Commentary: Keep your religious beliefs out of your political beliefs


Ali Juell

In political debates regarding topics like abortion and the rights of the LGBTQ+ community, Ali Juell believes religion shouldn’t be a part of the conversation.

I don’t hate religion.

I just wanted to say that first so that I’m not assumed to be an angry atheist.

I think religion is a great way to instill a larger purpose into life. I have a lot of respect for people that have a deep sense of faith and the commitment they have to bettering themselves.

For centuries and centuries religion has created an important and fulfilling space to express faith, and I think the longevity of religious systems shows how intrinsic to us as humans it is to believe in a higher power.

I believe that people of faith are entitled to have opinions that are based on their religious foundation, but I don’t understand why some of them think we should all have to follow their religious guidelines.

I don’t understand why some people think I shouldn’t be allowed to have an abortion or others shouldn’t be allowed to change their outward gender to match what’s on the inside because of a belief system that I and many others within America don’t subscribe to.

I’m a vegetarian because I believe that animals aren’t well treated by factory farms, but I have never personally advocated for a meat ban. That’s because I understand my beliefs regarding meat are not held by everyone.

Why should a person that loves steak have to completely conform their eating habits to satisfy someone that doesn’t?

If you believe that something is a sin, you’re fully entitled to your belief and I respect that wholeheartedly. The great thing about America is that we are all given the freedom to make decisions for ourselves because we all have different opinions.

As Americans, we are given the intrinsic right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. And while this entirely allows people of faith to express their disapproval of practices that violate their religious code, I also interpret that phrase to mean that we are all entitled to do what will allow us to be secure and happy in our lives despite the dismay that may result from some individuals. If anything, I would say a situation such as the one I outlined is where those rights are of the greatest importance. 

We all obviously vote in a way that aligns with our values, which is to say that it’s unavoidable that religion factors into the political decisions of many religious people. But I think that it’s crucial that all people are able to look beyond their personal moral system and have political empathy for people of entirely different backgrounds.

So once again, why should my choices be dictated by a religion I don’t follow?

Pope Francis of the Roman Catholic Church, which has classified abortion as a grave sin, has previously compared getting the procedure to hiring a “hitman” to solve one’s problems. But the fundamental difference is that if these women do not terminate their pregnancy, they will have to potentially raise a child that they do not have the facilities, whether that be mentally, physically or monetarily, to raise. The same cannot be generally said for someone who is the target of a hit.

To say that the two are similar is to minimize the difficulty that comes with abortion and to try and villianize the women that decide to do it.

Within the Declaration on Procured Abortion that was originally released by the Vatican in 1974, it is stated that,”the life of the child takes precedence over all opinions. One cannot invoke freedom of thought to destroy this life.”

While I respect the belief that a soul is birthed from conception and feel that people of that opinion should feel empowered to express so, I also believe that that belief does not automatically become superior to other opinions because of its nature. To claim that another belief system does not matter because yours creates a deep moral crime is to entirely belittle the other.

While I respect the belief that a soul is birthed from conception and feel that people of that opinion should feel empowered to express so, I also believe that that belief does not automatically become superior to other opinions because of its nature.

— Ali Juell

I understand the happiness and comfort that religion brings for many people and that they would love to share that feeling with others, but I don’t understand how the sanctity of religion can be preserved when someone is not fulfilling it through their own intentions.

Another important factor relating to the debate surrounding abortion is the undeniable fact of pregnancy discrimination. In the past, Ruth Bader Ginsburg was forced to hide her pregnancy or else be fired from her position as a professor at Rutgers University. Even as pregnant women have received increased protections by the law, recent findings suggest that many women still must endure unfair consequences as a result of their pregnancies.

As Ruth Bader Ginsburg said best, “If you impose restraints that impede (a woman’s) choice (regarding abortion), you are disadvantaging her because of her sex.”

If I ever become pregnant unexpectedly, I don’t know that I would have an abortion. But I’d much rather have the choice then be forced to have it made for me.

I don’t understand how making a decision for me without my consent instead of allowing me to make my own choices, both good and bad, is going to make me any more preserved.

My intentions and opinions are the same no matter what, even if they are not allowed to be expressed through physical action.

I just believe that we all should be pro-letting other people do what they want if it doesn’t affect others.

Or at least try to be.