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


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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