Religion is an unshakeable belief in a deity without actual proof. There are 4,200 different religions in the world today with Christianity having 33,000 different denominations. The more fervent our belief system is, the more intolerant we become. The history of mankind is marked with the graves of millions because of our intolerance to the religious convictions of others.

Almost all religions accept as dogma that we must love God and also our neighbor. But most religions take your liberty away through dietary or apparel restrictions, (kosher, no pork, burqas, yarmulkes and other head coverings) submission of women, sexual mandates, liturgical requirements, educational limitations or denying medical treatment.

Because man has free will, many believers feel their church is not adequate to enforce their ideology, thus demand government control.

Some belief systems are difficult to understand. How do we reconcile those who believe abortion as the gravest of sins and yet abandon them once they are born? Recently, two brave Republican women prevented President Donald Trump and the Republican Senate from literally throwing 60 percent of all nursing home patients into the street, as well as the disabled.

Very few Republicans were concerned. Instead, their focus was on contraceptives. Although 98 percent of Americans (including Catholics) use birth control methods, many Republicans feel their religious liberty is at stake if the government provides contraceptives in a health care program.

Let us instead fulfill the moral imperative of all religions in working to heal the sick, by extricating the stranglehold the pharmaceutical and insurance industry has on health care, which has created our totally inadequate health care system.

We do not truly have religious freedom if we are required to adhere to the religious beliefs of others. We need religious freedom, but we also need freedom from religion.

Lillian Bachmeier, Mandan

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