To avoid civic strife, keep government and religion separate


I enjoyed the Reverend Curtis’ opinion piece, not because I agree with it, but because he didn’t feel the need to take potshots. In other words it was a very Christian letter from a very Christian man, written in a Christian way.

I would like to take him up on one rather important concept, and that is our traditional and Constitutional separation of church and government.

It is true that many of our first settlers came to these shores as religious refugees. It is also true that some of them implemented religious-based laws that reflected their own biases, which then led to religious tensions not unlike those they had tried to escape.

Many people arrived during the interlude of 1618-1648 and were at least aware of the deadly religious wars being waged on the continent.

The prime movers at the Constitutional Convention were very erudite men who had all given a great deal of thought to government. And while religion wasn’t officially mentioned until after the Convention, it was on their minds not to fall into the trap of mixing governance with religious dogma.

Certainly Jefferson had long contemplated this deadly mixture, and his presence was always felt through his protege Madison. Consequently the very first Amendment to the Constitution states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof …”

The Founders understood the danger of mixing religion with government and we have over time sought to keep the two apart. Christians should embrace this idea. There is only one winner in a dogma fight, and it is impossible to negotiate dogma, because it’s dogma.

So I hope when anyone says that this is a Christian nation, they really only mean there are a lot of Christians here, and even they cannot all agree on its interpretation.

So let us keep religion out of government, because its introduction only leads to strife. We seem to have enough of that.

Timothy J. Parker
Peachtree City, Ga.