Opinion | Catholic Bishops, President Biden and Abortion Politics

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To the Editor:

“Bishops on Path to Refuse Biden Holy Communion” (front page, June 19):

To the Catholic Bishops of My Church:

I am a 76-year-old woman born and raised Catholic as well as Catholic-educated through college. It is with a saddened heart that I find it necessary to part ways with my church.

As a registered nurse, I have witnessed the consequences of denying women birth control or medically necessary abortions. I have witnessed the pain of my cousin’s family upon learning that her son was molested by a priest. And now you are considering denying communion to President Biden, who is at his core a good, decent, moral individual, because of his support for abortion rights.

No matter his personal religious beliefs, Mr. Biden represents all women’s rights to their own individuality and dignity. Most of all, he stands for the constitutional separation of church and state.

I choose to follow my president and not the man-made dogmas of the Catholic Church.

Kathy Lollock
Santa Rosa, Calif.

To the Editor:

Let’s see if I have this straight. A group of conservative bishops is spending its time and resources thinking up a way that it can prevent President Biden, a devout Catholic, from receiving the sacrament of communion.

Of course, these are the same bishops who, as your article points out, had no problem turning a blind eye to Donald Trump’s sexual escapades. This same group of hypocrites was mute in the face of Mr. Trump’s vitriol against the handicapped, minorities, immigrants attempting to escape poverty and violence, the L.G.B.T. community and scores of others.

And now it wants to punish a president who is trying to alleviate poverty and racial disparities in this country and to show compassion to immigrants seeking a better life in this country. How rich! And yet the leader of the bishops’ Committee on Doctrine claims that this has nothing to do with politics?

Laurie Korenbaum
Brooklyn

To the Editor:

John F. Kennedy famously said, “I do not speak for my church on public matters, and the church does not speak for me.” The statement helped to convince Americans that, if Mr. Kennedy was elected, his policies would be dictated not by the hierarchy of his church, but by what he believed was good and right for the country. It upheld the constitutional separation of church and state and recognized that most Americans are neither Catholic nor in agreement with many of the church’s positions.

Conservative bishops of today’s Catholic Church seem to have forgotten that history and the principles it represents. In a likely futile effort to reverse declining church membership, they want to dictate political policy by refusing sacraments to those who don’t adhere rigidly to their viewpoint. If they insist, they may find it impossible ever to see a third Catholic president elected.

Gail Goldey
Santa Fe, N.M.

To the Editor:

Will any of the Catholic Supreme Court justices be refused holy communion if they uphold Roe v. Wade in court cases? Is that the warning of this religious attack on the president of the United States?

Maurice Reder
Miami Beach

The Supreme Court Ruling on the Health Law

To the Editor:

Re “Justices Fend Off 3rd G.O.P. Attempt to Scrap Care Act” (front page, June 18):

Honestly, what were Justices Samuel A. Alito and Neil M. Gorsuch thinking in their dissents in the Supreme Court ruling upholding the Affordable Care Act? Their position (and that of the lower court judges in the case) would have blown up the American health care system. In the middle of a pandemic no less.

This defies common sense and good policy. It is also judicial activism of the worst sort.

Lorelie S. Masters
Washington
The writer is a lawyer.

The Supreme Court Term

    • A Big Month. June is peak season for Supreme Court decisions. It is the final month of the court’s annual term, and the justices tend to save their biggest decisions for the term’s end. Here are the cases to watch.
    • Obamacare Ruling. In a seven-justice majority, the court ruled that the plaintiffs in the latest challenge to the Affordable Care Act did not have sufficient standing to sue. While the law’s future now seems secure, new fights over health policy are likely to emerge.
    • Religious Freedom and Gay Rights. The court ruled unanimously in favor of a Catholic agency that had refused to work with same-sex couples applying to be foster parents.
    • More Decisions to Come. The court is set to rule on a case that could determine scores of laws addressing election rules in the coming years. It will also issue a ruling on whether students may be disciplined for what they say on social media (here’s an audio report on that subject; and here’s where public opinion stands on several of the big cases).
    • What to Watch For. The approaches that Amy Coney Barrett, the newest justice, and Brett Kavanaugh, the second-newest, take. They will be crucial because the three liberal justices now need at least two of the six conservatives to form a majority. Before the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the liberals needed only one conservative.
    • Looking Ahead. Next year’s term, which will start in the fall, will have cases on abortion, guns and perhaps affirmative action, and could end up being the most significant term so far under Chief Justice John Roberts.

    To the Editor:

    It would not have been hard for Republicans to kill the Affordable Care Act. All they needed to do was give the American people a better alternative. Donald Trump promised a big, beautiful health care plan for all at great prices with great service and never delivered!

    Brant Thomas
    Cold Spring, N.Y.

    Joe Manchin’s ‘Fantasy World’

    To the Editor:

    Re “Why Manchin Is Emphasizing Bipartisanship” (front page, June 12):

    Senator Joe Manchin’s “dreams of comity in Washington” are just that: dreams that don’t mesh with reality. Mr. Manchin is living in a fantasy world, and his refusal to stand up to the dirty tricks employed expertly by Mitch McConnell threatens the viability of the Biden administration’s lofty goals and, more important, the wants and needs of the American public.

    Rather than being a broker of cooperation and compromise, Mr. Manchin is an obstacle preventing any movement toward success in solving our myriad problems. He needs to put the 19th century behind and move into the new world of the 21st century, where Mr. McConnell and his minions put power and party over country.

    Bill Gottdenker
    Mountainside, N.J.

    Unvaccinated Hospital Workers: Shame on You!

    To the Editor:

    Re “A judge dismisses Houston hospital workers’ lawsuit about vaccine mandates” (Live briefing, nytimes.com, June 13):

    I am an oncology nurse practitioner in the Atlanta area. As a health care provider, I have a duty not to jeopardize the health of my already immunocompromised patients by willfully choosing not to be vaccinated against this deadly virus.

    Many of my patients are terrified to leave their homes, uncertain if they will be unwittingly exposed to the virus by some thoughtless citizens who are too ignorant or intolerant or intransigent to get a lifesaving vaccine. How is this different from being required to be vaccinated against the flu, as many hospitals have done?

    Shame on those hospital workers in Texas who claim a right not to be vaccinated. What about my patients’ right not to live in fear of infection? You took an oath to care for the sick. Do your duty now or find another profession, preferably one where you work in isolation.

    Alyce M. Kantner
    Atlanta

    How to Reduce Roadkill

    To the Editor:

    Re “How Did the Moose Cross the Road? On the Overpass, of Course.” (news article, June 4):

    Roadkill has reached a global tipping point, and the United States lags way behind other nations in addressing it. All over the country, small groups of scientists, agency leaders and concerned citizens are banding together in attempts to reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions by building wildlife crossing structures. These collaborative groups face many struggles, the biggest being funding.

    Here in the Smokies, bear, elk and deer are the biggest threats to human safety. But for the entire ecosystem to thrive, we also want to protect smaller mammals like bobcats and foxes as well as amphibians and reptiles.

    Losing species is not an appropriate price to pay for the conveniences of modernity. Small community and regional efforts can accomplish only so much on their own. We need federal support for transportation infrastructure and a cultural sea change to make wildlife crossings not an anomaly, but the norm.

    Frances Figart
    Flag Pond, Tenn.
    The writer is the author of “A Search for Safe Passage,” a children’s book about the need for wildlife crossings.

    What to Wear to a Funeral

    To the Editor:

    Re “What Should I Wear to a Funeral?” (Here to Help, June 14):

    I was mildly surprised that someone would write to a newspaper for advice on how to dress appropriately for a funeral. My surprise turned to bewilderment, however, when Vanessa Friedman felt the need to counsel: “No ripped jeans, overexposed body parts or wild animal prints. No jangly accessories.”

    Apparently the Kardashian-ization of America is complete.

    Ellen D. Murphy
    Portland, Me.

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