Religious freedom under assault


To the Editor:
During my recent trip to New York City I had the pleasure of visiting Ellis Island.  What struck me most about Ellis Island were the photographs and stories of Orthodox Jews kneeling and kissing the earth as they stepped onto American soil, or the Irish, Polish, or Italian immigrants making the sign of the cross as they were getting off the crowded ships.  Millions of immigrants passed through the doors of Ellis Island, and many of them were fleeing not only depressed economic conditions in Europe, but many were also fleeing totalitarian governments that persecuted individuals and families solely on the basis of their religion or freedom to worship.
Under President Obama’s mandated health plan, the power of the federal government is trying to force Catholic institutions to provide health insurance coverage that includes sterilization, birth control, and abortifacient drugs in direct violation of the teachings of the Catholic Church and the consciences of millions of Roman Catholics.  This is in direct violation of our country’s constitution regarding the freedom of religion.
The real issue is not whether you believe or practice the Catholic Church’s moral teaching; the real issue is one of religious freedom and tolerance.  If we do not learn from the mistakes of the past, we are doomed to repeat or re-live the pain and abuse that will inevitably follow.  If the boot of the federal government can step on the smallest among us, it is only a matter of time before it crushes us all.
Mike Gannon

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