LETTERS TO THE EDITOR - Stand up for freedom

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Recently Catholic churches across the nation read a letter to congregants denouncing new health-care mandates soon to be imposed by our government. I applaud their bold stand and was moved by the statements made in their letter.

The controversy comes from the Department of Health and Human Services requirement that employers must include contraceptive, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs in their health coverage. It will force all Catholic (and all other faiths) colleges, hospitals and charitable organizations to provide these coverages.

Health insurers would be forced to include these services in the policies they write and purchasers would not have a choice to decline these services violating their conscience and moral beliefs.

This is a direct attack against our religious liberties and our rights under the First Amendment. This has been only one of many attempts by our government to strip away personal and religious freedoms.

Just a few weeks ago, a 9-0 Supreme Court decision affirmed the right of churches to decide who they employ, how to manage and the ability to terminate employment. Our current administration was in favor of government playing a role in making these decisions.

Quoting a part of the letter read at churches, "We cannot and will not comply with this unjust law. People of faith cannot be made second-class citizens. We are already joined by our brothers and sisters of all faiths in this important effort to regain our religious freedoms. Our grandparents and their parents did not come to these shores to help build America only to have their posterity stripped of their God-given rights."

I am not a Catholic but as a person of faith and an American, I agree with their statement and think it is important to stand up in protecting our freedoms as written in the Constitution for all Americans.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German pastor during the 1930s, bravely tried to warn the churches of the growing threat facing them. The people remained silent until their freedom was lost.

Deitrich's statement to the people rings true today. "Silence in the face of evil is itself evil, God will not hold us guiltless, not to speak is to speak; not to act is to act."

Erica Zitterkopf

Walla Walla

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