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I've never before written a letter, but when I read "Romney says his Mormon tithing shouldn't be public" (Tribune, Aug. 23), all I could do was shout, "Bull!" (sanitized for sensitive readers). Mitt Romney says that disclosing his charitable donations just isn't something he wants to do, and self-righteous Rep. Jason Chaffetz says, "There needs to be a certain degree of privacy. … Who he gives money to personally should be his business."

First, if you want privacy, don't run for president. People's tax returns are private, but presidential candidates have to release them. Being a public figure means giving up certain luxuries of the private life. Get used to it. The public's need for information overrides excessive privacy.

Second, it's not Romney's tithing donations that he wants to keep secret (unless he didn't pay it); we've already seen what he paid in his 2010 return. More of the same is hardly a greater privacy invasion.

No, Romney is playing the religion card in a attempt to trump critics who call for more tax returns. That's dangerous; once played, it's fair game. Religion should be off the table, for candidates and critics.

Albert Douglas

Salt Lake City

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