To the editor:
We here at St. Raphael's by the Sea Anglican Church continue to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ. Because of our commitment "to know Christ and to make Christ known", as a pastor I believe I would be remiss if I kept silent on the new national healthcare mandate concerning sterilization, abortion-inducing drugs, and contraceptives. Although pro-choice organizations have for years claimed individuals have a choice in such matters, their support of this mandate, which eliminates any personal choice is, I believe, to be hypocritical to say the least.
On the other hand, the Roman Catholic Church has taken a courageous stance against this federal mandate that attacks 'the sanctity of life' and the separation of church and state. I say this because 'the sanctity of life' is an important tenet of faith for the Roman Catholic Church and other faith traditions. While religious organizations such as churches, synagogues and mosques have been exempted from this mandate, religious owned organizations such as hospitals, orphanages, schools, etc. have not been exempted. This federal mandate forces religious-owned institutions to perform and or pay for procedures that are against their religious beliefs. This means that doctors, nurses and other medical personnel, who believe in the sanctity of life, will have to choose between going against their own consciences or leaving the medical field.
Here in Lee County we do not have any Roman Catholic hospitals, so we may believe that we are not directly impacted. However, we cannot afford to be myopic. Religious schools and other religious institutions, besides Roman Catholic hospitals, are being forced to pay for employment insurance that covers procedures and health care that is against the religious beliefs of these religious owned organizations.
This federal mandate will also affect individual health insurance under the new national health care system, forcing persons of faith to have to pay for coverage that may be against their personal religious beliefs. As Americans, we need to unite against this federal government assault on our religious freedom. Whether you are pro-life or pro-choice, religious or not, the time has come to take a stand and join with our Roman Catholic brothers and sisters. The time to speak out is now, before it is too late.
The Rev. Alice Marcrum, Rector
St. Raphael's by the Sea Anglican Church
Fort Myers Beach