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Letter to the Editor: We are free to worship - or not worship - as we please


Allow me to elaborate on my recent remarks on religion. One is free to proselytize to his or her heart's content. You are free to shout it from the housetops with but one caveat. You cannot use public property or public funds in doing so. In other words, you cannot force your ideology on those of us who disagree with you through the legislative process. Why is that so hard for some to understand?

The U.S. Supreme Court on several occasions interpreted the establishment clause as mandating that church and state be separated, and moreover the founding fathers clearly signaled that was their intent. Note the following:

Thomas Paine, without whom we might be still swearing loyalty to the crown, utterly repudiated Christianity and the Bible: "My religion is to do good. My mind is my church."

Ben Franklin: "When religion is good, I conceive it would support itself; and when it does not support itself and God does not take care to support it, so that its professors are obliged to call for help of the civil power, 'tis a sign of its being a bad one."

George Washington: "Religious controversies are always productive of more acrimony and irreconcilable hatreds than those that spring from any other course."

John Adams in signing the Treaty of Tripoli: "The government of the United States is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion."

Thomas Jefferson: "Question with boldness even the existence of God; because if there be one he must more approve the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear."

James Madison, primary architect of our secular Constitution: "During fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What have been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy, ignorance and servility in the laity, in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution."

For the umpteenth time, under our Constitution, no church or religion can be supported by the U.S. government so that we are free to worship as we please or not worship at all.

Gene Rigelon, Front Royal


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