Freedom for more than just your religion

Letter to the editor

Posted: Friday, March 30, 2007

Thanks to those who reminded Mike Shakespeare and Jim Miller of their selective and arbitrary use of bible passages, and the importance of separation of church and state as an integral part of the framework of freedom of religion in this country.

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I think that the heart of the matter is freedom of religion and how strongly Christians believe in this ideal. I'd say that neither Shakespeare nor Miller truly believes in freedom of religion. The question for those of you who would vote to deny rights to same-sex partners based on the Bible is: Do you believe in universal freedom of religion or just freedom for your religion? There is a monumental difference.

It's a simple principle that is sometimes hard to swallow: If I value a right for myself, like freedom of speech or freedom of religion, then I must also afford that right to everyone, even people who say things or do things I am vehemently, utterly opposed to; things that may go against everything I believe in. As much as I may not like what some people do or say, and think they are misguided or twisted, the freedoms outlined in the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights are for all citizens, not just those who think like me, right up to and until they physically harm me or limit my rights.

Allowing same-sex partners health benefits, or even the right to marry, does not physically harm Christians, or limit their religious freedoms or the right to "pursuit of happiness" in any way. Neither Shakespeare nor Miller would even know if the man or woman sitting next to them at the doctor's office was homosexual, a married homosexual, or receiving same-sex benefits. But still these gentlemen seek to force their religion on everyone by supporting exclusionary laws that limit the freedoms and "pursuit of happiness" for some based solely on a Biblical reference.

How fortunate for Miller and Shakespeare that the founding fathers set their personal beliefs aside and wrote documents that protected everyone's right to live by their chosen religion, or without one. How hypocritical of both of you for enjoying that right, indeed using what you've gained under that right, to seek to deny the same right to others.

Sheila Box

Juneau



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