Letter: Decisions devoid of outside influence are impossible

After perusing Craig Long’s recent article “Live based on own beliefs,” I couldn’t help but wonder which personal beliefs he felt it was acceptable to live by. Apparently, if your personal beliefs happen to be religious, then they are not “your own” and you should abandon them. Long writes, “When it comes to social issues, political candidates and your own moral compass, please, for the love of God, use your own judgment.”

Presumably, then, religion should only affect such considerations as what I should eat for breakfast. All important considerations should only be made from a secular, even atheistic perspective.

Basically, Long seems to be arguing that all religious thought should be largely silenced from the public scene, at least in matters where the outcome affects people. We can believe however we want in our private minds, just so long as we argue and act as veritable atheists.

That was not the message of the Founding Fathers, and it is astoundingly arrogant. Besides, “one’s own judgment” does not spring out from the personal mental ether independent of outside interference, religious or otherwise. A person can unthinkingly accept irreligious propaganda as easily as religious thought, and both surround us all the time, molding and affecting us.

Lastly, again despite what Long implies, there are a great many sophisticated arguments against abortion and same-sex marriage that have been offered outside of a religious framework, for those willing to deeply consider the matter. And whether in a secular country or religious, our laws institutionalize morality every day. “Thou shalt not steal” and “thou shalt not murder” are moral imperatives woven into the fabric of U.S. law.

I hope Long does not equally oppose those, often religiously motivated, moral positions. There is much more to be said; let us not silence those who would say it just because we disagree with their presuppositions.