Letters to the Editor

Check with history’s experts on church, state

I believe in freedom. I believe my right and yours to worship in accordance with our personal beliefs is absolute. That said, we are not a Christian nation. The Bible is not the cornerstone of our law.

If you choose to disagree with me, fine. I believe in the freedom to dissent, no matter how unenlightened that dissent might be. However, please consider what unimpeachable experts have to say on the subject: John Adams: “The government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion.” (Treaty of Tripoli, 1797); Thomas Jefferson: “Christianity neither is nor ever was, a part of the common law.” (Letter to Dr. Thomas Cooper, Feb. 10, 1814); James Madison: “The civil government ... functions with complete success ... by the total separation of the church from the state.” (Writings, 8:432, 1819); George Washington: “If I could conceive that the general government might ever be so administered as to render the liberty of conscience insecure, I beg you will be persuaded, that no one would be more zealous than myself to establish effectual barriers against the horrors of spiritual tyranny, and every species of religious persecution.” (Letter to the United Baptist Chamber of Virginia, May 1789).

I was taught at an early age that there was a wall between church and state. Our founding fathers recognized the need. We would do well to defer to their considered opinions, despite what fascist zealots would have you believe.

Michael R. Sweeney, Caseyville

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