Thomas Shields’ letter (May 10) about religious freedom causes us to examine our beliefs. Do we discriminate against others when their behavior conflicts with our own beliefs? Is discrimination, based on who another person chooses to love, a just way to act in civilized society?

Every culture since time began believed their existence was a result of one or many gods with magical powers. This belief in the supernatural formed the basis for our religious culture. Religious behavior is a choice. We are guided by its rules, but many choose to hide behind it when we want to discriminate.

For centuries, people have been tortured, burned at the stake, drowned and beheaded, all in the name of religion as religious leaders sought to impose justice and instill fear in those who would challenge the leaders’ behavior. People who did not fit in or sought to challenge the church’s behavior were eliminated.

The Civil Rights Act outlaws discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin. We cannot refuse public accommodations just because we do not like a person’s race, color, religion, sex or national origin.

To answer Shields’ question: Hiding behind religion because we disagree with another person’s life path is discrimination. To liken it to attempting to buy pork in a deli or Muslim market shows a real lack of understanding of a very complex issue.

I may never understand same-sex attraction. But, I do understand love. We can’t regulate it and should never discriminate against it.

David Marquis, Lewiston

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