Government should not favor one religion

Published 6:51 am Sunday, January 8, 2017

Dear Editor,

Tom Ellis’ response to your “Thumbs Down” regarding the “Year of the Bible” warrants its own response.

Having an “overwhelming Christian majority” does NOT allow the government to favor one religion over others or, for that matter, over professing no religion.

Email newsletter signup

Gov. Bevin has the right to participate, as a private citizen, in the reading of whatever document he desires. He may not, however, declare the bible to be a state book (the effect of declaring a “Year of the Bible”). If he can, then we need to have a “Year of the Koran” to respond to our Muslim citizens, a “Year of the Torah” for our Jewish citizens, etc. They are here among us and have the same rights and privileges we do as Christians.

I speak as a life-long Christian, raised in the Southern Baptist tradition, which, back when it was a distinct minority, was very clear about the freedom for all people to worship as they please and were very adamant about separating church and state.

The traditions that were begun in our country when only Christians and Jews were in power are just that: traditions. They have little meaning, given the unchristian way many governmental leaders act, and, if I am not mistaken, especially with federal government organizations, prayers from multiple religious traditions are encouraged. As a matter of fact, the Supreme Court has ruled that, if local governmental bodies choose to have opening invocations at their meetings, they must invite speakers from multiple religious backgrounds to participate.

As our nation becomes more and more diverse in its ethnic and religious/non-religious backgrounds, it becomes more and more important at all levels that government not be seen to be promoting one religion over others.

J. P. Brantley