Letters

Letters 12-14-2014

Come Together There is a time-honored war strategy known as “divide and conquer,” and never has it been more effective than now. The enemy is using it against us through television, internet and other social media. I opened a Facebook account a couple of years back to gain more entries in local contests. Since then I had fallen under its spell; I rushed into judgment on several social issues based on information found on those pages

Quiet The Phones! This weekend we attended two beautiful Christmas musical events and the enjoyment of both were significantly diminished by self-absorbed boors holding their stupid iPhones high overhead to capture extremely crucial and highly needed photos. We too own iPhones, but during a public concert we possess the decency and manners to leave them turned off and/or at home. Today’s performance, the annual Messiah Sing at Traverse City’s Central Methodist Church, was a new low: we watched as Mr. Self-Absorbed not only took several photos but then afterwards immediately posted them to his Facebook page. We were dumbfounded.

A Torturous Defense In defense of the C.I.A.’s use of torture in a mostly fruitless search for vital information, some suggest that the dire situation facing us after 9-11, justified the use of torture even at the expense of the potential loss of much of our nation’s moral authority.

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The fight to keep religion free

George Foster - October 20th, 2005
Do you ever get informational mass emails from friends that sometime seem like a chore to read… if you even bother? Recently, I received an article written by radio personality Paul Harvey from a well-meaning Christian friend who probably didn’t expect anyone on his email list to actually reply. He sent me an opinion piece about Harvey’s outrage leveled against a court decision that disallowed organized prayer before one town’s high school football games.
Since I also need to fill space for this column, here was my friendly email response:

Dear Sam:
Thanks for the email, but tell that dim-witted Paul Harvey he might be welcomed in Iran by the Ayatollahs if he wants to live in a nation governed by a national church.
Thankfully, our founding fathers mentioned religion in our Constitution only once - with a reference prohibiting the establishment of religion by government. That way, individuals have the right of prayer and church preference OF THEIR CHOICE.
Freedom of religion is for everyone, not just the group that has the greatest numbers. When groups or governments are able to dictate their denomination’s prayers before football games, on City Hall’s walls, and in classrooms - that freedom is eroded for you, for me, all of us.
Before you start jumping up and down about taking away your prayer time, what is wrong with praying silently? I recall several references in the Bible when Jesus admonished those who appealed to God while “beating their chests” in public for appearances’ sake. In this country, we each have the right to pray silently anywhere, anyhow, and anytime we want.
Furthermore, as a Christian, I resent other Christians or groups dictating prayers for me on some perfunctory schedule and with words of their choice. As all of us do, I have my own relationship with God and I don’t need Paul Harvey or anyone else butting in. Mind your own business... GOOOOOD DAY.
Your old buddy - George

On a related note, the fiasco surrounding President Bush’s Supreme Court nominee, Harriett Miers, has reduced politics to a new low. Bush has justified Miers’ nomination by emphasizing that she is a member of an evangelical Christian church.
Bush’s emphasis of religion may be astute politically, but this is a first in my lifetime that any president would openly trumpet religious affiliation as an important rationale to seat a justice. It is obvious that the president is trying to appease his conservative base – but at what cost to our Constitution?
In the past, the opposite extreme was sometimes the case: membership in some religions was unofficially considered to be a disqualifier for a seat on the bench. If
the most capable person available were a Jew or Muslim, would the president
be emphasizing the candidate’s religion? Not likely.
I thought the idea was to pick the nine best lawyers in the country as Supreme Court Justices What ever happened to being an expert in constitutional law? Isn’t past experience and accomplishments as a lawyer and judge just a little important?
Americans have been taught that the freedom to practice any faith was a cornerstone in the founding of this country. It would not be surprising that, if present today, Jefferson, Washington, Franklin, et al would be dusting off their muskets once again in response to an awakening of the Church of England and religious intolerance.
There is nothing wrong with Harriet Miers being religious. We should all be outraged, though, that her denomination now seems to be a prerequisite for this job.




 
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