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home : opinions : opinions July 03, 2015


1/9/2013 9:58:00 PM
Letter: Religious tolerance is what U.S. fought for

EDITOR:

In response to the "Ceremony violates the Constitution" letter of Dec. 21 by Robert and Jo Chanaud, I quote Ben Franklin: "Opposing religion is like spitting in the wind." The framers of the Constitution were not spitting in the wind on the issue of separation of church and state. They were fleeing from their experience of persecution from state-sponsored religion in other countries.

Their intent was to open the door to all Christian denominations, and close the door to domination by a single sect. Thus, they appointed an interdenominational chaplain for the Senate, and later for the armed services.

They opposed religious sectarianism in government. They did not, as stated in the letter, base their decision on the potential for religious violence in this country, or intend to create a nation free from the godly influence of religious peoples.

These statements reveal the intolerant bias of the letter writers.

The framers did not intend to create a secular nation. On the contrary, they recognized the hand of divine providence in the very creation of the Constitution itself. Is it not "one nation under God"? Is that what the FFRF really seeks freedom from?

Frank Wentz

Prescott




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Reader Comments

Posted: Friday, January 11, 2013
Article comment by: J K TAKE YOUR OWN ADVICE

Stop telling others what they should or shouldn't think? Seems a bit hypocritical, don't you think?

Posted: Friday, January 11, 2013
Article comment by: J K

Veritas.. Ok then, enlighten me. What was your point in stressing that the constitution says of and not from. Are you now saying that one can practice any religion they choose, but must choose one? Are you saying that because the constitution says of then that means one religion can be endorsed over the others? Are you saying that it is ok to call for prayer to any particular God in schools but just let the believers who believe differently to sit and observe others practicing the preferred religion? Just what was your point?
Perhaps we agree that Government should stay out of the religion business.


Posted: Friday, January 11, 2013
Article comment by: Veritas Semper

@JK and Ever Hopeful..while you are attempting to interpret the Constitution and read the minds of the Framers, your single point is valid, that is, we are guaranteed the right to either practice no religion or practice any religion that we may choose. JK- where exactly did I state that "you to believe it gives the government license to force your religion on others"? Sorry, I didn't...you made that one up all by yourself. Argue facts if you will, fabricated statements are for politicians and the talking heads in the media to discuss.


Posted: Thursday, January 10, 2013
Article comment by: WHERE DOES IT SAY

@ Mr. Wentz:

How exactly is it that you equate "one nation under God" with "Their intent was to open the door to all Christian denominations"

If religions operate under (a) God, do you mean that this country we all built (after we got rid of the Indigenous ones) was intended to close our door to the majority of the world's population, who are not Christian?

If that's what you really mean, SAY IT! But first you might care to look around you and see who your neighbors are.


Posted: Thursday, January 10, 2013
Article comment by: pablo c

Mr Wentz,

The framers of the Constitution did not flee other countries because they experienced religious persecution. You are probably thinking of the Pilgrims over a hundred years before.
And if that's what you meant you would still be wrong. Indeed the Puritan Pilgrims experienced persecution in England however, they first immigrated to the Netherlands where they found the Dutch to be too religiously liberal.
The Pilgrims settled in N America to be religiously Seperate, not be be free.


Posted: Thursday, January 10, 2013
Article comment by: Ghost Past

Rev, that was a good comment. Really good.

Posted: Thursday, January 10, 2013
Article comment by: Tired of business as usual...

It's really simple folks.
It is "Freedom OF Religion, not Freedom FROM Religion". End of story. Take your Kleenex and go home already...


Posted: Thursday, January 10, 2013
Article comment by: Kurt Sprecher

You can have all the freedom of religion you like, as long as it's Christian. Dumb, dumb, dumb.

Posted: Thursday, January 10, 2013
Article comment by: rr r

@ J Madison... Once again, takes one to know one huh? Seems to me that is exactly your tactic. You may be correct about FFRF, I don't know. Rightist... leftist...whatever.... you've never actually been to a leftist nation have you? You think you know leftist? There are very few true "leftists" around here I suspect. Probably not too many true conservatives either! You probably mean to say that this author is bad because they are not a "not-far right wing lemming fake conservative" like you appear and your owners are.



Posted: Thursday, January 10, 2013
Article comment by: Tax Exempt

Why are churches exempt from paying taxes on the billions of dollars they bring in?? Just think what we could do to improve pubic education with that money.

Posted: Thursday, January 10, 2013
Article comment by: Ever Hopeful

TO: J. Madison
You said "The FFRF, like all other leftist organizations, seeks control and is fundamentally intolerant. They purposefully misinterpret the Constitution in order to achieve their objective, which is to make evryone think like them. So sad."

What you are doing is called projection. That's where you project the faults of your group onto an opposing group.
Your statement would be just as accurate if you replaced "The FFRF like all other leftist organizations" with "The GOP like all other religious conservatives".


Posted: Thursday, January 10, 2013
Article comment by: Ever Hopeful

@ Veritas Semper
You asked "Where exactly does it state anything referring to a freedom "From" religion?"

The first amendment, like other parts of the constitution, don't go into a lot of specifics. However, the Supreme Court, and lower courts have interpreted it to mean that freedom of religion includes freedom from religion.

The federal, state and local governments cannot favor one religion above another religion, or no religion or denigrate one religion, in relation to another religion, or no religion.


Posted: Thursday, January 10, 2013
Article comment by: J K

@Veritas . That's it? The fact that the constitution doesn't say from leads you to believe it gives the government license to force your religion on others?
You have a spectacularly amazing point of view.
When are you and your band of thugs going to realize that the religion one holds has nothing to do with being a United States Citizen?
Further the words of Adams are his opinion and are not enshrined in the constitution nor a part of any law in this land.
I suggest you find a land where theocracy exists, move there and stop trying to covert this country into one. I like my freedom to worship or not worship how I see fit.


Posted: Thursday, January 10, 2013
Article comment by: Many Regrets

@Double Standard America-well put. I agree with your logic. There will always be those who disagree or dispute your logic, but stick to your guns. Already know voters who regret re-electing Obama. He promotes a "different" set of rules that made this country great.

Posted: Thursday, January 10, 2013
Article comment by: The Rev

How similar in passionate devotion are zealously religious souls and extremist secular minds. Though I love them both I fear them equally.

Posted: Thursday, January 10, 2013
Article comment by: Veritas Semper

The first Ammendment: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Where exactly does it state anything referring to a freedom "From" religion?

"We have no government armed in power capable of contending in human passions unbridled by morality and religion...
Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other"
John Adams- 1798.

Adams must have realized over 200 years ago that a society devoid of morality and religion were incapable of living under our Constitution. Evidently, we are experiencing his fear today.


Posted: Thursday, January 10, 2013
Article comment by: To a Double Standard America

Thankfully the majority of writers thus far seem to see the fallacies in your letter.

No matter how many times and ways it is explained some people refuse to accept that prayer has not been removed from schools.

Thus it appears the subsequent consequences you list are irrelevant.


Posted: Thursday, January 10, 2013
Article comment by: Tom Von Deck

One Nation Under God appeared six decades ago in the pledge of allegiance as an anti-communist statement. In God We Trust came around the same time as another anti-communist statement. You may be right, though, that these folks weren't as intent on sterilizing religious expression from everything classified as public sector. Many of them were anti-clerics who wanted to keep theocratic impulses from taking over the government. Today, many interpret that as not allowing anyone to pray in a school.

Fun facts. Ben Franklin really did say this in his autobiography: "My parents had early given me religious impressions, and brought me through my childhood piously in the Dissenting [Protestant] way. But I was scarce fifteen, when, after doubting by turns of several points, as I found them disputed in the different books I read, I began to doubt of Revelation itself. Some books against Deism fell into my hands they were said to be the substance of sermons preached at Boyle's Lectures. It happened that they wrought an effect on me quite contrary to what was intended by them for the arguments of the deists, which were quoted to be refuted, appeared to me much stronger than the refutations in short, I soon became a thorough deist."
- Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, 1793


Posted: Thursday, January 10, 2013
Article comment by: Intolerant Not In The Least Just Don't Use Our Common Tax Dollars

No one is intolerant of religious folks, their ideas of floating magical gods, flapping angels, talking snakes and hideous hell. People can believe anything they want. There are even folks out there that still believe that the earth is flat and that the entire universe (including the Earth) is around 6000 years old! Of course most are non critical thinking, unmindful goofballs, but we fully support their right to embrace stupid ideas. What we don't support is having our tax dollars going to support any aspect of these silly myths. Therefore the very first part of the first amendment to the US constitution...

Posted: Thursday, January 10, 2013
Article comment by: A Double Standard America

Unfortunately Frank, we live in a "double standard" America now. Our schools teach its OK to be gay, have abortions, use birth-control, but at the same time, take God and prayer out of schools and not have the "nativity scene" at Christmas. Have a "holiday tree" and take a "winter vacation" or "spring break" instead of Christmas or Easter break. And you wonder why our country is sliding into a "cesspool" of drugs, violence, immorality?

Posted: Thursday, January 10, 2013
Article comment by: James Madison

No, the FFRF seeks control.

Posted: Thursday, January 10, 2013
Article comment by: Not Sure What You Mean

I think what you're trying to say is that as a country we should be tolerant of all religions.

However, religion was not a major cause of the Revolutionary War. The causes were rather political, i.e. representation and taxes.

The phrase "Separation of Church and State" is not in the Constitution. Nor is the phrase, "One Nation Under God". (The word God does not appear in the Constitution at all). The Under God phrase was created by a Baptist minister in the 1880's.

I do appreciate your more common sense approach to the subject than the "Bible-Thumping" ones.


Posted: Thursday, January 10, 2013
Article comment by: Rita Stricker

"One nation under God" is part of the pledge of allegiance, added by Congress during the Cold War. The Founding Fathers, given the opportunity to establish a Christian nation, instead wrote a Constitution that nowhere mentions either God or Christ or Christianity. If your religion was anything worth having, you wouldn't need to re-write history to promote it, nor would you need the force of law to give it relevance.

Posted: Thursday, January 10, 2013
Article comment by: Yukon Jack

Religion wasn't a factor in the American revolution. The revolution was about taxes, free trade and self governance.

Our first governing document, The Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union was silent on religion. It wasn't until 1789 when the Constitution was adopted that religion was even mentioned.


Posted: Thursday, January 10, 2013
Article comment by: J. Madison

The FFRF, like all other leftist organizations, seeks control and is fundamentally intolerant. They purposefully misinterpret the Constitution in order to achieve their objective, which is to make evryone think like them. So sad.


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