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George A. Sinner, Fargo, Published May 20 2012

Measure 3 usurps individual rights

In a few days, I will be 84 years old. I am a lifelong Catholic, and I realize that no public issue has ever been so troublesome to me as is Measure 3 on the June 12 ballot in North Dakota. It has been introduced by a group that is led by the two North Dakota Catholic bishops.

The measure is very dangerous. If this constitutional measure is passed, it will bring about a total change in America’s most basic principle.

The rights of every individual in the United States are guaranteed by the Constitution.

The immigrants who founded the United States fled here from Europe precisely because in Europe at that time certain religious leaders were given special privileges, and they denied many rights to the common people.

This current Measure 3, amazingly, requires that people must forgo their rights. This is completely foreign to American principles.

The reality is that it is the people who have the basic rights. This proposed measure will be a terrible abuse of all that America stands for if these rights are transferred to church leaders … of any faith. The rights belong to the people.

The bishops’ plan is clear: Any person, Catholic or not, who enters a hospital, a nursing home, a school or some other institution with historic ties to Catholicism will have to accept the rules and even medical limitations established by the bishop … like it or not.

Frankly, the plan and the proposition on the ballot betray a fundamental lack of understanding of the basics of American democracy.

Please, please vote “no” on Measure 3 on June 12.