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On violating religious tenets

To the Editor:

Regarding the recent controversy over the contraception mandate, the Jewish organizations are missing the fundamental issue. This has nothing to do with the contraceptives and everything to do with the ability of the federal government to mandate activities that violate religious tenets.

Suppose the government issued a rule that the work week now consists of six days, seven hours, with Sunday as the non-work day. Employees would be required to appear all other days. Clearly the Jewish community would suddenly have an issue.

It is the principle that the government cannot make laws respecting (or disrespecting) religion or its free exercise that we must support. We have a clear need to weigh in on the side of those opposing this intrusion regardless of our feelings about the actual policy (I happen to believe that contraception and abortion are personal choices).

The way to do this is to get the government out of the health insurance business by removing the employer tax benefit and having everyone buy their own policy without state’s restrictions (i.e., across state lines). If a subsidy is needed, you get a voucher or some similar system.

Steven Cohen
Phoenix, Ariz.

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