Grassroots Commentary

An Open Letter to Sen. Sherrod Brown and Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur

Thomas Berry · Mar. 12, 2012

Dear Senator Brown and Congresswoman Kaptur:

Your votes in favor of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, a. k.a. Obamacare, have resulted in unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats drafting a rule to force me, as a practicing Catholic of good conscience, to participate in practices that are morally reprehensible to me personally and that violate my faith’s teachings.

I refer to abortion, sterilization and contraception, all of which I will be forced to fund through my tax dollars. Religious employers, outside of extremely narrow parameters that exempt a relative handful, are likewise forced to include insurance for these practices in health coverage offered to employees, even though like me a great many of their employees also find these practices repugnant if not personally useless.

These services are all readily available to those who seek them outside the organizations targeted by this rule, and the opposition of religions, including but not limited to Catholicism (which was specifically targeted in the rule), to these practices is entirely legal and in no way interferes with anyone’s ability to access them.

It has been said that opposition to this rule, such as I am expressing, is predicated on unreasonable fear. Yet the Catholic bishops who spoke out against the rule were dismissed by Speaker Nancy Pelosi as lobbyists, and their opposition is ridiculed using demonstrably false and deceitful arguments and data – after the President flatly broke his earlier promise to respect religious conscience in this matter.

Tell me: When did fear become unreasonable when the government tramples the constitutional right of the people to engage in lawful religious practices, and then disseminates lies to justify its actions and ridicules religious leaders for objecting to them?

When did it become unreasonable for the people to be afraid when their elected representatives no longer represent them, insist that they know better than the people what is best for them, and renege on their oaths to uphold the Constitution that guarantees their rights?

Is fear unreasonable when the government, instead of protecting liberty, advocates tyranny by using its might to force its intentions upon the unwilling people?

Senator Brown, you not only cast the deciding Senate vote in favor of Obamacare, but you also joined your fellow Democrats in voting to table the Respect of Rights of Conscience Act that would have granted exemptions for religious and moral objections to contraception.

In other words: You have voted in favor of religious people being ordered by the State to violate their consciences even though their acts of conscience are completely legal and in no way an infringement on anyone else’s rights.

Representative Kaptur, you are ostensibly a Catholic, and generally you have voted well on issues concerning both abortion and separation of church and state. Your continued support for Obamacare now violates not only your established voting record, but also certain fundamental teachings of your faith, as well as the First Amendment rights of adherents to Christianity, Judaism and Islam to practice their faith free of government interference.

Now that, with your backing, the government can intrude whenever it wishes into the practices of any religion, what will you target next? Will you ban the use of wine in Holy Communion because minors might partake of it, or out of concern that someone may be adversely affected by it? Will you criminalize evangelistic outreaches and public advertising by a church because an atheist or a member of another faith might be offended? Will you outlaw circumcision? Why not? Thanks to you, the precedent is in place for all these additional infringements on religious freedom and practice.

Do not be deceived. While you favor my conscience being violated concerning abortion, sterilization and contraception, you have no such power over my conscience concerning your political futures. Rest assured that I shall exercise my conscience to the utmost of my ability towards holding you both to account for your shameful actions and removing you both from office this November.


Thomas Berry

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