No room for personal interpretations


Published: Tuesday, January 30, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 30, 2007 at 12:20 a.m.
Lloyd Bailey, chapter leader of the neighborhood John Birch Society, made some statements that should be held up for closer scrutiny "America needs to return to its founding principles," Jan. 16).
I think he might be stretching the interpretation of America's founding documents too far when he suggests that God was "expelled from our schools," leaving our children to be "indoctrinated with the lies of evolution [and] separation of church and state."
First, if evolution is to be portrayed as a "lie," we should get some taste of what Bailey considers a more palatable explanation of the world. If he means the "biblical truth" that he claims should ground our society, it's hard to see how this equates to what he calls "the greatest freedom in the history of the world." The founding fathers strongly believed in freedom of worship.
Article VI of the Constitution states plainly "no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States." And let's not forget that pesky First Amendment: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." The "secular humanism" that Bailey claims "allow[s] atheism in the back door" was the centerpiece in the spiritual lives of men such as Thomas Jefferson and John Adams.
Many signers of the Declaration of Independence were deists, rationalists who believed that God created the universe, and then stepped back to watch it unfold. This is a far cry from the God who regulates television viewing to prevent the spread of pornography, or one concerned about the latest scientific theories reviewed in high school biology classes.
Let's not impose our interpretations of the founding documents on the Founding Fathers.
Luke Johnston, Gainesville

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