EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Opinion

December 18, 2013

Letter: Birth control mandate violates religious freedom

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As a practical matter, birth control is very cheap. In fact, it is handed out for free in public schools and health clinics all over our country. To believe the lie that this is about access to birth control is simply ignoring the plain facts.

When Hillary Clinton as first lady introduced her health care plan even she had a “conscience clause” allowing religious groups with objections based in theological doctrine to opt out, without penalty. Mr. Obama’s plan, even though he publicly promised to allow for such a “conscience clause” in a speech at Notre Dame, has no such option. But, the end justifies the means so why would the American public care if our president went back on his word in order to achieve his legacy.

The omitting of a conscience clause is an unabashed attempt to limit freedom of religion in the United States. In fact, there is a movement to replace freedom of religion with freedom of worship. The change, if allowed, would be more than semantics. There would be far reaching legal consequences for our nation and its faith based organizations including hospitals, schools, nursing homes, homeless shelters and the like. During the Spanish Civil War, left wing Republicans launched a campaign of persecution against the Spanish Catholic Church. The poet Wystan Hugh Auden arrived in Barcelona to find the city’s churches closed and its priests exiled or killed. Auden wrote, “To my astonishment this discovery left me profoundly shocked and disturbed. I could not help acknowledge that however I had consciously ignored and rejected the Church for years, the existence of churches and what went on in them had all the time been very important to me.” Atheists and believers alike would be wise to consider the role of faith based organizations in our society and the implications if harsh non-compliance penalties close their doors.

Lisa Jaskelovinski

Salem

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