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Letters to the Editor: Why are Christian groups allowed to discriminate? Power and privilege

Exterior view of a building with broad front steps and Corinthian columns.
The Supreme Court in Washington.
(J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press)

To the editor: Op-ed article writers Rachel S. Mikva, Corey D.B. Walker and Reza Aslan are rightly concerned that what passes for religious freedom in the U.S. is highly selective. Yet they seem puzzled as to why this is so. Why, they ask, is religious freedom for some groups favored over other groups, and second, why is the deciding issue always about sexuality and procreation?

The short answer is that the groups that benefit — primarily conservative white evangelicalism and its affiliates — have built a system of religious, educational, media and legal institutions that are all focused on challenging social and cultural changes in schools, courts and elections.

As an attorney for a local evangelical university told me, his university was keen to “maintain our ability to discriminate” based on their beliefs.

Thus, the deeper answer to the above questions is that true religious liberty will not come to America until the strength, sophistication and funding of evangelical political and legal institutions is matched by those religious groups that have an alternative view of what it means to be human — and religious — in a pluralistic society.

Richard Flory, Newport Beach

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The writer is senior director of research and evaluation at the USC Center for Religion and Civic Culture.

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To the editor: Even though Catholic Social Services did not impose its beliefs on anyone when it placed children in foster homes, the city of Philadelphia did by trying to force it to certify same-sex couples as foster parents.

Although religious freedom won, this Supreme Court decision will most likely not resolve future cases related to LGBTQ issues and religious freedom. However, it is a breath of fresh air today for millions of people because the 1st Amendment was respected and the judges saw the value of faith-based foster care agencies.

However, religious people are not naive. They know that the attacks will continue. Pretty soon, a religious person won’t even be able to bake a cake without interference.

Wesley Stalnaker, Valencia

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To the editor: As the op-ed article stated, too many institutions are getting a pass on discrimination.

Any organization receiving government funds should be responsible for making sure those funds are used to help all people involved with it. I do not want my tax dollars supporting Catholic Social Services if it refuses to certify same-sex couples as foster parents.

A person’s sexual orientation has no bearing on their ability to be a good parent. Catholic Social Services’ job is to secure a loving home for a child, not question the sexual activity of the adults interested in adopting.

Debbie Cassettari, Chino Hills


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