Every time I see the word "morality" in the newspaper, I cringe. Reading about this topic in the opinion section usually means that someone is lamenting the lack of morality in the American public or declaring the need for morality in government.
There is a very strong sentiment in this nation that it is time for morality to rule - a sentiment that I do not share, but condemn.
It is true that everyone needs morals. And, contrary to popular belief, everyone has morals. Thus, morality is everywhere. There is certainly no lack of it.
In crying for morality, people choose to ignore the fact that "immoral" people have morals of their own. Values can be right for one and inapplicable for everyone else. When the majority of Americans speak of morality, they really mean Christian morals or, more broadly, the Judeo-Christian ethic.
What truly upsets so many people is the fact that not everyone follows these rules. It is not enough for just those who have these values to act according to them. Others must act according to these morals as well, and the government is employed to make sure they do. This is what makes me cringe.
There are people who would have the Ten Commandments posted in public schools because they believe that they are the standard of right for all to follow.
There are people who would outlaw abortion because they want to guarantee that every woman will make the same moral choice as they would.< There are people who would keep homosexual marriage illegal because, in their eyes, it is not only wrong to be gay, it is also wrong for marriage to apply to those who are.
There are people who would ban the teaching of evolution in public schools because they believe in creationism and do not want growing minds to learn of its scientific opposition.
Now I speak to those who say that my examples are extreme. When you cry for morality, this is what you ask for, and these are the people who answer. You ask for imposition of moral law and a standard of right. You ask the government to legislate personal choices and make my decisions with your morals.
What about my morality? I am not a Christian. Many people say that this does not matter. They say that the values of Christianity can be removed from their religious significance and still apply to all people. However, I find many of the values of Christianity to be wrong.
I do not believe that homosexuality is wrong, I do not believe that sex is "sinful" and I do not believe that I have an obligation to help any man just because he is a fellow human in need. I do not believe that anything is more important than myself and my happiness. These are my morals; I use them to make decisions for myself.
I know that they do not apply to many other people, and I do not expect them to. What I do expect, however, is the same respect from all people.
Faith is personal. Values are personal. The only freedom under moral law comes to those whose morals already match the law exactly. The fact that there are discrepancies between my morality and the morality of another makes it clear that under any law, there are those whose freedoms will be threatened.
Morality does not belong in government for that reason. To those who disagree, be satisfied with having control over your own life so I can have control over mine.
NICOLE KAZNOWSKI is a biology major at the University at Buffalo.
For submission guidelines on columns appearing in this space, click on The Buffalo News logo at the Buffalo.com Web site, then click on Opinions and My View, then scroll down to Contact Us and click on that; or send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to Opinion Pages Guidelines, The Buffalo News, P.O. Box 100, Buffalo, N.Y. 14240.