The bishop should respect society’s judgment

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Try as I may, I have finally expended my quota of compassion for Bishop David A. Zubik and his opinion on matters relating to women’s reproduction (“A Reprieve for Catholics: Congress Must Work to Lift Onerous Health Law Mandate,” Dec. 26 Perspectives). His perspective on such matters is surely born of institutional commitments rather than any thought to their impact on women.

As a Christian, my faith directs me to love my neighbor, care for those in need and simply try to place myself in another’s shoes rather than mandate their behavior or determine their needs. As a local spokesman for his faith, he should understand that free speech is a right bestowed on all citizens of this country and not so much a vehicle for institutional edicts.

Freedom of religion is also deeply embedded in our society, giving Bishop Zubik and, indeed, all of us the right to hold and to practice our faith, not to impose that on public policy.

Yes, the Catholic Church provides a wide variety of services to many people. It certainly provides many medical services. But women in need of obstetrical or gynecological services are mainly turned away. Do those women in need represent the exception to the law, or simply the exception drawn by the church?

We live in a diverse society and claim to value that diversity. We represent many faiths, many ethical and moral perspectives and many lifestyles. We need to demonstrate how we value that diversity by recognizing our differences, not by imposing the will of one group over all others.

Law is created to reflect our collective judgment on how best to live together. Once created, we need to respect that law. We can agree to disagree, but we need to honor the law we have created, no exceptions by virtue of status or gender!

NANCY E. WELLS
Oakland


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