To the Editor:
What happens when ideas are mutually exclusive, and what do we do in our form of government when we snag up against irreconcilable ways of doing things? We decide which gets its way by majority rule.
If the majority wants prayer, and nobody is bursting into flames over it, then prayer it is.
What nobody has is the right to have life sanitized of all offending things. Somehow if it’s “offensive” to the minority, then majority rule can be cast aside. Do you realize by this you are building steps to tyranny?
The first amendment states that not only is any one particular religion not to get the upper hand over any other; but neither is religion nor government to get the upper hand over each other; neither dictates to the other. Nowhere does it say we shall have a godless government.
Having prayer in a public place is no more a mandate that you join and participate, than a public tailgate BBQ before a game is inducing you to quit vegetarianism.
Somehow I don’t think you’d object to the EMT’s prayer while extracting your child out of a car wreck; or the doctor’s piety when he’s carving cancer out of your body; asking angels to steady his hand; but politicians asking for wisdom for themselves, or abundance for their constituents is forbidden?
Even if it’s a futile gesture, what was their intent, was it for harm or for good?
By requesting a moratorium upon public prayer, what is your true intent? What’s the greater good? Having a prayer possibly answered, or preventing an imagined insult?
Do we have to wait until a hurricane has flattened most of the state and going for the remainder before we can publicly say, “God help us?” Or is it appropriate when it’s nearly completely demolished? At what percentage of devastation does it become politically correct to ask?
Here’s an idea: how about a pro-active approach and ask for His help before the hurricane hits?
There’s a lot of high-minded philosophizing out there, but if you fall overboard unnoticed without a life preserver in the middle of the ocean, you’ll find out right quick what you really believe.
In his letter of Feb. 8, Galen Rose said, “This Call to Prayer document is not only exclusionary but insulting to hundreds of thousands of Maine citizens.” (“Blatant, insensitive and unlawful religious favoritism,” LCN, Page 11) So are IQ tests, specialty licenses, and professional credentials… to those who want to be offended and insulted. What’s really the point?
Let’s all go about blindfolded because to go about seeing is to be insensitive and insulting to the blind?
Mr. Rose said, “The first amendment prohibits government entanglement in religion, as a way to ensure that all citizens are considered equal in the eyes of the government and the law.”
No, that’s an inference that’s not there.
Equality under the law is a fundamental principle. The application of the law is supposed to be inconsiderate of social position. Religion wasn’t a factor.
However, the eyes of the government have never considered all citizens equal; the deference given to high political office and military rank; the corporate, judicial, and financial ministers’ perks and privileges; the franchised and disenfranchised (such as felons or minors) exercise or restriction of rights; all this is obvious institutionalized inequality. Religion wasn’t a factor.
Rose’s unspoken premise is that religion promotes inequality, and that government should be a barrier and insulation against it.
It’s people’s choices throughout life that determine the level of equality or inequality in society, and most of the time religion is on the sidelines.
Left to their own devices, most people simply do whatever is pragmatic, which leads to being self-serving, which leads to inequality.
Government is a hierarchy by function and nature, and as such, inherently unequal; those at the top are not interchangeable with those on the bottom. It’s not from itself that you’re going to get a pattern of equality, and so its the very last source I’d seek to defend equality.
If a religion claims and proves that we all are ultimately the same, all equally creatures derived from a Creator, then there’s a foundation I can build a defense against inequality upon.
Mr. Rose has entered several missives about religion, and we get the point: religion is the source of all evil in the world, and he will champion its eradication wherever it rears its head.
But, and this ought to be obvious, stamping out God becomes just as much a religion as does promoting God.
Michael Bourland, Newcastle