Archbishop O'Brien has a right to try to influence public policy

August 22, 2011

In his letter to The Sun printed Aug. 18 ("O'Malley correct on church-state separation"), Arnold Paskoff suggests there should be "no representation without taxation." This implies that he thinks Archbishop Edwin O'Brien pays no taxes. I believe this is incorrect. Archdiocesan priests, who are not members of religious orders, (e.g., Franciscans, Jesuits, etc.), receive salaries from their parish, or the Archdiocese, or from whatever organization employs them. This salary is subject to federal and state income tax and Social Security tax.

But taxation is beside the point. As citizens, priests, including Archbishop O'Brien, have constitutional rights of free speech, and the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

As to Gov. Martin O'Malley, men of conscience do not leave their conscience at the door when they assume public office.

Joseph D. Schaum Jr., Baltimore

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