Letter to the Editor

Speaking of the previous subject, I saw a letter in the Louisville Courier-Journal which illustrates the intellectual confusion that many seem to have on this subject. I don’t honestly know if the writer is being deliberately obtuse or if he really doesn’t get it. Here is an excerpt.

As staunch Americans who believe in the fundamental and individual independence of citizens, my wife and I believe that each individual has the God-given right to practice their own religion according to the dictates of their own conscience.

History tells us that the founding of this great country was powerfully based on the freedom of religion. Remember, too, that the freedom of religion doesn’t just mean the freedom to practice your own religion(s). It also means the freedom from the practices of someone else’s religion.

As a married couple, we decided not to have children. This decision will cost us $38,000 (according to the numbers on birth control put forth by the White House recently, and our own calculations of actual birth control costs).

Religiously influenced legislation against free access to birth control currently being introduced into Congress abrogates our rights to practice our religious beliefs according to our own consciences, by enshrining one group’s religious-based arguments into law. Our religious beliefs do not agree with this attack on the health of women everywhere.

The Catholic Church should no more be allowed to dictate the availability of birth control, than imams should be allowed to dictate criminal case law. Rabbis should not be allowed to ban pork and shellfish to all Americans, nor should Methodists be allowed to ban bourbon from the shelves of every store in America.

But the Catholic Church is not dictating the availability of birth control. The Church simply does not wish to be obliged to violate its own doctrine by government fiat. The writer states that he and his wife believe in religious freedom, yet they would deny the Catholic Church the right to practice its beliefs. The more accurate similes would be an imam forbidden to preach Islam, a rabbi forced to provide ham sandwiches to his synagogue, or the Methodists required to support the local taverns.

I think that people on the Left simply have an immature concept of freedom. They seem to believe that they should be free to do whatever they want, and everyone else should be free to provide them what they want. Freedom for me but not for thee.


3 thoughts on “Letter to the Editor”

  1. In all fairness, the Right has done similar things in the past.

    The banning of peyote without allowing religious use for American Indians, for instance.

    And whether we like it or not, if you are going to have government sanctioned marriages, that means allowing individual religious institutions the right to decide whether or not they will have a gay wedding, and the government would have to uphold the union.

    It goes on to many other things, benign, self destructing and disturbing, but the fact of the matter is that there are a lot of things that the Right needs to eliminate from it’s agenda in order to remove the hypocrisy.

    And let’s face it. Once you read Freakonomics and add in a few more details regarding abortion demographics (not about race), it gets harder to argue against abortion, regardless of how abhorrent of a practice it is.


    1. The problem with gay marriage is that most likely religious institutions will not be permitted to decide whether or not to support gay weddings. I can imagine, after same sex marriage becomes legal, two men or women walking into a Catholic church(or Baptist or whatever) and asking the priest to marry them. The priest will have to reply that he cannot go against Catholic teachings. There will then be pressure brought against the Catholic Church to change its teachings. The media will portray the church as bigoted. Liberals will consider legislation to force churches to perform gay weddings, etc. It would be one thing if gays got married in churches that support same sex marriage, but quite another it they insist that all churches (and synagogues and mosques, etc) support it.

      That is the main issue here. If one is not Catholic, then what the Catholic church teaches about contraception shouldn’t matter. For my part, I never understood it, even when I was a Catholic. If you work for a Catholic institution, you should expect that it will adhere to Catholic teachings.

      I agree that the Right needs to get out of the habit of using the state to enforce our ideas about morality. The Left is far, far worse at that sort of thing but that is no excuse.


      1. The situation I described is how gay marriage works in Canada. Freedom of religion trumps gay marriage. Even civil ministers who perform civil unions are free to reject a gay marriage. The synagogue my family belongs to does not at this time perform gay marriages, and no gay couple can force them to.

        Any attempt by the left to force unwilling churches to marry gays would face the Supreme Court, and I have a hard time believing that such a law would be upheld when it so obviously violates the First Amendment.

        Other than that, I do agree with you. This kind of a law is completely totalitarian and a total violation of freedom of religion.


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