While falling short of advocating for the persecution of religious adherents in his criticism of President Trump's lifting of the contraceptive mandate ("Objection to contraceptives based on unfounded belief," Oct. 13), William D. Bezdek still thinks it's kosher for the government to cavalierly punish the likes of Little Sisters of the Poor for not providing birth control coverage in their employees' health insurance.

Who is he to tell them that their sincerely held beliefs are irrational and unfounded? Should they allow their religious conscience and the wisdom they see in the teachings of the Catholic Church to be subjugated with a patriarchal arrogance unbecoming of a retired physician?

Sorry, but that is not how it works. The Founding Fathers and various court rulings made sure that not religious freedom is not trumped by tyranny. But don't fret. Perhaps the Clinton Foundation, what with its fabulous wealth thanks to the generous donations from Islamic countries that Bezdek denounced for their mistreatment of women, would be all too happy to fill the void. Or try the Hollywood industry, obscenely enriched by the likes of disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.

These elitists have some nerve to coerce those who embrace and live out their religion's teachings on human sexuality into violating their religious conscience by subsidizing birth control and other rotten fruits of the same tree like abortion. Demonizing them as Bezdek did through his childish and ignorant caricatures of religion certainly don't help in that regard.

— Joel Torczon, Bakersfield