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home : letters : letters April 30, 2016

11/23/2012 12:07:00 PM
Keep prayer in the public square

To the Editor:

The First Amendment of the Constitution is the First Amendment because it was the most important freedom sought by our founders: The freedom to express their religious beliefs without fear of being imprisoned or murdered for their belief in their chosen religion. 

Catholics, Protestants and representatives from many other religions came to America to create a paradise for religious freedom. Secularists have no right to impose secular humanism on others.

For government to prohibit the free exercise of any religion is to impose the religion of secular humanism on us. That is what England did to its people which resulted in the chaos and misery which prompted our founders to create this God-loving nation.

Keep prayer in the public square.

Kathleen Roux
Rice Lake




Reader Comments

Posted: Saturday, November 24, 2012
Article comment by: Jeff Laadt

I just want to say that I agree with everything Richard Collins said in his commentary.

But I also wish to point out to Ms. Roux that the real importance of the First Amendment has less to do with freedom OF relegion and more to do with freedom FROM religion. As Richard points out, the early American settlements were hardly a "paradise" of religious tolerance.

The founders of this country were quite aware of the inherent lack of tolerance between and among religions -- which is exactly why the very first sentence of the very first Amendment to the Constitution prohibits the "establishment of religion."

And this notion that secularists are somehow imposing "secular humanism" on anyone is laughable. Non-religious types like me are a very distinct minority in this country who pose no threat whatever to the vast majority of Christians and other believers.

Jeff Laadt

P.S. Happy Holidays, Richard


Posted: Friday, November 23, 2012
Article comment by: Richard Collins

Kathleen, your letter demonstrates a terrible lack of historical knowledge regarding the United States. However, it's appropriate that it was published on Thanksgiving weekend, inasmuch as the first Thanksgiving was celebrated by the Puritans.

Your state ment that "Catholics, Protestants and representatives from many other religions came to America to create a paradise for religious freedom" is patently false. There was harsh punishment or banishment for those who did not fit the Puritan mold. Roger Williams was one such person he was banished to Rhode Island in 1636. Another example is Anne Hutchison who was tried for heresy in 1637, imprisoned and then banished in 1638.

In the following years strict laws were enacted against those who did not adhere to the religious views of the Puritans. For example, in 1646 Massachusetts Bay made it a capital offense to deny that the Bible is the Word of God. In 1647 Massachusetts Bay banned Jesuit priests from the colony on penalty of death. In 1648 a woman was hanged in Boston for being a witch. In 1658 Quakers were banned from the colony, and those who returned were to be executed, as some were in 1659-60.

"A paradise for religious freedom?" Absolutely not. Instead, a paradise only for those who believed in the state religion . . . Puritanism.

Finally, Kathleen, prayer in the "public square" is not prohibited, and never has been. Go right ahead and pray in the public square, read Bible verses in the public square, and sing psalms in the public square. You have the right to do so, and no one will stop you.

Just don't expect the taxpayers to subsidize by having government-sponsored prayer in the public square, which is what I suspect you really want.




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