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Oklahoma Gazette provides an open forum for the discussion of all points of view in its Letters to the Editor section. The Gazette reserves the right to edit letters for length and clarity.

Letters can be mailed, faxed, emailed to jchancellor@okgazette.com or sent online at okgazette.com, but include a city of residence and contact number for verification.

Legal conundrum Andrew Spiropoulos, in defending the Green family (Commentary, “Hobby Lobby deserves protection,” Aug. 7, Oklahoma Gazette), owners of Hobby Lobby, as they seek to exclude certain types of contraceptives from being covered in their employees’ health insurance, and the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, in upholding that action, cites the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) of 1993. He states that the RFRA invalidates any law that “substantially burdens religious belief or practice...” Specifically, he applies the act to the Green family’s belief that certain oral contraceptives are really abortifacients (despite prevailing medical scientific evidence to the contrary).

He goes on to argue that “under the RFRA, courts cannot question the truth or interpretation of the believer’s faith.” In other words, the facts and evidence don’t matter; only the Green family’s beliefs matter.

I’m no lawyer, so I can’t comment on the legal basis for Spiropoulos’ interpretation, but it sounds irrational. By the same kind of reasoning, if a pharmacist is handed a prescription for an antibiotic by a patient who needs it for treatment of a sexually transmitted disease, the pharmacist could legally decide not to fill the prescription on the basis that the disease is God’s punishment for sin.

Is that really the kind of thing the RFRA was intended to do?

—Dennis A. Weigand Edmond

Immigrant trees Rep. Lankford recently attended the Peruvian Independence Day celebration in the reviving Crossroads Mall. Immigration reform came up; he stated they’d solve this problem in the fall since it is no fault children are brought illegally by their parents. Outside of Dreamers, the rest of the undocumented were not mentioned. He then related a tree analogy for immigration; his yard trees were imported outside Oklahoma, but once planted, they quickly became indistinguishable from the rest of Oklahomans. While this was going on, upstairs in the same mall, El Salvadoran immigrants desperately waited in line to renew their Temporary Protected Status (TPS) before the Monday deadline or they would go out of status (undocumented). The irony of the concurrent events was obvious. And what a missed opportunity for Rep. Lankford and his wife to connect to undocumented immigrants and their families. There were a lot of fine trees upstairs in the mall that day. Unless Rep. Lankford supports comprehensive immigration reform, he’s the logger in the whole situation.

—Ed Graham Midwest City

Hokum C. Dale German (Letters, “Not all religion is alike nor is all faith religion,” Sept. 11, Gazette) must be delusional since he believes many “honest atheists” would have great respect for Christianity if they were exposed to biblical Christianity. Most of the atheists I know come from traditional churchgoing families. They have rejected the faith of their upbringing after most of them have gone through intensive study of their religion and many others. I know many atheists that are more knowledgeable about Christianity than most Christians.

They could usually teach a comparative religions class as well. What believers of all faiths do not understand is that to atheists, any revealed religion is hokum.

Most atheists don’t trust faith.

— Robert Hanna Choctaw

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