a woman to use contraception against her will. Does Smith want us all (even those opposed to contraception) to pay for this down the line?
What if, for religious reasons, we are opposed to war? Can we withhold some of our taxes if they go toward fighting a war?
This is not a personal anti-freedom-of-religion decision. It is a funding issue. We often have our tax dollars used in a way we may not approve of.