Lighthouse Letters: The Best from July
Each month, The Pilot reprints the letters judged to be the best from the previous month.
Nation’ in Context
JULY 10: I don’t know whether to laugh or to cry at the amount of printer’s ink expended in The Pilot on the public debate about the United States being, or not being, a Christian nation.
First, let’s put the “Founding Fathers” reference into its proper context. The last thing they wanted was a state religion. They had read enough European history to know that more people had died from that cause than from every epidemic short of the black plague.
What they most ardently wanted was the opportunity for every citizen to be able to choose the religion he or she preferred, and to practice it in peace. Some of the founders were indeed Christians, some were not. There were almost no atheists in that crowd, so it is fair to say they trusted in God. But in public, it was not a denominational God.
Then let’s put the Declaration of Independence and Constitution into proper context. The Declaration cites the laws of nature and nature’s God, the supreme judge and divine providence. Is that a credo? I don’t think so.
The original Constitution makes only one reference to religion: Article VI states that “no religious Test shall be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”
Only with the First Amendment does Roger Williams’ 1664 call for a “high wall of separation between the garden of Christ and the wilderness of the world” become our “Congress shall make no Law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
Since religious tolerance was enshrined in our governing documents, what’s the stink about these days? Are people upset with a material culture that seems to have lost its moral compass?
Lottery Is All Bad
July 28: In regard to The Pilot’s July 2 editorial column on the lottery being put to wrong use, I disagree with the premise that there can be a use that justifies the lottery. Whether the money goes to build schools, save teachers, get us to Mars or clean the Gulf of Mexico is not the point.
It’s all bad in my book. First, the state legislature promised on the Bible that the lottery would be used mainly for school construction and would never lessen the money budgeted for education. Lying through your teeth is not such a good example.
Second was the not-too-cool way the legislature passed the bill in the middle of the night while the opposition was away or in the hospital.
Third, the lottery hurts the poor as much as any recessive tax could. Crime, stress and household debt are coincidentally up, a common-sense direct correlation just waiting to be researched and publicized. Also, those who win have to pay huge windfall taxes and are usually inept in dealing with riches. So it’s little known that the winners don’t get nearly 50 percent of the total.
The list goes on. It’s a drag on the state economy; it’s damaging to the credibility of a state that would condemn video poker so vehemently but promote (this type of) gambling.
Our state was great because of moral principles. Now it’s just another stop on the corridor from Maine to Florida, a rest stop.
Bring back the Carolina that I love, before it’s too late.
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