I've had this one in the hopper awaiting the right moment. A letter writer mention "separation of church and state" and my reflexes took over. I think this one was too close in time to the last one for them to run. I'm just going to have to find some other outlet for these letters. Any suggestions?

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Subject: Letter to the Editor

I'm always amazed when people exclaim, "that will violate the separation of church and state." Big deal. So what. There is no constitutional requirement for the separation of church and state. The First Amendment to the Constitution instead reads: "Congress shall make no law establishing a state religion, the practice of religion shall not be abridged". Thomas Jefferson used the separation phrase in a speech and religiphobes have been misusing it ever since. The two are not the same; the real standard is more of a declaration of neutrality or impartiality while the bogus implies, if you'll excuse the term, non-intercourse. An unbiased reading of the Constitution tells us that the government should treat all religions the same, the bogus reading tells us that government should not have anything to do at all with religion.

This false reading does cause problems. For example, relying on the false separation standard, some schools would not allow religious student groups the same access to school facilities that it allowed to non-religious student groups. Fortunately, the Supreme Court put them straight. Others feel that the government cannot provide dollar one to any religious institution for any reason. In fact, money can be provided constitutionally to a religious organization as long as the money is not used to for religious purposes and is provided within a framework that allows money to be provided to both religious and secular organizations, without partiality to one or the other. So please, if you don't believe me, look up the First Amendment for yourself. If you are worried about making sense of it, remember it was written not by modern politicians, but by the leading citizens of revolutionary America for the common man and was therefore written with clarity and directness.

Oh, and would the editorial staff at the Post get over its love affair with the false principle of the separation of church and state and instead fall in love with our constitution which in fact provides for non-establishment and free practice of religion. I would think that a newspaper would want an accurate reading of the First Amendment since that is also where "A free Press" is guaranteed.

Kevin Murphy

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This page last updated 15 April 1998

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