My Turn, Roger Barbee: An open letter to Rep. Boebert
Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 10, 2022
Dear Representative Boebert:
I read about your speech at the Cornerstone Christian Center in Basalt, Colorado on June 26th. You are quoted as saying “The church is supposed to direct the government. The government is not supposed to direct the church. That is not how our founding fathers intended it.” You are reported to have gone on to say that you are “tired” of the separation of church and state in America, and that the long-standing concept stems from a “stinking letter” by Thomas Jefferson in 1802 to the Danbury [Connecticut] Baptist Association. In his private letter to the association, Jefferson writes “religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God” and that the American people have chosen to build a “wall of separation between Church & State.”
Since you have taken on this topic in your speech, I give you the benefit of the doubt that you have read and studied The Constitution and especially its First Amendment, which states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” which is historically interpreted to mean the separation of church and state — although that phrase is not explicitly used. Also, since your referred to an 1802 letter of Thomas Jefferson, I must assume that you read and studied Jefferson’s words concerning the separation of church and state.
As an elected leader with a national platform, I ask you to consider your words as they carry much more import than those of a private citizen. As a member of the House of Representatives, I suggest that many people think your words demonstrate a deep understanding of whatever topic of which you speak. But your office requires a higher standard—or it should, and you saying that “The church is supposed to direct the government” demonstrates a gross misunderstanding of our system or government or, worse, a willful use to gain political advantage.
I wonder if you did your own research before the speech or if an aide told you what to say or did the speech come from another source? The expressed ignorance in your speech and your reference to Jefferson’s letter as “stinking” are pitiful- regardless of the sources.
If you are sincerely interested in the separation of church and state, I suggest you spend an afternoon doing a simple Google search and gain an education on the topic. Here is one opinion you may find. It is of John Adams: “The Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.” But there is much more to find, all from our Founding Fathers.
However, if you are truly “tired” of our separation of church and state, I suggest you try living in any of several countries of the Middle East. Perhaps one of them would invite you to join how their religion directs the government.
Roger Barbee lives in Mooresville. Contact him at email@example.com