The title of this diary is the same as that of a letter to the editor in today's News Journal, the local paper in Wilmington, DE. While I don't normally read the newspaper, I happened to see another article that caught my interest while I was buying my breakfast this morning, so I grabbed a copy.
Now, the News Journal is usually a reasonably middle-of-the-road paper, though with a slight rightward tilt more often than not. So while I wasn't surprised to see this letter published, I was rather surprised at the vehemence and sheer ignorance contained in it.
Follow me over the fleur-de-Kos for the letter and the response I'm sending to the paper.
The full text of the letter can be found here. They may have it paywalled, but here's the full letter, typed in from my newspaper:
Contraception law a disgrace to the countryWell, now. Where to begin? We have such a full plate of cat fud before us, it's hard to pick a starting point. Since their editorial policy limits letters to 200 words, I've decided to focus purely on the freedom of religion issue and ignore the glaring ad hominem attacks on the administration and the other politicians who support the administration's decision.
It is a shame and a disgrace what the administration is trying to do to us under the disguise of health care.
This great country was founded on religious freedom. Many of our first congressmen were ministers, and religious sermons were common in the capitol buildings.
You swear yourselves into office with the Holy Bible and then toss it aside like a piece of trash and forbid people to use it.
Myself and many of you served our country and risked our lives to preserve the freedom of this country only to see a few try to destroy it. I pray that you are not one of these (close to traitorous) people.
Dave Iannone, Jr.
Here's my response:
To the editor:While I certainly have a great deal more to say, in particular about the horrendous misuse of the word "traitorous," I think I've raised my blood pressure enough for one day. I'll be around for a little while to respond to comments, but I have a meeting later this afternoon. I'll come back once that's done, at least for a bit longer.
The letter published in Thursday's paper from Mr. Dave Iannone, Jr. of Wilmington shows a severe misunderstanding of religious freedom.
Mr. Iannone roundly decried the recent decision by the Obama administration to mandate all insurance carriers provide contraception to women at no out-of-pocket cost, calling it, “a shame and a disgrace” and, “close to traitorous.”
There is nothing “traitorous” about holding differing views from someone else, whether or not they are a veteran of the armed forces. To say otherwise cheapens the sacrifice of those who have died protecting our right to speak freely, whether they agreed or disagreed with what was being said.
The First Amendment guarantees freedom to practice for ALL religions, including the freedom to not practice any religion at all. It does not forbid the practice of any religion. What it does forbid is government providing favorable treatment to any religion, including in the insurance that religious employers provide their employees. Secular employers have long been required to provide insurance with contraception coverage in many states, so religious organizations should be as well.
No one–regardless of faith–is above the law.
Nor are the rights of women beneath it.
And I won't be sending the letter quite yet. I may edit it a bit if anyone has any helpful suggestions on ways to better word things. I spent a good deal of my lunch hour on this, so I'm very happy with what it says, but if someone out there in the great orange masses has a better way to put something, I'll listen.