Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Role of Religion in Politics

In response to an Orange County Register article, I submitted the following comment in the December 5, 2008 issue:

If religious people had not become interested in politics, America would not have the Constitution and Bill of Rights it possesses. The Founders dictated no national religion because they knew that Jesus did not force Himself on anyone. They protected the free exercise of religion because they had seen imprisoned pastors both in England and in the Colonies.

When non-religious [or religious] people raise their voices in the political process, I affirm their rights in the political process, even though I might disagree. I cannot muffle the voice of an opponent and find myself in harmony with the First Amendment, nor should my adversary. I fear when I see steps toward religious censorship.

It is the right of the people to accept or reject the views of religious or non-religious participants, but threatening and intimidating words and actions by "zealots" of any group are not consistent with the American way. Our increasingly "enlightened" society invites intellectual and moral haze and darkness when it draws curtains on the light of knowledge and wisdom. All citizens must be allowed to speak without fear of reprisal.

Note: I was also moved to write when I saw a blog site listing my name among hundreds of others as a target for somebody’s Molotov cocktail party. I do not find intimidation or encroachment humorous, if the site was a joke. If it was not a joke, then the words are utterly foreign to the concept of free speech envisioned by our forefathers and protected by our Bill of Rights.

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