Keep Your Beliefs Off My … When Right and Wrong Clash

Written by Suzanne Olden on February 27, 2013

MH900056915I was having an interesting discussion awhile back with a friend online that had morphed from one topic into a discussion on abortion. The friend is more middle of the road than left or right, but he has definite libertarian leanings when it comes to governmental interference in “private matters.” On one hand, I agree with him. The last thing we need is government even more involved in our daily lives. But on the other hand, there are people who deserve the protection of the law, whether based on morality or not. Two of these issues are my hot button issues – abortion and legalizing drugs. Each leaves a victim or more in the dust.

In our discussion, my friend said to me, “You don’t need to change your religious views. But you don’t get to enforce them on others.” Ok, there is truth to that, I wouldn’t want someone else forcing their religious beliefs on me. But what if your beliefs (or lack of them) cause harm to another? So I posed this question: If I am not allowed to “enforce my views on others” how come they can enforce their lack of belief on me? If another person’s beliefs are counter to mine, by the statement above, and I step in to help someone being harmed by those beliefs, I am “forcing my beliefs” on them. So, as I understand it, your moral relativism to “don’t force what you believe on me” outranks and is more important than my moral instruction to intercede and save a life, so therefore I must stand by and allow another to be harmed or killed?

What if the issue is torture to get information to save thousands of others? What if the issue is female circumcision? What if it is a parent’s decision not to vaccinate their child, or use a faith healer instead of modern medicine? To home school versus putting their child in public schools? To teach their child to shoot a gun? What about … the list could be endless, and on each side there is a belief that their side is right, so who wins?

You know where they come down on the issues above: no torture, vaccinate, public schools, no guns … What if it is a young girl being raised by a strict Islamic family who insists that by their faith and tradition she should be circumcised? Or a child is ill and will die without medical intervention? “By God,” they’d shout, “you better get in there and save them!” Aren’t your beliefs that what those parents have decided is wrong contradict their beliefs that it is right? How many of those same people when it comes to legally getting high or aborting their children at will, say don’t “force your beliefs on me!” Aren’t they doing the same thing to me? Worse yet, aren’t they condoning the irreversible harm or death of another for their own convenience or selfishness?

The preborn are people who deserve protection under the law, and it is wrong for me to stand by and allow them to be slaughtered. However, the pro-abortion crowd say that it isn’t up to me to say whether life begins at conception or not. Except that science backs up the fact that the unborn are people. I researched all the arguments for abortion and found scientific fact from non “right to life” websites (like the National Institutes of Health) that show that life begins at conception, that babies have a heartbeat at 24 days, feel pain at 7 weeks and have survived being born as early as 21 weeks gestation. I found the legal cases that show that the unborn get the protection of law in all cases except voluntary abortion.

I know from experience that children of addicts are physically and emotionally scarred for the rest of their lives because of another’s choice. Making alcohol legal didn’t make the issue go away. Children of alcoholics suffer from a higher percentage of depression, suicide, self-harming and addiction, than those who are raised in an addiction free home. So how can we think that making illegal substances like cocaine, pot, heroine, meth and other drugs legal will help? It’s not my belief that kids are being harmed by these substances, directly and indirectly, it’s a fact. So your “it’s my body and my choice what to do with it” argument should trump a child’s future?

As a society we are constantly told that those who can’t speak for themselves need to have someone speak for them. We have an entire list of animals that get better protection that the humans who live around them. Lefties scream at us to save the whales and polar bears. Just don’t tell me what I can do with my body! Except it’s not just you and your body in question. Your choice to abuse drugs will irreparably harm your family, especially your children. Your choice to dispose of a “clump of cells” that are inarguably human, takes another life for your convenience.

I agree that the smallest and frailest among us — our unborn, our children, the sick, our elderly — all deserve the protection of our laws. We pass laws to protect animals who can’t speak for themselves, so it’s not a foreign concept. So stop thinking that you can force your moral relativism down my throat. It doesn’t outrank what is right.

Suzanne Reisig Olden is a Catholic Christian, Conservative, married mother of two, who loves God, family and country in that order. She lives northwest of Baltimore, in Carroll County, Maryland. She graduated from Villa Julie College/Stevenson University with a BS in Paralegal Studies and works as a paralegal for a franchise company, specializing in franchise law and intellectual property. Originally from Baltimore, and after many moves, she came home to raise her son and daughter, now high school and college aged, in her home state. Suzanne also writes for The Firebreathing Conservative website ( and hopes you'll come visit there as well for even more discussion of conservative issues.