Religious thoughtlessness threatens our freedoms

letter to the Idaho Statesman by Joe Voight
January 2001

Citizens of the United States are fortunate that those who wrote our Constitution and the Bill of Rights so appreciated freedom of conscience and so explicitly saw the evils of mixing religion and government.

Our new president has made it very clear that he will always favor the Christian religion and does this while arrogantly ignoring the explicit words in the final clause of Article VI of our Constitution which states,”…but no religious Test shall ever be required as a qualification to any Office or Public Trust under the United States.”

He was not alone. His opponent selected a running mate based on that person’s religious beliefs. Oaths to support the Constitution are concluded with “So help me God” and the solemn promise is promptly forgotten. God and citizens are cheated.

Stupidity and misrepresentation of our history have thwarted Thomas Jefferson’s vision of a well-educated citizenry.

Illustrations: (Stupidity) Recently observed on the kiosk of the Northgate Baptist Church in North Seattle was “Truth is truth whether it is provable or not. Worship 11a.m. to 7p.m.”

(Misrepresentation) Letters of an obviously smug fundamentalist Christian in Nampa have appeared in both major valley newspapers in which he makes statements about the Constitution being ” God-given,” our country being founded on Christian principles by Christian men, our first presidents being
Christian men, etc.

So why did the constitutional convention reject prayer to start each day of its deliberations? Why was no god mention in the Constitution? Why was it stated by the founders, and the courts since that time, that the Constitution was “ordained and established by the people of the United States”?

We find in their personal records that Washington was a non-communicant: John Adams was Unitarian: Jefferson was a “freethinker” Madison and Monroe were not believers:John Quincy Adams was Unitarian: and the first president to claim Christian church membership was Presbyterian Andrew Jackson.

Abraham Lincoln, while president, candidly avoided any acknowledgement that he belonged to a church. He was a Deist and strong admirer of Thomas Paine. He would be aghast at the extent his party has soiled itself with religious pandering.

The federal and state constitutions provide all the freedom fundamentalists need. Their attempt to wield political power proves they have been given too much.

It is unfortunate that Idaho’s governor did not possess the leadership courage to support the guarantees of religious freedom in these constitutions by vetoing Grant Ipsen’s so-called religious freedom act.

That act promotes hatred. Ipsen would better contribute to peaceful and humane conditions by seeking repeal of the special privileges that allow religious persons to abuse and starve their own children.

Shortly after the Philadelphia convention, Ben Franklin expressed doubt that the people could keep the Constitution if it were ratified.

Obviously, he foresaw the gradual deterioration and weakening of individual rights by the despotic elements of Christianity.

There is no honesty, integrity, nor respect among religious people who strive to inscribe their beliefs into public law.

The United States, the state of Idaho and many other states are in a religiously spawned moral decline that threatens to destroy the individual freedom our forefathers provided. Freedom of “kinder, gentler ” Christianity, other religions, and ethical associations is ignored. That thoughtlessness has been a major contributor to the so called moral decline some people whine about.

All Christianity should take the advice of Jesus at St. Matthew, verses 1 through 6, chapter 6, and believe as fervently as they wish but avoid their better-than-thou exhibitionism.

True religious freedom could be restored.

Our secular government was established to be unprejudiced toward any persuasions. A sectarian government simply cannot be.

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