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Letter to the editor: Bill would advance Catholic doctrine

Am I the only one bothered by the Catholic Bishop trying to influence the legislature to pass a bill favorable to Catholic religious beliefs? Our nation was established to allow all to believe as they wish, which is called freedom of religion, which is in our Constitution (look it up). This means that Catholics may believe what they want to believe and all other citizens may believe what they want to believe and these beliefs can be different from each other and no law may be made to force one group to believe what another willingly believes.
Yet we have the Catholic Bishop telling our state legislators that our laws should follow Catholic doctrine.
This has to do with when legal life starts. Looking back in history, murder as a crime was charged inconsistently. Mostly there wasn’t a real police force to punish murderers and other criminals, so it was up to locals to enforce justice as seen fit. Abortion was rarely a crime, anywhere. In many times in the middle ages, excess children could be killed up to the age of six — beyond that such killings were frowned on. In the last few hundred years, legal processes have become more formal, with police and courts and society coming to judge that a live birth was the start of a  legal personhood.
Recently, some have learned that conception seems to start a new genetically separate individual, therefore we must change years of accepted legal precedent, and establish that the legal start of personhood must be changed to conception, instead of birth, without considering general agreement of all people, and all who act against this new postulate can be considered criminals and punished for not believing and acting against this new concept.
Catholics should be allowed to believe this and other Catholic doctrine and punish members who act against this doctrine. However, others in our nation must be allowed to hold different doctrines, like those that have been in force for centuries.
Changing the legal concept of personhood and when life starts should be left alone unless changed be debate and agreement among all citizens and not by one group.
Peter Grant
Bristol

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