Letter on the Opinion Page

Posted: May 18, 2016 in Uncategorized

Read your letter in the paper and I think you bring up some interesting points.

You are absolutely correct in say that the phrase “separation of church and state” isn’t in the constitution.  What the clause does say is that government shall make no law “respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”  This was essentially to outlaw the Church of England as the recognized official religion.  You probably also know that Thomas Jefferson wrote a famous letter to a group of Baptists in Danbury Conn. reassuring them and using the phrase “wall of separation”.

I like your Proverb. I have one (not a Proverb) that goes “Do not condemn the judgement of another because it differs from your own.  You may both be wrong”

At the risk of doing just that I make these comments:

You said “the First Amendment provides assurance that the Federal Government would not meddle in the affairs of religion within the sovereign states” Not true.  Maryland had the Church of England as their official church.  They could not continue this under the Constitution.

As for the ACLU…It isn’t so much that government and religion are enemies as it is foolish state and federal legislators enacting laws that are unconstitutional because they promote a specific religious dogma.  I can’t argue that the Supreme Court hasn’t damaged some of our values but not in the way you would think.  If bigotry is a religious value then yes the court ruled against that.

As a progressive (the term Liberal has been bastardized to the point that it no longer defines what it once did) I am only “fearful” of religious freedom when it is legislated into discriminatory laws.  Your reference to business owners using religious beliefs as a form of bigotry goes right to my point. If they are in business to serve the public. LGBT people are a part of that public. Can you imagine a world where a business posts a list of those people they will serve (or won’t)?  Say…old people like you and me.

I think I saw such a sign in Atlanta back in 1961.  It said “whites only”.

 

 

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