Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Its freedom of religion, not from religion

Attached is a letter to the editor I wrote in response to a letter to the editor. (This link has since been removed, but my original letter is found below)

Its freedom of religion, not from religion

Editor, the Gazette:

In regards to the letter by Ms. Lancaster: Evil is the cause of the world's problems whether you are "religious" or not.

Ms. Lancaster spoke of the need of a separation of church and state. There is a need of a separation of truth and opinion here.

The "separation of church and state" has forever been misinterpreted. A quick history lesson will reveal that the original use of the words "separation between church and state" were written in a letter by Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptist Association. In his writing he assured the group that the government will not claim a national religion, but will also refrain from interfering with the church in any way. It was set up for the protection of religious freedoms. Jefferson also wrote that we have certain "natural rights" that were given to us from our creator God.

With all of that being said I think it is important to point out that the words "separation of church and state" do not appear in any official government documents authored by the founding fathers. The "framers of the constitution" did not include this terminology. Religious freedoms were set in place to protect every religion from the government - not the other way around.

The letter written to the Danbury Baptist Association was personal and private. Maybe we should take all personal private letters and make them part of United States law. That's something to think about.

One last point. To lump every religious atrocity ever committed with Christianity is inappropriate. Ms. Lancaster wants her religious freedoms protected and claims that she wants Christians to "extend to us the same courtesy that we extend to you". That should be easy considering the complete disregard for civility that you have given to us. Referring to my God as an "imaginary friend" and my belief system as an "oppressive bond" is a slap in the face and not a courtesy. Besides, my belief in Jesus frees me from those oppressive bonds you speak of.

Please don't worry. Your freedoms aren't in any danger Ms. Lancaster, but mine are. Freedom of religion is quickly becoming a freedom from religion.

God Bless,
Bob Speakman

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