With Obamacare, it’s nuns, not employees, losing their rights
I was amused somewhat by Frank Elfland’s Jan. 5 letter, “Don’t yield to Catholics on contraception,” as he tried to argue that the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to side with the nuns on their objection to contraceptive coverage in their insurance was, as he called it, “hogwash.”
He stated that it was an example of a Catholic predilection of “forcing others to accept their religious practices,” and that the nuns can avoid the parts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that offend them by hiring only Catholics.
Well, first off, hiring only Catholics is out of the question for the nuns, as that is discrimination against anyone who is not Catholic and is illegal. But more importantly, Mr. Elfland does not understand the impact of the ACA on the nuns’ freedom.
He says that their trying to avoid the law of the ACA would be similar to Muslim or Jewish employers telling their employees that they cannot bring BLTs [bacon lettuce and tomato] or ham sandwiches to work. But that is actually the opposite of what is happening. The impact of the ACA on the nuns is similar to telling Jewish or Muslim employers that they must provide BLTs and ham sandwiches to their employees, even though it is against their religion to eat or touch pork.
The nuns are not forcing their beliefs on others. Anyone who works for them retains the liberty to buy and use contraception or get an abortion. They simply will not find that their insurance pays for it for them. If that is not an acceptable work situation, then perhaps working for a Catholic employer is not a good option.
If one wants to eat ham for lunch, you can work for a Jewish deli, but don’t expect the deli to provide the ham for you free of charge. Everyone has the liberty to live, believe and act as he or she chooses.
What the ACA does is force private companies into a situation where they are required to give their employees something they find contrary to their beliefs.
The nuns were the ones losing their religious liberty, not the employees.
Stop making honest gun owners criminals
I’ve read several articles on this NY SAFE Act, all of it very negative toward the honest gun owner.
As an honest gun owner who enjoys target shooting, trap shooting and hunting, I see no reason why lawmakers and the press and some of our political leaders in this state need to treat us as potential criminals. We don’t break any laws, we pay our taxes; yet what we have [to] say falls on deaf ears.
What Adam Lanza did in Sandy Hook was a horrible thing, but first his mother hid his mental problems; she paid the ultimate price. He didn’t use an AR-15 but two handguns.
Why was the guy in Webster [N.Y.] out of jail after 17 years for killing his grandmother with a hammer? Why are prisons being closed and felons being released into the general public to commit more crimes? Why were mental institutions closed and the patients released into the general public with no clue how to take care of themselves?
It seems the people we’ve elected can’t seem [to] come up with any reasonable way to deal with the real criminals and the mentally ill.
No one I know hunts deer with an AR-15, but might want to hunt coyote with one. So what difference is three rounds in the clip and a pistol grip in the end? It’s still just a semiautomatic rifle in the hands of an honest citizen — who more than likely has some kind of training for recreational purpose only.
So in the end, I believe the press, our political leaders and lawmakers actually need to tell the whole story and not just half the truth. And the NY SAFE Act needs to be done away with and criminals treated the way they treated their victims.
Maybe chain gangs might be a better criminal reform and the mental health care system restructured.
Kevin P. O’Shell
Raise jury duty pay in step with minimum wage
I would like legislation passed to raise the daily jury fee from $40 to a more reasonable amount. This same fee schedule is paid in the federal court system.
If average wages in New York are $935 per week, that’s $187 per day. I think this is an overlooked hardship imposed by our society.
I realize it is a civil obligation but compensation should still be reasonable. Even at the minimum wage, the jury fee should be raised to at least $64 per day. And if this amount is the amount chosen, then the legislation should tie the fee to the minimum wage to keep it in balance.
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