Abortion and religious beliefs [letter] | Letters to the Editor

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There are universal laws. Don’t kill. Do not steal. Do not commit adultery. As summarized in the biblical book of Micah, “Do justice”. Love mercy. Walk humbly.

There are a myriad of cultural laws and expectations. They are negotiable, variable and not universally applicable. But they are followed by certain groups, often religious groups.

I believe that whether to allow abortion is a religious choice. Killing other humans is universally wrong. The question is: when does “humanity” begin?

Many people – Christians and Jews – believe that it begins with the breath. The Scriptures that Christians call the Old Testament repeatedly speak of the “breath of life”. People of this cultural era obviously considered that life began with the breath. Some believe that life begins with a heartbeat. Some think it starts with sex. These are religious beliefs.

We are privileged to live in a very culturally diverse society. Healthy cultural diversity has great benefits. It also sets certain requirements. Basically, the religion and mores of the dominant group cannot be imposed on its neighbours. Fortunately, the US Constitution enshrines it.

I believe that abortion is rarely the best solution. It is my religious belief. However, I do not want our government to impose my religious belief on anyone else. This position kills healthy cultural diversity. We have seen the dress standards imposed on women in Iran and the banning of schooling for girls in Afghanistan when religious rules are codified as national law.

Please do not want our government to codify your religion.

Maynard Shirk

Township of Mannheim

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