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Writer’s interpretations leave him wondering

Letter to the Editor

Posted: Tuesday, February 06, 2007

In response to Alice Shannon’s letter on Jan. 29, she states, “It’s time to stomp out atheists in America.” Additionally, Mrs. Shannon states, “The majority of Americans would love to see atheists kicked out of America”

Really? I don’t even think most religious extremists would like to see atheists kicked out of America, just think of all of those missed opportunities to save “lost” souls.

Mrs. Shannon states plainly, “The United States is based on having freedom of religion, speech, etc., which means you can believe in God any way you want (Baptist, Catholic, Methodist, etc.), but you must believe.”

Really? The First Amendment reads exactly, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion (Establishment Clause), or prohibiting the free exercise thereof (Free Exercise Clause); or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

My reading comprehension skills may not be as refined as Mrs. Shannon, but Constitutional scholars (the Supreme Court) disagree with her vehemently. Although, I don’t always agree with the court’s rulings, I’ll take their side on this one.

Furthermore, Alice Shannon goes as far as to state in her summation, “Atheists have caused the ruin of this great nation by taking prayer out of our schools and being able to practice what can only be called evil. I don t care if they have never committed a crime, atheists are the reason crime is rampant.”

Really? It was atheists that took prayer out of schools? For some reason, I thought it was our Supreme Court interpreting the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause of the Constitution s First Amendment. Specifically, in the case Engel v. Vitale, 370 U.S. 421 (1962) the Supreme Court ruled, in essence, that government directed prayer violates the Establishment Clause of the Constitution (as applied to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment). Additionally, the court stated that private prayer by students and faculty is perfectly acceptable. Therefore, prayer has not technically been taken out of school.

Mrs. Shannon is interpreting the meaning of the First Amendment to conveniently satisfy her beliefs and condemning all of those who do not agree with her narrow mind as evil. This only begs the question, how does she interpret the Bible? She must not realize that Christianity would be better served by converting atheists, Mormons, Jews, Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists rather than exiling them.

Mrs. Shannon’s extremist Christian ideology and rationale is confounding to most Americans. She believes most people believe exactly as she does, despite the fact most Americans lean a little to the right of center and sway very little, as evidenced by the last few presidential elections.

Justin W. Broyles

Kenai



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