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Religious freedom vs. employee rights

Regarding the May 22 news article “Catholic groups file suit over health care”:

The free exercise of religion is not something the American people take lightly. When Catholic leaders — no trifling force in the United States — accuse the federal government of a momentous affront on our religious freedom, every person has a vested interest, regardless of his or her religious beliefs.

As Bishop William E. Lori of Baltimore has pointed out, if the federal government forced all delis to serve pork, without any exemption for Jewish delis, the American people should all protest — if only for fear of the next violation of religious freedom. Once we allow one violation, where will it stop?

As the Washington Archdiocese rightly argues, the exemption for “houses of worship” is far too narrow. Out of love for God and neighbor (and because we do not wish to be hypocrites), we live and practice our faith outside of our houses of worship. When the federal government tests its reach into our religious freedom, it should incite the protest of every American.

Jane Murphy, Hyattsville

‚óŹ

Lost in the debate about Catholic hospitals and colleges and contraceptive coverage are the rights of employees. The Catholic groups’ lawsuit, if successful, would uphold the “beliefs” of hospital and college administrators while dismissing the rights of employees — Catholic and non-Catholic alike — to equal treatment under the health-care law, regardless of the nature or persuasion of their employer.

Mary von Euler, Bethesda

The writer is secretary of Americans for Democratic Action.

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