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The Contra Costa Times newspaper in California has a section where local high schoolers contribute opinion pieces.

There’s a wonderful essay called “Respect choice not to believe” in today’s paper, written by Suzanne Millward, a senior at St. Patrick-St. Vincent High School (a Catholic school, if you hadn’t noticed).

Most people get offended when I tell them I’m an atheist, but I don’t say this to cause discomfort or brew an argument, I just don’t think I should feel it is necessary for me to lie about my beliefs. My peers and many of the adults in my life usually look at me like I’m some monster for not being associated with any religion, but what they don’t know is that I’ve been around people who practice worship, in some form, for my entire life.

Millward also has a nice, succinct conclusion:

The bottom line is, I think religion is a great thing for people who don’t abuse its purpose to their own advantage. For those who do choose to worship, I respect them and their choices. But they need to respect my beliefs, too.

[tags]atheist, atheism, Contra Costa Times, California, Respect choice not to believe, Suzanne Millward, St. Patrick-St. Vincent High School, Catholic[/tags]