I am a vegetarian and have been for approximately 18 years. I don’t eschew meat or seafood for health concerns, but for ethical beliefs.

I suppose I could start a campaign that prohibits the showing of all television and magazine recipes that include meat or fish. I could also demand that supermarkets keep meat and fish departments out of sight so as not to offend me. But I don’t.

I do not deem that my principles are superior to or should supersede the beliefs of others. These are my convictions, and I am entitled to have them, but not at the risk of preventing others from practicing or observing their values. (Exception: When dining out I ask that others refrain from eating lamb or veal as I strongly oppose consuming baby animals and would like this practice banned).

Therefore, I am always at a loss that some Christians in this country are not permitted to enjoy “Christmas” music in public places or to view a nativity scene on firehouse property.

These gestures are not intended to offend but only to give a segment of the population pleasure. You don’t believe in God. Fine. But your views suppress other from being able to express theirs.

My mother, a devout pacifist, preached, “If you are doing something that someone else doesn’t like, then stop what you are doing.” Momma was right in her way, but if what you are doing is not hurting another, why should their desires supplant yours?

Individuals have rights — our Constitution says so — and the government should protect the rights of all, not cave to the demands of a few who seek to deny the rights of others.

Not everyone has the same beliefs — religious, political, lifestyle, etc. — but no individual is justified in claiming his values are superior to others’, or ridiculing and belittling those who subscribe to opposing opinions.

Respect others, embrace differences and practice tolerance. It makes for a more interesting and hopefully better world.

Pamela Gabriel

Springwood Circle

Mount Pleasant