It's not a health matter

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To The Editor:
In response to Mr. Cerullo’s points about the government mandating that religious orders obey it and not their conscience:

Threatening a religious order with penalties unless they conform to a government fiat is coercion at best and persecution at worst and is blatantly unconstitutional. Lay people who work for these orders are free to choose other employment if they do not like the conditions. A master/servant relationship doesn’t exist.

The original settlers of this country fled such governmental interference and the founding fathers believed they had settled this when they wrote, “congress shall make no law..prohibiting the free exercise of (religion.)”

Society doesn’t have to condone the beliefs of the Catholic Church when it comes to birth control and abortion, nor does it have to like the Jehovah’s Witness’s refusal to accept most medical treatment. Society may think the Hassidim that populate Fleischmanns in the summer months looks ridiculous in their winter garb but the constitution protects all religions and their freedom to practice their beliefs and idiosyncrasies.

If this were an important health matter and people’s lives were at stake we could argue the merits of forced vaccinations or other such preventative actions but the Catholic Church merely objects to buying birth control and abortionifacient pills for their employees. This is not a health matter.

Priests and nuns are excluded from the mandates (as if) but the decision to include the employees was made by HHS, not by “we as a society: in a very narrow reading of what is considered a member of a church, and to me, this is the most important aspect of this whole discussion.

The government cannot and should not be trusted to make such decisions and the constitution and the bill of rights are there to protect all of us, individually. We should not give up our rights so easily.

Colin McDonald,
Fleischmanns