November 18, 2019
Letter

Of church and state

Over the past few months, I’ve been following the discussion of the separation of church and state and would like to add my comments on this issue.

As a student of American history and of the federal Constitution, I am concerned with the way the phrase, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” has been taken out of context by the courts.

At the time the Constitution was written, there were many states in the union which had state-funded religions. In my eyes, this is what the founding fathers were trying to prevent. State-funded religions – not the practice of religion by the people.

As I look at the courts’ decisions over the past 20 or 25 years, my fear is that they have done precisely what the founding fathers were trying to avoid. By removing God and any reference to any deity from our national life the courts are, by default, establishing no religion-atheism as our national religion.

At the same time, by common usage, we can use the name of any deity as profanity and get away with it. This offends me as much as the court decisions do because they are infringing on my right to practice my religion as I see fit.

I’d like to see this double standard addressed in a way that allows nonbelievers to exercise their nonbelief and for me to excise my belief in my deity.

Richard A. Watson Jr.

Orono


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