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Opinion

Readers React: Why should religious institutions get a pass when they break the law?

TORRANCE, CALIF. - DEC. 11 2018. Exterior of St. James Catholic School in Torrance. Two nuns alle
Students walk between classes at St. James Catholic School in Torrance.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: It is disappointing to see nine Republican appointees on the 9th Circuit feel that religious institutions have free rein to discriminate, fire employees and generally ignore laws that apply to every other citizen and organization. (“Torrance Catholic school case leads to rift on 9th Circuit,” June 25)

In this case, a Catholic school fired an employee for taking time off to get chemotherapy to fight her cancer, and those nine 9th Circuit judges wanted the school to be immune from lawsuits. No religion has the right to ignore laws that apply generally to all of us. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled exactly that in a case stating that American Indians had no right to ignore narcotic laws and smoke peyote, which they had done religiously for hundreds of years.

I recently told a policeman who stopped me for excessive speed that he couldn’t ticket me because I belonged to the Church of Speeding, where we communicated closer to God in a speeding vehicle. He ignored my prayer and handed me a ticket.

Ken Goldman, Beverly Hills

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