What we need is more tolerance

I am writing in response to the letter to the editor from Barry Cook (“Religious issues prompt ‘what ifs,’ ” Oct. 20). He seemed to voice concerns that he was denied the free exercise of his faith in the classroom, locker room, football field and workplace because of Thomas Jefferson’s statement of “separation of church and state.”

I contend that Mr. Cook is not denied free exercise of his faith. He is only denied having the government choose his religion over anyone else’s. Mr. Cook can quietly pray wherever he chooses, but cannot require others of a different faith to pray with him.

I am not a Christian, though I have deep respect for those who are. But whenever I am at a public function – be it a club meeting, neighborhood picnic or ladies’ luncheon group – I must participate in a Christian blessing of the food before enjoying my meal. I bow my head out of respect, but I am uncomfortable praying within a faith that is not my own. I would prefer my own blessing, in my own way. Is that too much to ask?

Mr. Cook is incorrect if he seems to think only Christians believe in the Ten Commandments and the Golden Rule. These things need to be taught in the home, along with tolerance for others who may believe differently but still are good people.

Mr. Cook and I want the same thing, but we need to be more tolerant when that “thing” isn’t exactly the same, but the sentiment is.

Mary Young

McCormick, S.C.

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