Im a father, retired business person and a military veteran (Army,
infantry, Vietnam). Like most, Im glad the elections are over. They
are a circus run by special interests who spend billions to sell their
candidates. Those who were elected throw their fist in the air and
proclaim: the people have spoken. They use this slogan to do the
bidding of their big money backers.
We see the broken system, the legalized bribery, the bashing - and we
respond by shutting it off. In virtually every area of this country
about 50% of the people are registered to vote. Of those, about half
vote. Of those, about half vote for the winner. Thus, the winner
represents about 15% of WE THE PEOPLE.
Politicians, if they truly want to represent us, need to investigate
why they lost 85% of the people, and what needs to be changed to allow
the voices of the people to be heard. WE THE PEOPLE are interested in
our families, our communities, our country. We want to be informed
and involved. We need a system overhaul.
Arnold Stieber Grass Lake
Dangers of state religions
This letter is in reply to the one submitted by Rebecca Carlson in the
Nov. 8 issue of Express.
She doesnt actually say so in her letter, but it sounds like she
thinks there should be no separation of church and state in the U.S.
government. World history shows us why mixing religion and government
is a bad thing, especially for those poor souls who do not worship
the religion in power. Nearly every time, tyranny and corruption
Take, for instance, the fledgling colonies of the United States and
the Salem Witch Trials of the 1690s. The influence of a strict
religion on the secular courts combined to do terrible things in the
name of God.
Adolph Hitler, falsely proclaiming himself a Christian in order to
mask his evil agenda as a righteous one, presented the extermination
of the Jews as a religious crusade. In 1943, he wrote of the
Immediate and unconditional abolition of all religions after the
final victory, and of proclaiming himself as the new messiah. No
doubt the German people would have happily (or unhappily and without
much choice) followed him straight to hell.
In Iraq, Saddam Hussein wielded his religious affiliations as a weapon
against minority religious groups... even fellow Muslims. To this day,
the Iraqi government is in turmoil due to ongoing religious disputes
between Islamic factions.
In places like Saudi Arabia and Iran, women, Jews, Christians,
reformers and others are harshly oppressed by a totalitarian ideology
of hatred that incites even ordinary citizens to violence against
In Sudan, President Omar al-Bashir tried to impose Islamic law in a
campaign that included aerial bombing of southern areas of his own
country where Christianity and traditional religions are practiced.
Religious battles even between sects of the Christian faith have been
documented throughout history. In 1533, Catholic Queen Mary of
England took the throne and promptly had hundreds of Protestants
executed in a bloody drive to force Catholicism as a national
religion. This is, of course, after her father King Henry III forced
Protestantism on the country, dismantling and selling off the
countrys Catholic churches, monasteries and riches and made it high
treason, punishable by death, to refuse to acknowledge him as the
only Supreme Head on Earth of the Church of England.
In our own backyard, the Branch Davidians, the Peoples Temple and
others show that religious power can be very dangerous, and its
followers deaf and blind to the truth. Believers really do believe
anything theyre told, and will follow their religious leaders
willingly, even into death.
Many political commentators today see themselves as leaders, and their
followers internalize every single word; the historical distortions,
outright fabrications, rantings and conspiracy theories. Hearing these
things day in and day out from the same people tends to shape your
perceptions. Regardless of your political or religious leadings,
thats NEVER a good thing.
If religion should be allowed to influence the U.S. government, which
sect or religion would it be? Would my slightly left-of-center views
cause me to be oppressed, not allowed to vote, not allowed to run for
office, not allowed to write my opinions, be imprisoned or even stoned
to death if I dont conform? Would the same apply to any sect of the
same faith that is not part of the power structure?
Religion is a highly personal thing, and it certainly has its place in
our daily lives. No religion should have power over government, or any
nation; as no government should have control over religion. When one
religion governs, demagoguery and religious persecution are always the
Ms. Carlson and others who believe that religion should have a bigger
role need only do a little research to see why the separation of
church and state is so important, whatever you believe about the First
Wendy Keene South Boardman