‘Separation' Clause Used To Deny Freedom

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Editor:

In regards to the political accountability group mentioned in Tuesday's edition, the separation of church and state is totally misinterpreted. The First Amendment in the Bill of Rights states, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

I believe the key word here is "establishment." That is why this amendment is also know as "The Establishment Clause." The First Amendment protects us from the government establishing a state religion, a religion that you have to be a member of to participate in government, vote, have rights as a citizen.

It does not (should not) prohibit us from saying the word "God," "Jesus," "Allah" in public buildings or anywhere else. It should not prevent us from praying to the God of our choice in a public place. It should not prevent our politicians from upholding a moral code that happens to be religiously based, as long as all representatives or candidates do not have to uphold the same code to participate in government. It should not prevent a teacher from sharing their faith with a student who asks.

Seems to me that the supposed "separation of church and state" phrase has been used to deny freedom of religion in certain buildings, not encourage it as the First Amendment states.

Chris Kline, Pine

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