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Issue Home September 23, 2003 Site Home

Letters to the Editor Policy

We Should Pay Tribute

The time has come to debate the naming of the new bridge over the Susquehanna River that connects Hallstead and Great Bend.

Most bridges today are named after people or events that are fresh in everyone’s mind. Some are even changed to reflect the current mood of the day.

We should pay tribute to the pioneers who literally hacked their way through the wilderness to form a settlement in the Great Bend area.

I propose we name the new bridge Willingborough, after a court order dated March, 1791 by Luzerne County giving the area its first official name.

Sincerely,

William Wellman

Great Bend, PA

My Work Is Still Needed

Wow – three letters last week in response to me! That pretty much forces me to respond to just one, the one most desperately in need of enlightenment.

Last week a correspondent gave us the trite and inaccurate notion that our laws are founded on Christian laws. Even worse, he pointed out that the word "separation" is nowhere in the Constitution. Well, the words "checks and balances" aren’t there, either – does that mean that our system of government has none? Not only that, but the word "Trinity" doesn’t occur in the Bible, so I guess that proves there’s no such thing.

Then we were told that our laws against stealing and killing are "church laws," and that church-state separation would mean that these would be made legal. How absurd! All human societies prohibit killing and stealing. The Ten Commandments have nothing to do with it. (In fact, societies like Japan that have no idea of the Decalogue, do a better job avoiding killing and stealing than we do!) If our laws were truly based on the Ten Commandments, that would include the First, about not worshipping any other god but Yahweh. So we’d be rounding up the more than one million Hindu Americans, for starters. And I should remind people of the Biblical penalty for violating this Commandment (and most of the others): death! (Usually by stoning.) Anyone for a bloodbath?

What no one has yet explained is why people are so insistent on having religious displays on government property. Almost no one has a Ten Commandments display in front of their house, and very few churches do. So, why at City Hall? It can only be an attempt to imply government endorsement of their religion, something that a large body of case law prohibits. And why should they need such endorsement anyway? Is their religion that feeble?

One more time, folks: the First Amendment requires the separation of church and state, even though these exact words are not spelled out. (Too bad they need to be.) The Supreme Court, in 1879 said so, and their many subsequent decisions ratify and extend this to entail government neutrality toward religion, in general, at all levels. Jefferson wrote of separation of church and state, as did Madison. John Tyler referred to it in 1843. Grant said, "Keep Church and State forever separate!" and Garfield said that the separation between Church and State should be as absolute as possible. And, he was a Sunday School teacher!

Those who want to merge religion and government are not only inconsiderate of the fifty million non-Christian Americans, but they’re often radicals who crave Theocracy, what C.S. Lewis called "the worst form of government." When will people learn?

Sincerely

Stephen Van Eck

Rushville, PA

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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR POLICY
Letters To The Editor MUST BE SIGNED. They MUST INCLUDE a phone number for "daytime" contact. Letters MUST BE CONFIRMED VERBALLY with the author, before printing. At that time you may request to withhold your name. Letters should be as concise as possible, to keep both ReaderÔs and Editor's interest alike. Your opinions are important to us, but you must follow these guidelines to help assure their publishing.

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