LETTERS TO THE EDITOR - Freedom of religion must not be limited

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I want to acknowledge the Rev. Mark Koonz, pastor of Emmanuel Lutheran Church, for his enlightening and well -stated column dated Feb. 26. For the record I am not a member of Emmanuel Lutheran Church.

In it he tackled the very controversial U.S Department of Health and Human Services mandate that will force virtually all private health-care plans to cover and subsidize sterilization, abortifacients and contraception. Regardless of your faith or views on sterilization, abortifacients and contraception, every American should be very alarmed that the government is forcing institutions and health insurance companies to act against their conscience(s).

The First Amendment unambiguously says that government "shall make no law" prohibiting the free exercise of religion.

If we as American citizens, with the freedom to vote and the freedom to exercise our right to challenge the president and his Department of Health and Human Services, do not stand up against this gross violation of our Bill of Rights, then we will later have no legitimate basis to complain when our government completely ignores the voice of the American people.

Freedom of religion, like freedom of the press and the right to assemble, must not be limited. Please contact your legislators and encourage them to support the Respect for the Rights of Conscience Act. Exercise this right while you still have it!

Jacquie Roach

Walla Walla

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