Letters to the Editor

Freedom of religion should extend to our professions

Before my retirement, I practiced law for more than 40 years. I took many cases "pro bono," meaning I didn't charge a fee.

Sometimes, when the clients were good honest people or when law enforcement agencies overstepped their boundaries, I represented clients who could not afford to pay.

However, I was always surprised by people who thought they had a right to my representation. I turned many away, regardless of whether they could afford my services. Some crooks wanted my representation because they planned more serious crimes in the future. Call it morals or whatever you wish, but I could not see getting a person off for one crime so that he or she could later put another person in jeopardy.

This is similar to asking a good Catholic doctor to perform an abortion. To the doctor, he would be committing murder. We should not ask him to do that. Even the law is inconsistent on that issue. A person who murders a pregnant woman can also be charged with the murder of the unborn fetus. But committing even a partial birth abortion is not murder. The fetus is considered a person, but the baby is not.

I consider priests and ministers to have similar rights. We should not demand that they perform any acts which they consider immoral. There are others who would perform such acts, so why should we force any individual to act against their religion or moral beliefs?

Yes, this freedom should extend to every person.

JIM VALENTINO

Picayune

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