While I have nothing but the utmost esteem for Rabbi Carl Choper, I regretfully but respectfully disagree with his July 3 op-ed, “Religious liberty means liberty for all involved.” Both of us cherish the treasure of religious liberty. Where we part paths is in his assessment that Catholic bishops are seeking to restrict the religious freedom of those whom they employ.
It would be hypocritical for the church to demand that government respect her freedom if she denied it to her employees. Yet that is not the case.
The church is not asking workers to violate their conscience. Employees are legally free to do whatever the law allows on their time and in their homes. But it’s unjust to demand that employers provide or pay for things that are discretionary, especially if they are morally objectionable. Anyone, regardless of religion, has access to contraceptives in every pharmacy, grocery and convenience store. Even Planned Parenthood offers it. So why should religious employers be forced to provide it for employees?
Imagine if the government compelled bosses to buy workers cigarettes or pornography, which are just as legal and optional as birth control. The bishops are not coercing employees; they are merely refusing to be coerced by the government.
THE REV. FR. JOHN TRIGILIO, JR. PH.D.,
Our Lady of Good Counsel, Marysville
and Saint Bernadette, Duncannon
With all due respect to Rabbi Choper, it is not fair to portray the Catholic Church, especially the Bishops, as being only 50% in favor of Religious Freedom. They are not coercing anyone to violate their conscience. Their employees can believe and act as they so choose. The only point is why should the Church pay for what it has moral objection? A judge in Germany, recently ruled that ritual circumcision is a crime, violating “the fundamental right of the child to bodily integrity,” which overrules even parental rights. “This change runs counter to the interests of the child, who can decide his religious affiliation himself later in life.” Here is the slippery slope when government tells us religions what to do or not do. Making Catholic employers provide contraceptives is no different from prohibiting Jewish parents from having their sons circumcised.
Rev. Fr. Kenneth Brighenti, PhD
Vice Rector, Mt St Mary Seminary
Sadly, Rabbi Choper is on the wrong side of this issue. After the ruling in Germany to outlaw ritual circumcision, an obvious violation of religious liberty, the good Rabbi Choper has been spending an inordinate amount of time scraping the egg off his face. Rabbi Choper, please read this article about that offensive ruling in Germany, and please pay close attention to the Chief Rabbi's final sentence. Notice that, like the Catholic Bishops, the Chief Rabbi agrees that such intrusions by a government are violations I religious liberty:
Deacon Thomas Lang