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Letter: Gazette should be cautious on religion

Gazette should be cautious on religion

Editor:

I was disturbed by your editorial page of July 19. “Smiles to Sen. Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia, although a devout Catholic, who voted a Democratic bill asserting the right of all women workers to free birth control under the Affordable Care Act.”

Will the Gazette now tell us the religious background of all candidates for public office as well as all those serving in public office? Will the editors state or imply that the religious faith of American Catholics makes it impossible for them to protect the cherished Constitution they swear on a Bible to uphold? In his response to a “Freedom of Religion Foundation” (FFRF) anti-Catholic ad in the New York Times, Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York asks: Will they claim that a “Jewish congressman could not freely vote on aid to Israel?; or that a Mormon judge could not rule on marriage?; or that a Baptist legislator could not clearly vote on issues of liquor or gambling?; or that a Quaker president was able to be Commander-In-Chief?; or that an African-American justice had no objectivity on a civil rights issue?” I think not. As Arthur Schlesinger observed, “Bias against the Catholic Church is the most enduring prejudice in American History.”

The Catholic Church has long advocated universal health care but the Obama administration’s miscalculation has transformed bishops and Catholics into political adversaries of the Affordable Care Act. Obama’s administration should have allowed for broader religious exemptions to the mandate.

The bishops rightly object to the Obama administration’s violating the Religious Freedom Restoration Act passed unanimously in 1993 by both Democrats and Republicans in Congress under liberal Democrat, Bill Clinton, according to which the Federal Government cannot force the owners of closely held corporations (and, hopefully, religious institutions like the Little Sisters of the Poor and Sacred Heart Grade School) to provide, through employee health plans, contraception services and abortifacient drugs that we find objectionable on religious grounds.

Father Edward P. Sadie

Rector, Sacred Heart Co-Cathedral Basilica

Charleston

Being white in W.Va. has its privileges

Editor:

White privilege is a firm set of advantages and immunities that white Americans enjoy and benefit from on a daily basis, even if they don’t realize it.

West Virginia is a huge proponent of this Draconian belief system. It is so prevalent here that we compartmentalize and internalize various elements to where White privilege is just something that’s always been around and we’re OK with it.

Take a road trip to any predominantly white, rural town in West Virginia and you will find citizens so steeped in conditioned White privilege that the general consensus is that our president was born in Kenya, is a Muslim and was sworn in to office (both times) on the Koran. (Yes, racism and white privilege are kissing cousins.) In these little, white, country one-traffic-light bergs, the school system, justice system, labor, housing and financial markets and the media are firmly entrenched in white privilege. With white privilege on your end of the skin spectrum, you feel free to move, buy, work, play, pray and speak freely with no fear of repercussion. In West Virginia, being poor, illiterate and white is considered a favorable alternative to being anything else. White West Virginians don’t feel categorized as being privileged simply because we have never had to think about categorization at all.

West Virginia needs to take a gigantic step back and check itself. Admit that white West Virginians benefit from the oppression of others. Admit that white privilege is a systemic reality that can be changed with education and acknowledgment.

As with any addiction, and white privilege is a heady drug, admitting there is a problem is the first and most important step to recovery.

Loren Lynn Rousseau

South Charleston


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