Archived Story

Religion and controversy are inseparable companions

Published 1:13pm Thursday, December 6, 2012

I am in full agreement with Merle Hexum (Daily Journal, Nov. 29, 2012, page 4) that we should be thankful to God for what we have, namely, a free society.
I disagree strongly, however, with Merle’s assertion that we have ceased to be “One Nation under God” by the way we voted in the last election in which a strong majority rejected Romney/Ryan and strongly re-affirmed Obama/Biden to lead our country. Mr. Hexum appears confused.
Our USA has never been a Christian nation. It is true that some of our states originally had a state religion but not our USA. While we have always been and remain a nation in which a large majority of our people are followers of Jesus Christ, we have never had a state religion. We have been and remain a nation in which there is total freedom of religion with no government support for any sect.
Every citizen is free to chose whatever God or gods he or she will worship or choose not to worship any deity at all. As a matter of fact a report released Oct. 9, 2012 by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life declares their study reveals the number of Americans who totally deny any religious affiliation (that is, they are atheists, agnostics or just want nothing to do with organized religion) has reached an all time high, namely, one in five adults, (one three adults under age 30), that is, about 20 percent of our population.
One of the major reasons given by those who opt out of religion is that so many  people want the government to enforce religious dogma by state power, that is, construct a Christian imitation of  Muslim Sharia Law (That is formulate a law  that contains provisions such as: Allow only one male/one female marriages, insist on mandatory daily prayer in all public schools, allow only textbooks that embrace creationism to be used in public schools, prescribe a strict dress code for girls in public schools and no sex education, prohibit all abortions, outlaw sale of condoms and all contraceptive medications, etc.  (we might even want to add a special tax on all who profess no religion or profess non-Christian faiths.) to oppress our people in the same manner that many autocratic governments in parts of the world use Sharia Law to oppress their people.
This is exactly what the founding fathers wanted to avoid when they decided for separation of Church and State  Many of those who came to our shores were fleeing from the religious oppression by their governments.
In our country each person can chose whether to worship anything or what to worship. Each American citizen answers regarding worship only to such deity as may exist. The founding fathers had good reason to depart from that which was ,in their time, close to standard precedure in human societies reaching back from their day as far a we can tell.
Our human history has established beyond challenge that “Religion and Controversy are Inseparable Companions.”  It also shows that whenever you put the power of any government into the hands of religious leaders, horrible atrocities inevitably follow as efforts are made to compel people to worship in the prescribed manner.
According to Matthew 4: 8-10, Jesus found the idea of proclaiming his message using the power of government a devilish idea which he utterly rejected. We are all to have free choice.
The Roman Caesars, not Jesus, are the ones who first made Christianity a state religion. Terrible attrocities followed as union of church and state persisted until our founding fathers opted for religious freedom.
I believe God will not abandon us or anyone who turns to him and follow God’s command to show love and consideration for all our fellow humans including those who are hostile to us.
The politicians we have elected are now in the capital arguing over how to avoid the fiscal cliff that confronts our nation. The people, by their vote, have opted for President Obama’s proposals for increased taxes on those possessing the top 2 percent in national wealth, as well as, cuts in the federal benefit sector as the method of solving our fiscal problems. Few politicians can be expected to publicly admit to being atheists or agnostics.
Many will, quite naturally, find it difficult to vote to increase taxes on the ones who made large monetary donations to their campaign chests.
I am optimistic. I trust many of them will see the folly of a failure to hear the voice of the people both to them personally and to their party. We will see. We can call our representatives.

Arthur J.L. Meether
Fergus Falls

  • KLJones

    Well said.

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