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GiovanniC Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 09:13 AM
Original message
Thanks DU! You Helped Write This Letter to the Editor!
Edited on Wed Apr-07-04 09:25 AM by GiovanniC
I just want to send out a big "thank you" to all the DUers who responded to my thread about separation of church/state and all the DUers who responded to other similar threads recently. With the information I learned from those threads, I was able to construct the following LTTE. Since you all helped me write it, it's only fitting that you have my full permission to modify and/or use it for your own letters to the editor, if you'd like. Here it is:

=====================================================================

In a recent letter, a Ms. Hastings complains that "<liberals> don't even tell our kids what our forefathers said, taking prayer, the Bible and now the Ten Commandments not just out of our schools, but our public buildings." She appears to believe that it's very important to do as the founding fathers intended, and she appears to be of the opinion that they intended for Christianity to be forced on everyone. I thought that maybe we should get the founding fathers to tell us their thoughts about that. Here's what some of them said:

"...<R>eligion and Government will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together."--James Madison in a letter to Edward Livingston in 1822

"...no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship ministry or shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief, but all men shall be free to profess and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise.. affect their civil capacities."--Thomas Jefferson, Statute for Religious Freedom

"When a religion is good, I conceive it will support itself; and when it does not support itself, and God does not take care to support it so that its professors are obliged to call for help of the civil power, 'tis a sign, I apprehend, of its being a bad one." -- Benjamin Franklin, 2000 Years of Disbelief

Now, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin are all very widely-known and respected founding fathers, but each of these statements were -- for the most part -- simply declarations of their personal opinions. To get a real idea of what the founding fathers OFFICIALLY believed should be the role of religion in this nation's government, one would have to look to some sort of official government document. The Constitution of the United States does not specifically mention the Christian God or the Christian religion. The only official document to weigh in on this matter was the Treaty of Tripoli (1796-97), which was written during the George Washington administration and passed during John Adams's administration. Article 11 begins as follows, "As the Government of the United States of America is NOT, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion..."

I admire Ms. Hastings's desire for our government to be run the way the founding fathers intended, and now that she knows what their intentions were, I'm sure she'll be leading the charge toward "taking prayer, the Bible, and the Ten Commandments not just out of our schools, but our public buildings" as well.
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ewagner Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 09:19 AM
Response to Original message
1. Great letter
I've bookmarked it for future use.

Nicely done!
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myrna minx Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 09:22 AM
Response to Original message
2. What a great letter!
You nailed it. :toast:
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Killarney Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 09:27 AM
Response to Original message
3. awesome!
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Commie Pinko Dirtbag Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 09:33 AM
Response to Original message
4. Bullseye!
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TN al Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 09:56 AM
Response to Original message
5. Great letter...
... I think it should be the final word on the subject. Unfortunately I bet it won't be. I have been brainstorming attempting to prognosticate the right wing response. What I have come up with is founding father quotes which they interpret to promote Christianity. While these quotes will surely be either out of context or just plain false do you have a plan of action for when this happens?
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GiovanniC Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 10:23 AM
Response to Reply #5
8. This Letter Was in Response
To another letter to the editor which used founding father quotes as "proof" that they were establishing a Christian nation.

They quoted Patrick Henry (who did indeed seem to be a big fan of religion sponsored by the government) and something from George Washington. Then basically claimed that the Godless liberals were trying to rewrite history, that the founding fathers did want the USA to be a Christian nation, and that children should be reading the Bible in school, praying in school, have the ten commandments in school, et cetera.

In fact, she claimed that the Bible should be the book that schools use to teach children to read. So instead of Dick-and-Jane books, this lady who was also a proud soldier in the war on Janet's Boobie wants our children to learn to read a book with smiting, murder, incest, rape, infanticide, violence, war, and genocide.

Makes sense to me.

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TN al Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 10:43 AM
Response to Reply #8
9. Anybody who believes that strongly...
... already is quite able to ignore mutually exclusive events since the bible is full of them. It should come as no surprise that to her your quotes should be dismissed while hers are the definitive proof. People like your responder are not the reason you wrote your letter, although we sometimes forget that, because we will never convert her. You wrote your letter to prevent others from being converted to her side.
This reminds me of the time my wife told me that I hate christianity. I told her that I love christianity, its just christians that I cant stand.< :)>
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GiovanniC Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 01:34 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. You're Exactly Correct
I have no illusions that anything I say will really change her mind. But I sometimes get concerned that people who don't have the time, energy, or desire to check the "facts" that some of these people push will be swayed.

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cosmicdot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 10:15 AM
Response to Original message
6. having been exposed to a curriculum which required Virginia-US history
Edited on Wed Apr-07-04 10:15 AM by cosmicdot
taught in the 4th, 7th and 11th grades during the 1950-60s, I can tell you that the focus was on the excitement of discovery and exploration; and seeking freedom -- (from) religious intolerance being just part of it -- but mostly the concept and appreciation of "pursuit of happiness", "freedom" and "liberty" and "justice" as the colony grew and prospered and progressed toward a Declaration and War of Independence, and the patriots' charge ...

that didn't change the fact that many in the community were church-going folks ... no one felt threatened - they could worship as they pleased -- and, it wasn't a 24/7 religious-thon world ...

all seemed well in the world

Ms Hastings missed a great opportunity to be exposed to the true American experience.

'Tolerance' of others is an important key Ms Hastings and her mindset fail to grasp.

If she wants her children to be mistaught as she may have been, that's her choice - but, Don't Tread on Me ...

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goclark Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 10:22 AM
Response to Original message
7. Send it to Kerry
Edited on Wed Apr-07-04 10:23 AM by goclark


It is a crystal clear letter and puts it right on the table for the Religious Right who hide behind the cross for their political gains.

The letter causes them to hurry back to their American history books and find what the founders really had to say!


Bravo for an excellent letter.
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SemperEadem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 04:08 PM
Response to Original message
11. Does anyone have the links to these quotes still?
I remember reading it last week and yesterday I was talking with my best friend about it, wishing I had saved the links. I would be so appreciative if the links could be reposted for that. Thank you!
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HFishbine Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 07:45 AM
Response to Reply #11
13. Here are your links
I don't know if these are the ones you are referring to, but it's quite a compilation:

http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/ed_buckner/quota...
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SemperEadem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 02:08 PM
Response to Reply #13
14. That's it!!! Thank you so very much!!!
that's what I love about DU--y'all rock!!!!!

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SemperEadem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 04:33 PM
Response to Original message
12. history repeating itself
The whole reason why the puritans were run out of every country they landed in after being run out of England until they got over to America was because they wanted government to use a rigid and literal translation of the bible in governance. Just like the Taliban.

21st century puritans need to be run out of town on a rail, also. There is nothing noble or redeeming about puritans.
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