Letters to the editor - Wednesday (9-25-2013)
History shows dangers of mixing church, state
I gathered from Rick Johnson’s Sept. 21 letter that he supports the county commissioners’ right to offer sectarian prayers at their meetings. However, he provides reasons in his letter for exactly the opposite, reasons against sectarian prayer and for a wall of separation between church and state. (Yes, I know the words “wall of separation between church and state” do not appear in the Constitution, but they are generally used as shorthand for the purpose of discussion.)
In his letter, Mr. Johnson provides several examples of what can happen when religion and state become intertwined. He makes the point by comparing the lack of freedoms, particularly those accorded women in countries where religion and state are intertwined, with the freedoms accorded women here because of the principle of separation.
The seduction of the church by the state that began with Constantine fatally compromised the church by making it a part of the empire which eventually led to much blood being spilled, particularly in the religious wars of the medieval period. Our founding fathers wisely changed direction, unwinding church and state and ensuring that the church does not become indistinguishable from the state.
I thank Mr. Johnson for perhaps accidentally providing reasons for us to work to maintain church-state separation and to ensure the avoidance of an official state religion or church in our county, state and country.
— Roger Hull
Complying with voter laws
Regarding the voter ID requirement:
It is generally held that our society is one founded upon law; as John Adams put it, we are a “government of laws, and not of men.” The obvious fact then is that citizens must be in compliance with the law, and not the other way around.
But in the voter ID debate we have those who are, for all intents and purposes, saying that we should not pass certain laws because they might inconvenience certain people or make requirements of them. They say that the voter ID law (HB 589) will disenfranchise some people.
Err, no: it will disenfranchise only those people who allow themselves to be disenfranchised by stubbornly refusing to comply with the law’s mild requirements. The opponents of the law are suggesting that only those laws which sit well with everyone might stand. And pardon me, but if we cannot pass reasonable and prudent laws because they will burden Rosanell Eaton (the plaintiff in the NAACP’s suit against the law) with a little paperwork, just how are we supposed to pass laws which truly need to be passed?
The consequences of the logic behind the opposition are lawless. Apply that same logic to laws concerning, say, income taxes, and you will see my point.
Unlike voter ID, which “burdens” a small number of people, taxes really are expensive and time-consuming, and they affect huge numbers of people. According to the logic behind the opposition to voter ID, we might as well suspend income taxes because they make life a little difficult. And like voter ID, they are reasonable and good, but not necessary — some states have no income tax. Those who oppose voter ID are trying to remove responsibility from citizenship by suggesting that such a law should not stand because it requires a little effort.
— Tom Hervey