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Zubik right on Affordable Care Act

| Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

As a Catholic and a lawyer, I strongly support Bishop David Zubik in his efforts to exempt the Pittsburgh Diocese from certain mandates of the Affordable Care Act (“Zubik would choose fines, not mandate,” Nov. 13).

This is an issue of the federal government mandating that a religious institution violate one of its core tenets. I was brought up to do the right thing even when no one is looking and even if it hurts. The government's position that the requirement presents little or no burden on the diocese is a red herring. I surmise Bishop Zubik would maintain his position even if the diocese was paid to comply.

The Catholic Church does not condone divorce. In my law practice, however, I facilitate divorce. That is my choice. I am not being forced to do so any more than an atheist would be forced to believe in God. The First Amendment of the Constitution states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof ... .” The Affordable Care Act, in the context of this litigation, is establishing a religion — a secular state religion that prohibits the Catholic Church as an institution from its free exercise thereof. Every citizen of this country should be outraged by the government's actions.

If the government can force a religious institution to violate its beliefs — while doing so in violation of one of its basic tenets — are we not on the path of tyranny?

Gerald G. DeAngelis


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