Dear Editor, Are the citizens of Madison County against the separation between church and state? I asked this for two reasons. I will cover both reasons and you should decide if these things are appropriate. In the Feb. 23 issue of the Berea Citizen on page A11 there is a full page ad from Bethel Baptist Church opposing expanded gambling. Did The Berea Citizen and Bethel Baptist Church forget that churches are not supposed to be involved in politics? When churches get involved in politics they are subject to losing their 501(c)(3) tax exempt status. I think that the full page ad complaining about gambling was not appropriate coming from a church. The church should reconsider their actions. On Tuesday, Feb. 22, I went to Richmond to renew my drivers license. I was offended by one the employees. On the cameras they use to take your picture for your license there were signs that said, “Smile, God Loves You.” After she finished making my license, I told her that the signs were not appropriate. She got very upset at me. I told her that everybody doesn’t believe that way and church and state are supposed to be separate. She complained that the state was in the churches’ business because they could not put up The Ten Commandments. I simply told her that putting The Ten Commandments up in public was not appropriate. The lady had very poor customer service skills. I was polite and she was not. Let’s all try to do our part to promote religious tolerance and not force our beliefs on other people.
J. Ashley Decker
An article caught my eye in the opinion section of the local paper this week. It was called “Is God mad at us?” I had to respond to this one. The author’s title, which appears under her name, is publisher. She is very opinionated at times and occasionally writes about religious issues. This article has to be the craziest one she has written yet. I wish that The Berea Citizen was on the internet so I could put a link here to the story. It’s too long for me to add it here, so I will summarize it. Then I will put in my response, which I dropped off today at the newspaper’s office. I will let you know if they print it or not. She says that she heard a discussion on a news talk program with the topic “is god mad at us?” The topic was addressed because of the number of hurricanes and other natural disasters recently. She blames the hurricanes and other natural disasters on the abortion issue. Now I don’t go to church, but is this the kind of crap that they teach in those places? Here are two quotes from the article: “The crux of the matter is the difference in opinion on the abortion issue. To me it’s as simple as whether or not we as a society plan to keep killing babies. You can put pretty names on it. Call it a woman’s right to choose and all that, but it’s still baby killing.” “Is God mad? I don’t know but He must surely be saddened at the slaughter of over 40 million innocent babies in the past thirty years.” Here is my response to her article:
This is in response to “Is God mad at us?” from Nov. 3. Dear Editor, Is God mad at us? This is an interesting question. I think that there was another question that the publisher should have asked in the November 3rd issue: Is god really out there? The article said that this question was prompted by “the record number of hurricanes and other natural disasters.” Would god cause all of these bad things to happen to the people he created? Does this mean that all the people killed in these disasters were not loyal to god? I would say that there were plenty of good religious people killed in those disasters. I think it is really strange that some people seem to think that every time something bad happens that “it’s part of god’s divine plan.” Well, I don’t like his plan. Blaming these disasters on the abortion issue is absolutely ridiculous. I guess that everyone killed in a natural disaster had an abortion or they are an abortion doctor. Maybe we should stop guessing what god thinks about everything and try to treat each other better.
J. Ashley Decker
Here is a letter to the editor I wrote recently about religious freedom. It was in response to a very ignorant letter. “Religious Freedom”
Dear Editor, This letter is in response to Mr. M’s letter entitled “Christians Have Less Freedom.” Christians have less freedom than whom? Try being part of a minority religion or being atheist or agnostic. People almost always assume I am a Christian and they are shocked or even offended when I state that I am an atheist. The theist has the freedom of religion and the atheist has freedom from religion. So I don’t understand why the Christian has less freedom. Mr. M is trying to put push his religious beliefs on others by saying that homosexual marriage is wrong. Jesus said, “Love one another. Just as I have loved you” (John 14:34). He also said, “Do not judge, so that you may not be judged.” (Matthew 7:1). Who are we to judge the acts of another? Mr. M is correct that Church and State are separate, but prayer is not prohibited. You can bow your head and pray silently whenever you feel the need. However, you cannot force other people to pray. Jesus spoke against public prayer. He said, “And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others… But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your father who is in secret….” (Matthew 6:5-6). Prayer in public is simply not appropriate. The national government is currently in the control of conservative Christians. To say that Christians’ rights are being denied is ridiculous. Mr. M should try living the life of a non-Christian, and then argue that Christians’ rights are being denied.