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Freedom of religion

Published: Monday, Nov. 5, 2012 3:03 p.m. CDT • Updated: Monday, Nov. 5, 2012 3:05 p.m. CDT

After reading the letter titled, “Respecting and protecting life,” dated Saturday, Oct. 27, I felt compelled to write. I realized that many people in this country give lip service to the idea of freedom of religion, but only if it is their religion. Ms. Tracey, whom I assume is a Christian since she quoted several Christian organizations, makes many statements that are generalizations at best. Calling those who believe in a woman’s right to choose, pro-abortion, is neither fair nor accurate. We are pro-choice not pro-abortion. I respect a woman’s right to do what is best for herself and her family when making the extremely personal and heart-wrenching decision to continue a pregnancy or not.

When she states that life begins at conception, she is stating her religious opinion, which I completely defend her right to have. However, her opinion and that of her church are not necessarily the opinion of the hundreds of Christian denominations and other religions in this country. Judaism, for example, believes life starts when the baby’s head emerges and their first breath is taken. They believe that the woman’s health and welfare come before the baby’s ... the mother is here now, a fully functioning human.

In Buddhism, it is said that abortion is “negative,” but there are exceptions. The Dalai Lama said, “I think abortion should be approved or disapproved according to each circumstance.” In Islam, abortion is generally acceptable until the fetus is 120 days along, when they believe it gets its’ soul. Each religion has it’s own ideas.

We have freedom of religion in this country and it is a wonderful thing. It is one of the many ideals that draw people from around the world to our shores. The simple act of worshipping the deity of your choice, or choosing not to worship at all, without the fear of reprisal. To force everyone in our land to go along with the beliefs of a particular religion goes against everything our founding fathers stood for. So please exercise tolerance for others who don’t share your beliefs and know that what they believe is just as valid to them as your beliefs are to you.

Patricia Stuckey

Neponset

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