Government's regulation of religion

Regarding the opinion-page column "Religious Conservatives Misjudged Court," July 18: I have to agree with the author's premise that religious conservatives - ironically - support government regulation (read "domination") of religious matters. But unlike the author I wouldn't draw too many hasty conclusions.As a lawyer and former Mormon missionary, I've seen the legal system turn on itself. In 1890, for example, the government hounded Mormons into abandoning polygamy, placing their prophet in the untenable position of being compelled to reassure Congress under oath in 1904 that no new polygamous marriages had been authorized, even though they had. Times change, though. The Utah Supreme Court, always a conservative body, recently held that practicing polygamy does not make a family ineligible to adopt children. The decision was applauded by none other than the American Civil Liberties Union. As my mother used to counsel me, never assume anything but a 2 percent mortgage. Michael J. Barrett, Sterling, Va.

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please address them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.

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