Readers Write: Obamacare should keep religious exemption narrow. What has Obama done for Palestinians?

Letters to the Editor for the weekly print issue of Dec. 31, 2012: The religious exemption to Obamacare's contraceptive mandate should remain narrow, so few groups have the right to deny employees insurance coverage for contraception. President Obama should stop support for Israel's West Bank takeover and bring US foreign policy in line with American democratic principles.

Whose liberty should be favored?

Regarding The Monitor's View of Dec. 10, "Balancing health and faith": The Obama administration's religious exemption to the contraceptive mandate in the new health-care law was appropriately crafted to give only a narrow category of groups the right to deny their employees insurance coverage for contraception.

Should our nation's laws protect individuals – allowing them to access reproductive health-care choices according to their own conscience – or should the law allow employers to cite their own religious views in not offering certain health-care options to their workers?

I return to the principle that drives my ministry: compassion. I have more compassion for people who want to make their own health-care decisions than I do for organizations who hinder their employees' ability to access parts of that care.

The Rev. Rob Keithan

 Director of public policy

Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice

Washington

US Mideast policy should honor rights

I would like to respond to the quote from Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas featured on the Dec. 10 Overheard page and the article "Israel 'mows the lawn.' " United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice, after the UN made Palestine a nonmember observer state, foretold that when the day's pronouncements fade, the Palestinians will find that their lives haven't changed, and their prospects for peace are diminished. But what have Ms. Rice and President Obama done to really help change Palestinians' lives and their prospects of a durable peace?

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently declared that Israel would expand its West Bank settlements, which are illegal according to international law. Will Mr. Obama continue to provide support for Israel's West Bank takeover, and will Rice justify Israel's works in the UN? America ought to begin a national discussion about bringing our foreign policy in line with the principles in the Declaration of Independence and the Preamble to the Constitution, rather than the rule "might makes right."

James Martin

Vancouver, Wash.

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

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