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Archbishop Lori's charge that the government is eroding religious freedom is simply untrue

It is most unfortunate that Archbishop William E. Lori has chosen to use his pulpit to engage in the fear-engendering tactics so favored by the far right in our society ("Religious freedom under threat in U.S.," June 16).

His statement that "the government is eroding" freedom of religion in this country is simply untrue. This country has become less sectarian and more tolerant of religious diversity than ever before.

It sounds like the Catholic bishops in this country are upset because the laws of the land prevent them from imposing their beliefs regarding contraception and abortion on everyone else through the use of our tax dollars.

The bishops refuse to acknowledge that a majority of American citizens do not share their beliefs and find it offensive, if not illegal, to have those beliefs imposed on them.

This is the kind of thing Americans were concerned about when John F. Kennedy was running for president in 1960 — and what made 2012 GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum so scary: Would they try to impose their Catholic faith on all Americans?

The Catholic bishops, like the leaders of all other religions in this country, are perfectly free to pursue their faith without interference from the government. But if they wish to offer a public service to the community funded with taxpayer support, they must do so free of any restrictions dictated by their particular religious beliefs.

The irony is that if the government permitted them to do otherwise it would in effect be sanctioning those religious beliefs — that is, favoring one religion over all others, which the Supreme Court has said is contrary to the freedom of religion clause of the U.S. Constitution.

Dan Tracy, Baltimore

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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