The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

October 11, 2013

Religion is a personal choice

Daily Item

---- — The world has many religions. The main ones are: Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Orthodox, Spiritual but not religious, Agnostics, Atheist and a wide variety of indigenous and traditional groups. Each of these have hundreds, if not thousands, of spin off groups, each with their specific dogma, procedures and beliefs. However, they all have one thing in common. They all profess to have the one true religion or philosophy to live by. Many have different gods and wide differences in creation ideas and an after life or lack of one.

The problem is not the variety of beliefs; it's the belief by some that the world should capitulate and accept their terms for life and living. A few of the extreme militant groups see non-believers as better off dead than free to believe as they choose. Others have religious laws or rules that they think the world should live by. Some wish to require non-believers to accept their rules by pressing their government to establish laws that require everyone to adhere to their ideas of how to live ones life.

Some American Christian religions are now trying to force their beliefs on the rest of the population by promoting legislation that requires us to live our lives according to their religious doctrine. Of course I am referring to the religious push to ban abortion even though the Supreme Court ruled it met the conditions of the U.S. Constitution.

This country has religious freedom and that also means freedom from religion, yet they want to force us to abide by their religious beliefs. Many states are guilty of this infringement but North Dakota is the worst with promoting a blatant violation of the Constitution's guarantee to all women the right to have an abortion if they decide it is right for them.

We make a big fuss about the Muslims trying to push their Sharia laws on us because in Muslim countries Sharia is the law of the land and they have religious police to enforce it. However, the religious right wants to pass laws restricting or making abortion and even contraceptives illegal because they are contrary to their religious beliefs. If they are successful, our police and courts will have to enforce religious laws. In effect, regardless of their belief there will be religion police not unlike in Muslim countries. Then the rest of us will lose our religious freedom. Religion is personal and should reside in the person and the home, not in the courthouse.

Carlyle W. Westlund,