To the Editor,
This is in response to Ronda Keck’s letter in the Sept. 10, 2012 issue.
Who makes the rules?
In a democratic republic, we, the people, have the freedom to elect officials to represent us in local, state, and federal government. The people we elect then vote on bills that then in turn become law.
In essence, we make the laws.
Thankfully, through the foresight of our Founding Fathers, who wanted to eliminate the very single-minded orthodoxy that they fled from, we have religious freedom and freedom from religion today.
However, Christopher Hitches, British-American journalist and author, says it best, “How dismal it is to see present day Americans yearning for the very orthodoxy that their country was founded to escape.”
Yes, our country was founded upon Christian principles, but to declare our Founding Fathers as Christian men who fought vehemently to create a Christian nation is, well, quite myopic.
Benjamin Franklin wrote, “A man compounded of Law and Gospel, is able to cheat the whole country with his Religion, and then destroy them under Colour of Law.” Yes, Franklin was a Christian, though a noted anti-clerical Christian.
Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States, took a copy of the New Testament, eliminated all references of Christ as the son of God, miracles, the virgin birth, resurrection, and other things that he considered were mere fables. He created a work of the moral sayings of Jesus, which he felt was appropriate for an age of science and reason. It is disappointing that we are still waiting for that Golden Age.
George Washington attended church in Philadelphia, though was known to avoid taking communion. When the priest approached him about it, Washington apologized though ceased to attend church whenever communion was to be offered for fear of being labeled a religious man. One would think a founder of a Christian nation would not avoid taking communion, criticize religion as the destroyer of democracy, or create a book of heresy and name it, cynically, The Jefferson Bible.
The events that took place at Chick-fil-A restaurants across the country were a triumphant moment for the freedom of speech, though that very Amendment states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” The Founding Fathers were so fearful of religion that they placed it before the freedom of speech — an unalienable right of American culture.
Though the Amendment can be interpreted in many ways, it has been decided that there can be no law that fosters “an excessive government entanglement with religion,” according to the decision in Lemon v. Kurtzman, (1971). The religious beliefs of a person cannot be imposed upon others, or disenfranchise a group of people based on them, no matter the question of “morality.” One person’s sin is not the country’s sin.
To establish one’s morals on a book would imply one is inherently moral-less. Some can obtain morals without a how-to book of slavery and abominations. The most wondrous trait of this country is that not everyone is a slave to Christianity — society can interpret God’s law how he or she sees fit.
Religion is an individual experience.
Yes, Federal law does state that marriage is between a man and a woman, though there have been laws dictating that African-Americans were three-fifths of a vote, that separate was equal, and were considered to be second-class citizens for far longer than any American deserves. To condemn homosexuality makes one no better than a racist.
President Obama is not endorsing sin, he is endorsing equality — the very foundation that our country was founded upon, yet still struggles with today. Just because a Federal law defines marriage does not mean it is correct, morally right, or even constitutional.
Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Iceland, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, and Sweden all recognize or perform same-sex marriages.
To say the United States is a revolutionary leader and visionary on equality and freedom is faux nationalism. One would think American exceptionalism would lead this charge on this change.
Hitches once said, “We keep on being told that religion, whatever its imperfections, at least instills morality. On every side, there is conclusive evidence that the contrary is the case and that faith causes people to be more mean, more selfish, and perhaps above all, more stupid.”
“Human decency is not derived from religion. It precedes it.”
Please feel free to post your responses in the comments below!