letters to the editor
Judicial branch upheld religious freedom

In regard to your recent editorial, “Hobby Lobby ruling dangerous” (July 9): The recent ruling of the Supreme Court in the Hobby Lobby case was far from “terrifying.” What is terrifying is the overreach of the federal government, as in many mandates in the Affordable Health Care Act. The judicial branch upheld the right of religious freedom, albeit in a narrowly defined context.

You state that “it should not be up to one’s boss which medical procedures and prescriptions are available to them.” Later in the editorial, you state “we feel that companies have no business dictating that its employees practice a certain set of religious guidelines inside or outside of the workplace.” I agree, and the court’s decision established no such rights! It should be noted that 16 different medications that prevent conception are covered by Hobby Lobby’s health insurance. Employees of Hobby Lobby can still obtain four abortifacient drugs if they so choose. The court upheld Hobby Lobby’s right not to have to pay for drugs that produce an early abortion – something anathema to their religious faith.

Most of us have “formularies” of the medications that our insurance carriers will cover – often in differing tiers. If a medication is not on the formulary, we still have the option to purchase the medication.

I am amoung the many who are grateful for this small victory for religious freedom.

Patricia Bennett

Bethel Park

No wonder America has a weight problem

A chicken burrito bowl at Chipotle, with brown rice, pinto beans, grilled fajita vegetables, salsa, sour cream and cheese packs a staggering 750 calories and 32.5 grams of fat – nearly half of the recommended intake. Want guacamole on that? Now you are talking 950 calories and 51.5 grams of fat.

Order the #6 Vegetarian eight-inch sub as it is on the menu at Jimmy John’s – provolone cheese, avocado spread, cucumber, lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise – and you’ve got yourself 690 calories and 39 grams of fat.

Truth be told, these seemingly healthy choices are not far off, calorie and fat-wise, than a quarter pounder with cheese and a medium fry at McDonald’s – 1,030 calories and 50 grams of fat.

Sadly, most people probably think that they are making wise decisions on food while eating out when they actually aren’t. Combine that with dishes that go above and beyond the recommended daily calorie and fat count of roughly 2,000 calories and 65 grams of fat – the 4-Cheese Mac & Cheese with Honey Pepper Chicken Tenders at Applebee’s, for example, contains 1,830 calories and 92 grams of fat – and it’s no wonder that our country has a serious weight problem.

While some restaurants and food establishments have done a great job displaying their nutritional information – Panera Bread’s information is displayed right on the menu – others, unfortunately, have not. A provision of the Affordable Healthcare Act is that chain restaurants with more than 20 locations must list calorie content on standard menu items on the menu itself. Additional information would be available upon request. Many others only put the information on their websites – which is great if you think to look before you dine.

So where does that leave us when it comes to our favorite restaurants that are locally owned and operated? Most likely, in the dark.

Sure, people need to take responsibility and make good choices, but restaurants shouldn’t offer dishes that are so off the charts in terms of their nutritional content.

So think twice before you order the Strawberry Fields Salad with grilled balsamic chicken at TGI Friday’s – lest you want to consume 820 calories and 59 grams of fat in a single, salad sitting.