Tuesday October 2, 2012

In response to the letter of Sept. 27 by Vickie Heath ("Democrats make U.S. an evil nation"), I have the following observations which she did not consider.

The United States of America is not a Christian nation. It is a nation of many religions and no religion. No one religious group has the right to force others to accept its beliefs.

The founding fathers were close enough to the first settlers to remember that they had, for the most part, come to the colonies to escape religious persecution. The founders realized that this new nation's government could not endorse any one religious belief or set of beliefs without reintroducing the problems that had beset "Christian'' Europe for hundreds of years. Think of the Inquisition.

The founders were mostly men who were products of the enlightenment. Many were deists who believed that a supreme being created the universe and left it to run as he had designed it to do. Man had been given reason and free will and could make his own decisions using those gifts. That explains the First Amendment of the Constitution which starts, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof ... " Why does any group today think they have the right to control what others do? In Colonial times, one group would persecute another for not believing correctly. The Hutchinsons had to leave Massachusetts Bay Colony to go to Rhode Island because they were Quakers and their lives were threatened.


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Indeed three Quakers, including a woman (Mary Dyer) were hanged.

Think of the Salem witch trials. Do we need more of those? Haters of the president are trying to paint him as other; disagree with his politics, but do not paint him as other. He is the president of all Americans including Ms. Heath as well as those with whom she disagrees. Finally, Jesus taught not to judge lest we be judged - to take the beam out of our own eyes before we see the mote in another's.

Churches and individuals are free to use persuasion and debate to change opinion. There are even those who would argue that you cannot be Republican and be Christian. Our faith can influence our political decisions. However by Constitutional decree, we are not permitted to make laws enforcing a change in beliefs that we and our religious institutions cannot change by persuasion.

BARBARA ROBERTS

Becket