No Established Religion
I read with interest the Rev. Robert Bundy's July 12 letter in which he extols the intent of our founding fathers to establish "a nation whose God is lord." He bases his assertion upon his reading of the Declaration of Independence and its " four references to God Almighty."
It's worth noting that while God or Creator is mentioned several times in the Declaration, many of the same founding fathers who signed it (including Thomas Jefferson, its primary author) also gave us the First Amendment to the Constitution, which states, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."
Those thoughtful men deliberately chose not to establish a state religion. By their wisdom, citizens who perceive God differently or who do not perceive God at all are no less American than those "who are taught the rudiments of Christianity by Christian parents."
Has Bundy "forgotten our roots" when he overlooks that many of the first Europeans to settle on this continent came in search of religious freedom?
Lest this be construed as an attack on Christianity, I'm a Christian who attends church regularly. But faith should be tempered with humility. As much as I rely upon my faith, so do millions of Americans who worship or perceive God differently. The fact that we live in a country where we are called to respect each other's right to worship or not in accordance with our individual perceptions of God is itself a freedom worth celebrating.
It is not our religious faith or our political affiliations that make us worthy to call ourselves American. It is our embrace of the freedom that being American provides us and our willingness to work for and defend that freedom.
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