>Dear Powers that Be in the American Catholic Church:

I read today in the New York Times that you are urging your bishops to challenge Obama regarding legal abortion. While obviously you have the right to free speech and to advocate for your religious interests, please remember that this is not the Vatican City nor Europe. In fact, the same amendment that permits you to urge your bishops to challenge Obama also says that you don't have the right to force your religious beliefs and practices on the population through the government.

I find your constant bitching about legal abortion to be hypocritical. I understand that you feel that a fertilized egg is equivalent to a life. However, I cannot understand why a woman who would otherwise die if she were not given an abortion is not considered a life worth saving. When you advocate to ban abortion, you don't make exceptions for women who would die without one. This infuriates me because it shows me that you could not care less about the lives of actual people who happen to be female. Once a female fetus is born, you write off her right to life.

Also, when you threaten to excommunicate or withhold communion for politicians who represent their constituents who believe that abortion is a personal decision based on a woman's religious beliefs and moral values, and not from politicians who support the death penalty based on their constituents' belief that it is OK for the state to kill people that we are pretty sure committed murder, I don't believe that you value all life equally. If it is wrong to take a life, why aren't you pulling the same punches with death penalty supporters? Or, for that matter, politicians who deny health insurance to children, which certainly leads to at least some deaths per year?

Quite frankly, all your double standards, combined with your parent church's 2,000 year history of enthusiastically killing Jewish people (or at least keeping quiet when other people do), provides you with no moral authority to lecture Obama, me, or anyone about the value of life. Please stop interfering in my democratically elected government.

Suzanne Reisman