July 31, 2014

When Is It Relevant To Talk About Religion? Letter writer thinks religion isn't relevant to Supreme Court decision

There are a few topics that my mother has always said do not belong in polite conversation. Two of the most frequent offenders: religion and politics.

Unfortunately for us, the recent Hobby Lobby decision combines both.

There are those that disagree though. This letter to the editor writer asks, "What's [religion] got to do with anything?"

And my answer is: Everything.


Rey Marsella of Lakeland wrote:
In response to James Cottrell's recent letter ["Hobby Lobby Decision," July 17], in which he asks, "Does anyone see any hope for women's rights while the Supreme Court is ruled by five old conservative Catholic men?" 
Although it is true that the five justices who ruled for Hobby Lobby are Roman Catholic, one of the dissenting justices is also Catholic, while the other three are Jewish. 
What's that got to do with anything? 
The way the question was put in the letter reminded me of President John F. Kennedy's words when anti-Catholic individuals and organizations such as the Ku Klux Klan said during his 1960 campaign that he was going to be taking orders from the pope if he was elected president. 
His response was, "I am not the Catholic candidate for president. I am the Democratic Party's candidate for president who also happens to be a Catholic. I do not speak for my church on public matters — and the church does not speak for me." 
At that time, noted historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Peter Viereck said, "Catholic baiting is the anti-Semitism of the liberals." 
Let's not go there.
So, why, do you think, dear readers, that ALL of the opinion for Hobby Lobby--for limiting contraception coverage--come from a Christian tradition that has traditionally been anti-contraception? Is that truly irrelevant to the conversation?

We have this idea that religion is this personal, private matter--and I agree that it should be. But as long as religion is being used to govern our land, it is always relevant to the conversation. Absolutely always completely and totally relevant.

The day that religion no longer factors into our policy making in the secular sphere is the day that there will no longer be any reason to mention someone's religion in relation to decisions and policies and legislation.

But that day is unfortunately not today.

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