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September 18, 2014

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Letter to the editor:

Founders believed in tolerance

In response to the letter from Jules Greenberg about Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum needing a history lesson, it is important to remember that the Constitution does not call for a wall between the federal government and religion. The First Amendment states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

In his letter to the Danbury Baptist Association in 1802, Thomas Jefferson wrote, “... I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between Church & State”

What is forbidden by the First Amendment is a state-established religion. The authors of the Constitution were not saying that the United States of America was not a religious nation, but that it was best to keep the government out of religion. What the authors were striving for is tolerance, not elimination of religion.

The author is the chairman of the Clark County Independent Party.

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  1. The First Amendment may not call for a wall between the federal govenment and religion but it certainly calls for a moat that creates distance between the two. It seems to me that the distance applies equally to the federal government in relation to religion as it should to religion in relation to the federal government.

  2. Tom Jones forgot to mention keeping religion out of government...unless he favors any one specific cult? How about letting the Catholics run government? Would that be OK for you religious mythology believers?

  3. While we are at it please defend religious practices that lead to harm for people. Should government allow poisonous snake handling for children? What about all the people saved by blood transfusions? Should religious fantasy have stopped such?

  4. What Americans had best remember is that a recognition and reliance on the existence of a God was fundamental to the founding of the Nation. Evidence of that exists in abundance. The present day attempts of secular progessives to undo that is a core problem which traditional Americans must fight to prevent.

  5. Tom Jones writes:
    The authors of the Constitution were not saying that the United States of America was not a religious nation, but that it was best to keep the government out of religion.

    What he left out is that the authors of the Constitution felt that it is also best to keep religion OUT of the government. I don't want Mitt Romney's religious views guiding the country, I don't want Rick Santorum's radical religious views guiding this country. I want sanity, a balance, someone who can weigh issues to make decisions not someone who prays to their own Flying Spaghetti Monster for an answer.

  6. "What is forbidden by the First Amendment is a state-established religion. The authors of the Constitution were not saying that the United States of America was not a religious nation, but that it was best to keep the government out of religion. What the authors were striving for is tolerance, not elimination of religion."

    Jones -- good letter, and accurate. Both Madison and Jefferson were particularly active on this issue, with the former leading the charge. From the Congressional Research Service I found this clarification -- "The theme of the writings of both was that it was wrong to offer public support of any religion in particular or of religion in general."

    "The First Amendment may not call for a wall between the federal govenment and religion but it certainly calls for a moat that creates distance between the two."

    pisces41 -- I get from the comments of those active in the Amendment's construction it's more of a wall. Funny how it's meaning is still being debated over two centuries later.

    "Who said a religion should run government? Another extremely wild assertion by the negative Mark Schaffer."

    RefNV -- no it's not. This election's current Republican presidential hopefuls seem to have based their campaigns on pretty much that. Perry started his last summer with a full-stadium prayer based on "dominionism." Look that up on Wikipedia. Scary stuff.

    "the catholics have the franchise on pedophiles so i'm not sure they can be trusted with something more mundane like governing a country."

    dipstick -- you should be more critical than calling it "a franchise." Most of the claims against the accused priests are decades old, thus seriously lacking credibility. That aside, you opened the door to history's lessons of Catholics governing countries. We still call it the Dark Ages for a good reason.

    "I'm frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me as a citizen that if I want to be a moral person, I must believe in "A," "B," "C" and "D." Just who do they think they are? And from where do they presume to claim the right to dictate their moral beliefs to me? And I am even more angry as a legislator who must endure the threats of every religious group who thinks it has some God-granted right to control my vote on every roll call in the Senate. I am warning them today: I will fight them every step of the way if they try to dictate their moral convictions to all Americans in the name of "conservatism." -- Barry Goldwater, speech to the US Senate (September 16, 1981)

  7. Judy--I sure hope that it's OKay with you if the next President has faith in a Higher Power that guides him in his life. Sounds like you have a God phobia.

  8. I agree with the Founding Fathers and their time honored policies of tolerance.

    The only problem with that right now is there is an obstacle.

    The biggest obstacle for tolerance is the entire Tea/Republican Party.

    They will do ANYTHING and EVERYTHING to throw monkey wrenches in the gears to get back into power.

    Tolerance?

    They could care less about that.

    They will inject religion into politics. They will go to war with women and try to take charge of their health care issues; specifically the area between their bellybutton and their knees. They will demonize an entire race of people, don't matter if they are here in the United States legally or not. They will institute laws on State levels they say will prevent voter fraud, but really are blatant attempts to prevent certain classes and races of people from voting because they feel they will vote against their candidates.

    The Tea/Republicans are in an era that does not believe in bi-partisanship, tolerance, compromise, improving this economy, and even creating jobs.

    The Tea/Republicans only want to get in power.

    They will screw it all up in order to do that.

    Don't believe me? Look back at the last year and a half. Their popularity has only hovered between nine and thirteen percent. This is DIRECTLY ATTRIBUTABLE to the stubborn Tea/Republicans. Take it all in and look at it. It clearly signals they could care less about running this government. They just want to be in power, even if this entire economy is tanked and reverted to a third world nation with a world ranking slightly behind Outer Mongolia.

    Religious intolerance is all they got. So they run with it.

    They want your attention deflected away from the issues. To get you to vote against your best interests.

    Well, intolerance goes both way.

    I intend to vote all them numbskulls out. Because they have failed. They need to self-reflect out of power and figure out how to help, and not hinder, America.

  9. "The present day attempts of secular progessives to undo that is a core problem which traditional Americans must fight to prevent."

    Houstonjac -- your source of information would be what besides your imagination?

    "For a firsthand opinion the letter writer should ask the religion-weary citizens of Iran how they feel about their nation being controlled by Muslim clerics."

    LastThroes -- good point, especially in light of the recent reports roving militia are stoning homosexuals and "emo"-type youths to death. These killings are officially sanctioned.

    "I want sanity, a balance, someone who can weigh issues to make decisions not someone who prays to their own Flying Spaghetti Monster for an answer."

    Judy -- another excellent point! Although "God is with us" presidential pronouncements are often met with cheers and votes, they certainly run counter to their oaths of office. They all need to be constantly reminded of this.

    "Sounds like you have a God phobia."

    Houstonjac -- or Judy is just more firmly grounded in reality than you god-pushers

    "They will inject religion into politics."

    Colin -- because it gets votes. Man, if that's what Americans are like, we're all doomed. Funny thing how it's these fundamentalist types crying to bomb other countries while conveniently ignoring the Ten Commandments' "Thou shalt not kill."

    "Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful." -- attributed to Seneca the Younger (executed by Nero in 65 A.C.E.)

  10. Bob- I have no "God phobia". I happen to have my beliefs and also feel they have no place in government. My beliefs should not be inflicted on any one through law. Santorum and Romney seem to feel that they should govern by their beliefs rather than through the guidance of the Constitution.
    Sounds to me Bob that you prefer a Country run by religious zealots - just like Iran, Iraq, Israel, Syria and so on. Freedoms should not be decided by any religion.

  11. "Bob- I have no "God phobia". I happen to have my beliefs and also feel they have no place in government."

    Judy -- considering how "phobia" means "fear," poor or good choice of words by "Bob." In context it's a central part of christian dogma to "fear God." Another excellent post from you

    "After coming into contact with a religious man I always feel I must wash my hands." -- Friedrich Nietzsche, 1888 "Ecce Homo - Why I Am a Destiny"

  12. Judy,
    Thanks for trying to set RefNV right regarding his assertion that my point was "wild" regarding the letter writer failing to make the inverse point that religious mythology has no place in enlightened decision making. RefNV will, of course, not change any of his fantastical beliefs by virtue of your rational argument because he is not capable of admitting such error.

    Further, his scare point about government and snake handling is laughably uninformed. In a representative democracy I much prefer the legislative process and courts to trusting ignorant parents with the safety of their children and the often tragic consequences we all read about in the paper. In fact, were we to go by the bible's instructions it would be fine for parents to murder their children for disobeying them but the state rightly says this is immoral behavior that has no place in civilized society. Remember the judge in Texas whipping his daughter? RefNV doesn't.

  13. The very last words in the Constitution (other than Article VII dealing with ratification) are these in Article VI: "...no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States."

    That states the case for keeping religion out of government.

    The First Amendment states the case for keeping government out of religion. The debate is about what "free exercise" means. It is the question of "belief" vs. "practice."

    Overall, SCOTUS has sided with the former and has said that the latter is subject to law. Two notable examples would be transfusions and snake handling as cited by others.

  14. Tolerance is defined as "a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward those whose opinions, practices, race, religion, nationality, etc., differ from one's own and/or a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward opinions and practices that differ from one's own." You can have your beliefs and I can have mine. And we can civilly disagree. And we can continue to co-exist. That's tolerance.

    We can each have our own opinions about ideas and theories. We cannot each have our own opinions about truth and facts.

    Ours is a society based on the law. And the only law that matters, the only law that is relevant when it comes to any discussion regarding the law, is the Constitution. The Bible is wholly irrelevant. The Torah is wholly irrelevant. The Quran is wholly irrelevant. And my saying these things is not at all intolerant. It is simply the truth. It is simply a fact.

    When someone looks to the writings of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, two of the Founding Fathers who were involved with the drafting of the Constitution, and sees that they both discussed a "wall" separating "church" and "state", that is not at all intolerant. It is simply the truth. It is simply a fact.

    When someone says to an insurance company, your policies must cover FDA-approved contraception, that is not at all intolerant. There is not a single human being that is forced to do something against their religious beliefs. If you're against using contraception, don't use it. On the other hand, when you try to stop someone from using contraception (or even having access to it), that is the height of intolerance. It's not fair, it's not objective, and it is certainly not permissive.

    It is the opinion of many that, under our Constitution, a gay man can marry another gay man. It's what the Equal Protection clause is all about. Again, there is not a single human being that is forced to do something against their religious beliefs. If you're against same-sex marriage, don't marry someone of the same sex. On the other hand, when you say that a gay man cannot enter into the civil institution of marriage with another gay man "because it's a sin" or "because it's against God's rule" or "because that's not what marriage is", that is the height of intolerance. It is your opinion, and you are entitled to it, but it is based on an irrelevant book, and goes against the law of the Constitution. It's not fair, it's not objective, and it is certainly not permissive.

    It seems to me that the religious right is constantly attacking the non-religious right as intolerant. It seems to me that the intolerance lies with the religious right. I respect your beliefs and your rights. It's time for you to start respecting the beliefs and rights of others.

  15. "...best to keep government out of religion."
    Yes, of course. But, conversely, keeping religion out of government is at least as important.

  16. chuck333 - "@Dipstick: Actually its astounding President Obama is around if you investigate his past."

    Meaning Obama is a Kenyan/Muslim/Nazi/Commie/Manchurian Candidate?

    Misinformation is the reason why people think the way they do. Roger Ailes was correct in saying Americans were lazy and and stupid because they no longer read and got their news from television.

    The Daily News reported:

    A stunning 66% of Mississippi respondents to a survey done ahead of Tuesday's presidential primary have bought into the false notion that Obama worships Allah, Public Policy Polling reported Monday. Some 36% said they weren't sure.

    In Alabama, 45% responded in the affirmative when asked the same question and 41% said they weren't sure, pollsters found.

  17. Future should try reading what I wrote again.

    You call me anti-religious after I wrote "I respect your beliefs and your rights". You call me anti-constitution after I wrote "the only law that matters, the only law that is relevant when it comes to any discussion regarding the law, is the Constitution."

    Try again.

  18. Future,

    Expressing the opinion that religious people can be intolerant is not being intolerant itself. Denying people the right to express their opinion is.

    In this particular case, I happen to agree 100% with what abostonboy said. Are you now going to say I am intolerant? I think most would disagree with you on that.

  19. Kevin L.

    I don't know if you are aware of this, but if you post anything that sounds even remotely moderate, no matter how sensible, people will start calling you names and twisting what you say into a communist manifesto. The original article seeks to inform and it is up for debate.

    Of course the conversation degenerates to personal insults and gets wildly off topic. It's a joke. If there was a God and he read these posts, he'd realize that he failed and start all over again on another planet.

  20. Thanks Duke. I'm aware. But as long as people on here ignore reality and facts, I will continue to point out what is real and factual. As long as people on here lie and make things up, I will continue to call them out on their lies and fallacies. As long as people on here misquote people and documents, I will continue to correct their misquotes.

    I'm trying to do what these comments are supposed to do: elevate the discussion in a relevant manner without abusive language. Sometimes, I fail by using abusive language. But I will call a psycho a psycho every time. I will call a liar a liar every time. And I will call an intolerant bigot an intolerant bigot every time.

  21. "Obama and his kool-aid friends can't read or comprehend this: "prohibiting the free exercise thereof"."

    Is now a good time to remind Mr. Nance of the vitriol and hatred associated with a simple mosque in New York City that exploded from the Republican party and the less tolerant in the tea party, including tea party headmaster Pamela Gellar?

    I guess the "free exercise thereof" clause only applies to religions you prefer. How convenient.

  22. I am amused at the partisan extremes of both sides who spout the word tolerance but practice rank vitriol and effective intolerance with propaganda creeds.

    The founders often OPENLY referenced the creator and they (mostly) abhorred ANY religious intolerance. Sorry to disappoint those of the atheistic faith but they routinely began projects and opened meetings with a prayer to "The almightly." The English way of having a single official state religion was anathema to them.

    Practice your faith or religion (even the atheistic faith/religion) but stay the heck away from anyone else's rights/safety. That is a pretty good short way to state what the constitution means. Also religious belief and practice does not give ANYONE in America the right to subvert nor delineate nor circumscribe another's beliefs nor practices.

  23. Mr. Jones wrote: "What is forbidden by the First Amendment is a state-established religion". I claim that Mark Shaffer's world view is a religion, and that the un-progressive socialists have long ago adopted that religion. I further claim that this religion actively persecutes all other faiths by way of using the levers of power of the government.

  24. I'll grant that atheism is a form of religion because it is as firm in its denial of God (or gods) but agnosticism is not. By definition agnostics say they don't know if there is a God (or gods) or not.

    I maintain that religion should not be a part of the legislative process. Further, I say that anything that is "moral" should be so without any reference to religion to establish its morality.

    I'll go further and say that anything that religion says is moral (or immoral for that matter) should be studied from an agnostic viewpoint to verify that status. If the argument can not stand without the religious element, then the claim for morality or immorality is not valid.

    abostonboy gives a very good example of a claim that can not stand outside of religious doctrine: gay marriage (or as I prefer to say, same-sex unions.)

  25. It should be kept in mind that our Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights were written when the Enlightenment was in full bloom and are outstanding expressions of its way of thought.

    I suggest reading Kant, Kierkegaard and Tillich to see some good interplay of morality and religion (or lack thereof.) Nietzsche also adds to the discussion.

  26. Religion is, by definition, belief in the absence of evidence. Atheism is belief only in that for which there is evidence. Bill Mahar summed it up nicely: "Atheism is a religion like abstinence is a sex position."

  27. Emthree,

    I must respectfully disagree with you. It is "faith" that is belief in the absence of evidence. With that said, atheism is every bit a religion since it states with total "faith" that God does not exist.

    Bill Mahar's comment would apply much more to agnosticism, which says there no evidence for saying God does, or does not, exist.

    To bring this back to the main topic, I also add Bertrand Russel's "Why I am not a Christian" to the reading list, as well. It is directly on point with regard to what is religious tolerance and the harm from lack thereof.

  28. Joe,

    Anyone who would accept what has become an informal standing invitation to arrange such a gathering for BBQ, Scotch and good cigars would be displaying exactly the tolerance that is the subject of this letter knowing that opinions would bound to differ.

    I submit that those who find the idea of breaking bread with those they disagree with simply because they do disagree are intolerant. (I won't deny the possibility of legitimate reasons for people to decline.)

  29. Let me correct that last sentence.

    I submit that people who would refuse to break break with those they disagree with simply because they do disagree are intolerant. (I won't deny that there are legitimate reasons for people to decline.)

  30. Religion is NOT faith it is rather a man made organization designed to sustain a certain type of belief based on faith.

    Here is a link to one such dedicated religious faith based organization:

    http://www.atheistalliance.org/

    My apologies to any atheists who have now swallowed their tongues in their passion over their own personal faith.

  31. boftx excellent arguments on your part, sir.

    The people must come to recognize that the government has in fact established a controlling atheist religion in this country. This religion exists at our schools, and our centers of science. Even Einstein was quoted as saying that G*d does not play dice . . . when first faced with the uncertainty principles that offended his sense that some elegant unifying laws of nature would bind the universe to the understanding of matter.

    All the scientists up to this century believed in the supernatural and the possibility of intelligent design. But today, just the suspicion of such thinking will end your standing and employment in the arts and science universities across this country.

    One only needs to listen to the rant that Mark Schaffer continues to spew against anyone who does not think as he does, to know this is true. What is worse is he is likely considered a moderate, within the so called educational community, today.

    boftx, again . . . good argument.

  32. Majorities of the electorate voting in the primaries in the deep south today believe that Obama is a Muslim, and, even more breathtaking, do not believe in evolution. They are entitled to their beliefs, but it's scary to think that this lack of enlightenment carries over into their political persuasion. I recall an interview with a teabagger in Florida, during the GOP primary there. He was a retired cab driver sitting in front of his dilapidated mobile home, flying an American flag that was so tattered it should have long before been removed and properly disposed of. The man was morbidly obese, and appeared to be old enough to be a recipient of Social Security and Medicare (which he probably depends on to survive). He stated that he would not "bust his buns" in support of Mittens if he became the GOP nominee. The point of my remarks? The majority of the GOP base is just like him. They will determine the GOP Nominee and have no coherent idea why they support said nominee other than "he ain't Obama". Sad commentary on where this nation is headed, regardless of religious beliefs.

  33. The absolute un-skeptical adoption of Darwin's thesis found in the "Origins of the Species" by atheists led . . . to the establishment of eugenics, as a method of improving the rate at which the human species would "evolve" . . . and further led to the many atrocities and genocide that was done under the religious banner of atheism. While some of Darwin's theory has been shown to have merit, much of his theory remains not proven. In fact, the reason that the very existence of time and space came into existence has no rational atheist explanation. The elegant complex nature of how matter and life came to be and how it came into existence (note: I didn't use the word created) also has no rational atheist explanation. The atheist simply demands on faith, that all . . . simply happened out of nothing by simple non-directed random chance. Now, that belief is what I call a true dogmatic faith, with blinders and ear plugs fully engaged.

  34. Jon,

    Thanks for the kind words, but I fear you might have misunderstood me. I get the impression that you have a theist outlook (that is, God, in some form, exists.)

    I don't think that the government has created an atheist environment. I can understand, though, how some might think that, given that atheism and agnosticism are often confused.

    The words of the Constitution and First Amendment task the government with being agnostic in its outlook. But that, in some respects, goes counter to our culture and history. All too often people see any "denial" of religion as being atheistic. Bear in mind that the words "under God" were added to the Pledge of Allegiance in the 50's to make us different from the "Godless" Communists.

    As for Einstein (and I am familiar with that quote) I suggest you take a look at Paul Tillich and his concept of God as "being itself." That is a position that is somewhat more palatable with those of science today. (But it is a far cry from what most people think of as "God.")

  35. Jon,

    You said that "[t]he atheist simply demands on faith, that all . . . simply happened out of nothing by simple non-directed random chance."

    With all respect, the theist says that God simply exists with no rational explanation for how that existence came into being. Again, I suggest looking into Tillich. I don't say that I think he is correct, but he has an interesting take on the topic.

    All this really proves is that mankind is incredibly ignorant and underscores the need for tolerance until we have more information.

  36. This argument, as well as so many others, confuses and mixes up two concepts: allowance and force.

    When the government or any entity passes rules, regulations and laws ALLOWING things to be done (making the prohibiting of them illegal), this simply permits people to take part in that activity, whether buying a gun, obtaining health care coverage or birth control devices, or marrying someone of the same sex. No one is ever forced to use these things themselves.

    On the other hand, when religious zealots want laws passed prohibiting the use of things because they believe it's wrong or evil, this forces everyone to NOT be able to avail themselves of the services or items.

    Do you see the big difference in the two things that we've been arguing about forever? If not, please refute my information with intelligent arguments.

  37. boftx we continue to be in agreement with the arguments that you have made.

    The metaphysical by definition cannot be known . . . that said, ones world view must be anchored to a concrete. One fundamental axiom is the existence of the supernatural, and from that one objectively unfolds the rest of ones world view.

    The major point being, one must remain skeptical and flexible in thought.

  38. Mr. Ashenbaum,

    Your first premise implies that if an entity can allow some activity, they also have the ability (or right) to disallow it as well. At this point a discussion of the meaning of the phrase "inalienable rights" would be in order.

    You also failed to mention a third, but real, scenario: that of where an entity passes a law or regulation that requires performance of some act. (i.e. payment of taxes.)

  39. Jon,

    We are going somewhat astray, but if the other readers grant we are exploring "tolerance" I want to continue.

    You said "One fundamental axiom is the existence of the supernatural..."

    A theist would agree that such existence is a "fundamental axiom." An atheist would emphatically disagree that such is not an axiom at all and might well be impossible. An agnostic says that would be *an* axiom.

    But by definition, an axiom is unproven, and indeed, is impossible to prove or disprove. An axiom is an assumption. One has only to look at Euclidean vs. non-Euclidean geometries to see my point. :)

  40. By the way, Jon, although I enjoy metaphysics, I was always much better at logic and ethics. :)

  41. boftx, a skeptical Objectivist is I, thus I am certain you can now see the truth in what I say . . .

  42. How to kill a thread and give the moderators a break: engage in analytical debate. :)

  43. boftx wrote: "One fundamental axiom is the existence of the supernatural...". boftx, sorry I did not make my self clear in that argument. What I meant to say, is that the fundamental axiom is to claim either for or against the possible existence of the supernatural. From this point of view, the theist and agnostic are in the same camp, and the atheist stands alone. The nature of what the supernatural is, remains undefined as it is beyond our ability to measure and quantify. Thus, truly the entire subject is thrust into the metaphysical, by definition. My problem with science today, is we have scientists such as Stephen Hawking that have rolled the metaphysical into their arguments. In some instances their narratives about existence looked to have been plagiarized from classic theist works, where the concept of G*d has simply been replaced with some form of wonderful natural random chance.

  44. Way too metaphysical for a poor soul like myself folks.

    BUT, I did seem to glean that someone above seems to be under the impression that imposition of atheistic practice by the govt is ok. If I got it right they want to reach and use atheistic goals while using agnostic thought and practice to give dishonest cover to the actual imposition of atheistic practices at the Federal and state level.

    This mixture is not only contrary to the constitution but a mix such as that shows gamesmanship rather than honest intellectualism.

    The govt cannot ideally use a general practice of any religious, agnostic, nor atheistic practice and adhere to the constitution. In practice this is bunk. We pray before Congress meets and swear our Presidents and others into office using the Bible to ensure that some form of metaphysical framework is used and adhered to.

    Yes, President Jefferson discontinued the ordering of Federal fast and prayer days which his predecessors had routinely ordered. But Presidents before and after him have routinely ordered such.

    Jefferson believed that religious conscience is untouchable by Govt and that Govt should make no law concerning religious conscience. He also thought religious thought and organizations should not affect the rule of law in the whole land.

    Obviously the atheist religion cannot have it both ways. They cannot guide the government using the lie of supposedly having no religion. They would have all others circumscribe their practices and beliefs to that of the atheist using the atheist creed as a phony non-religion.

    Thus Jefferson on all such priests and this put light on how the tyranny of the activist athiest is affecting our land:

    "In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own (Letter to H. Spafford, 1814.")

    Atheistic activists functioning as priests in their religion, have erected an active practice of their own faith based religion and have sought to ban the practice of others by forcing the absence of religious practices other than the atheist's religious practices.

  45. RefNV writes this: "Mark, I can't help that you're a liberal who often fails to characterize correctly others who think differently than you do. The big question is, why would anyone take what you write seriously? After all, your liberal view lacks a full understanding of the problems our country faces. Liberals just can't come to grips that it's the entitlement costs that's pushing our country over a financial cliff." To which I would respond what is your background and expertise that allows you to make such hyperbolic assertions? Economics? Or just invincible arrogance?

  46. Well done, Mr. Hill . . . you have made an excellent observation and argument!

  47. Thanks Jon.