I applaud your Nov. 23 “Church and State” editorial. I was tempted to write a rebuttal to the negative responses but refrained until now, when I read Ann Rodgers’ analysis (“Catholic Charities Isn’t ‘Separate’ from the Diocese,” Dec. 5). I enjoyed her knowledgeable, unbiased religious reports when she was with the Post-Gazette, but this offering is a poorly disguised public relations piece undertaken to satisfy her new employer.
Ms. Rodgers advances the argument that, because Catholic Charities is administered by Bishop David Zubik as are many parishes, it must be treated in the same manner by the act. There are many individuals who own numerous companies, but because they perform different functions, they are treated differently by the government.
In another paragraph she emphasized that “The church is clear about what it stands for.” Thus people are aware of this fact before they accept a position to work for a Catholic organization. That is a spurious argument. When an individual is sent on an interview by a government employment agency, is she permitted to turn it down simply because it’s a Catholic agency, and the applicant wants contraceptive coverage or any future condition that might offend Catholic orthodoxy?
Since Catholic Charities need only submit a list of employees if it does not wish to pay for coverage, the issue becomes primarily one of power. The church recognizes this as an opportunity to assert its position in American society without any substantive benefit to anyone.
Ms. Rodgers’ plea to “respect the integrity of people who make a free choice to work for Catholic institutions” is meaningless. It would make sense to respect the integrity of people who work for Catholic institutions to have the choice of coverage that they desire. Let’s respect the rights of all individuals; they are the ones who have been granted freedom of religion by the First Amendment, not any institution.
JAMES A. KEHL