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Religious Liberty

November 1, 2012 | By Mitchell Landsberg
There is, apparently, no escape from the presidential campaign. Most regular churchgoers say their clergy have been talking about the election, according to a new poll , although few appear to be endorsing candidates from the pulpit. The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press said 52% of regular churchgoers have heard their clergy talk about the importance of voting in the election, but only 19% say there has been talk about specific candidates. Under federal law, houses of worship risk their tax-exempt status if they take sides in a partisan race.
August 28, 2012 | By Michael McGough
Bless you, Father, for you have not sinned against the separation of church and campaign. Cardinal Timothy Dolan's decision to offer the closing prayer at the Democratic National Convention as well as the Republican convention is a shrewd way to tamp down controversy about the Catholic hierarchy's seeming transformation into the Republican party at prayer. The real shrewdness, of course, came from the Democratic Party, which called Dolan's bluff by inviting him to invoke God's blessing on what many Republicans consider a godless party.
August 1, 2012 | By Mitchell Landsberg
The intersection of politics and religion can sometimes resemble one of those spaghetti freeway interchanges. Cars go in and cars go out, but not always in ways you might expect. Take the recent case of the fight between President Obama and the nation's Roman Catholic bishops. A new poll has found that Catholics who are familiar with the issue tend to side overwhelmingly with the bishops. That is, they agree that the Obama administration is threatening their religious liberty by mandating that some church-affiliated institutions, such as schools and hospitals, provide free contraceptive services to their employees, in violation of church teachings.
July 13, 2012 | By Michael McGough
Two of my favorite writers, Andrew Sullivan and the Washington Post's Charles Lane, have been blogging recently about a German court ruling that circumcision shouldn't be performed on boys too young to give consent. Basically, Sullivan (who was born in England, where circumcision isn't as common as it is here) describes  the medical-cum-cultic procedure as “infant male genital mutilation” and scoffs at the idea that a ban would violate the religious liberty of Jews and Muslims.
June 30, 2012
Because of the scarce print space allocated among the 60 to 70 letters to the editor that run each week, submissions replying to other letters are only occasionally published on the regular pages. When an unusually high volume of "letters on letters" are sent to , a selection will run in this space. This week, more than three dozen readers weighed in on other letters, most of them responding to discussions on freedom of religion vis a vis the Obama administration's rule on mandatory contraception coverage, and on Israeli President Shimon Peres' take on a two-state solution.
June 28, 2012 | By Ian Duncan and Jamie Goldberg, This post has been updated, as indicated below.
WASHINGTON - Conservative icon Rep. Michele Bachmann called the Supreme Court's decision to uphold the healthcare law the end of economic and religious liberty in America as she rallied disheartened activists. “We lost religious liberty - that is a fundamental right under the constitution,” she said to a crowd outside the Supreme Court building Thursday. “We lost economic liberty - that is a fundamental right under the constitution. We lost our individual liberty to set our course in this country.” “This court has forced us now to pay for their utopian dreams,” she added.
June 22, 2012
Re "Freedom of religion is safe," Editorial, June 17 As a provider of comprehensive women's healthservices, I applaud The Times for supporting the federal regulation that requires employers' health insurance plans to include contraception services. I see women of many faiths, including Roman Catholics. For all of my patients who have children, readily available access to safe and affordable birth control is crucial to their ability to care for themselves and their families.
June 13, 2012 | By Mitchell Landsberg, Los Angeles Times
ATLANTA - Stung by criticism that they are engaging in partisan attacks in a presidential campaign, the nation's Roman Catholic bishops insisted Wednesday that their fight with President Obama has nothing to do with party politics or contraception, and everything to do with what they see as a fundamental assault on religious liberty. The bishops did not shrink from attacking the administration in a dispute that has become their signature issue, one involving what Bishop Stephen Blaire of Stockton called "the most serious intrusion of government that we have ever experienced.
April 1, 2012
Recent weeks have brought sharply different perspectives on the state of women in America today. A new study on the status of women and girls in California, just released by Mount St. Mary's College, concludes that women here earn degrees at a higher rate than men. Nearly a third of the state's businesses are solely owned by women, and 38% of its elected representatives are women. Those are encouraging, if still developing, indicators that an equal society is under construction. And yet the same survey produces reminders of persistent inequity.
February 12, 2012 | By David G. Savage
White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew said Sunday that President Obama had found the “right balance” in mandating birth control coverage while protecting religious liberty, and he said the administration would now press ahead to adopt a final rule requiring health insurers to make contraceptives available to all policyholders at no cost. This is “the right policy” and a “very good resolution” of the dispute that had flared between Catholic leaders and the White House, Lew said in a series of appearances on the Sunday talk shows.  “We didn't expect there would be universal acceptance” of the compromise announced Friday, but a “broad range of groups” had applauded Obama's plan, he said.
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