“Effects of religion’s decline” (letter, Dec. 4) illustrates some of the serious intellectual roadblocks damaging our nation and discouraging the vital preservation of liberty, indispensable in maintaining the country we love and serve.

The letter says “Don’t whine to me about freedom of choice,” a disconcerting sentence that unfortunately reflects an opinion shared by many Americans. As soldiers, sailors and Marines, we swore an oath to protect the Constitution. This magnificent document was created by extraordinary “whiners,” who had the audacity to believe that people should be able to make their own decisions.

The letter asks if “anyone” can “say there is a direct correlation between the … rise of social problems and the decline of religion?” It is a common fallacy to believe that now is the worst that society has ever been. Our falling crime rates and improved racial relations are two bits of mounting evidence suggesting that things are actually getting better.

The author also states that monogamy is an idea that “Christianity has been teaching for the past 2,000-plus years.” [Some might say that] the Bible doesn’t endorse monogamy, but it does mention polygamy often. It is common for Christians to believe their morals originate from the Bible, but most derive from the same sources as nonbelievers, via societal norms and empathy. For example, rape and slavery are mentioned in the Bible, but Christians and atheists today can agree these ideas are deplorable.

It is likely that the decline in religious thinking will continue to benefit the world. Those of us who have deployed have seen firsthand the damage possible when the populace adheres to religious mandates that are intolerant of freedoms and ignore common sense and empathy.

Sgt. Jesse LemonCamp Cropper, Iraq

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