March 26

Rick Warren [“America’s First Freedom, in practice,” op-ed, March 22] believes that an employersuch as Hobby Lobby should be allowed to deny its employees legally mandated benefits that violate its religious beliefs. However, the problem Rev. Warren identifies goes far beyond health coverage for contraception. Some employers are forced to enable behavior that violates their conscience every time they issue a paycheck, because they cannot prevent their employees from spending their dollars on pornography, alcohol, gambling and other vices.

I have a modest proposal to stop this blatant violation of employers’ religious liberty: The Supreme Court should allow religiously minded employers to pay employees in a special currency — call it “soul scrip” — that can be redeemed only for products approved by the employers. Each employer could specify its own restrictions; a strong believer in animal rights could prevent its employees from spending their soul scrip on meat, for instance.

Some would object to soul scrip on the grounds that employees also have the right to religious liberty and that they should be able to decide on contraceptive use and other matters without interference from their boss. But this shouldn’t be a problem once we accept Rev. Warren’s premise that employers are entitled to more religious liberty than the hapless masses who have the audacity not to own their own business.

John Shea, Ellicott City