A letter to the editor from the New York Times website, a version of which appeared in today’s print edition:
Re “Bishops Sue Over Contraception Mandate” (news article, May 22):
The lawsuits by Catholic institutions are not about abortion, contraception, sterilization or other procedures. They are about ensuring that all religious organizations — no matter their particular faith — can publicly live out and express without editing or abridgment what their faiths teach. They are about ensuring that the institutions — and not government — determine what to believe and how to practice their beliefs.
They are about ensuring that any religious institution — not just Catholic institutions — may uphold its teaching and still serve all people in need, regardless of faith. Under the final rules issued by the Department of Health and Human Services, the only way a Catholic hospital, school or social service agency can continue to stay Catholic is to limit care, services or education solely to Catholics.
The administration gives us three options: violate our beliefs, go out of business or serve only our members. “Are you hungry?” or “How do you feel?” must become “Sorry, Catholics only.” That is not acceptable.
The First Amendment is clear: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” This administration has tossed aside this first of all freedoms for everyone, not just Catholics.
How ironic that this administration, which is violating our right to believe in the sanctity of life at all stages, recently offered asylum to a Chinese man persecuted by his government because he believes that certain practices are immoral.
(Most Rev.) JOHN J. MYERS
Archbishop of Newark
Newark, May 23, 2012